Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Clupea harengus

 Last night I put up a new piece for my project called Clupea harengus, which is the Latin name for Atlantic Herring, the fish used.

 This is a shot of the fish with the text block explaining what the piece is about.

 I really like where it is, it's really clear to see from all around and the text is a good level for children to read.

 'Marine debris is any man-made object that enters the coastal or marine environment.  From the tiniest piece of plastic to giant fishing nets, ocean pollution causes many challenges for animals in the wild.  This is a shoal of Atlantic Herring, a fish known to mistake the tiny plastic pieces as dinner.  These plastics can suffocate them or lead animals to starvation as it makes them feel full.  We can reduce our marine debris in many ways.  Have a think.  What  could you do to keep our seas clean.'

I loved putting this piece together.  I began with researching which fish eat plastic, looking at online resources of conservation project results, facts and figures etc to find out a different variety of fish.  I chose Atlantic Herring because they are a well know fish, not too ugly (like some of the ones that came up!)  and most kids reading the text block would have heard of a Herring and would already be able to relate.
I started finding images online to copy from, but after talking the the tutors, the idea of going to the aquarium seemed like to good an opportunity to miss.  I now have a years free pass and have been twice this week!

Next I found out the correct sizes for a Herring and began to draw the fish out to the correct size.  I then used these drawings as templates for cutting and cut around 8 sheets of paper in one go to duplicate the same template, rather than cutting them out singularly.  These would be the fish I used to stick up.
Now for the home made wheat paste.  As you can see below, its a lovely end result, but it's cheap, biodegradable and it really works!

I've had an experiment with trying to figure out how I can make the wheat paste more exciting and more than just a cut out.  At the moment I am experimenting with ink, lino, pen and pencil and hopefully laser cutting. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

what what?

First trial piece for the writing block to go with my cut-outs.  Got a good idea of processes to follow for this and then experimentation of the animals themselves to make them I guess, more a piece of artwork.

I've also come across this lovely lady...Mia Pearlman.  Love her work and how she makes it a 3D installation.

I've also sort out Su Blackwell, another artist whose managed to make paper cutting a 3D installation piece.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Course opener...beginnings of the beginning

Northern Fulmar, Duckpool, Bude, 5/10/2013

Loggerhead Turtle, Summerlease (behind the breakwater) 8/10/13 

 The brilliant thing about this one is you can only really notice it once you get this close.  Any further away and it just looks like a light area within the rock, a real hidden gem!

Chosen to put on the only stone built man-made wall this side of the beach.  I'm hoping, with him being out of direct hit from the elements, he might last a little bit longer...

 Close-up of Loggerhead Turtle after a week of being up.  Slug and woodlouse activity.

Have a little fishy on a little dishy...

Ok, so its almost a month into my final year at university, I've had a week of inductions and freshers, 2 weeks of an opening project and now it's time to get my head down and focus.  This coming weekend I will be moving down into my new digs in Plymouth, saving me a lot of time, petrol and energy from commuting from Cornwall 3-4 times a week.  I will be hugely sad to leave my house mates, friends and new little life behind, but I can always head back once I become a fully fledged teacher!
I've had time to talk to a careers adviser this morning about which route to take with my teacher training, whether it be primary or post 16.  There are pros and cons for both one being that in Cornwall everybody wants to be a primary school teacher so there is a lot of competition, and another being that in post 16 education, it's hard to find full time work...decisions have to be made, volunteering needs to be done and I definitely need to focus on what I think will make me happy!  But for now, it's all about the art work and the dissertation!

Last week we all presented our work that build up out of our opener project.  I took it as a chance to get back into my art work that I did before I finished my Foundation Degree, Wheat pasting.  This time round I'm a lot more focused on what I want to say through my work and what concepts I should focus on.  Environmental concerns and the human impact upon our surroundings has always been something I've wanted to be more in the public view and not understood why it hasn't been.  Every move we make, everything we buy, every decision we makes an impact on our surroundings.  The choice to buy the free range egg sandwich in the paper bag or the bottom trawled tuna sandwich in the plastic box, the decision to walk to work today, rather than drive, or the choice between buying a new mascara made from natural, ethically sourced ingredients, or just go with the newly advertised max-lash?  Our lives are filled with choices and decisions and the majority will effect someone or something else.

The part I'm interested in is how can we show our younger generation how to make the choices that will better our planet, its oceans, forests and all the living things on it, rather than just doing what's easiest for now?

Let me make things clear now, I do consider myself an activist (and an artist!), but not one who tells people what to do.  I have a voice and an opinion and I choose to show people both.  In my mind, if people know and understand about their effects in the planet today, tomorrow, they might change one small thing in their everyday life that could better it.  That one change is good enough for me.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


As part of the third year, we are encouraged to be part of the visiting lecturers talks, so today, I gladly sat in on the Take A Part talk, an arts in the public realm project.  Mainly run by Kim Wide, the project incorporates communities, artists and art, with the aim to "engage people in making decisions and influencing their local area - embedding contemporary arts practice in the process of regeneration.  Paramount to the process is the fact that the artwork created is as important as the process of creating the work itself."

