Drawing Strength Potion

 This week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion follows on from thoughts last week. I am still drawing, sketching every other day, and finding I am not as hopeless at it as I thought (although perhaps still slightly hopeless... practise makes better!)

I am doubting myself ever so slightly less than I have done of late. So, the stitching this week reads "Have more faith in your abilities". This applies to every area of life; work; friendships; juggling swords. My dyspraxia aside, I feel more comfortable in my own skin, more sure of myself, and more ready to try doing the things I feel trepidatious about, but I know either must be done or I desperately want to do. The peachy pencil represents conquering my fears and proving myself to the only person I need to prove myself to; me.





Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Sweet Kernel Potion



This time of year heralds some of my favourite things; Twin Peaks watching season, warming bowls of food,  woollens, the colour orange in plentiful supply, hunting for mushrooms in the forest, and yes, leaf-peeping. I realise all this makes me sound like a Pumpkin Spice Latte acolyte (I've never touched a drop I swear), but I still think Autumn is somewhat magical.

As yesterday was spent fungi foraging, it seemed apt to include sketches of mushrooms I made last week along with photographs from our family walk in Epping Forest as the diaristic element of last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion.

I finally bit the bullet and started drawing, and the results do not appear to be utterly catastrophic. It reminds me of a page from this visual diary entry and this #secretsofselfpreservation potion from back in March, which was about feeling the fear (of drawing terribly) and doing it anyway.

I drew inspiration from one Ms Hermione Granger and embroidered "Fear of a thing is worse than the thing itself" on to autumnal ribbon. Because it so often is.

The potion's label is from the first page of my altered book What To Look For In Winter. The potion's title is Sweet Kernel Potion, a reference to Keats's To Autumn, and to hope in the face of fear.







Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Agency Potion


For the first time in over a month, I'm feeling (somewhat) in control of my life and (somewhat) positive about the future. I am moving towards accepting that I am an artist and a millenial and that consequently it's never going to be easy.

This meant that last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion was a no-brainer. A tutor of mine once described me as being "a bit of a free spirit", which, as a person for whom the phrase "highly strung" would be a polite way of putting it, I found hilarious. But I must concede that going with the flow a bit more would be good for me, and so last week's potion reads "Being mistress of your own destiny is nothing to fear."



Inside the potion bottle is a smaller potion bottle filled with coffee, for reasons best left to myself and my future therapist.

The potion's name, Agency Potion (as in self-determination) is written on the back of my business card, which I like to think of as a metaphorical passport to my future.





 Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Keep The Faith Potion

 Still struggling, but still here. Sometimes you have to blindly go forward, hoping and believing that things will get better.

That's why this week's potion reads "It can and it will get better", and that's why it's named "Keep The Faith Potion" (as well as that being a reference to my predilection for Northern Soul).

This week's diaristic element is some electrically conductive fabric, a small amount of which I have been given to play with ahead of an event in which it will play a part next week.






Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Move On Up Potion

This week brought some bad news. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's to bounce back from disappointments. 

So this week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion reads "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start again"; which is exactly what I've done, although I haven't had to start from the very beginning, just to think a bit more creatively. 

On the plus side (hopefully), this week I have also been applying for this year's William Morris Gallery artist's residency. Thus, to accompany the text in the potion is a snippet of possibly Morris's most famous print, "Strawberry Thief".













In the words of Fred and Ginger:


Perseverance Potion

Week Fourteen of #secretsofselfpreservation brought some potentially exciting news, training for my new job, and a long weekend.

I feel like I've got my work life balance right now, and that I might, just might, get the word out a bit more about my art in 2015.

This is why this week's potion is entitled "Perseverance Potion". The ingredients read "Don't give up the night job ("night job" being art, not an untoward activity).

I have accompanied the stitched words with a jumble of beads and sequins, which I have a substantial stash off and use frequently in my work. They make a pleasant noise when you shake the potion bottle, not unlike light rain or the sea.














Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Sketchy Potion

It's been a horrid day, hasn't it? And I've been feeling very sorry for myself. In fact, I've been feeling so (perhaps literally) under the weather that I spent most of the weekend sleeping. This did not afford much time for stitching, and so I present to you last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion, with apologies.

I am more determined than ever to conquer my fear of drawing. In fact, after writing this post I fancy doing a bit of scribbling in my visual diary. It has languished unloved for months, and I want its pages to be a little fuller.

I have used some potions sketched in the diary over the course of #secretsofselfpreservation thus far shrunk down to fit inside the potion bottle.

The ingredients read "Draw, despite your fear".

This project is a very small undertaking really, a bit of a throwaway thing, but I think as a whole it is rather effective. I can't wait to share it with the public and get them uncorking potions!


















Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Piggy Bank Potion

Being a vintage and cocktail aficionado can burn a hole in your pocket when you're on a shoestring budget. I'm having to learn to scrimp and save, with fond memories of student loans (which I honestly wonder if I'll ever be in a position to repay) a distant blur.

I'm not complaining; it's the life I chose, and working part time means I'm able to pursue my artistic endeavours and can get my work life balance just right, and, crucially, enjoy my job rather than resenting it.

Thankfully, despite my predilection for mid century frocks and old fashioneds, I'm pretty thrifty. And whilst shopping can make me feel guilty for a whole host of non-financial reasons (consumerism and privilege, hello), I firmly believe in "treat yo'self".

For those not in the know, "treat yo'self" is a phrase coined by Donna and Tom of perky sitcom Parks and Recreation. One day a year, Tom and Donna do just that; treat themselves to, amongst other things, mimosas, new clothes, and massages. It's a whole day dedicated to luxury self care, basically.

I don't have the self-restraint to keep my version of "treat yo'self" to one day. Neither would I want to. It's taken a long time for me to realise that I deserve to take good care of myself, and it's helped me survive. Many small rewards for getting over life's little daily obstacles seem much more effective in keeping well than setting myself (potentially impossible) large goals, only to be rewarded with a windfall once they have been achieved (if they ever are). It's about being realistic and keeping moving forward.

This week, despite having to mind my pennies a little, I decided to take a trip around the charity shops of the borough. I couldn't afford to splash out on a knockout piece of vintage or British made reproduction (though I have been eyeing these superb trousers lately), but I was able to pick up a pair of shoes, a cardigan, and a ballerina top which all fit seamlessly into my (curiously ever-expanding) wardrobe for a song.

This is my "treat yo'self"; small, inexpensive gift to myself which recycle unwanted items and do good. I've spoken to other mental health sufferers who, for example, take themselves on a date one day a month; it's the same principle. Any tenderness we can show ourselves has got to be a good thing when we have been dealt such a devastating and cruel hand in life. I really believe that you have to save yourself, and self care is part of that ongoing process; you are choosing to save yourself every day.

So here is my "Piggy Bank Potion", filled with some receipts from my charity shop "splurge", with an ingredients ribbon which reads " 'Treat yo'self' needn't cost a fortune." Good advice to keep in mind whenever I stumble across a particularly intoxicating frock on Etsy.

 I am very much looking forward to the point with #secretsofselfpreservation / Apothéké when I have forgotten precisely what my ingredients were for every week. Then I can pull out a potion and find a custom-made self care tip which may be perfect for that very moment.







Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

I need art like I need God potion

I'm an atheist. However, few artist's slogans have resonated with me as much as Tracey Emin's "I need art like I need God". There is often something religious in visiting an art gallery, worshipping great artists and seeking communion and guidance with them. For me, art offers both solace and purpose, so perhaps it is my God. I know I love it more than anything.



And so, this week'Apothéké / #secretsofselfpreservation potion title is Emin's quote, coupled with the ingredients "Have faith in your art". This week I have begun working on what will be a real slow burner of a project. Thousands of stitches. It has been brewing in my mind for over a year, and I've put it off because I didn't know the best way to execute it, and didn't feel technically able. It still may not turn out like I imagined, but I am going to try. As a young artist just starting out it is easy to get discouraged. I find it helpful to remember that it is primarily me I make art for; anything more is a bonus.

