Monday, 8 September 2014

day 1 of '21 FREE creativity tips & art ideas'

Dear all,

Just to let you know that the first of the 21 day FREE creativity tips & art ideas challenge has gone out today and we've officially started.

I've just sent the first email - if you signed up to the list and haven't received your tip in to your inbox, just let me know (via email), and I will check you are on the list. It's also a good way for me to discover if mailchimp is doing its task properly and delivering to one and all - so yes, do let me know.

The image above is a clue as to the first tip for day #1 ;)

If you want to join in, remember you can sign up here. More in the post below.

I'm looking forward to seeing what people get up to in our communal online space too :)


Thursday, 4 September 2014

What's in it for you.......

couldn't resist a reminder that dreams do come true ;)

The Summer hols are officially over, but the good thing is...... I've had time to reflect and pin point what it is I want to do with this creative biz.

The Experimental Art Academy idea has been formulating in my mind, and in the process a tonne of other ideas have also manifested, and well, it's time to start sharing them a bit more as the Academy idea I believe, will be taking a bit more time and consideration and I don't want to leave you waiting too long.

Firstly, I had to sort out my mailing lists. It had become one, whereas I realise it needs to be 2.

List 1: There is an exhibitions mailing list for shows & events my art and I are involved in - you can subscribe here

List 2: is a list for those who would like to have experimental & creative living tips, art ideas, knowledge of upcoming courses, tutoring etc for your own creativity and art projects - you can subscribe here.

It felt tricky and no doubt, like many things, it's all a bit experimental. But I figure that this should work. And I want to make it clear that you can be on both lists - but knowing what you get from each is important information :)

I've currently cleared away my 12 exciting art experiments free e-book that came with my list 'one' as some of the links are out of date. But no worries, I will be composing a new freebie to give away soon ;)

So, what's in it for you right now?

If you would like to be involved in an idea that's hatched here's what's happening -

In the abundance of ideas over the summer, the '21 FREE creativity tips and art ideas' wended their way in to my mind and I want to share them. They only way to receive them is to be signed up to my new art info (for you) mailing list.

Within the next week or so, I intend to start sending out a FREE creativity tip a day for 21 days - this means we can all get stuck in to being creative and experimental together. This time of year always reminds me of starting new courses and going back to school and initiating new projects and so I can't wait to get stuck in too.

I will create a communal page to share what we've done and I'm going to join in this time too and share what I create along with you guys on the group.

It is totally FREE to join in with this 21 FREE creativity tips & art ideas, you just need to be subscribed to this mailing list if you haven't already.

PLEASE NOTE: if you've done a course with me, opted in to my other mailing list online, or shown an interest in knowing more about my experimental art e-courses or academy, you will already be subscribed to this new list - however, you can unsubscribe once you start receiving the emails if you decide you don't wish to be on the list.

The idea:

The idea is that by doing this we will have more time to formulate the best plans for future courses and other creative ideas together, and can hopefully start a conversation between us about what it is you might really be looking for from an academy or any other products I create.

There has also been some books waiting to burst out of me for a while (as you might already know!) and I'm thinking: a series of creativity workbooks - these seem to be prodding me at the moment. Another idea I'm finding a way to develop.

It's all very exciting and I can't wait to share what it is I've composed for 21 days.

Do spread the word to anyone else whom you think might be interested. It's a series of tips we can do to get into the mindset of being and thinking creatively and acting like the artist we want to be ;) All things I've done which have fuelled the path to where I am now.

And..... An ART PARTY!

Finally, if you are in the UK (near to London 'cos that's where it's happening), we at ArtLacuna are having an art party 'show and exchange', and ANYONE who does art is welcome to come along and hang up a bit of their art up and in exchange, go home with a piece of some-one else's art, and in between that, have some fun, a drink and meet others too. Can you think of anything better? :)

See here for more and I really hope you can come along.

Back soon!


Sunday, 31 August 2014

a dream, a dream, a dream come true!

Dear friends,

I tried to write a short blog post before I went off on a much needed break. I didn't quite have the time it so appeared. But here was the pic that was meant to go up:

Taken of the front of a card given to my daughter for a special birthday not so long ago :)

I also wanted to say that I have been reading this excellent book, found on the shelves of a dear friend's house. It seems ironic as I beetled off to France for a hols without kids. I found myself living out one of my dreams - I am so lucky and I sometimes wish I was back there now. #wild dolphins


I even heard them speaking underwater when I jumped in! It was amazing.

