Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Online Exhibitions, Creative Collaborations, Sketchbook Challenges, Photoshoots, Podcasts and Musings...


'The Hidden Dread' 2021
matte medium image transfer - on show as part of the Volatile State at The House of Smalls
- can be found here  

a collaborative piece made with my friend and 'Man Ray' person Jon - some of whose work can be found on his insta and you can read about how this collaboration came about and what it signifies here

one of the single line drawings I did as part of the Sketchbook Challenge online class at Swarthmore Centre in September 
although I mostly use a camera as my pencil/paintbrush I enjoyed the challenge of using pens, pencils and watercolour and drawing my skull topped pens made me smile 

Portrait of Joel - taken earlier this year, it's his reflection on the bonnet of his hearse, you can hear some of the music he makes in his solo project Bryronic Sex and Exile by clicking here 
I really enjoyed this photoshoot as it was a very different thing for me to do as I don't often take pictures of people (and their hearses which I got to have a lift home in after we'd finished) plus Joel was really pleased with the pictures I'd taken too - result all round :-) 

Also got work in Mirror Mirror - another House of Smalls online gallery project which goes live this weekend   

It's quite a while since I last updated my blog, updating it used to be part of my weekly routine as I used it for my research journal, but once I graduated from the College of Art it stopped being such a regular part of my routine, and I know I have said this before but I do intend to update this blog more often as it's a good way of marshalling my thoughts - especially with regard to creative matters. The images above give an idea of the kind of things I've been up to over recent months.

I write much more regularly of much more personal matters in my journal but that is for my eyes only plus that has the benefit of being portable too as it is of the paper kind which I write in in fountain pen, however with the advent of Covid I haven't written it anywhere other than my workroom or the dining room for months. I have dared to venture  to the local library recently but I have yet to feel comfortable enough to spend longer than the time it takes to return books and check out new ones. To sit at a table in the library and write feels beyond me at the moment. I've still to venture into the city centre to go back to either of the libraries there - despite missing being in both of them keenly as the thought of being in a people filled busy city centre and the bus journey needed to get there practically brings me out in hives. I had hoped being double jabbed would help with that anxiety but although it has diminished my fear of dying from Covid it hasn't diminished my fear of catching it in the first place. 

One of the central beliefs of the Arts and Minds Network is that creativity promotes mental well being. I have been a member of the network for well over 10 years now and it is thanks to them that I have met and made new friends, I've also been able to take part in projects which have taught me new techniques, or new places to show my work. This year like last the annual exhibition of members work is online and you can look at it and my piece 'Story Of The Past Part V' here 

Creativity and being creative is absolutely central to maintaining my mental health , whether it's the ability to enjoy others creative output in the form of films, programmes, books, photography, paintings made by others or the ability to create and make my own. In terms of my own work it's primarily in the form of images made with various kinds of cameras and some of them I either print or have printed directly onto fabric or transfer them onto canvas, fabric or other surfaces using matte medium. I have also been trying to write poems and longer prose but have yet to create a piece I consider finished and am happy enough with to share just yet.

Over the last couple of years I've found I've often been so distressed or anxious that I've been unable to concentrate properly on creating anything myself or I start something and then get distracted and cannot finish it or sometimes along the way I lose confidence in my ability to create the thing. At other times though I've been able to make and finish things either despite feeling depressed or anxious or because I have been feeling relatively okay. 

In order to make the times of feeling okay enough outnumber the times of not feeling okay at all one of the things I've been doing is to make sure I get out regularly for fresh air and I am so very grateful that I have a peaceful mature garden I can sit in and the woods nearby to wander around, and that the plantar fasciitis that had been so painfully limiting my mobility continues to be in abeyance. I continue to go to the gym regularly too - deadlifting and strength training makes me feel so much better-er as my beloved Hacker T Dog would say. Watching his glorious nonsense also never fails to make me smile  -  see also the work of The Boulet Brothers and Spongebob Squarepants - they are also a vital part of my self care routine.  

I've been knitting too - as long as I am comfortable with the pattern I find it quite a meditative and relaxing process and my go to default destress things to knit are booties or dishcloths. I have knitted quite a lot of those items over the last few months. Some I have kept and some I have given to friends. 

 Along with taking and making photographs, I also ventured out of my comfort zone by doing a  portrait photoshoot  really enjoyed doing it as I don't often take photographs of people so it was a challenge. 

 I was also very pleased to be asked to be guest on the rather marvellous podcast No Heathen Land earlier this year. The podcast looks at  talking about my love and passion for St George's Field as a space and two of the women buried there and you can hear the episode I'm in by clicking here  and give yourself a treat by listening to the eerie and disturbing tales in the other episodes too.

I've really got into podcasts over the last few months - along with No Heathen Land I am also really enjoying the ones from The Leeds Library, The Uncanny on R4 and the Battersea Poltergeist one was completely compelling. 

So that's a round up of things I've been up to recently and my plan is to keep on doing more of the same whilst trying to keep well and safe in these ongoing frightening and disturbing times. 

                                                 Thank you for reading. 

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