Friday, 30 December 2011

A fragment

I never remember the endings of things. I try to tell people the stories of my most favourite books or films, and always, where the ending should be, my mind is just blank. I can enjoy these stories over and over again, and be surprised each time by how they play out. On a good day, I think that this is wonderful, and that it is like being a child who finds things out for the first time. But usually, I feel like a crinkled old shell of a person, with a head full of fragments that don't piece together. Who am I that I can't recall a story from start to finish?
Stories of my own life are even worse, I have to rely on my family for them all. My father tells me of the time my brother and I dug for treasure by the window of an ice-cream stall at the beach, and all of the lost change that came out of the sand were our riches for the taking. My brother remembers everything, but keeps the stories to himself. If I ask him whether he remembers the scene in a photograph, he will say yes, but nothing more.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

“Nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent, leave the house before you find something worth staying in for. ” ― Banksy

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Beautiful Gift

I got the most wonderful book today from the Beautiful Girl for my Christmas present, More Things Like This:



It's a lovely McSweeney's book filled with an apparently unnamable art form that combines words and images, like this picture below (made by me):




It's so inspiring and interesting. It's got lots of interviews and discussions of the art form, and some great examples.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Big day - quick post

I'm dashing about today as I'm leaving this evening for my new job (here). However, yesterday was such a big day that I need to write a quick post about it now, so that it doesn't get lost in all the new job/new home palaver.

The day started with a parade in the centre of town where my dad's army unit got freedom of the city of Manchester. There was a lot of standing about, but it was still quite an impressive event. Here's a picture from the BBC website (taken by Ed Swinden with an amazing lens that I really want).



Then after that I went to a Manchester Literary Festival event, Words on Asylum and Refuge, organised by the beautiful girl for Amnesty International. It was a fantastic event, very moving and interesting. The best part for me was the talk given by Mende Nazer, who you may know a bit about if you saw the film I Am Slave last year (staring my fellow MGCer Wunmi Mosaku). I don't think anything can compete with the effect of seeing her talk about her experiences in person, but I do want to find out more about her, so I will definitely be reading her book, Slave, soon.

Some of mine and the beautiful girl's other friends came to the event, so we went for lunch afterwards, which was lovely. But then I had to dash off to go to the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. Apparently it's been going on for a few years, but I'd never heard of it before recently. My very thoughtful brother got me a ticket for my birthday, as I'd asked for experiences not objects.

There were lots of amazing things there, which will keep me inspired for a good while. It was quite nice to see that all of the stuff there was out of my price range. Everything was well priced for the work that had gone into it, which I was pleased about. I quite often see crafters pricing their work very cheaply in order to make a sale. But at the fair, there were lots of sales being made, and lots of interest. I've taken a few cards for future birthday requests. The hats in particular were wonderful. I loved these by Sarah Cant, and these by H'atelier, who actually has a shop in Manchester that I have somehow never seen.

It was a very lovely day, and a nice way to round off my very quick trip back home in between jobs. Hopefully, I will have time on the farm to keep up with this blog, and I'll be taking my camera with me in order to capture my time there. Wish me luck.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Adventures in the wild

This weekend I went on a Rustic Furniture Making course. It's something I'd asked my dad to pay for as my birthday present, due to the fact that I don't want to accumulate more posessions, but I do want to acquire more skills.

It was really good - even just the weekend away in the woods was wonderful, and the other people there were really interesting, but also the chair making was really good. I picked the course because it's something that I had no idea how to do; I had originally thought that I'd go on a craft course, but they were all really pricey for something that I could learn to do myself. This furniture making course was great though, I think I'll be able to use the skills elsewhere.

I've not seated the chair yet, so I'll post a picture once that's done (I'm just ordering the materials now!). You can see some more info on the course here, and these are some of the chairs that are made in a similar fashion to mine:



I will also be looking to do some other courses run through LILI in the future, they're really good value and a great learning environment.

One other interesting thing about the course was that somebody mentioned the Incredible Edible movement, which sounded good, and on looking into it, there's been a group set up in Wilmslow, which is not too far from here. I know that a few local people read this blog, so even though I'll be leaving town next week (heading to a new job at Church Farm) I thought it was worth a mention. The Incredible Edible Wilmslow site also had a link to this amazing tree identifying factsheet, which I will be using in future.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Decisions, decisions

I want to record today, as it's the moment of a big decision for me.

I'm not 100% certain that I'm doing the right thing, but I was faced with two very different options about how I wanted my life to go from now on, and today is the day that I have to give an answer.

It's been very difficult to come to this decision...well, no, I think that I made the decision quite a while ago, but it's taken me some time to come to accept it.

