Blog one

So it is time, a new beginning, a new practice, a new approach. I have fallen, like the fate of many a post-graduate artist into bad habits, those which serve to deteriorate my ability to create. It comes from juggling a number of commissions, not focusing, losing the love and writing about 100 rejected applications. It is no wonder.
But I have hit the bottom, well I am skimming the stony bed with my bare-behind and I need to kick back into deeper waters. This is my attempt.

A Blog.
A blog is more than a blog. It is my space to think. I need to have a practical output, even when I am using a space to contemplate. It makes me feel better that I have used this space to make something, visible and measurable. I am an infuriating mixture of my fathers anxious inability to relax, and my mothers determined high achieving standards. So this is why I write, so I feel less guilty for the space in which I develop my thoughts. Also the massive underlying narcissistic skeleton, driving the joints in my fingers and loving every self-indulgent moment.

Cornwall. More than just a county.

Alex Goodman stole me away for 2 days in Cornwall, it saved me from a whole hell of serious moping which I would have otherwise been excecuting. Instead I ran the coast and swam in the waves of Peranporth, experienced an immerisive theatre performace of the Wolf Child- more on this, explored Plymouth, the letterpress studio of both The College of Art and The Plymouth University, oh and went for another swim, and smoked a lot of cigarettes – well I am grieving the death of an academic future after all.

Wolf Child, set in the grounds of Trelowarren estate, a

beautiful country manor and house. It was an immersive tale told around the surrounding woods and the grounds. It began in the courtyard, whilst we all drank down our pints, finished our pizzas and killed our zillionth fag (morning), we were greeted by the lord of the manor. A funny introduction into our journey. We were sent into the woods to explore our tale. It consisted of a matriarchal community –lead by mother, who every night would fight off the wolves who roomed the manor’s surrounding woodlands. Between each stage the audience walked, led by the guide of a crow. We follow Rohan, the mute bedraggled daughter sent on the mission to kill the wolf lead. There she meets (and is shamelessly, objectively seduced- god I am a bit bored by these traditional roles – but now is not the time). The walking between acts, the audience chats, shares or silently contemplates. The mud underfoot the smell of the dewy leaves and the mist. I found the woodlands to be the strong element of storytelling. It allowed you to become lost, lost in the way a book loses you, in the way which is unlike a play or a film which shows you in which way your imagination will be directed next, this allowed for the same level of deep contemplation.

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Yes Its a remote control tight-roping unicyclist!

Just wanted to post up the only video I had of this piece.
Its an old piece, but has had some adjustments to the balance (and a remote control)

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Hiding in the Loft

You wait and it all comes at once.

I have been waiting, applying, receiving countless rejections and frustrations. I always find the time between October and January as one of particular down time.

But you know what they say, art opportunities are like buses, over-crowded and then they all come at once. I could go on with bus puns for a while, but I feel like this will be

This weekend has been the ultimate weekend of deadlines, both for an exhibition I am part of at The New Ashgate Gallery. Its called ‘Rising Stars’ – Yes thats right I am a bloody Rising star! There’s my name mum!

Rising Stars 2016 Poster

For this I decided to take my previous ‘Bird on A Wire’ Piece apart, in the hopes of making it remote control operated. A number of hilarious mishaps led to a very frightening sense of not being able to put it back together. However yesterday I think I cracked it and turning on the switch, I was horrified to discover the remote control did nothing, it toook me a while to realise the batteries were in the wrong way round. Oh my nerves have been a laughing in overdrive.

 

At the same time, Bedminster Town Team approached us at Unit 10 to see if we would be up for organising 4 window displays for 4 shops during the Window Wanderland event. It sounded simple, but oh, how everything does. I realised that if you were aware of how much hassle a project would be before taking it on, you would never do half of the work you agree to.

This was no exception. And me, being me, decided it should have a moving element, that working with bike parts and cogs would be simple enough to have a moving window display.

I spent one week testing out ideas for movements and maquetting mechanisms. Some were successful, others big piles of cardboard and glue gun. By the time I came to build, there was only 4 days remaining. So I worked my bloody little socks off through simpson quiz and experimental noise jam.


I dunno if its any good, but for four days work all I care is that it is done. Plus through it all I have rediscovered a drive to make again.

 

To Top things off, one of the artists dropped out two days before the window event. SO I managed to Rope Lisa, my  ever brilliant housemate into the madness of it all. With only two days to create a concept and put up the work, she absolutely saved the day. I am eternally sorry for putting her through those two days.

