Category Archives: inspiration

Glasgow International Art Festival & the year of fun

With over 200 artists exhibiting in around 75 venues across Glasgow for Glasgow International there was so much opportunity to get lost in art this April.

Those of you who follow my blog will know I’ve declared 2016 the year of fun and I certainly had fun going round the various exhibitions.

I loved all the textiles on show. From skateboarding clams to weaving and national identity it all made me smile.   

   
I surprised myself by enjoying The Circus Between Worlds which was a selection of performances pieces created by artists working in Glasgow and Newcastle . Normally I steer away from performance art but I was curious to see Helen Shaddock‘s piece.  Sometimes it’s good to things that scare you just a wee bit.  

   The festival certainly helped feed my imagiation.

  
    
Some exhibitions are on until 22nd May so there’s still some time to catch them.

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February Fun

The days are getting longing and lighter which always makes me smile and awakens my creativity which has been hibernating over winter.

As I mentioned in my last post 2016 is all about fun and this month I ignored the fact I lost my voice (nasty chest infection), sucked on yucky cough sweets and got out there.   

 No your eyes do not device you, that is Richard Gere in Glasgow for an event I attended. He was talking after showing his latest film Time Out Of Mind which is an honest portrayal of a homeless man in New York.

I got lucky and every film I chose during Glasgow Film Festival ticked all the boxes for me from strong characters, beautiful cinematography and great scores it was one of the best film festivals I’ve attended. Some personal highlights were

 
Remember I mentioned fun didn’t have to be expensive? Well, in February BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra put on two free concerts which I was lucky to be able to attend. Both concerts featured contemporary composers and pieces I’d never heard before so demanded my full attention which in turn has sparked ideas for embroidery designs.

I know some of you might be turning your nose up at this, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. If you’ve never experienced a full orchestra live put it on your bucket list. The trick is to find a piece of music you like in their season brochure, go to that concert (watch the Proms or do some digging on (*)YouTube to see the different pieces) and take it from there. 

I think there is something magical about this orchestra. They have a way of stimulating all your senses at once and even at the back of the hall you can feel their passion for the music they play. Go & see them (other orchestras are available in your local area 😀).  It’s been a while since I was able to attend a Knit For Unity session so it was wonderful to get back and catch up with everyone over the clack of the needles.

You should see how many lovely pieces have been knitted or crocheted for those who need them. People have been so generous and I know the hats, scarves, blankets etc will be gratefully received.

If you’re free and fancy knitting (novices are warmly welcomed) pop along to Maryhill Integration Network’s offices, Mondays between 12 & 3pm. As it’s a leap year I managed to squeeze in an extra day of fun. This time I went to the opening of Glasgow School of Art’s Y2 Fine Art Potography exhibition which runs until 4th March.

Having friends on the course I’ve been watching their progress with interest. It was fun to see who’s been influenced by more established artists and refreshing to note that they have maintained their individuality.

Hope your February was as much fun. Now, let’s see what March holds…

(*) yup, this is the piece of music Siouxsie and the Banshees used to come on stage to.

Streetart inspired by the Turner Prize

A few weeks ago I was going past Tramway, which is currently hosting the Turner Prize exhibition when I noticed some strange behaviour.

Two men were having a good look at the demolished building across the road. With them were several ladders tied to a homemade bike, a generator and some tools.

Today, as I went past again, I was able to enjoy the fruits of their labour.   

   
     
 

*** UPDATE ***

I’ve just found out that this work was a collaboration between Baxendale and Recoat.

Helen Shaddock at Hatton Gallery

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Last weekend, along with a friend I escaped Glasgow and headed to Newcastle upon Tyne to see Newcastle Universities MFA Summer Show and especially Helen Shaddock‘s new work.

I’m a bit shocked that I’ve not introduced you to her work before. We both share a love of maps and paper and it has been been fascinating to see her work progress over the years. We may work in very different ways and while she is definitely an artist and I’m more of an artisan (someone who works with their hands) her work has inspired me on numerous occasions. Her love of colour and fascination with form is amazing and never fails to inspire me. Earlier this year she left Glasgow to start the Master of Fine Art course in Newcastle and this was my first chance to see how her latest work.

Along with other first, second year students and some Ph.d students they’ve put on an impressive summer show at the Hatton GalleryHere’s a taster of Helen’s work

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If you’re in Newcastle please seek it out. As you can see here (hint: click on the pictures to get more info) there is such a diversity in work, practice and use of space not only for the artist but for you the viewer. You need to explore the whole building to find all the artists sometimes with rooms hiding round corners or opening up at the top of narrow staircases. At the time Helen asked me if I thought there were similarities in their work. I didn’t think so, but retrospectively I’d have to say movement is the key. Not just because you can see they are on an artistic journey but because time/movement is an element of each piece whether by design or through serendipity.

Apart from Helen’s work the other stand outs for me were Paul Martin Hughes’ kinetic sculpture which had an amazing hypnotic rhythm to it. Mirela Bistran’s textiles and naturally dyed work and Yein Son’s Noctarine 3.12.

Well done to all of you, I’m already looking forward to next year.

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Thank you to Helen Shaddock for letting my photograph her work.

The exhibition at Hatton Gallery runs until 5th September 2015

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Playing with embroidery on Paper

Sometimes it’s fun just to doodle with paper and thread. Next stage is to build up my confidence in sketching with pen(cil) on paper. I know it’s like anything else, the more you practice, the more you can relax into … Continue reading

islands and archipelagos embroidery sketchbook

It’s no surprise that I like my sketchbooks. I’m a sucker for popping in to art stores to see what they’ve got on offer. Often they come home with me and just sit waiting on a shelf for inspiration to strike, teasing me.