Alongside the stitched words in the potion bottle are the tools of my trade; a reel of thread with a needle nestled in it.











Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Warts and All Potion

This week's Apothéké / #secretsofselfpreservation potion is the witchiest yet! It contains a frog or toad, and is named "Warts and All Potion".

That's because this week what I feel I need to work on in terms of self care is accepting myself, including my (many, many) flaws.






 The potion ingredients read "Accept your entirety". This is something I'm going to endeavour to get good at, realising I'm not all that bad really. The ribbon and its text are warty green, as is the text on the potion's label.



Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

#secretsofselfpreservation: responses so far

As I stitch my potion each week I'm dying to hear what your #secretsofselfpreservation are! A few kind souls have shared with me their self care actions via the #secretsofselfpreservation hashtag, and they range from the mundane to the amusing to the disturbing.

Katrina Bautista is channelling her anxiety into cathartic, dismembered drawings, all to a soothing soundtrack of Japanese Shōwa era music, and sharing them with us via her Instagram:



My tutor when I was at art school, Deborah "Debs" Price, has her sights set on taking care of her professional life; she seems to share my predilection for writing lists:


Performance maker Chloë Smith has a novel solution to the blues (I may be taking a leaf out of her book):


What are your #secretsofselfpreservation? 


Emergency Glitter Potion

This week I celebrated my twenty fourth birthday. This meant two things: cocktails (oh so many cocktails) and extreme levels of glittery fabulousness. I've come to realise that even when I don't have a special event such as a birthday to look forward to, the smallest of gestures can really alter the way I feel about myself. Such as painting my nails iridescent twinkling shades. It's a small treat and act of self care that makes it that little bit easier to get through the week.



And so, my potion this week reads "Persevere and apply glitter liberally". The phrase is accompanied by a tiny vial of emergency glitter, and I've taken the liberty of bedazzling the potion tag.

I must say I feel a good deal better than I did this time last week; I seem to have taken my mantra, "It will be ok" to heart. I'm sure it really will be.










Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Cadbury Purple Mantra Potion

This week, as a reward for getting through a particularly dreaded day, I promised myself a small reward; a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk. 

It was my childhood favourite chocolate bar, and hence there is something deeply comforting about that familiar sweet, rich and creamy flavour and texture. And the colour; Willy Wonka purple;  could anything be more nostalgic?
 


So (small amounts of) chocolate (like glitter) are a coping mechanism. My visual diary has been a help, too; every day this week I have been scribbling the mantra "It will be ok" in it in a hypnotising array of colours, behind which the ghost of a potion sketch from the previous page looms. However bad I feel when I start writing this phrase, by the time I have finished I invariably feel better. The simple act of choosing which colour to use next is calming and gently stimulating. The phrase itself, like Dairy Milk, is deeply comforting. It may not be wonderful; it may not be spectacular; but it will be ok.


 I combined the two in this week's Apotheké #secretsofselfpreservation potion. Cadbury purple ribbon is the backdrop to a ragged, battered, yet cheerfully coloured cross stitched "It will be ok" and accompanied in its equally bright bottle by two tiny bars of Dairy Milk, in case of emergencies.









Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Apothéké

 Apothéké (n.) - the place where things are laid down

I believe cure at its root means care - D.W. Winnicott

The first of my New Year's Resolutions is to produce one self care potion a week for the entire year. What do I mean by self care? Simply, the ways we take good care of ourselves - mind, body, and soul. By potion, I mean a bottle filled with hand embroidered "ingredients", such as those that have been stitched at a number of workshops I've led.

This time, as I will be stitching one potion a week, I've decided to include the essence of the week as well as elements of self care, so that the potion is both a place where the week is "laid down" or stored, and a bank of self care tips - a bank of cure/care. Indeed, the final syllable of "Apotheké" is pronounced just like "care".