There will be times when I doubt myself, and I want to be able to look back on this blog entry and try and hold within it some small glint of this feeling, like a diamond chip secreted within tightly cupped hands.

The real moment of clarity came last night, when I was having yet another session of tossing and turning within sheets. I realised that if I took one of the options (what seems like the most sensible option) then I would be taking the road where I would never love what I do. The other option is not nearly as sensible, and it cuts me off from certain future achievements that I think I will miss. However, I think that it leads me down a road where I could end up in a place that I love.

Last night, I also remembered something that I hadn't really understood properly before. There have been many times when I've been doing things and I've not worried even the tiniest bit about the future or where I was going. Those times were when I was doing something that I loved. At those times, it didn't matter where the thing was going, because the present had been so fulfilling. But where I've been recently has been the opposite of that - I've thought about nothing but how to get on and get out.

The sensible option I'm faced with at the moment would be another step on a very similar road, and I'd always be looking around me for something better, and not appreciating even the good things. But with the other option, I think that it might be more difficult and challenging overall, but I can envision long swathes of future where I feel comfortable and happy with where I am in the moment.

Beautiful Photo




“Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, 1932″ by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

via

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The pet

My hair seems suddenly to have become very long. It is like an unruly pet, perhaps a cat, that is always shedding all over the flat. It takes up too much space in the bed and is always trying to snuggle up to my neck in the night until I am tormented by the heat and itch of it. It tumbles and falls always in the wrong places and seems to be in the way constantly. I pin it up and out of the way and then wonder why I don't just get rid of it if I'm going to do that all the time.

That is such a small thing to think about, but sometimes when everything feels so big and bottomless, I like to focus on tiny things until I know them entirely.


*Edit* I forgot, I wanted to post some pictures here. The subject matter is objectively quite disgusting, but up close it looks beautiful:









Just a short post

Because it's been a long time, and though I've thought about posting often, I keep coming online to do other things.

Here's a quote I've wanted to share:

'He didn't know what to do, he didn't know how to live. Each new thing he encountered in life impelled him in a direction that fully convinced him of its rightness, but then the next new thing loomed up and impelled him in the opposite direction, which also felt right. There was no controlling narrative: he seemed to himself a purely reactive pinball in a game whose only object was to stay alive for staying alive's sake.'
- Freedom, Jonathan Franzen

Monday, 4 July 2011

Manchester, England, England

That's the place that I'd rather be. I feel a song coming on...check it out here:



I watched the Great British Railway Journeys tonight, the Manchester to Bury episode. It made me feel so homesick - it even showed my street! I found the episode on YouTube, and I'm putting it here to return to when I need a boost.

Part 1



Part 2



Part 3

Friday, 1 July 2011

Lovely videos

Well, would you look at this amazing compilation of Harryhausen creatures! It's amazing, almost unbelievable what that man could do:



Thanks to BoingBoing for the link.

Also, this interesting Google+ hack makes me think that it might be worth a look. The worst thing about considering changing site is that everyone's already in one place now. If that's not an object, I could consider it.

Finally, today at work we have mostly been wasting time doing serious digital marketing research with the Hunter Shoots Bear videos:


Thursday, 30 June 2011

Cheat sheet

I am absolutely loving this photography cheat-sheet. I love my camera, but I readily admit that I don't really know how to work it.

It's from Living in the Stills, via My Modern Metropolis:



Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Jelly shots

We had jelly shots at a party at the flat a few months ago. Sadly, no photographic evidence of this exists as they went down too easily to last long, but I can say for certain that they weren't a patch on the lovely ones in this video:




I post this super-cool film with the taste of the bitterest grapes in my mouth, because it was made by the ladies at Zeichen Press who have apparently made it their mission to lead the life I wish I had. Damn them.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Attention

Thought for the day:

I do not have a short attention span, I simply have a wide range of interests and a finite life in which to explore them.

I'm pretty sure that's a positive thing.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Nice Things

I've been doing some creative things today, as well as catching up on some of my favourite blogs. I came across this lovely list on My Modern Metropolis:



I'll post some images of the things I've been making soon. But for now, here are some pictures from the Silk Mill I visited last weekend in the nearby village of Whitchurch:









Thursday, 23 June 2011

Two writing things

Firstly, the very exciting new website for Kohl publishing. Started by an escapee from my work, and now accepting submissions.

Secondly, this delightful list of literary insults.

That is all.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Printing on fabric

Thank heavens for this lovely tutorial from Jezze Prints. My darling super-stylish flatmate wants to use one of my linocuts to print onto a t-shirt, but try as I might, I had not been able find a way to get fabric paint to work - it kept coming out blotchy and parts weren't printing at all.

