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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Disenchanted workshops

I took my total bead collection along to add a bit of enchantment this week. You know what its like, we all do it. You have your best beads, or your special fabric stash or wool that you only stroke once a year and what happens to it? You die and it goes to a charity shop. So use it before you loose it I say.

Another arts centre very kindly donated a load of earring findings to me during their recent clean out. I've never made earrings. Always dismissed it as too simple for a genius like myself. But man, are they a good tool for showing people who think they can't do anything just what they can do. We yomped through our donated bits and pieces and I 've now sent for a another bag of a thousand findings. Hmmmm, there's a piece of work for the to do list -make a bag of 1000 findings. Can't you just see it, covered in found objects?

One thing I couldn't find on line was hoop earrings designed to have bead strung on them. The general vibe was that they are old fashioned and their manufacture discontinued. If you happen to have any for sale or know of a source, please do get in touch.

Lots more necklaces and bracelets sprang to life . This group is really into seed beads. The best bit for me was the participant who kept saying 'I'm so surprised I like this - I didn't want to come.' So much better than being an anti-climax!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Big Draw

I was thinking that perhaps it might be less intimidating for people to take part in the drop in drawing session in the middle of the shopping mall if I was doing something expansive, rather than just sitting there looking at them or (horror of horrors) trying to harras people into drawing. I also thought it might be easier for them if I got rid of the white paper. I had a random ripping, sticking and painting practice in my room this morning. Lumps and horizontal lines have a real sea feel about them which is appropriate because this town is on the coast. The torn paper shapes give the impression of industry which is fitting too because there used to be a thriving ship building industry here. Wouldn't be too frightened of doing this kind of thing in public. The public have the scary end of the bargain. They're supposed to draw on top of it!

Just found this link for last year's Big Draw in Lichfield. Wowser!

Can't claim to have invented this drawing technique but luckily the free and expressive drawing possibilities of paint mixed with wallpaper paste came back to me. It's a bit like etch-a-sketch. If you don't like your drawing, you just smooch over it and scrape into again, revealing the paper underneath as you draw. Works like a charm on top of junk mail. All the bright colours shine through.

Was also wondering how people could carry their set drawings away but if course, it's obvious! You just put another piece of paper on top. If you peel them apart without waiting too long, you have two drawings for the price of one!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Disenchanted workshops

Had a lovely play with beads at the disenchanted workshop today. One of the ladies had taken materials home with her last week and came in with loads of stuff she had made. So heartening. Makes it all worth while.

They took to the seed beads like ducks to water and want to continue next week which suit me find because it means I won't need a pantecnicon to haul the materials. We agreed to try some paper beads in the afternoon for a bit of variety. I am enjoying this job. They are such nice people.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Big Draw

Click on the drawings for more detail

I've been ask to facilitate some public drop in drawing sessions next month. I've made these flash cards to give participants (and myself) a few ideas. Read somewhere that in general people find collaborative drawing less daunting so may offer one huge bit of paper, maybe on the floor with drawing materials on sticks. Also thought I'd have some small scrappy bits like these in bulldog clips so artists don't get the feeling they are 'spoiling' anything good. Suddenly occurred to me that I can't really use inks and permanent markers in case anyone stains there clothes or children knock things over. Any suggestions for inventive ways of drawing or washable materials much appreciated.

Big Draw continues...

Click on the drawings for more detail

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Moby covers 4U

Had a good day experimenting with the moby covers. Here are the Moroccan inspired belt loop and shoulder strap versions. Pelmet vilene is not the best fabric for this actually. The original one that has been in and out of pockets and bags is looking a bit dog eared already. It's a bit like thick paper in that, if you stitch into it with any density, you can just pop that bit right out. Not really the desired effect. I want to use pelmet vilene for this project because it doesn't fray and takes the paper bag printing so beautifully. Ideally you should bond a few more decorative bits and pieces onto it for reinforcement.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

For Shirley

Hi Shirley! Glad you found me. Just for you, here's in the dramatic sunset over Cumbrae tonight. It was my good buddie Digital Gran who inspired me to try photographing landscape with her beautiful pictures of Wales. I've visited your part of the world too, North Carolina, with my parents-in-law who used to work for IBM. Dearly beloved and I love Rothesay and spend every spare moment there. If you have a browse back through the summer months you'll find lots of cycling pics, quite a few with hoods up and gloves on. Well, you'll know what Scottish summers are like!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's for youoooooo

It's getting better! Going to do one that fastens with velcro and has a belt loop next. I'm all charged up now and bells are ringing.
Found this article about home made moby covers. Maybe there's a gap in the market here girls (and boys).

Disenchanted workshops

Guess what this is? It's me trying to make my workshops more enchanting. For those for whom messing about with stuff is not an end in itself and a practical outcome is preferable, how about a snuggly for your moby? And yes, I do prefer the cheapskate pay as you go antique model thank you very much.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Disenchanted workshops

Had a lovely day with the ladies today playing with beads and buttons. They came up with all kind of ideas I hadn't thought of like combining then with sequins and smaller seed beads. Some lovely things emerged.

We're going to look at seed beads proper next week so I'll have to get practicing!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Disenchanted workshops

I'm starting a series of confidence building workshops this week for women who have had the stuffing knocked out of them by life. Think that probably covers the majority of us at one time or another. Don't really know what we're going to do. Will ask the women what they fancy as we go. My current passion, buttons, will have to feature of course. This is my latest effort knotted onto finishing line. 0.40mm 20lb Supacast if you're into details. Like the illusion it gives that the buttons are actually sewn onto your neck. So much less painful than having to do it for real.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Differently Abled

Just back from day two at the school for the differently abled. The art work went approximately according to plan and I managed to cope - just. I find the way some of the children scream and cry as if from fear or pain very distressing.