I have been reading old blog posts tonight and realising how very far I have come. How all the reading, the mindfulness, the ground-work must be paying off especially when dreams become a reality. It is a good feeling. But there is always expansion, time to grow in to the next phase. I'm sensing now in the world is a really good time to think positively and call forth and imagine what we would like and not the opposite!

Here's to fulfilling your dreams and living the (best) life you imagine.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

instagram ideas (P R I N T E D)

I'm in Bognor Regis #Butlins :)

Lately I've been getting back in to taking instagram pics. I enjoy the thrill of finding something eye catching and carefully framing it in a little square. Easy capture - as my phone is in my pocket and I can mail it to myself too.

The idea of re-framing the world to create little magical images appeals. An opportunity to seek and find something pleasing out there, using the lens to create a mini piece of art. At least that's how I see it. It's about seeing (not just looking), which always feeds in to the art-making process for me. Cut out the clutter, home in on what you want to view/create.

For a while I've been harbouring the notion of turning the pics in to something real too. 

So, some ideas for you and me:

:: Printed photos with polargram - if you've already got an intagram account just log in and select images and get them printed!

:: Ceramic instagram pic tiles with imagesnap - they ship internationally although it seems a little long-winded for those of us in the UK (link at bottom of page)

:: One in the UK for photos to tiles - Splashbacks and all sorts created due to their addition of a special protective solution

::  Photobook - make your own instagram photobook of daily pics with blurb - I LOVE books!

:: Greetings cards - this company looks rather gorgeous; printstagram - based in the USA again although they ship internationally. Inkifi is based in the UK though

:: Business Cards - are a rather delicious company (albeit not the cheapest) and are now doing square business cards if you'd like your gorgeous snaps to become your calling cards ;)

:: Stickers! Get your favourite images as stickers you can stick up around the world with

:: Fridge magnets here

Saturday, 9 August 2014

the journey to expansion

a recent collage of mine

Dear friends,

Their is an urge to share more on this journey right now.

As many of you know, life is full of ups and downs here, but somehow in sharing there is strength, room for reflection and maybe even inspiration.

I feel a pull toward something bigger at the moment, which has happened before. It normally means a change is about to occur. And it can also feel uncomfortable at times.

Many of you will know I'm scribing the Experimental Art Academy and sorting out for the next new art e-course. However, one thing I've often 'suffered' from (not sure if suffered is the right word?!) is trying to do everything my self. I mean everything. From running my business, to cleaning my house, to caring for my kids. Sometimes my stress levels hit the roof and dreams about having a gardener, cleaner, nanny, admin assistant, tech assistant etc etc kick in. I often look at large and successful bloggers and (if they have kids especially) am quite convinced they have an army of little secret gnomes assisting them in their pursuits and obvious successes but they don't tell anyone.

It feels time to let my guard down and admit the desire for some support on this ole journey at this stage. To be able to say 'will and can you help me here?' and for one reason or another, that often remains a challenge for me.

However, I've decided to say just that. To let my need/fear/desire to do it all on my very own (does this come from being a lone parent and having to do so much alone do you think?!) and gather in a guide and some support. I am choosing to work with others to grow into the next stage of my journey. If I am able to offer myself as a guide as such, surely it's best to be able to do the very same myself?

I am definitely of the ilk that believes that if one is a tutor/teacher/guide/mentor in any way then we are at our best when we too are always still learning/being guided and mentored. I may 'teach' (or maybe guide is a better word?) art, but am always delving in to learning it too. Always on a course, or asking, or reading/researching, observing and doing. In fact I am so excited to have just enrolled on a printing course starting September. Hopefully it will co-incide with the beginnings (fingers crossed) of the experimental art academy whereby one idea is that we will work as a core group on our individual art projects TOGETHER. Yes, I'd like to be doing the art with you this time too :)

So, I am seeking ways to work this 'assistance' or support in to my life right now. It's part of the E X P A N S I O N - life is one never-ending spiral of growth and evolution. It's natural. I frequently read that some of the most successful bloggers and/or solo business owners have often-times invested in others to help them on their journey and that that is vital. To mastermind with masterminds builds all sorts of gold and delights and successes and expansion.  I am being a little cryptic, but will share more once the plan is completed ;)

I am reading my way through this (FREE!) e-book at the moment, and feel an emotive 'yes!' when reading such as: 
"Today, you are called to find your unique vocation and to discover a work ethic of joy. This means work that utilises the best of you, your talents, your gifts and your best spiritual self. Instead of chasing success, follow your joy."
Just a lovely reminder that life is about finding our individual joy, growing in our path of doing what we love. Admittedly, it's not necessarily an easy path just because it's joyful but nevertheless it's worth doing if you love it.