My latest sketchbook has just started and is going to be filled with the theme of islands and archipelagos. I’ve made a start with some machine stitched lace which created a beautiful landscape now embellished with french knots, bullion knots, wrapped threads and detached buttonhole stitch. So far it’s all very white but I think colour will gradually creep in.

Here are some of the first islands.

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1-IMG_2819 1-IMG_2817 1-IMG_2816Looking forward to seeing how this progresses and whether or not I’ll be able to close the book at the end 🙂

The Making Room pt.2

 

IMG_7587After having fun trying block printing a fortnight ago as part of The Making Room I was really looking forward to my screen printing taster session.

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This time our tutors were the fab team from Bespoke Atelier who seem to live for patterns.

We met in the exhibition space at the back of All That is Solid and the team chatted to us about the basics of screen printing and showed us some of the screens they’d created based on Alexander “Greek” Thomson’s architectural details.

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There was a lot of head scratching thinking about what we’d like to print onto our tote bags and most of us used a mix of Bespoke Atelier’s designs with masks we’d created to alter the designs. All a bit messy and a whole lot of fun.

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I’m really chuffed with my bag which I printed on both sides. The back echos the print on the front but by using a mask I’ve created something that looks more like a chemical equation. I’ll also add some embroidery to embellish it.

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Bespoke Atelier are taking part in the Southside Art Trail on 24th May which looks like an amazing event and also run workshops.

The Making Room Pt.1

Earlier this year I really lost my creative mojo. No matter where I looked I just couldn’t find it and it was really getting me down. Think it must have been on a world tour but it’s back & I’m feeling good.

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Recently I heard that WASPs Glasgow were creating a month of arts events that ranged from talks to taster sessions. Well what’s a girl to do but sign up 🙂

On Saturday I went to the first of the two sessions I’d signed up for, block printing. The taster session was taken by the talented and lovely Megan Held who showed us the basics of printing.

We started with potato printing. Haven’t done that since school and it was a lot of fun. We all procrastinated that our repeat designs weren’t good but once we popped on the paint and started playing with the designs we could see the potential.

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After that Megan showed us the basics of how to create a design for a repeat block and we made a Lino cutting. Several test runs on paper and fabric were duely tried and finally we took courage and made either towels or bags.

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I opted for a bag which turned out a lot better than I thought it would, even the splodges of paint looked fine. I’ll add some embroidery to it in the near future and show you the result.

We all had a really fun afternoon & were chuffed with our results. I think a lot of the sessions are sold out but have a look just in case there are some spaces.

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The Making Room: http://utter http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/the-making-room-wasps-studios-7900939119

Shake it up in 2015

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There are lots of reasons to hibernate until spring comes but that would be boring and who likes boring?

I’ve found a few creative ideas that might tickle your fancy that are happening in January. Most are in Scotland but if anything inspires you why not start something in your town. Warning: there are a lot of links in this post so grab your mug of tea and notebook to start planning.

Try something new or rekindle an old passion. At Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts they don’t just have studio space but run various workshops from bookbinding to weaving, silk printing to carpentry. If you’re not sure of committing for a long course then why not dip in for a day or weekend? I’m quite interested in the bookbinding classes run by Allison Downie in Glasgow. Lots of museums run free classes for both adults and children so it’s worth checking by heir websites or just ask the next time you walk by I know Glasgow’s museums certainly do.

Pick a project and do it every day for a month. It doesn’t need to be time consuming. A timed 5 minute sketch every day, knit that jumper you’ve been promising yourself or go for a walk with you camera. A thanks must go to Helen Shaddock for highlighting the fun-a-day project to me. This project which started in Philadelphia has now crossed the Channel and Dundee is embracing it.

Start a pictorial diary with Blipfoto. Take a photo a day on your phone or DSLR upload it to Blipfoto with or without words and challenge yourself to doing for 365 days. It’s a brilliant way to become more aware of your day as well as improving your camera skills. Oh be warned it can become addictive and you’ll find yourself dipping into the lives of other blippers from around the world.
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Be curious. You might remember way back in 2011 I took part in several fun projects by The Curiosity Project, well they’re back with another one off idea. This time you have the chance to send a box filled with a story. With a limit of £20 you tell your story with only your imagination to limit you and in return you’ll get a story from someone else. You can find out more on their website.

Of course there are also lots of free things to do like get out for a walk and really look at your surroundings, find out what art exhibitions are on in your area and GO to them and of course volunteer. A good place to start is the Voluntary Arts website which covers the UK and with Voluntary Arts Week coming round soon now’s as good a time as any to shake away those winter blues and get creative.

So? Anything take your fancy? If so let me know & please leave links in the comments if you know of other creative things we could be getting up to.

A needle pulling thread

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Thanks to DStitched I’ve just listened to a fabulous wee programme on BBC Radio4. Talking to a variety of people who use needles – from farmers (I kid you not) to tailors – this half hour programme is a delight.

One part I really liked was when the prisoner talked about how embroidery, as part of Fine Cell Work, has made him more calm.

For Uk listeners you can get I to the IPlayer and for outside the UK try this link to the internet site ->
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04p7xls

PS you can meet DStitched on Thursday at The Glad Cafe, Glasgow this Thursday when she talks about the St Kilda’s Project. I’ll be there too 😉