I was looking online to see if perhaps there was a better substance than fabric paint, but the tutorial showed me how to turn the paint into a useable medium. Jezze Prints is apparently an amateur chemist and she figured out that if you add a few grains of salt to the paint it liquefies a little and absorbs nicely into a felt pad.

I've trialled the printing on a piece of scrap fabric and it worked a dream:





I'll do a few more dry runs and then put it onto the t-shirt.

Also, now I've seen Jezze Print's work, I am really in love with her style, her work looks wonderful:


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Over 1500 views!!!

Wow! I just checked in on YouTube to see how my Linocut animation is going and it has over 1500 views. I never would have expected it to do so well within just a couple of weeks.

According to the stats, most of the views are coming from the Craftzine blog, which I love so much. A lot of them have also come from the delightful Yellow Umbrella blog.

I also know that Imaginative Bloom posted it on facebook, for which I'm very grateful.

If you are one of the unlucky few that has yet to see the animation, check it out here:

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Life

The best postsecret. This is exactly how I feel sometimes:


Thursday, 2 June 2011

New Evian ad

I am loving the new Evian advert. It's so cool:

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Yellow Umbrella

This week my linocut animation is featured on the lovely Craft Mondays section of The Yellow Umbrella. It's such a great blog, I'm really happy to have been selected. Check it out.


Monday, 30 May 2011

How-to Linocut animation

I made a new animation to show the process of creating my linocuts. I wanted to keep it short and sweet, so that it'd be fun to watch.

I hope you like it, if you do, please share it.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Comic covers covered

I am loving this new blog, which has comic covers redrawn. That's not a great description, it's much better than it sounds. Check it out.

This is my favourite
:


(by Chris Hoobler)

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Find a gift for a friend

I don't know how long this has been around for, but I've only just discovered it. There's a tool in Etsy where you can select from you Facebook friends and it will run a search based on the things they like.

It sounds weird, but it's actually really good. I tested it on someone I always struggle to buy for (my little brother) and it came up with some suggestions I never would have thought of.

Give it a go if you're ever short of ideas. Buy Handmade.


(Thanks to Business Insider for the link to the tool.)

It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday

I cannot get this song out of my head. I think it's because I am just so glad that the week has come to an end.
It's a bank holiday on monday and I want to spend the 3 days doing some sort of project. I've been doing a fair bit of printing lately, and I've had some lovely positive responses from friends.

I think I may try and do another animation. I've been coming across a few really inspirational things recently. Here's one by Peter Lowey from the Annecy Festival that I'm loving:



Also this from Katie Blair:

Friday, 27 May 2011

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Screenprint love

Oh goodness, this is just the most beautiful thing:



I love it, it has such a delightful style. It's from Etsy here.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Etsy update

In fact, in a fit of productiveness, I've started work on my felt shop on Etsy and set up the widget for it within this blog.

New Etsy

One of the many many things that I have perpetually unfulfilled intentions of doing is sorting out my Etsy shop.
In a shocking turn of events (especially to myself), I have in fact finally got around to setting up a new shop for my printed items, there's just a couple of cards in there at the moment, so I'll be building it up over the next few weeks. I haven't yet sorted out my felt shop, but I will do that next.
You'll be able to see a few items from the shop in the window on the right of this blog, and I'm going to try and get back into updating my blog by putting in some details of my linocutting and printing work.
Here's a photo of some of my new cards:

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Sing out your joy

I have been absent from here, but not missing from the world of writing. I've decided that it's time to do The Artist's Way, having finally reached that stage where I could tell exactly how rubbish my writing was before I'd even put pen to paper. It is really good, but it requires about 900 words every morning and then possibly some tasks later. If I'm feeling good, there's also some creative writing.
It doesn't really leave much over for this blog, which is sort of a shame, but I'm appreciating the writing I'm doing, so I don't feel it as a lack. I will return to this at some point I'm sure, and perhaps I'll put some Artist's Way updates on here. I will be adding some writing pieces to Eating Your Own Heart, I think, so perhaps that's one way to check my progress for any interested parties.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

One more video

This is a couple of years old, but I just came across it and I love it:



Also, we had the party this weekend and it was awesome! I'm off to London today to meet my dad, his girlfriend and my brother for dinner. I think I might go in early and get to a gallery, though that depends on how much energy I can muster.

Nuclear Boy has a Stomach Ache

This video is genius in every way. A friend of mine who lives in Japan sent it to me. I feel much better about the situation in Fukushima now:


Sunday, 13 March 2011

New animation

Me and my flatmate are having a party next week and we wanted to have a cool invitation for it, so I made this.

