Monthly Archives: December 2012

by definition, I shall change

You know the kind of person that shows up on time to things? Anything. You know, like work or social engagements or coffee dates with friends, etc, etc. I am not that person. You know the kind of person that looks ‘well put together’, matches in beautiful colour tones and just seems to breeze comfortably from one meeting to the next? She must exist. I’m sure I’ve spotted her out of the corner of my eye. Or perhaps she’s just the figment of a Hollywood imagination.

I know one thing. I am not that person.

Late. For most occasions. Sweaty. Disheveled. Out of breath because I’ve had to hurry to be less than my usual ten minutes late. Messy hair. Eye baggage and every other kind of baggage, oh yes, I’ll bring that to the meeting, too.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been looking into 2013 wondering what to change for that upcoming batch of 12 months. ‘Everything’ seems too large a task, but I haven’t even the foggiest of the smaller things. I thought perhaps that ‘arriving to things less flustered’ would be a good aim, until I realized that I am not the kind of person to pull that off.

Maybe I could do something new with my hair, like grow it out long and shiny, combed and beautiful. Maybe I could imagine a life of putting on lipstick and ensuring that one arrives un-muddied and nail polish un-chipped. I then look at my two lovely, playful Labradors settled next to my feet and know that the possibility of the previous sentence is not possible.

Maybe I could really have that cheery disposition my Twitter account boasts of, smiling graciously and wonderfully as life throws curve ball after curve ball in my direction. Maybe be more philosophical and forgiving of others and self.

Or maybe, possibly maybe, the way to step into 2013 is to accept all of my many flaws, embrace my boyish good looks and instead call them ‘gamine,’ be okay with my short scrappy hair and flustered state upon arrival. Perhaps I can rebrand what’s there. Flustered could mean ‘fresh faced and healthy glow’ and late could mean ‘so busy with all the many adventures of life it’s difficult to cram them all in so hey, I’m late because life’s exciting.’

I’m choosing to rebrand my brand of self as ‘something of a beautiful mess.’ It’s really the only way to avoid self loathing in Edinburgh in 2013.

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Madness is doing the same thing over and over and over and over

The Christmas market run. Oh, what fun it is to see it from the purchasers point of view and not from the POV as person freezing their buns off on the other side of the table. My first venture into Christmas Marketstall Holding happened 8 years ago, that effing cold fateful winter in London at Greenwich Market. There wasn’t room enough in the inside, so a bunch of us were set out into the cold wilderness, standing on cardboard because that’s what you do to avoid frozen toes and unhappy feet. On that day, I sold one knicker bag. (This was back in the day when I was peddling various bags for knickers, shoes, swimsuits).

From that year until the Christmas of 2010, I spent my December running from one Christmas market to the next. I would spend a frantic Night Before Market preparing my products with irons and taggings. The set design needed assembling, hence, tables, chairs, hat racks and whatever household item could lend itself to be used as prop was taken from its home and added to the ever growing pile of things to be used at the market. The day of the market meant sitting and smiling for hours, wondering if the person standing infront of me wanted to be engaged in coversation or not. It was not always easy to judge. Sometimes Possible would be interested in the ‘this is how I make my stuff’ spiel, whilst others would quickly retreat. There was that awful time I had flyers made up to hand out to strangers. I’d stretch out my cold, shaking hand with flyer attached and the passers by would recoil, as if I were trying to hand them a disease.

And so. Last year I decided to end my relationship with being a stallholder at any Christmas market. I did make the necessary money to earn my table, but for all of its stress, it just wasn’t worth it to me. I now go to those things and enjoy the wander around and the chat with the makers. Those markets can be a tough gig and I applaud each and every maker and creative using this method to introduce their wares to the world and to make some much needed, much deserved, hard earned cash.

As I’ve been relaxing from my whirl around town, reading the Wrap magazine purchased by my boyf and myself, I have been thinking about other things I will not be doing once January slips into my present.

Here is my short list:

1. I will no longer be using Gocco as my only means of printmaking. I tell myself this every year due to the fact that the supplies are becoming increasingly more difficult to come by as well as more expensive. I find the Gocco print restrictions on the size of my images could also be putting a restriction on my creative process.

2. Over the past year, I have booked venues to display my artwork before even creating the work. Although I feel that I am somewhat organised and flexible enough in my work schedule to deal with this, I find that the deadline rushes up so quickly that my last works suffer due to rushing the work through. Not ideal. And a mistake I don’t tend to repeat if I can help it. I feel that having had these many pop ups over the last 12 months (I Heart Cafe on Leith Walk, Urban Outfitters on Princes Street, Hula Juice Bar and Golden Hare Bookshop, both on Victoria Street/West Bow) has seen my work change. New ways of working with fabric and colour and collaboration with other artists (okay, one other artist, and of course we know who that is) has helped to develop my work. With that said, I think that I need to approach the new body of work in a more relaxed way. Not so much rushing, but more thinking, experimenting, and the nerve to ditch an idea if it isn’t actually working out. (Sorry Space Embassy, but we know I’m talking about you).

3. Not talking enough with the gallery owners that currently sell my work. I need to develop a closer relationship with the two galleries. I think my relationship with the boutiques is healthy and I do keep in good communication with them. It’s now time to give the galleries the same attention and see what we can make happen there.

Put a badge on it (and other ventures)

For those of you who haven’t been introduced to the bizarre world of Portlandia, please indulge in this little clip: Put a Bird On It.  Go on.  You know you want to.  It will only take one minute and 42 seconds of your time and I promise you with my whole heart that you will thank me for it.

goldenhare

Last weekend, Jimmy and I put up our wee little exhibition at the Golden Hare bookshop in the Grassmarket.  We deliberated over the name and came up with the gem that is ‘New Wave Deco, ‘ which is an exploration of art deco architecture found in Edinburgh.  Buildings like Dominion Cinema, the Lothian House doors and the derelict Odeon were represented in bright, new wave colours created over backdrops of super stellar interplanetary ‘shizzle.’  The show piece was created by both Jimmy and myself.  It was an experiment of using my fabric techniques with his mixed media patterning and…badges!  The badges are mini artworks of the originals.  And hey, hey, lucky you!  You can have a mini artwork of your very own should you happen to wander through the doors of the Golden Hare.  Badges are £1.50.  Bargain!  Hello stocking stuffer and hello happy recipient.

putabadgeonit

Now.  About the badges.  I now need to introduce you to Tex and Bonnet, which can be found by following the yellow brick road to this link.  This is currently our holding page but hold on to your hats, kids, there’s going to be a whole lot of developments with this new venture as the months roll out.  We’ve been planning plans and scheming schemes.

As for me and my varied life as artist and teacher, I’ve been busy working in two local schools.  My day began with orchestrating the putting together of a dramatic Winterwonderland display.  One 4 metre stretch had a set design of 8 foot trees (white painted mdf) in the foreground and houses in the background.  The other space, stretching across 4 metres, is a set design of icebergs peopled by penguins.  The art departments have been busy creating 3D penguins galore, stars o plenty, background houses and 3D snowflakes.  As the children and teachers were discovering the set up, there seemed to be an overall feeling of ‘oh, penguins!  Cool!’ and ‘Man.  Those trees are huge.’  Hopefully a happy festive spirit has been properly injected into that space.

This afternoon I was at the primary school teaching young minds about the amazing qualities of salt on watercolour paint.  We were learning all sorts of fun techniques for watercolour painting.  These will be used next week when we revisit the Urban Sketching sketches they worked so hard to create.  With a little wax resist here and paper towel effect sky there, I should think their paintings are going to shine.

What a week.  And tomorrow…the commission of Royal Circus.