Monday, 18 August 2014

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Creativity (Blog Hop)

I do love a good game of tag.  Life is basically one big game of tag, innit?
When Annie from Manneskjur tagged me in a Creativity Blog Hop I was game.
Admittedly, I've been one of those obnoxious players who first take their time to prance about and flaunt their status of being "it" before getting on with actually running about and tagging.
But really, it's been a busy whirlwind of a couple of weeks.

#1 What have been the doings/makings/scribblings at your desk over the past week or so?
We've been "offline" for a couple of weeks and my "creativity" has been limited to within my phone and not logging onto computers. (Which isn't too bad at all really considering what those babies can do.)

 Before this creative hiatus, we got up to quite a bit. It was very busy and we had a lot of commitments, obligations and pressing issues.
These are the times when we tend to be at our most creative.
I think it must be a combination of procrastination and a means of self-soothing in chaotic times.

 I have a desk for the computer and do photo stuff on there, but everything else gets done here, there and everywhere around the house. This drives us all crazy, but I don't work well in an overly organised fashion.

So here is some of the stuff we have been doing on the front drive, kitchen floor, kitchen table and in the garden:

As well as scoring a fabulous bike from our neighbour's skip, we also hauled out some big pieces of stone.
And I mean HAULED. 
We needed the wagon to carry it over the road where I thought that I might like to try my hand at carving/stone masonry. 
Living in Oxford, I feel a gargoyle is just waiting to appear within the stone.
My boy is having a  great time giving it a go.


A hanging basket that was no longer used makes a good vessel for weaving and using up our ribbon collection.



My creativity comes hand in hand with mess and disaster. I thought I would be a clever, efficient and independent woman and hung this in the bathroom where it later fell, breaking off bits of paint and plaster from the ceiling.
My husband was the ever-unimpressed witness to this.

I love burning. Ikea wooden drawers burn well.




Using Fabric Spray Paint to make botanical prints on bags in the garden.





A photo shoot for: CHOCOLATE. 
My friend at Simply Cocoa sent some chocolate to model for us. 
I fancied myself as a bit of a V.K. Rees and discovered that I'm not that great at food photography. 
But I'm trying.
Where is Annie when you need her? Manneskjur Food Archive
Although I don't have a crafty desk/zone, I do have storage for crafty crap and I need to sort it out and declutter.  But I'll let you have a peek at some of the random piles of stuff that are waiting for their moment.



#2 Where are you currently finding your inspiration?
Where to start?!

We're staying with family right now and I'm surrounded by beautiful quilts made my my Grandma and Aunt. I also got to delve into my aunt's negatives and watched the documentary Finding Vivian Maier with her.

The Internet. 
What an amazing place it is.  I love how the Internet world is so much about sharing creativity.

Can I be more specific?

Pinterest -This is such a great tool. It was invaluable when I was planning for the Challenge Art Group that I was running.  I actually try to limit my time on here as I don't like to think/plan and get inspired for too long otherwise I'll never actually make/do anything.

Instagram I was stubborn about joining this one, but it's a snooper's paradise up in there. I am particularly interested in seeing what can be done with the simple phone camera. It's too complicated for me to figure out how to load photos from the digital camera on there anyway, and I like that they are two, completely different cameras/photos, so I am partial to those accounts who can use only their phone cameras in amazing ways on that account.

My sister. She has always had me in awe, but now she has just started her own Etsy shop. Check her out: Steph at Hula Tulip.

My kids. Everyday. I can never get enough of their creations and watching their minds at work.

Annie from Manneskjur of course, whose photography just keeps getting better and better and encourages me to keep trying.
Alisa Burke I love the informal feeling looking at her blog and art. It makes me feel like it's ok to just go with it.
Nasir from Simply Oxford PhotoBlog Who has such an incredible talent using a variety of different cameras and film, not to mention people.
Gennine's Art Blog
http://ess-arr.blogspot.com/ From the land down under, the amount of creativity that goes on here is impressive.
http://www.gnarledbranch.com/ReDirectedArt.html
Our friend's Carl and Esther. We visited them here.

