Mr Toad

Last week I met the loveliest toad on my road. He was an elderly toad and walked at a leisurely pace. I helped him cross the road and thought ‘How lovely to have met such a toad.’ I am sorry to say four days after meeting Mr Toad, I found him lying peacefully on the side of the road. He looked like he was sleeping, but he wasn’t. I picked him up and took him to sit by our pond as I thought he might just be exhausted. He was still there in the morning so he is now buried by the pond. I have decided to draw Mr Toad and imagine his life before I met him. He looks sad because of his toad mouth but I think he was just a great thinker.

This was middle aged Mr Toad, thinking of retirement and of exotic ponds.

Colourful snow

Today I got up early to spend a few hours in the snow. Years ago I used food colouring to created lines in the snow and decided, today was the day to get the snow colourful once again. I mixed watercolour paints with water, got wrapped up warm and got my wellies on. Al was my chief documenter and together we took huge amounts of photos.

I was aware after creating the initial splatter paintings that I didn’t want to stain the concrete below, so decided the only option was to make a huge colourful snowball. It was labour intensive and I soon warmed up. I enjoyed my only tools being a black glove (couldn’t find the other one) and a shovel. I used the shovel to cut it in half at the end to reveal the rainbow.

I think the final sculpture has turned out a treat! I had no idea what it would look like, but the mottled colour reminds me of rainbow sponge cake. It was great fun too, especially as a fun activity before having to go to work for a few hours through the slush filled streets.

New year, more art!

I have got lots of ideas which i’m looking forward to experimenting with this year. As well as making more art, I would like to go to more exhibitions and read more generally. I am also going to attempt to write a diary for the whole year (not just January!)

The image I would like to start the year sharing is George Shaw’s ‘while no-one was looking -2010’. I saw this a couple of days ago at The Herbert gallery and was so pleased to see it!


Happy New Year!!!

Freezer bag

Yesterday I filled a freezer bag with plaster and here are the results:

Unfortunately with this design of bag, the plastic has got stuck in the fold but apart from that I like the shape it has created. Shall experiment with different bags.

Cast of time

Recently I have been messing about with plaster to make brooches, collage and now sculptures. I had an idea way back when to make physical sculptures out of PVA glue, but quickly discovered it wouldn’t dry in large quantities in my lifetime! When making brooches, I fell in love with the instantaneous nature of plaster. I was experimenting with adding different materials to the plaster and then laying plaster on different materials. I poured a bit into a plastic bag to see what shape it created. It made a cast of the bottom of it, with the creases and seam details on show.

The idea of making a cast of time was born. I am currently waiting for a bag filled with plaster to dry and am very excited indeed. The next thing for me to work out is how I measure time using the material. I think the measuring of time will be done using the water, which will then be mixed with the plaster, but have some thinking to do!



Feeling festive

The book ‘Bird study in a garden’ A Book for Bird Watchers by Eric Ennion (1900 – 1981) inspired me to pick up a paintbrush again. His illustrations are beautiful and his observations about the unique characteristic of birds are wonderful. He also draws incredible diagrams of the profile of a garden and territory maps. I used acrylics and quickly remembered the importance of a good paintbrush!

I was also given the book ‘A colour guide to familiar Butterflies Caterpillars and Chrysalides.’ Next time I’m going to paint some butterflies I think. It would be good to have a collection of cut out painted butterflies in specimen display cases.

It’s all in the presentation

The biggest thing on my mind at the moment is how to present my furniture photographs. I have huge amounts now and would love for them to be seen, I’m just trying to figure out the best way. I see the photographs as documentary. I have previously displayed them in a handmade book with a cardboard cover. These took ages to make and I think the finished aesthetic may have taken away from the photographs themselves. When I got my furniture photos printed, it was automatically turned into a book. I decided a couple of weeks later to get a book printed and I was really pleased with the result.

I felt it was a really good way to view the photos as the book was so simple that there was no distraction. I am unsure how or where a book like this may exist and am still considering other methods of presentation.

Happy accident

One of the things I do at work is send out and label boxes. When I was preparing a few boxes to be sent I started to collect the waste scraps of tape and paper that was left behind. They were made by a happy accident (the previous labels had to be removed and these were the edges of those labels). I thought they deserved more than being thrown away with peoples banana skins and boots meal deal left overs.  I really like the shapes, colours and textures that have been created. It also made the task much more enjoyable too!

If you click on an image you can view a larger version.

String wins!

After my tape experimentation, I decided to try the tape inside of a tape cassette. I liked it better than the electrical tape but it still wasn’t quite right. It also had other connotations about old music formats, not just the relationship between the object and time.

I decided to try out string which I wrapped around the record for 2 minutes 42 seconds and it looked exactly how I wanted. The string wins! There was a thickness to it, so you could see each individual strand and the contrast of the cream string against the black vinyl worked. I thought about what this would be as a stand-alone piece. It seemed effortless. I decided to make a second piece, for the amount of time the average length was of the top 10 selling albums – 47 minutes.

I failed in two attempts as I would get to about  20 minutes and the string would start slipping and then unravelling. It is one of the most frustrating ways to lose time. After the second time I vowed to give up, but Al talked me round. I went back into the kitchen where Heart FM was playing the same songs they had an hour ago. I took a deep breath and it came to me: I needed to use pegs to stop the slipping. I then proceeded to wrap string around the record for 47 minutes. It hurt but I was so happy once it was finished. Just got to think about how to display them now.

The perfect pop song

There is an exhibition called ‘Exit through the record shop’ which I am hoping to make some record shaped art for. I wanted it to be related to music and time and was thinking about how I could represent the average length of an album. My friend Ali (who is also going to be in the show) suggested that I use the length of the perfect pop song. Apparently it is 2 minutes 42 seconds. I decided to give this a go using electrical tape whilst listening to Heart FM on a high volume for necessary inspiration:

At the moment I am not overly excited about any of them but feel like the creative cogs are turning.