Some reflections for you.....

Who can you go visit for inspiration? 
What can you do to build your vision of expansion?
How can you ask for assistance/inspiration/guidance from?
What is your joy and are you doing it?

Go do it!


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

artists books + a book fair YOU can take part in

I am having a Summer time break. Ok, that's a break from intense child-caring and school running.

It has meant though, a leap in to making and writing, researching and picture taking! I am loving it.

The wind blows through the back door. My table is spread with all the papers I found when I was clearing out not so long ago. They are being whipped, cut, shaped and painted into small artists books.

See what I've been making below (a few select pages):

Materials used in this book: pages stitched together with linen thread, then inside: somerset paper, recycled & reclaimed papers, acrylic paint, gouache paint, hole punch, vintage photo, tracing paper, pencil, spray paint, collage, tape, vintage book and good ole fashioned Pritt Stick! I'm thinking of re-opening a shop soon...... what do you reckon? I love making books and collage sooo much.

I find book-making like this such a great way to develop and process ideas and thoughts for art-work. I can spend a lot of time thinking about a next project in my head, but once my hands become involved too, it seems a different part of my brain/mind becomes active and this has proven to be a good thing. This work is about an articulation and expression beyond language, beyond text (there is not text in this book whatsoever). I'm often seeking to make the invisible (emotion) visible somehow. New ideas are emerging.....

In the meant time, I wanted to tell you about the.....

ArtLacuna Book Fair

Recently the artlacunas met and we have discussed and decided on an ARTLACUNA BOOK FAIR (amongst other things), to take place this coming December 2014 at our gallery/project space.

If you or anyone you know make books, zines or anything long these lines, we are going to be renting out shelf space for ANYONE who wants to sell their wares.

The idea: you get a metre of space (keep your eyes peeled for updates on price etc), this will cover electrics, a provided shelf space, and publicity - you just have to be there to sell your wares. There will be recitals and readings, we will be launching part II of our own publication series, there will be drinks and refreshments and a party feeling of Festive Cheer we hope.

Do you make photobooks, artists books, collaged books, hand-printed books, recycled books, mini art-works as books? If so, start making more and come join us in December. You can always subscribe to the ArtLacuna newsletter to find out more and know when bookings are being taken.

In the mean time, here are some artist book makers to get you inspired:

(I think I've linked to some of these before, however, they continue to inspire me and make new work and well, it's always worth spreading some link love.)

And remember, if you are interested in signing up for updates on the experimental art e-course & art academy, join the mailing list here to be first to know more :)


Monday, 28 July 2014

I want to be Skip Shuckmann! featured artist #1

image from here

In a recent tweet I linked to an article starting with a quotation by Jeanette Winterson:

“Art can make a difference because it pulls people up short. It says, don’t accept things for their face value; you don’t have to go along with any of this; you can think for yourself.”

And it's a great quotation to introduce my latest find; artist, Skip Schuckmann.

There is not much at all about him on the internet. The information I did find was in this book: Making Contemporary Art: How Today's Artists Think and Work.

It's a book I've had a while but isn't it strange how you suddenly notice things one day that you didn't notice before?

Skip is stated as being a 'one on one' artist, moving away from the "bombast and theatrics" of much contemporary art. Trained in technical biological education, forestry service and wildlife management, which would see most people work for government, corporations, or universities to render their knowledge/ services, however Skip Schuckmann decided to become an artist. By doing this he is able to share his knowledge of land and creativity with his 'client's' as his calls them, whilst they are together on a client's land.

"My teaching technique is not institutional, but one-on-one tutoring. I am working for them by guiding them toward an understanding of their immediate surrounds and helping them to articulate their desires. In the process we create form."

This notion ties in exactly with one of the reasons I chose to take my teaching qualification to 'teach' art outside of art institutions - I wanted to share my knowledge on my own terms and in ways I had noticed people might respond to it differently.