 Apotheké will be an old medicine cabinet with a potent potion for each week of the year, exploring the essence of that week and elements of self care; a recipe for keeping well. It will be a diary, a testament, a confession, and a wellness tool. The potions are hand stitched, a meditative action which has its own therapeutic qualities. The Apotheké will hopefully be a travelling medicine cabinet which facilitates conversations about positive mental and holistic health, and gets people stitching. Hopefully it will engage a wide range of people, including people struggling with mental health problems, perhaps in embroidery workshops which meld craft and conversations about wellbeing.

You can get involved right now, and you needn't even pick up a needle and thread if you don't want to. You can tweet, tumble or Instagram using the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, and write about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take good care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper, I'm not fussy!) potion; I'd love to see some pictures of your potions popping up in the #secretsofselfpreservation tag.

Here is mine for the first week of 2015. This week, I've been battling chicken pox, at times impatiently; I seem to forget that illnesses of all kinds take it out of you, and that it's important to recuperate. I just want to stitch around the clock and see friends, just as I would if I were well.

So my stitch-written record of this week reads "Physical illnesses take time, too; don't fight sleep". I'm not too troubled by how perfect (or indeed not) the stitching is, as this is a personal project and is as much for my own wellbeing as artistic endeavour, if not more so. So if you want to join me, don't worry about making your stitches perfect! The message is the important thing, and it's difficult enough to embroider on ribbon or a scrap of fabric which is small enough to fit in a tiny bottle without worrying too much about how it looks. I have a stock of spice jars, lab bottles, and cocktail beakers to use in this project over the duration of the year - any small bottle with a lid of some sort will do.

For the diaristic element, I have holepunched some silvery card I used to back Pip's hand embroidered birthday present, and cut up a dotty piece of wrapping paper from another of his presents; when I uncork the bottle, I will be reminded that this week I watched Pip open his presents from the safety of Skype due to the aforementioned chicken pox, and the dozens of spots will remind me of just how itchy that chicken pox was!

Each potion needs a name; in a tribute to the protagonist of the film Waitress, who creates otherworldly pies with inventive titles inspired by her life, I have named this one Week 1: Pox Potion, scribbled on a gingham medical cross. Now I have a whole week to dream up another potion...

 

 

















Scrappy and resolute

Although I was recently "commissioned" to stitch up a small paragraph for Year Two's display in the school at which I am TAing, I have found it hard to get on with Milk Thistle whilst I'm engaged in this short burst of full time work.
 
That's not to say I'm not enjoying the job! It is both more challenging and more rewarding than I was anticipating. Kids are also an endless source of amusement.
 
Alongside working I am beginning to put some plans in place for creative projects (some of which are even paid! I know!)
 
I feel as if I am at a turning point in my creative practice, and in many ways, in my life. I suppose everything is in transition right now, but I am rather enjoying going with the flow.
 
I think once Milk Thistle is completed and (hopefully) exhibited alongside my two other embroidered books, I will be exploring other avenues. I particularly want to return to working collaboratively and creating participatory experiences, and - gasp - to using other mediums in addition to embroidery.
 
I suppose my recent diaristic scribbles and collages are a reflection of this; I've decided that I'm going to spend some of my ill-gotten funds from TAing on art classes, and get back to drawing, partially because it's a skill that scares me a little. I've come to believe that I'm not very good at it, mostly because I've been out of practice. So I'm going to dive back in.
 
This desire/fear is reflected in the double page spread below; some of my drawings from the workshop run by Jake Spicer of Draw Brighton and Bobby Baker with Daily Life Limited are featured, as is the phrase What would you do if you weren't afraid? which I found whilst flicking through a free magazine on the train. A question we would all do well to answer and act on from time to time, I think.
 
These are accompanied by surplus photobooth snapshots (which I had to take for my new job), which complement a silly self portrait I did at the Experts by Experience workshop.
 


Foxes also feature heavily on the two pages below; but of course, they are one of my very favourite creatures, up there with mallards and the majestic narwhal.

Lots of potions, too... hopefully soon I shall be making some more...

Also on the page below is a synopsis of the glorious Our Lady of Nettles by Sylvia Linsteadt, a favourite and visionary writer. Scattered around the two pages are remnants of  the envelope in which the story wended its way to me.

