the shape of a decade, part three


Over the last days of the decade I’ve been thinking back to where my creative journey has wandered. You can see parts one & two in my previous posts. Now let’s catch up to the moment before we dive into the 2020s.

2017:

TWELVTY – Etsy – The 100 Day Project – Postcards.

Inspired by my own 12 month / 12 color project from 2012, I created a year long online class – TWELVTY – a trip around the color wheel. It was so much fun, over half the folks who joined me came back for a second time the next year!

Each month we explored a different color together. As part of the class I shared the making of this 12 color art journal filled with my most fav mixed media techniques.

2017 was the first year I heard about the 100 day project through social media. I missed the official start date, but in 100 days I made 100 drawings inspired by the random photos in my phone. I learned a lot in the process.

The images and faces that showed up in this book inspired my first collection of mini-print postcards, and more ideas that would unfold over the next months.

2017 was the year I launched my Etsy store, and as the year moved on I filled it with the colorful things I made.

Meanwhile, in the background I had a sketchbook of ideas fermenting into future ideas…


2018:

TWELVTY – the 67-ish day project – the Sketchbook Project – the Tiny Book Collaboration.

This year I stepped up the TWELVTY game, instead of making an art journal with the experiments in 12 colors, I made two 3D mixed media color wheels.

The 100 day project called me to step up again too. This time I embarked on a series of big paintings on canvas.

I don’t often work this big, I’d not painted on canvas before, and I planned to make my 100 day project from 100 time lapse videos of progress on these.

Tbh I really bit off more than was possible this time, so when I got about two thirds through I stopped and set these paintings aside for a while. I’m beginning to get the itch to return to them soon (watch this space!)

Sometimes it’s more difficult to stop when the time is right, to wait it out, than it is to plough on regardless. I feel like that was the biggest lesson learned for me this time.

I’m much more at home working in a small scale – when I heard about the Sketchbook Project it sounded exactly my kinda thing.

In light of this trajectory, it’ll come as no surprise that when I head about the Tiny Book Collaboration I joined up without a second thought!

Of course, while this is all going on I’m feeding my muse with regular down-time in an art journal. This was a fun change of format and opened lots of panoramic new ways to play.


2019:

Ink Dyed Papers – 100 days in 100 days – The Sketchbook Project twice – and a ZINE!

I began this year in my studio with more experiments in paper dying. It really took over everything for a couple of months or so, and I’ve still so much to tell you about this – something for the new year!

This time around I began my 100 day project on the ‘official’ start date and managed to complete 100 days in just that. I set my own rules and made them manageable this time – adding to an art journal I’d been dabbling in for a while took a lot of pressure off – so each day I just added a bit more.

Days add up to weeks add up to completed pages added up to 3 and a bit months of daily practice. These pages inspired my latest set of mini-print postcards.

2019 was book-ended by the Sketchbook Project.

Earlier in the year I completed my 2019 book, and to my amazement I finished my 2020 book before December 2019 was out. Each one is more elaborate than its predecessor, I think that goes to show how much I love making these books!

The first book was home to the characters, the imaginary friends & curious creatures, who collaborated with me to make my first ZINE that I published in December.

So the year ended as it began, in a delighted frenzy of gluing and doodling, as I assembled the pages of my 2020 Sketchbook project into this. It’ll be flying off to Brooklyn after the holidays, and another decade of making will commence.

.

Thank you!

Thank you all so much for joining me in this journey – your support means more than I can tell you. I hope I can keep spreading inspiration around the blogosphere and color around my pages for many more decades, and I hope you’ll be here too.

Big love to you my friends,
I wish you a fabulous 2020 and beyond! X


If you’d like monthly updates on what I’m doing and making, sign up for my Studio Musings Newsletters. You’ll be first to see what I’m up to each month + you get 10% off everything in my Etsy store as a thank you for joining me 🙂

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the shape of a decade, part two


So much changes and evolves in the span of a decade. Curiosity lead me to look back at where my creative path has wandered since 2009… (catch part 1 here)

2013:

Mixed Media – Installations – Site Specific Art – Nest Building

Around this time I was exploring more of the cross over between my digital art and all the new skills I was developing in art school – digitally collaging images in photoshop, printing, then collaging these into art journals with more layers of drawing, printing, painting, buttons, beads and stitching on top. Bits of everything.

This is nen nen ju shin ki – the relief collage I made for my second year project.

Art mirrors life. For all that was complicated and complex in my art, that chaos was mirrored in daily life. I’m looking back now and seeing it as the whirlwind it truly was.

I moved house right at the end of the school year, so my end of year show set up and nesting merged into one continual process of painting walls and shifting heavy stuff about, which took up most of my summer.

First step was bringing some necessary color to the new home!

Back to college at the end of the year, I started work on an installation for the spinal unit at a local hospital featuring a series of 16 portraits, all collaged from hand cut screen prints.


2014:

Animation, Word Drawing Installation, Graduation, Textiles.

I reached my final year at college, and my final major project was an enormous (over 20 feet long!) word drawing which ‘poured’ down the wall around a projected video animation / sound collage entitled “In Other Words”. More about this another time.

After college ended, nesting was front and centre of my attention. I’d acquired a gelli printing plate and was experimenting printing onto textiles to make soft furnishings with a mishmash of dying & printing with hand & machine stitching. And a LOT of colors. Obvs.

I began a gigantic (formerly floor length curtain) wall hanging. That’s still a work in progress, another story for another time. Multi-layered and colorful, but most importantly, really fun to make. Currently it looks like this


2015:

Online Learning, Collaborating with Nature, Video making, Altered Book.