Sitting in on todays lecture gave me and others a chance to engage with Kim and Gemma and have the chance to be more than just students in a lecture theatre.  They gave a list of opportunities that can involve us in the project, from researching the history of Barn Barton and and creating a history walk workshop to working with the Barn Barton primary school to create plaques and signs describing the learning involved through studying the street signs and names of Barn Barton's roads.

So not only would it benefit me with my CV and application onto a PGCE, be primary research to aid my dissertation title of art being a possible effective teaching practice, but also it would benefit the local community, open up new windows for the students and community members.  It will also give me an insight into working with art education in community based projects, broadening my knowledge of teaching as a whole.

This whole project really excites me.  If I can get involved as I hope I can and merge it together with my arts practice and work load, I will be a very happy bunny!  Bounce, bounce!

Cruel and Curious...

Here are a few images of the Cruel and Curios Art event I have been involved in...

Posters and leaflets advertising the event, illustrated by featured artist, Danni Bradford (see another of her images below)

A clear night (yet cold and windy!) for the grand opening on Friday.  A great turn out and generally, a brilliant night.

The main 'shippon' gallery displaying the majority of the artwork from the 17 exhibitors.  A beautiful ambience was created by used a mixture of lighting from light boxes, hand held lanterns, artists lamps and candles! 

A beautiful setting adorned with marine and nautical props.  

The 'Storeroom' Gallery where viewing the artwork meant using a lantern for light.  A brilliant way of getting close and personal with the artwork and seeing it from a different point of view.

Which way floats your boat?

Sue Read's display.  A local artist with a plethora of work on show.

Bryn Hall's work on display.  One of my favourite parts of the exhibition.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Exhibitions from all directions...

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been helping out with a friends exhibition here in Bude.  The Cruel and Curious Sea, organised and directed by Hickory Nines very own Cai Waggett and in association with the National Trust, Finisterre and Harbour Brewing Company.  Tonight is the opening night where over 17 mixed medium artists will be flaunting their talents in the many dark alcoves of Stowe Barton.  Watching it come together over the last couple of weeks, seeing Cai and the team overcome possible setbacks and having the chance to witness the whole process from start to finish has been incredible and I am thoroughly looking forward to the next two nights.  
It's been a hands on job, from riffling through stinky marine waste and finding all the good bits for display, to helping the artists put up their work.  I've really enjoyed each process and I hope I can use it as a chance to meet new people, network with the local and surrounding artists and use it to inspire me to continue with my own art practise and get it out there, recognised and in similar exhibitions in the future.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

There's plenty of that around...

So my first couple of days at PCA...As I am the only third year starting a fresh after a couple of years, I've been inducted with the new year 1 Fine Arts students.  This has been brilliant as I have met new and old people, been integrated into the studio and main college fluently and with ease.
I was invited to start the year with the introductory project the first years have been set by Jane Jobling and Neil Rose called 19 books.  We were given a number, which allocated us a book with a set of dimensions tagged on the front.  These measurements indicated the size of our work space for the project in any way we wanted to interpret them.  We then had to choose, at random, a five worded phrase and an image of your choice, and then these begin your process of filling the space.

My five words...'There's plenty of that around' and my image...
My image was a close up of the front porcelain plate which is full of water, oil, plastic, insect wings and silicon.  I found the way the artist, Bili Bidjocka, had displayed the insect wings really intriguing.  I wanted to represent the idea of human control over all other species of living creature in my work, whilst keeping to the five chosen words.  I continued to look at insects and found the artist Claire Morgan a sub-inspiration.  I have brooded over doing work similar to hers before and I realised this was a chance I didn't want to turn down.
Wasps seemed like the obvious choice as there are more than plenty of them around with the late heat this year.  I managed to plan my space and plan my practical process in the time on the first day leaving me enough time over the following two days to come up with a 'kind of' finished space...

Monday, 23 September 2013

back in school, cause we are the leaders...

First day back to school, and its been a bit of a shambles already!  To start things off, today isn't actually my enrolment day, its tomorrow!  The college made a balls up and sent out the wrong date on the letter, so I've come in to do half the things I could and should do tomorrow, I can't even get my student card yet!  Next, the fire alarm goes off so I have to stand outside on my own like a plum amongst a lot of other plums, some of them being my ex pupils from Tavistock College...always fun, feeling old.
Despite all this I'm embracing today!  I'm meeting with old friends, going shopping and once again, preparing myself for a new, new day!  Coffee has once again wound its way back into my life, which is a god thing I think.  It's certainly helping me to get all this down slightly quicker!
As for actual uni work, the whole reason I'm here, some will get done, I will use my time wisely, I've got a whole city with three vast libraries to explore and one big list to tick off as complete.

