Continuing on my quest to illustrate my life in memes, here is a sketch I did based on a Tumblr "chat" (a type of post popular with meme-peddling users of that particular social media platform). It feels very me.
I still have Valentine's on the brain. I have quite the extensive 50s/60s kitsch Valentine's card collection, which originally I'd hoped to cover a bedroom wall in.
Most of my cards came as job lots, but the one I've adapted in this drawing I had to buy as a single card, because, well... look at it. Originally it bore the legend "Need-le Valentine? SEW be mine", but I just wasn't going to let a pun that diabolical stand, so I've paired the imagery with a phrase I've been trying to find adequate imagery for for a while. I'm not entirely sure it works, but I'm going to plough this furrow for a while and make more altered Valentine's images.
Oh, and does the little lady look familiar? I just couldn't resist getting the chance to stab a heart with my needle...
It's Valentine's Day, and I am about to have a romantic meal with my mother.
On the off-chance that there's a cutie out there wishing I was wining and dining with them instead, I have outlined my ~dream date~ below. Of course, we would have to wait until April at the very least, but that's ok, I'm fine with being my own Valentine for now (drawing on that theme to follow).
I finished another of my romantic embroidered blouses today. While I wait for the opportune moment to shoot it, here is a silly sketch I did today for a personal zine and an ongoing project all about crying. I accidentally left out one "dik" in the bracketed text but I think this sort of makes it? Something to cry over, maybe.
My colleagues got me a fancy Magma sketchbook for my birthday, and I've been filling its pages with some speed. It's a revelation to me how quick sketching is compared to the labour of love that is embroidery.
I've been feeling a little glum this past week. First and foremost, I hold the weather responsible; it has been grey and drizzly most of the time.
A symptom of depression which I didn't expect and which I didn't experience before I entered the world of work was feeling constantly tired. It is increasingly difficult to get up in the morning; the thought that gets me through the day is the possibility of sleep soon.
There are other side effects; over the last few weeks my bedroom became what I can only describe as a "depression pit". It got to the stage where I knew there were things I needed to use in there somewhere, but where they were was another question, as was summoning the energy to find out. I didn't want to see friends (especially of an evening, when doing so would take me away from the bed base camp), yet felt intensely lonely.
This was by no means a very serious depression, only impinging slightly on my life, but I thought it was best to be mindful and act. I took a duvet day on Thursday, went back to bed for an hour or so, then tackled the detritus of my room, and felt considerably better.
My plants don't seem to be enjoying the dark days either; several are rather droopy. To turn this on its head and avoid depression-exacerbated feelings of guilt and inadequacy as a #plantmama, I did a little drawing in my sketchbook.
I might do a series of related drawings; this one could be a good fit for several zines in the works. For now though, it's back to embroidery.
My brother got me Posca Pens for my birthday and I got straight to work with them.
The first little sketch I completed was an idea to be embroidered and eventually wind up as a t shirt design. I may still do this, but with Valentine's Day coming up, I began to think of other ways that you can show yourself a little love (I fully intend to buy myself some roses and eat something heart-shaped on Valentine's Day, by the way).
It's so easy to be a workaholic or put all your time, energy and love into relationships with others. It's so easy to not extend that care to yourself. This series is a little riposte to that. I might make a slightly personal collage/illustrative/stitched zine featuring the series called "Quiet Enjoyment" after a covenant of tenancy which tickled my fancy... I'm collecting unusual phrases and intriguing etymologies.
Highlights of the year for me have included (in no particular order):
Being An Associate Artist of Daily Life Ltd
Leading workshops/performing/diagnosing diagnosis at The Walthamstow Garden Party, The William Morris Gallery, and The Wellcome Collection.
Suffice to say I hope anyone who finds their way to this post has had a wonderful year; I wish you an even better new one, and if you've been a part of my 2016, thank you for making it so special. ♥
I have read the clickbait phrase "25 is the hardest year of your life" at numerous points over the past year. I can only speak personally, but I would tend to disagree; I got my quarter life crisis out of the way early (at the age of 19).
I think I know who I am and what I want... it's just a question of how to get it.
That's not to say things haven't been, and aren't, difficult - they are. But I'm willing to do the work and I know that things will get better. Life has been busy and hard and so I haven't posted on here since July (wow), but I have been making and doing and I want to share all of it with the world more.
And so, here is a piece harking back to my eternal occupation with language around flowers and negative connotations.
To find my wallflower, I literally typed "plant that looks sad" into Google. It came up with this rather pathetic looking hydrangea. I translated it into a pen and ink sketch and then this embroidery/pencil hoop art.
If you would be interested in purchasing the piece, it is £50 posted to the UK, and is backed with black felt, and can be hung on the wall straight away. Drop me a line at email@example.com if you'd like a wallflower for your wall.
Next will come a fungi-themed hoop in a similar style.
After my lengthy absence (and only NINE blog posts this year compared to 78 last year, crikey) I really would love to write more often, but I don't want to put any pressure on myself, either. Attention spans, including my own, have become so much shorter in the short space of a few years, and it's so much easier to Instagram everything than be considered and exploratory and think things through. I think it might be helpful and fulfilling to begin doing so again, though.