There was the odd the smile or even laugh from others as they got to grips with rubbing the Markal crayon over the lumpy, bumpy silver fish. Crayon manipulation was a three person job. The care worker would be restraining the child's uncontrollable movements while I held the child's hand on the crayon and moved it back on forth. It was a bit like that game where you all pile your hands one on top of the other and at one point the care worker was clutching onto my wrist for grim death and holding my hand down by mistake.

The ambulant children were able to sponge paint over my seascape masks. Bizarrely the tape ripped off a lot more successfully from one end than from the other. Something to do with the nap of the paper I think. One of the boys was into the string fishing line idea and happily splashed away while it gave his buddie a screaming fit of the horrors and he stayed with the collaged fish. It was just all too messy for the third child who just can't bare his hands to be dirty.

One older autistic girl was very distressed to have been taken out of her regular class and brought to the art room. She made straight for a bottle of blue paint I had foolishly left with the top off and poured it all over the floor.

What can I tell you? It's been a HUGE learning experience for me but for now I've had to back off. This is the school my late daughter went to and part of the reason for me being there is to try and learn a bit about her. Today they told me she was happy, loved music and looked just like me which made me cry.

Differently Abled

Library film fish swimming up their masking tape sea ready for the children to overpaint and rip off. Hope it works.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Doon the watter

It's a lovely calm morning and this is the view from my window. That's the island of Cumbrae you can see where you'll find the town of Millport. This coast used to be the holiday destination of choice for Glasgow people 50 odd years ago. I came here for holidays myself and jolly exciting it was too. Never thought I'd be lucky enough to end up living here.

Hopefully the sunshine will make the shops a bit busier and the shopkeepers (me included) less grumpy. No guarantees though.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Differently Abled

I thought Diane's idea of adding texture to the fish was excellent but I honestly don't think these particular children would have the ability. Also I only have half and hour face to face time with them and each child needs individual attention. So I've been playing scales today and must say the cardboard fish look and feel a lot better for it. Thanks Diane!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Differently abled

Here's my plan for the less able/sight impared children next week. I cut out these cardboard fish. They can feel round these and cover them with a sheet of Bacofoil which makes a great noise. I've tried really hard to cut myself with Bacofoil and it doesn't seem to be possible. They can rub over the foil with Markal paint sticks for the noise, the bumpy feeling and the colour. Finally they can stick on a googly eye. Personally, I find any piece of artwork is much improved by a googly eye.

I'm going to hang all the fish from this wire coat hanger mobile. They're phasing out wire coat hangers in the UK. Isn't that a disgrace? Probably protecting the human rights of your jumper not to get peaky bits at it's shoulders. So Homer Simpson was right the steal the wire hangers and out of date medicines from his neighbour's bin while he had the chance? Not so sure about the medicine.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Big Draw

I'm delighted to say I've been asked to take part in Big Draw week next month, travelling round my neighbourhood trying to get people excited about drawing. I've been in my workroom tonight trying to get myself excited first using my favourite subject of all time - me! Lord but I am an attractive woman...

Differently abled

Some ideas for the more able kids next week. I'm going to mask off a metre of wallpaper lining with rough masking tape waves and book covering film fish then have the children sponge the whole thing with dilute blue paint and rip off the masks.

Some of the children are distressed if their hands get wet/dirty so I thought we could have fishing lines of cane and string, dipped into the paint and then whacked onto the paper to make seaweed.

We'll collage some of the fish shapes with junk mail and/or glitter/sequins and outline in black pen.
My hands are still green as I type this. Maybe the kids have a point.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Differently Abled

Being at the school for the disabled today was shocking. I know what profoundly handicapped children are like. I had one of my own for a while but it's no less shocking when you see how terribly disabled these children are. One of the things that hadn't really registered with me was that a fair number of the children would be blind. What use is art to a blind child? But as the large woman with the large hat from the (then) Spastic Society used to say to me 'it would suit you better to concentrate on their abilities rather than their disabilities' so that's what I did.

I taped a long roll of wallpaper lining to the table only to have it ripped off by a child with amazingly long arms reaching from his wheelchair. So this was war! Right. I'm nothing if not a fighter.

We played with the paint, wisely substituting washable for acrylic. The rolling and stamping went well and so did the scraping to make marks. I have a number of 'scrapey things' that I've collected over the years including a plastic Bart Simpson's head which works well because of his spikey hair.

The older children with severe difficulties in the autistic spectrum had more use of their hands and were able to paint glue onto card, pick up and stick on foam shapes and, with help. take a crayon rubbing.

Lots of lovely accidental art appeared and I've decided were going to use what we made today to make a rip and stick sea collage next week - and I know the very boy for the ripping!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Scottish play

Before I started my blog I was asked by a secondary school to help them make body adornment in response to Verdi's opera of MacBeth. They asked me to the resulting exhibition recently and I was delighted to see they had incorporated some of the metals and plastics I had introduced them to. Here are some details. This is not all my work by any means. I'm not a costumier, neither did I make all the lovely felt. These lucky kids have a dedicated and inspiring full time art teacher....obviously!