I've had to alter the ending for this version as I didn't really think that it'd be a great idea to have my address on here. It's only the very end that's changed though, and hopefully it's still fun to watch.


video

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

I'm reading Half of a Yellow Sun at the moment. It's a fantastic book - very understated and genuine, and most of all personal. The Nigerian-Biafran war was something I only knew the vaguest of details about, and as I got into the book, the sensation of being drawn into this huge historical event was at once both wonderful and awful.
It's the same feeling I had when I read Birds Without Wings a couple of years ago. These novels present you with something which was the absolute centre of the world for people in that time and place, and allows you to engage with it on that level. I love that in a way - it makes me feel as though I'm gaining something from being out in these important parts of the world, at least mentally. But it also makes me feel as though there is an infinity of things like this - events which are so important and about which I know so little (and can do so little about), and I feel helpless from knowing that.

There's a quote in Half of a Yellow Sun that describes that feeling - of being overwhelmed by the reality of the world and shocked that you don't collapse from the weight of that awful knowledge. It's so perfectly formed:

"It frightened him that he slept well at nights, that he was still calmed by the scent of orange leaves and the turquoise stillness of the sea..."

Women, women everywhere

I (being the bad woman that I am) hadn't known that today was International Women's Day, and yet I still ended up visiting an exhibition of Mary Kelly projects at the Whitworth.

The pieces were hugely varied, but almost all of them incorporated the narratives of women themselves somehow in the art. The piece below was what really drew me in to the exhibition, it's a greenhouse with short testimonials from different women cut into the glass. You can walk inside and experience the anonymous words of a variety of women - they all somehow relate to the experience of being a woman and/or feminism, but they're all incredibly varied. The setting is very engaging and I felt very connected to the testimonials through the art work.



It's been a while since I went to an exhibition that really challenged me, and I felt a fantastic rush of thoughts and ideas as I walked around it, which was wonderful.

I don't want to go into too much detail here of my own experience of the exhibition, since a) it's obviously very subjective, and related to my own issues with my identity as a woman, but mainly because b) I really think it's worth going to the exhibition (any exhibition really) without too many preconceptions, so that you can engage with it on the personal level that's necessary for it to really speak to you and your ideas and values.

I will say that one of my favourite things about it was that it was very intellectual while at the same time being very emotive, which is, to me, one of the rarest, most special of states to be able to capture. I would really recommend the exhibition - it's there till 12th of June.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

I don't own any Apple products, I dislike their focus on branding and their products seem more of a symbol of that brand than anything useful in the long term. However, I do find Steve Jobs an interesting person, and he comes across as particularly genuine in the video below (via Nathan Bransford). It's the sort of speech that you hear and rather than feeling as though it's trying to tell you something, you get a sense that it's crystallising within you something that you've felt elements of for a long time.

I think this video may only be something that feels particularly relevant to me at this point in time, and perhaps anyone else watching it won't feel the same connection. That in itself is interesting I suppose. If you are watching it and you think it's in any way striking a chord, keep on with the whole thing, it's good.


Monday, 7 March 2011

Reading

OK, one more lovely thing found while enjoying the internet too much (also from My Modern Metropolis), I'm going to bed now:




Water Sculpture

Would you look at this. It is incredible - Water Sculpture by Shinichi Maruyama, via My Modern Metropolis:

Water Sculpture from Shinichi Maruyama on Vimeo.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

World book night

This is phenomenal, I'm so in love with it (check out the website of one of the creators for more amazing stuff):




Happy World Book Night.

Via

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Finished animation

Here's the animation I was working on. I made it as a welcome home for my dad, who came back yesterday from a tour of duty. I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to post it here (the army can be a bit weird about this sort of thing), but he's said it's OK.

I made it using Windows Movie Maker, which was all I had. It was really great for software that was already there on my computer, but it got a bit cumbersome towards the end of the project as it's not really designed to make animations from hundreds of photos.

There's a bit in this where the conversion to a movie file has corrupted, and I considered changing the point at which the music transitions. But in the end, it just felt like a lot of work to open it and make the changes then re-export it to a movie file, and I'm really pleased with it as it is.

It was quite easy to make and a lot of fun, so I'd recommend it to anyone who fancies it.

Check it out:


video

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Experiment

This was a bit of an experiment. I was really inspired by the stop motion animations below and wanted to give it a go. I've got a project in mind, but I wanted to get an idea of what was possible before I launched into it. Here's a mock-up of the opening.

video

It's not quite in focus, but I've figured out a better way to do the writing for next time. I'm glad I've started with a test as this is almost 70 frames and they were all very quick to do. I would have hated to get to the end of a section I'd worked really hard on only to find it hadn't turned out well.