He goes on to say:

"We are operating in a dream made manifest by television and money, engineering and computers. We have had enough rapture for a while. What we need now is plainness. We need to start responding to the world without emotional attachments and simplistic enchantments and the belief that buying things is the only way to get satisfaction." And as a result he suggests we "Move a rock. Sit awhile." 

His is a promotion of the plain and ordinary, although I would add, the embracing of the miraculousness of what is already around us, which is often ignored by a mindset that sees the world through industrialised gimmicks. I love the idea of re-embracing the enchantment of magical (natural) worlds that already exists.

Lately I've been thinking about a need to reconnect to nature (isn't it ironic I find this artist?) - a feeling I get intermittently due to living in a busy city no doubt, and thus I'm totally smitten with the idea of 'micro-climate sculpting' a term coined by Skip Shuckmann for his artistic processes.

It also taps in to another interest I have which is that art is not just an 'end product' but is many things including: a process, an enquiry, an investigation, an event or happening, a way of life even. Those who've done my experimental art e-course will know this about me well.

The idea of a studio being anywhere, being transient and any place where enquiry, investigation and an exploration of passions can take place is quite thrilling. Even more poignant in an era where there is so much at stake environmentally thus taking an interest and an understanding of our natural environment by spending quiet reflective and 'still' time within it becomes even more valuable. Nature has plenty to share with us if we take the time to 'listen' and observe I'm sure.

It's for all the above reasons and more that I believe art is so valuable. It's a way of finding a re-enchantment with the world by directly engaging with it. So much traditional education is about learning 'the answers' using our heads only, and I often wonder how children maintain their awe, wonder and excitement if eduction/school is reduced to so much learning by rote? If it's all already been discovered by someone else before us, can you imagine how unexciting that is for the average child (or person even!). Ways that encourage re-discovery, new explorations and personal unveilings can re-invigorate a sense of excitement in the world around us. And that's one of the reasons I want to be Skip Schuckmann.

The whole thing about being an artist and 'getting in to the right' gallery or trying to have one's work 'selected' for a competition can be demoralising for some. That's why I'm an advocate of finding something we are interested in and passionate about and if it's useful or functional and valuable in anyway, that's even better. Plus, there are many ways of sharing our excitements's and discoveries (art) - not just through traditional art institutions - which is why, in the Experimental Art Academy, I will also be including non-traditional places (and the how's and wherefores') of showing one's 'art' may take place.

Shuckmann is a good example of a different way of being an artist and 'showing' work. His relationship with 'client's' involves no contract and the end of each day sees a discussion about whether he comes back or not, and his working relationship can span years. Things that were seen as rubbish or waste are transformed and if working over long periods of time things that are created can fall prey to the effects of seasonal weather changes and are often then given another (and new) lease of life in a different form. Things are encouraged to unfold as they will, with no prescriptive end result in mind, how liberating is this?!

What could you micro climate-sculpt?
Where could you spend time observing and exploring to discover a relationship with your materials and consider what could potentially be material to use? The very air of the day? The light of the sun? Shadows? The detritus of life? (I love recycling!) Don't throw it away - find a way to give it a new lease of life - to marry it with nature. Not everything has been discovered. Watch things change over time. Build up slowly and maybe dismantle too.

- Does your art need an audience within a gallery setting?
- Or could you begin to formulate your own type of audience?
- Could you offer work - which directs art and a relationship with it - one person at a time?
- Is what you do already art but you haven't named it as such?

Schuckmann states he dispensed with conforming to regimented procedures, pre-determined hypotheses, standardized preconceptions and the sanitized environments of laboratories (galleries?) so he could form a direct relationship with the land in a more "thought fully' and conscious way. Thus his work allows "contemplations [that] cultivate an interplay between the plants, trees, land contours, shadow patterns, rock formations and all the other other parts of the environment that are visible as well as those that are hidden under the earth".

I feel excited. There are many places we could consider a 'studio' (nature being one of them) which are available to us to play in. We can create, carve and contemplate within the world. Being present in the moment and and an already existing environment allows an artist freedom to make or display art outside of galleries or museums.

I would like to run a series of featured artists, pondering over different ways one can 'be an artist' in the world, in the run up to the start of the next e-course (date tbc) and the beginning of the experimental art academy (date also to tbc).



PS. thank you for all the comments and emails re. my last post. Watch this space :)