Verdant



Yesterday my Mum and I went for a walk through Epping Forest. It had been raining, fitfully and heavily, all day, and had just stopped when we went out.

The forest was still dripping, and I was struck by the very particular smell of the forest when it rains; mossy, and of ferns unfurling. Mum agreed, and said that the smell was verdant; imbued with green.

Inspired by this sensory experience, my old friend and fellow artist Kat and I wandered into Walthamstow Forest this morning equipped with a plethora of film cameras.

Here are the results which I can share with you straight away; Polaroids shot on my Spectra camera, with a variety of filters and costume changes.

The first three photographs are an extension of my self care rituals of rewarding oneself with stickers - this time I've covered Kat's face with merit stickers - badges of honour for surviving. This is a theme I'm planning on developing considerably in the near future... I'll keep you posted.




















Treasures For Your Troubles

Once again, I'm back to my old tricks of hipster bingo (typewriting on Polaroids). This time around though, my efforts are a bit more considered. I hadn't bought Polaroid film in years, but when the idea for my Treasures For Your Troubles project popped into my head, I knew I had to get my hands on some for a very special shoot.

The idea of covering myself in gold stars, mundane rewards for struggling or succeeding through life, struck me as an arresting image, and one which would work particularly well in the soft tones of Polaroids. I'd written a few lines of sing-song poetry on the theme, which I decided to type on the frames of the Polaroids with my cursive typewriter (how analogue can you get?!) If you want to get really pretentious, I could say this was something of a self-care or self-affirming ritual. Or I could say it was just an excuse to cover myself in glitter (though who needs an excuse?)




This project is a celebration of the human spirit in all its absurdity, mess, and glory, and I think the ink smudges (which I dreamily imagine could be tear stains) and blotchily developed photographs, in all their beautiful imperfection, demonstrate this.

More Treasures For Your Troubles to follow...

Gold Star

As a habitual pessimist and anxiety queen, I have recently begun keeping a record of one good thing from each day, to remind myself that actually, my life is pretty darn good.
 
I've also been indulging in an incredibly childish (and mildly embarrassing) practice; giving myself reward stickers.
 
A few months back, on the advice of friend, collaborator and fellow artist Hannah Hill, I started keeping a record of daily to-dos and achievements as a means of patting myself on the back (something I'm often not very good at) and as an impetus to get stuff done. I nicked Hannah's idea and added reward stickers, and as I noted at the time, self-imposed bribery to do things via a stickers-based reward system worked (un)surprisingly well. Yes, I am a child.
 
There's something about gold reward stars in particular that is incredibly crave-inducing; they must be engineered that way. Maybe its my innate and irritating perfectionism, mixed with nostalgia for primary school, I don't know.
 
Anyway, in homage to the humble gold star reward sticker, I wanted to make a series of work celebrating the minor achievements of us bumbling humans as we muddle our way through life, making it up as we go along and getting bumps and scrapes which (hopefully) only serve to make us a little bit stronger... I'm bumbling myself now.
 
I'm tentatively calling the project Treasures For Your Troubles, which is what the first embellished piece of the series spells out, in (what else) golden star sequins.

 




 
The next element of the project (which will be a multimedia undertaking) will be accomplished with the aid of my trusty old Polaroid Spectra camera, and some Impossible Project film which I was happy to find had arrived when I got in from work this evening. Now if only we'd have some good weather, I could get on with it! Just one of the (very minor) obstacles in life the project is all about overcoming.

Hipster Bingo

No, not this, but typewritten text on a Polaroid!


Cursive text typed with my Olympia SM4 on a Polaroid which didn't expose, no less!


(This was actually meant to be a portrait of Pip, which makes the text I chose all the more apt.)

Love Exists

Love Exists is an online project envisaged by the artist Scarlett Barry, conducted through the social networking site LiveJournal, beginning in July of 2005. Barry encourages members of the Love Exists LiveJournal community to write the phrase "on walls. Carve it in trees. Paint it on our bodies and scream it out loud."


A photograph by Barry to accompany the LiveJournal community
 LiveJournal may since have fallen out of favour with bloggers, but the idea of Love Exists lives on in Flickr and Facebook groups.

I really like the idea of spreading a simple message of love and hope globally.



For example, the above photograph was taken by LiveJournal user darkestblue22 in the Sahara Desert.

Love Exists bears a close resemblance to You Are Beautiful,a street art project operating out of Chicago, which attempts to spread this simple, positive message globally "by any means necessary except through commercial use".

Here's what the project's creators have to say about it:

"You are Beautiful is a simple, powerful statement which is incorporated into the over absorption of mass media and lifestyles that are wrapped up in consumer culture.

The intention behind this project is to reach beyond ourselves as individuals to make a difference by creating moments of positive self realization. We're just attempting to make the world a little better."

You Are Beautiful has truly become a global project, as evidenced by the photographs below; the first was taken in Bailey's Head, Antarctica, and the second in Cape Town, South Africa.




I decided to contribute to the Love Exists project through the most global of networks; the internet.


I took this Polaroid several years ago when I first became aware of the Love Exists project; in fact, when I still had a LiveJournal account. I shared the photograph on LiveJournal through the group the-polaroids, and of course the Love Exists group. I have since uploaded it to Flickr, to share the message with a wider audience.

The message fits seamlessly into the Cure for Love project, and thus I decided to render it in stitch. I chose cross stitch for a bit of variation from all the straight embroidery I've been doing lately, and also because cross stitch gives such a regular and crisp appearance to text, and so works perfectly with the scrabble tiles. The design is based loosely on the Polaroid. I really like the simplicity of the piece. I've also shared it on Flickr and submitted it to the Love Exists Flickr group.