Throughout 2015 I filled another art journal – this time at the rate of a page a week.

In January I enrolled in Connie Solera’s year long ‘IGNITE’ program, to learn about teaching online & mentoring. I published my first eBooks. Through this program I also met a group of women from around the world who I know will be lifelong friends.

In the summer I made a hanging sculpture from ivy and this video of it dancing in the woods.

As you know I love to sew, and play around with ideas. The idea came to make these funny little animals from scrap fabric. I made a big family of them for my friends, so most have flown from my nest. The last of these ones now live on my bookcase, awaiting the next generation to be stitched into life.

2015 is also the year I began playing with altered books and collage, and made my first (of so many) flip through videos.


2016:

Mentoring, Teaching, Travelling, always Learning.

This year I returned to the IGNITE program, this time as a peer mentor for a new group of students. In August I travelled to Washington and spent a week with some of the women I’d worked with online last year, I don’t have words to tell you how much I enjoyed being in their company and sharing creative time with these fabulous friends.

I taught my first online class about color as part of 21 Secrets, and began planning what was to be a 2 year project based on this to begin in 2017.

This is the first time I’ve looked back at these sketchbooks for a while – they’re filled with ideas I’ve gone on to develop without realising. Isn’t there something magical about the process of making sketchbooks and art journals, and in looking back years later.

These ideas are seeds I planted back then, which are now starting to bear fruit.

to be continued …. come back for the final part tomorrow!


If you’d like monthly updates on what I’m doing and making, sign up for my Studio Musings Newsletters. You’ll be first to see what I’m up to each month + you get 10% off everything in my Etsy store as a thank you for joining me 🙂

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the shape of a decade, part one


So much changes and evolves in the span of a decade. Curiosity lead me to look back at where my creative path has wandered since 2009.

In the last 3 days of this decade I’m taking a stroll back along the timeline that brought me to where I am now, and share some of the sketchbooks that came and went along the way.

2009:

Digital Photography – Photoshop Collage – DeviantArt – Open University.

At the start of 2009 I began an undergraduate degree in Computing & Design the Open University. I’d been doing freelance web design for a couple years and wanted a qualification to give my self-taught-ness some legitimacy.

Meanwhile the thing that was really making my heart sing was digital art.

Photoshop found its way into my life almost a decade earlier when I was living in a small space and messy art wasn’t a practical option.

By 2009 I was getting back into drawing and watercolors. I’d spend my evenings doodling these intricate squiggles which I’d scan and add to my digital collages.

I got my first digital camera around this time, so wherever I went I gathered photos as ingredients for art – pictures of textures and shapes and colors, buildings and backgrounds, to layer up and ‘shop together into these dreamscape images. Around this time I was really active over in deviantart – it was the first time I felt like I’d found my tribe with other creatives.

2010:

Art School – – – a world of discovery.

Although Open University is almost all distance learning, there were a couple of evening tutorials held in at a local uni. The first time I went the entrance hall to the Uni building was filled with displays made by the fine art students.

I was utterly entranced.

While I love the tech side of things – I was devouring all the finely granulated minutiae of computing, and a degree was a solid addition to my adulting repertoire – none of it gave me butterflies the way that all the swirls of color that art exhibit did.

In September 2010 I went to school for real and began a foundation course in art & design,

I took on classes in drawing, painting with acrylics, ceramics, art history and print making. I started visiting galleries and museums, I started seeing with brand new eyes. After years of aimless drifting I stepped into the beginning of my current life.

I took my digital art and began adding paint, stitching, print and collage to it. My eyes were opened to a new world of possibility.

2011:

Screen Printing – Exhibitions – Daily Practice – Life turned upside down.

The first half of 2011 was taken up with college, taking classes in drawing, 3D design, graphics, I learned how to set up an exhibition space, and I fell utterly in love with screen printing.

The day after I finished at art school, I bought myself this sketchbook and a set of Brusho inks. It was to begin an almost daily practice of moving colors around, playing, experimenting, and letting my imagination wander about into the pages of a sketchbook.

Meanwhile, life as I knew it began falling apart around me. I lost my best friend – Queen of all Cats – Mooly.

Then in a few short weeks, the second year course at college was cancelled. I lost my mum. My car got written off. Father-in-law got really ill.

Life was a free fall into chaos.

I fell into making art.

Remember when selfies meant standing in front of the mirror and guessing if you were in shot?
This was me & Queen Moo back in 2009.


2012:

Blogging – 12 colors in 12 months – paper dying – daily practice – mixed media – back to school again.

With all the change and chaos surrounding, I needed to make shape to my days, so early in 2012 I began a blog to document my art making.

I photographed and documented what I was making, playing with, experimenting, learning. I set myself the challenge to fill an art journal through the course of the year, each month focused on using just one color.

I just looked back – my very first post was all about this new project – little did I know where that was gonna lead me!

I was diving deep into the world of mixed media now and I tasked myself with spending some time each day exploring. Cue: the ‘page a day’ project.

In September my college classes resumed and I threw myself in. Our first project was entitled Memento Mori. Bittersweet but timely, one year to the day of losing mum I presented my first video project, which I made in her memory.

to be continued ….


If you’d like monthly updates on what I’m doing and making, sign up for my Studio Musings Newsletters. You’ll be first to see what I’m up to each month + you get 10% off everything in my Etsy store as a thank you for joining me 🙂

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