Plans for blog posts in my inimitable old 1000 words+ style include a post considering poet and lunatic John Clare and his incarceration and escape from the asylum that is incidentally now my mother's place of work (though no longer an asylum!), and round ups of a few work shops I've run of late.
Watch this space; good things are coming. I write that as much for me as for you.
|Life drawings from my A Level days|
The resolution got off to a slow start, with just the few sketches below completed in a very amateurish way, even with my Mum booking us both on to a four week life drawing class recently.
Below are the sketches completed solo and in collaboration with others on the four week "Mark Your Mark" life drawing class, which I heartily recommend to artists of all abilities.
I kept this in mind as I visited The Expert View on Thursday evening. The installation of light boxes in Dalston Square is the culmination of Daily Life Ltd's Experts by Experience workshops, shown alongside Bobby Baker's Diary Drawings. As I explained in another post, I was lucky enough to be a participant in one of these workshops, and, I'm thrilled to say, one of my little drawings is included in the exhibition.
I was surprised that such a humble offering was included, particularly with the wealth of talent on display. Ironically, when I went to art school I became less confident in drawing; to begin with, my work was mostly text based, and then embroidery became an all-consuming compulsion, where I would stitch the design directly on to the cloth without figuring it out on paper first. Experts by Experience has inspired me to pick up the pencil (and inks, and paints, and pastels, and...) and learn how to draw again. I feel it can only be good for my textiles practice.
Despite my misgivings about my artistic capabilities, at The Expert View I was overwhelmed with positive responses to this tiny illustration of my erstwhile expertise at crying. People seemed to find it very touching, which to some extent was unexpected; I find it rather humorous. I think, in mental health, humour about the situations we find ourselves in can be a very powerful resource. That is, so long as we are not laughing at each other, or bitterly at our own "shortcomings", but together at the absurdity of the world we have to navigate.
Bobby's work, of course, is rich with the power of humour. It is very hard to be truly afraid of something if you can laugh at it. Even if that "something" is the amorphous and unpindownable "spectre of mental illness".
Hannah Hill is a seventeen year old textile artist and illustrator from North London. Most of her artwork deals with feminism and female experiences.
There's often a wonderfully biting sense of humour to her work, but it's also shot through with a tender, naive vulnerability.
|(I reeeeally want this one on a t-shirt)|
Hannah's style reminds me of another, older favourite: Scarlett Barry.
Scarlett seems to have dropped off the (online) radar for the moment (and I do miss seeing her breathtaking work), but she was a major inspiration for me, particularly when I first turned my hand to cross stitching.
Jennee's work perfectly straddles (ooh-er) the line between twee and erotic art. And if you don't believe that's possible, check out her Flickr photostream.
Personally I prefer her earlier work to her current haunting (or haunted?) portraits of saucer-eyed femmes fatales, but she is certainly a dab hand with glitter!
Jenee's work is whimsical and strange, as proved by her series of weeping and love-making unicorn-people(not both at the same time, hopefully!)
Around the same time I discovered the work of Scarlett and Jenee, I was sucked into the whimsical world of Joanna "Bunny Mitford". Joanna is another artist of this generation who has completely dropped off the face of the internet, but she always was a mysterious girl, and I imagine this was a carefully concerted part of her charm. The small glimpses of her life that she gave us led me to believe she was as magical as the girls in the children's stories which she used in her art.
Her photography and sense of light was warm as twilight.
Just like Scarlett Barry, Joanna's writing was captivating, perhaps even more so.
“She loved the arts, music, paints, nature. Hans Christian Anderson, Van Gogh, Tchaikovsky. They were her favourites. She loved Tchaikovsky because he made his sadness into warmth, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Symphony No.6. She loved Vincent because she felt his loneliness in his paintings. But she couldn’t look at his sunflowers for too long, the yellows stung her eyes. Feeling too much Feeling is too much sometimes. She told me how she thought it was weird you know, that all these people who created such beautiful things were so sad. How sometimes the sadness was so strong that they ended their own lives. Their last work of art.
She said she thought that most geniuses were lonely. I said I thought everyone was lonely. That even the Moon is lonely, and that’s why it pulls on the tides.”
I miss her, much like you might miss a friend you've lost contact with over the years. Which is strange, because I never really knew her.
The final member of "the girly gang" is a bit of a departure from the others.
Chelsea Dirck, at the tender age of 22 or 23, is a veteran of the American punk scene. Her zines, scribblings, type-writings,textile art, and illustrations are a visual diary of a life lived state-hopping, missing friends and loved ones, listening to music, and having her heart broken.
I've bought quite a bit of Chelsea's work and I urge you to do the same. She's a lovely person and very generous; you may find a little extra gift or hand-written note in your package.
Why have I introduced all these ladies to you? Because I hope their art will inspire you the way it inspired (and continues to inspire me). All of these artists are young women at the start of their careers, but I believe that each of them is truly "one to watch".
I see these women as my contemporaries, and would be honoured if even one of them felt the same for me.