 
I'm off now to check on some cookies I'm baking for the Eid party at school tomorrow; until next time,
 
Kate Elisabeth x
 

Experts by experience


Remember I talked about crying and making art about crying yesterday? Well, today I am reeling from doing the same; making art about crying, but not actually doing the crying itself; from laughing and smiling and making and chatting and absorbing and opening up and being receptive and empathising and oh, the list goes on and on.


You see, I attended a very special workshop today; facilitated by the brilliant Jake Spicer of Draw Brighton, it was run in participation with the also rather brilliant Daily Life Limited, set up by art hero Bobby Baker and based in Stratford (where Pip's from and a short bus ride from me, coincidentally).


I'd met Bobby very briefly once before, when my dear friend Jess and I went to see her performance Mad Gyms and Kitchens at the Barbican. I did write about my experience there, but unfortunately it has been lost in the annals of the internet. Suffice to say it was a practice (if not life) changing experience. Bobby was lovely to meet then, and she was lovely to meet today too, as was Jake, the rest of the Daily Life Limited team who were present, and the other artists participating in the workshop.


The workshop was based around the idea that people who experience mental ill health are experts by experience, and more generally, who is an expert/what makes an expert?


It was suggested (though by no means prescribed) that we consider what we were experts in/of in our drawing experiments. I drew myself as an expert at crying and an expert at eating. 

Thankfully I don't cry as much as I used to, though I'm sure my many years of unwavering service to tear-letting still qualify me as a professional weeper of some expertise.

Eating is a funny one; it would be hard not to be an expert at eating in my rather food-centric family. However, when I am unwell it's often the first thing to go out of the window. It becomes a way of punishing myself for my many perceived failings. I am happy to report that for now, however, my eating is prolific and unlikely to wane in quantity or quality.




The workshop was a particularly interesting one to undertake whilst I'm looking for work. I have a funny feeling that a lot of "expertise" is blagging anyway.




Aside from the self-portraits, I was back to portraying potions (and emergency glitter!), which I plan to bring back into my practice in a big way in the near future.




The most lovely thing about today was meeting so many like-minded individuals (in more ways than one). Even at art school, people weren't necessarily open about mental health, and my fellow workshop participants today just made sense to me. If anything, they were more sane than a lot of people I've met who haven't been through the mental health mill.








I now feel invigorated to go out into the world and make some damn art! Thank you, Bobby, Jake, and co!

Love at t'Mill

This may one of my final blog posts (at least for a little while, until I've figured out my trajectory for the final practical project of the year!) This is also one of my last weeks in The Stow for a wee bit, and I must admit I'll miss it. In early January I'll be travelling back down to Falmouth, to deliver a presentation on The Cure for Love, bringing this project to a close.

The celebratory end of The Cure for Love happened last night, with a joint exhibition and embroidery workshop at The Mill community centre, where Tina and I held our Is There a Cure for Love? workshop in October. 

My embroideries were displayed with a booklet of all the texts I wrote throughout The Cure for Love. Each embroidery was numbered according to its corresponding text in the booklet.





In the workshop I offered two options; either make a love potion or a cure for love of your own concoction. It was enheartening to an old romantic like me that most participants chose to make a love potion; perhaps we're all more sentimental and optimistic around Christmas time?

Some of the ingredients of these, er, "love potions" were a little suspect, though:


Looking at the photos, it seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves; they've certainly all got smiles on their faces (me included!) I'm very lucky to have such supportive friends and family.

We even had a number of curious locals in, eager to have a gander and try their hand at stitching.




It was a lovely evening, and a very fitting end to The Cure for Love.

I suppose all that remains is for me to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Until next time (whenever that may be!)


Love Potion Number 1

Remember the potion book I shared with you in a previous post? Well, I've spent the past few days stitching up the love potion from it (apologies for the long absence; I've had two friends to stay pretty much consecutively, and consequently have been quite busy!)