The main issue with making this was the logistics. I don't have a tripod so my camera was tied to my bed frame for this, and I am very clumsy so I kept moving things by mistake. I'm not sure that's too big a problem as I really want a purposefully rough and jumpy look.

I have started work on making the 'set' elements for the animation, so hopefully I'll have something concrete to put on here soon of it.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

New template

I think this might be temporary. I wanted to change the background to a photo of my own, but I couldn't find one that was exactly right - I think the one I had in mind is on my dad's computer. This one is lovely for now though.

Origins and new things

I work in the sort of place where a lot of 20 somethings who don't know what they actually want to do seem to gather. In some ways it's like being at university, especially in the way that everyone is so like you that you sometimes struggle to get out of yourself in any way.
Someone there passed the address of their blog on to me and it was a nice reminder that there are different people at work.
When I get onto a new blog, I always like to see their first post to find out where they started. With this one, I noticed that it started just a few days before mine, which feels nicely symmetrical. I don't tend to have many friends who blog, so it's a new experience to peer into someone's thoughts in this way, and it's pleasing to know that it doesn't feel intrusive at all. If you want more from the author, here's some music.

I'm reposting a link I found on the blog to an interesting article in which several authors give their rules of writing. It looks like there could be some things in there that trigger inspiration. I have quite a free weekend so I'm hoping to get some writing done. In a way though, I don't feel like I need to get into anything too urgently. I know how much better my writing flows when I'm away and mentally I'm already there.


Here are some graffiti photos I took in Germany last year that I just downloaded from my camera:







I took other photos as well, of a more standard kind. I'll post those soon I should think, but these stood out as my favourites since I took them all while exploring back streets by myself and I can really remember the free feeling of these places.


Finally, something fun and innocent.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Monday, 21 February 2011

Weekending

It's felt like a very long weekend (in a nice way). For the second week, I've spent my sunday working in the British Heart Foundation shop, which is a surprisingly nice thing to do. It's quite relaxing in itself and it's a good drive to do other productive things on the day, rather than waste it watching TV. I did get the second series of Dexter today on the way back from the shop though, I can't resist it.

I have finally taken the months worth of photos off my camera. Though I love the large memory that it has, it does make me very lazy about downloading pictures from it. Here are a few of my favourites:














Sunday, 13 February 2011

Visiting Countries

One final post and then I'm off to do things with my day other than stay in bed.

I was just playing with the stats section of blogger, which they've updated a lot since last time I looked, and the countries that people read this blog from struck me as pretty amazing. Here's the list, ordered by number of page views:

United Kingdom
United States
Russia
France
South Korea
Germany
Canada
Netherlands
Brazil
Australia

They all have enough page views to denote repeat visits, and I've had visits from South Korea and Russia in the past week! That's pretty amazing to me as I have always thought that either nobody was reading this or it was just a couple of good friends.
I've never even been to half the countries on this list. It's such a lovely idea that I'm in them in this small intangible way. It gives me a very pleasant feeling of being connected to the rest of the world, and I hope I can keep that sensation with me for at least the rest of the day.

Good friends, good food

I had the lovely experience of visiting the London Street Brasserie again yesterday. The food there is unbelievably delicious and they have a wonderful set menu that is more than reasonable in price. Every ingredient there is exactly what you'd want it to be - fresh and full of flavour, and they are combined in delightful ways. I normally tell people that I don't like seafood because I dislike it so much when it's done badly, but at the London Street Brasserie I confidently order things I would never normally eat, knowing that they'll do it well. If you are ever in Reading, you must visit it.

I was there with two of my very best friends from university. One of whom I now work with and one who lives on the other side of the world. It was a lovely combination, and I felt like I was my true self for all the time we spent together. It was the sort of lunch that I feel should be the standard, but instead it was a little jewel set amongst the rocks of too much work and too many other stresses, and I will treasure it.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Already I have something that I've forgotten to post:



It's a video created by the same person who did the animation a little bit further down this page. This new one was for work. It's really lovely and I want to learn how to do this sort of animation. She's explained the process to me and aside from not being able to draw, I think it's something I could do.

Moved house!

Finally I have the internet! I had to move house to get it, but it was worth it...that's not actually the reason I moved, but it is a real benefit. I'm now living with a really lovely girl from work, right in the centre of town. I've not been here long, but it is such a lovely place.
I'll be back blogging from now on. I feel like I'm so out of practice that it'll take me a good while to get back into it, but I'm really looking forward to it.