Favors are owed.

But as ever I turned up to the shop venue and she seemed as calm as ever, just putting the finishing touches to this guy.

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A whole heap of stones

So I’m not sure whether I mentioned past visits to the M-shed stores, but to reiterate, its pretty much ‘The Place’.

I figured my step dad would get a kick out of all the old machinery, so I arranged a trip for his birthday last year,
turns out they have loads of print equipment to geek out about.
(I reckon I outdid the majority of the over 50’s group when it came to getting over-excited about old stuff)(no innuendo)
The holy grail of the whole experience was the 70 odd Lithography stones, which they held, found in the basement of a demolished Bristol Print Building.


Oh that and the old Linotype machine, something which I never knew existed until now.

Anyway, running alongside this letterpress project I am also on a mission to print the stones and create some kind of book/ artwork documenting the images contained on the stones.
The next step was to find the facilities and a printer!
I contacted Stephanie Turnball, she basically has the Litho skills the geek motivation to match when it comes to lithography,
I proper respect her, a self-defined printmaker, I hoped this project would be right up her street….. Yup, I guess it was.

Once filling in all the necessary paperwork, we managed to smuggle one of the smaller stones out of the back of the M-shed and down the fire escape, fleeing in Steph’s vivid green van – To Bower Ashton Litho Department!
There we sat and looked at it, contemplating how best to approach printing this stone with out destroying it.
Well Steph contemplated, I looked looked thoughtful and like Winnie the Pooh, managed to umm and err at the appropriate moments in order to appear like I was contributing.


First she rubbed in a bit of grease, then covered the stone in gum arabic.
Then we went to the library to see if we could find the adequate method. We got a coffee,
we looked at the stone once more and then to hell with it… we rolled on some ink.


The first few attempts were a bit measly and I was convinced it was a futile effort.
But no!
Eventually It Came!!! And its beautiful, it even printed the biro from the printers inscription; dated 13/10/50.
So the final mission is to work out whether it is 1950 or 1850!
And decide how best to print the colours!

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Printing Bristol’s Heritage.

I thought you might all be interested to know, I am beginning on a new venture. A Project.
Maybe a large project, maybe a fizzle out and die pretty quickly project, but still a project….
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It is involving the recent culminating force of letterpress which seems to be organically growing into my life, it could be taking over slightly.
I have begun helping out at Spike with both Angie Butler’s book arts workshop and Nick hands letterpress workshop; these have both been massive learning opportunities and I am finally feeling like a slightly more competent, slightly less bodged-job printer.
It’s also been great to see people developing their work and enthusiasm in this practice.
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Spike Island have a very large, very powerful Vandercook press, Automatic, one of only 3 in the country and concreted to the floor.
I have taken on the job of giving it life, cleaning down the press, definitely not an easy task, but very rewarding!
Check out the before and after- that was 9 years of ink build up!

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This coincided with a job interview, for a print production ‘oh god, do I really want to work minimum wage, 12 hour factory shifts’ style interview.
I happened in on the wrong place-
Stumbling in to Mitre Printing, greeted by Bill Bishop- an ex typesetter, it inspired me to connect with more.

As one of Bristol’s largest industries in the 1960s there were hundreds- put out of work by developments in the print technology. I would like to meet with them, interview, show that print is not dead (well not yet).
It would be an opportunity to develop networks, run workshops between all the studios in Bristol, the remember Bristol’s printing heritage and promote the education of this practice amongst younger and enthusiastic printmakers.

So I request this- pass on this message, if you’d like to be involved then get in contact. If you’d be interested in running workshops next summer, if its something you’d like to attend, if you know an ex compositor. Please let me know!

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Est Nord Est Application

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Artist in Residence Application

Video of the latest installation ‘Campanology’. A collaborative piece I managed and curated.

Bellringer Puppet- Created for The Campanology Installation this August.

Bellringer Puppet- Created for The Campanology Installation this August.


Video from ‘The Cabinet of Disrepair’. A circus themed moving installation created for my end of year MA show

Circus Themed puppets, Created after a residency at Giffords circus. Elements of the 'Cabinet of Disrepair' Installation.

Circus Themed puppets, Created after a residency at Giffords circus. Elements of the ‘Cabinet of Disrepair’ Installation.

Relief Print, Example of what could be created at a workshop. Personal work, inspired by Gothic architecture and the floorplans of Medieval Churches.

Relief Print, Examples of current interest in Gothic architecture and design features.

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August 24, 2015 · 7:19 PM