The tiny stitches are practically illegible; unintelligibility is a concept I have previously been interested in in terms of the spoken word in sound art; censorship, self-censorship, a lack of transparency of communication, stuttering, irritating modern-day “thinking aid” fillers such as “Yeah” and “Like”, etc. I think illegibility can sometimes work when done intentionally, for example in this case with the sprawling handwriting of young children, with its invented and secret languages. Also, it only adds to the mystique of potion-making!




Yesterday an aforementioned friend who was staying with me and I visited the Wellcome Collection in Euston, one of my favourite London galleries. The exhibitions are often a fascinating combination of art and science. The current exhibition  which I was most interested in, however, was a bit of a departure from the scientific side of things; titled Charmed Life: The Solace of Objects, it was curated by the artist Felicity Powell (who I think may just be my new favourite artist!)

Powell selected talismanic objects from the collection of Edwardian amateur folklorist Edward Lovett (which comprised 1400 amulets). Despite rising to the rank of Chief Cashier at the City of London's Bank of Scotland, Lovett had a keen interest in the superstitions of working class Londoners. He began collecting charms which these Londoners carried for luck or protection, amassing the huge collection from which Powell has drawn the exhibition.

The sea horses shown above, for example, were made in Venice and carried by Londoners to bring good luck.

A coil of wire from Ceylon with "length equal to the height of a person" was intended to ensure a successful resolution to any request by the person in possession of it. Alongside the wire were displayed "Gemstones of poor quality, given by Gem-miners", also intended to bring good luck.

One of the most aesthetically interesting installations was comprised of a huge selection of beautifully laid-out charms, votives, and amulets, to ward off "nightmares" etc. These included glass acorns, lucky horse-shoes, glass slippers, tin hearts, carved coral and bone, fossils, and metal crosses and phalluses. The (rather blurry and wonky)scan below shoes how this installation was laid out:


Powell also made work in response to the exhibition; ranging from an etched coin "Against insomnia, for sleep, against amnesia, for memory", with a scene of clouds gathered over the sea. This put me in mind of relaxation techniques for sleep; "whale song", and imagining that "you are on a beach..."

Powell's current practise mainly focuses on wax "amulets" carved into mirror backs. These dream-like scenes are evocative of folkloric art. The short films Powell had created for the exhibition truly captivated me; they were full of the illusion and "magic" with which the objects Powell curated were imbued. In one, Powell "strokes" wax on to a mirror back, and hands appear; in another, "beams" of coral-coloured wax dissolve into flames.

Sleight of Hand, video, 7 minutes, 2011

Folkloric art and charms is definitely a practise I will be looking into towards the time of my CAP (the final performance/installation/presentation of my degree). I feel it is relevant for The Cure for Love, however, due to my focus on love potions and seeking a "cure" for love.

"Is There A Cure For Love?" Embroidery Workshop @ The Mill

Tonight was mine and Tina's embroidery/love potion making workshop at The Mill community centre in Walthamstow. There wasn't a huge turn-out, but to be honest, considering it was an introductory session I was glad anyone turned up at all!

We took ingredients, negative and positive, from failed relationships, and stitched them on to ribbon, adding them to bottles to make "broken" potions. We then stitched ingredients to positively re-balance the potions, to find a "cure for love". The workshop was very therapeutic, both in its subject matter of taking something broken and making it beautiful again, and in that sewing itself is a therapeutic action (something Joetta Maue mentioned in my interview with her).









Potion Book!



I've just unearthed this old chestnut; it's a book of potions that my best friend and I made when we were wee. Thought it was appropriate seeing I'm giving a workshop making love potions next Wednesday! Think I will bring it along with me for inspiration (or perhaps just a giggle!)

There's even a love potion recipe:





The recipe reads:

Love Potion

Ingredients

1 small red rose
3 petals of poppy
5 buttercup petals
The air on which a first kiss was carried
Sugar and spice and all things nice
2 extra tsps sugar
pinch of salt
200ml water

Method

To start with boil the water. When boiled add sugar and spice and all things nice, extra sugar, salt, and rose. Leave to simmer for 5 mins then add air and crushed flower petals. Put in fridge to cool overnight - in morning you will have a love potion.