Something that has been helping me out finding new and upcoming artists is pinterest.  My own pinterest board is here.  It's incredible, so many artists and literally any image you can imagine.  Its a great place to search through and find all kinds of artwork.  Someone I've decovered through this process is Katt Frank.  She is an illustrator who does work like this:
A stunning piece of illustration that catches the eye of the viewer and teaches them something!  It's similar to botany and science drawings how it looks at individual parts of the insect/subject.  It gives small facts about the bee, such as 'Bees have a long proboscis'.  This is definately something I can take away as in influence as I love the idea of using art to teach and educate without losing sight of it being an art piece.
I've also found Erin Ashley.  She uses missed media on canvas, which gives me an interesting idea of using marine debris and incorporating it into a piece like this, using colours and shapes, possibly text and textures from the marine and coastal environment, to reflect our damaging effects on our coastal habitats and marine ecosystems.  I can find a way of researching marine pollutions effects on wildlife and input this into my artwork so art and science are combined.  This is just one of my many ideas of how to begin my third and final year of artwork that I can incorporate and use to support my dissertation project.

'Around 60% of the wastewater discharged into the Caspian Sea is untreated, in Latin America and the Caribbean the figure is close to 80%, and in large parts of Africa and the Indo-Pacific the proportion is as high as 80-90% (UNEP, 2006). An estimated US$ 56 billion is needed annually to address this enormous wastewater problem. However, the costs to coral reefs, tourism and losses in fisheries and human health risks may be far more expensive. It is also the area where least progress is being made globally.'

Plastic marine debris:
Direct Impacts on wildlife - Studies have shown that fish and other marine life do eat plastic. Plastics could cause irritation or damage to the digestive system. If plastics are kept in the gut instead of passing through, the fish could feel full (of plastic not food) and this could lead to malnutrition or starvation.
Indirect Impacts on wildlife - Plastic debris accumulates pollutants such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) up to 100,000 to 1,000,000 times the levels found in seawater. PCBs, which were mainly used as coolant fluids, were banned in the U.S. in 1979 and internationally in 2001. It is still unclear whether these pollutants can seep from plastic debris into the organisms that happen to eat the debris and very difficult to determine the exact source of these pollutants as they can come from sources other than plastic debris. More research is needed to help better understand these areas.

These could be snippets of information I begin a piece of artwork from.  Using a map with these facts as the beginning of one piece of art really excites me, I love the idea of starting an art project with a scientific fact, incorporating the two to educate and inspire is my main goal this year.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The way things go...

September 2013 already!

I'm back off to complete my final year as an Art student and my first week of researching I have found nothing better than the National Geographic's Gyre project.  It's so up my street and very much along the lines of my dissertation ideas it couldn't be better.  It's the first time I've sat and come up with ideas for a first module project that I'm comfortable with.
Check this out:
An amazing concoction of over twenty artists using marine debris as an influential medium and starting point.  I think the subject is fantastic and the main reason they're running this project is fantastic.  Getting the truth of our everyday living and its devastating effects out into the public eye, showing us where our trash ends up, and the damage it does on its journey there. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

musings of practicings

So I've been thinking about some work I'd like to get back into.  Its been a while since I've actually done any art work per say, most of the stuff I do these days is either to do with the garden design element or the really 'crafty' end of art practise.  No, I want to get back into sitting down and working on observational drawings of things like wood, feathers, leaves, etc, all things that relate to the forms I love to look at anyway.

I really miss life drawing too.  I'm trying to convince my partner to let me draw him.  He doesn't want to sit in different poses for hours, (which is fair enough) so I'm planning on photographing him in good light and working from the photographs.  I want different angles of his back, maybe showing his legs from the side, inter-twinned with our white bed sheets, close ups of the folds in his neck as he looks to the ceiling, his hands  against his neck, laying on his side, sat on his feet with his knees bent in front of him.  All of these I have to take with decency,  as he doesn't feel comfortable with his 'manhood' on show, and too be honest, that's not what its about anyway.  I just want his basic form, and work on putting it down on paper, to be sure I still feel confident on getting my scale and shape right.  I'm excited!

I've begun looking at loads of artists through the wonders of instagram.  It's a brilliant way to follow like-minded people and artists in picture form.  It means I can document any artwork I want online, using filters to possibly improve the image to begin with.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

something old turns to something new

So, I've got my interview for my final year of Art college, to make my FD into a BA(Hons)!  I can't think of anything more that I want to do at this time in my life, than to finish my degree properly and become a teacher!  I want to make sure this last year of studying art is taken seriously, that I make the most of it and get the best grade I can to help me become the best teacher and person I can be.

I keep thinking of my dissertation, and what I can work on.  I've thought of the mind set of graffiti artists, and the trill they get from illegally putting up their work.  I've thought about environmental and eco-friendly artists, that still continue to leave a carbon footprint and use damaging materials.  I've got to think more about this though, as its something that will consume me and alot of my time, I want to make sure I make the right decision as I would love to learn all about it and from it.

I still follow the artists I love such as Wayne Levin, Sarah Beetson, Joseh Parla and Claire Morgan.  They never show work down here, but I hope to take a trip up to London soon to get back into the world of art shows!

It's all very exciting, it's just getting on to the course for now, seal the deal and all that!  Fingers crossed, wish me LUCK!