#3 How important is being creative to you and how do you blend this with your work/life/family balance?
I am certain that if I wasn't creatively inclined, the house would be tidier and more organised for the family. Although having a messy, chaotic household is a big problem sometimes, I'm inclined to think that it's worth it.

Most of the crafty stuff I do is something that I think my kids will enjoy doing too. Getting crafty takes time and I want to be doing stuff with my kids while they still  let me.
When I get arty farty, it usually makes my husband laugh, even if it is at me and my kooky ideas. I do know that he has enjoyed one or two of our creative endeavours and usually ends up getting involved with our plans somehow or another. He is the one who figures out the sensible/technical way to achieve what I am after. He is invaluable to my creative process.

Being creative is good for us as a family. It encourages problem solving, can induce a relaxed state of mind and encourages the expression of individuality. Something that is not always easy.  Art can tickle the eye, add humour or touch nerves. It can shake things up or calm things down.  The appreciation of art, creativity and expression helps train the eye to seek the unique and appreciate everyday life.

Oh golly I do go on a bit.
Basically, I like arty stuff a lot.

Sometimes I wonder how the kids feel about all this arty stuff.
I have overheard my kid's friends asking them why there are random Barbie dolls being used as garden decorations.
 I worry about embarassing them too much. But I think this happens regardless.
I tell myself that it's ok for kids to learn that no two households are alike, that people are different.
Our kids just live in a home where it is ok to draw on the walls and windows and it is normal to find that toys have been stolen to be used in some kind of temporary sculpture/installation piece.

Finding the time to make is hard and I suspect this will be more difficult now that I have a new job coming up. I'm hoping there will be a large creative outlet there for me but we will have to see. I have been toying with a few ideas about time management in regard to balancing life, but I'm not quite ready to take those steps yet. Unfortunately, I believe that my beloved Internet habits will have to be the first thing to be cut right back but time will tell.

I'm hoping to catch someone with a friendly tag, feeling a bit shy and awkward about it since I'm crushing on their creativity and all.
I've got two hands, so I'm tagging Cow Road ( Who has been off on some beautiful adventures) and Ess-arr, I have an inkling they usually have a project or two up their sleeves:-)

Also:
If you like snooping and like Through the Keyhole, have a look here: http://www.wayfair.co.uk/aresidence/2014/08/05/through-the-keyhole/ things might look a bit familiar:-) I love this new feature on the A Residence Blog, I'm looking forward to more!



Thursday, 17 July 2014

Challenge Art Group Exhibitions

 The final in my series of posts about this Art group. Hopefully, there will be more in the future if I get a chance to run sessions like this again. Fingers crossed.

We had two exhibitions during the running the the club, inviting parents and friends to come and see the work that they have been making. Drinks and nibbles were served and it was rewarding to see it all come together. We did lots of bits and bobs, and each time, I was worried that we hadn't actually made a lot of finished products, but once we set everything out, it was impressive.

I kept most things at home for safekeeping, carrying them back and forth and the mega haul for the exhibition. This is what Thursdays looked like by my front door:

Detail from the collaborative canvas.
Everyone drew a bit on a canvas using Sharpies.



Because this was a collaboration, I got to keep this with me, as it wouldn't be fair to give to only one of the members of the group.

Bringing the Etch A Sketch along to the meets was very handy for those who were speedy creators.  It kept them occupied and creative while waiting for the others.
Everyone worked a different rates.


Aluminium Foil Sculptures





Air drying clay creations



There was not enough wall space in the classroom that we were using, so I bought these large (HUGE) canvases from the works super cheap, as they were also slightly damaged.

We hinged two canvases together to make a display board.


These were very handy and ultra light weight. I know that they will be used again, somehow. However, even though they close nicely, they are still rather large for storage and may be used as a decorative screen in our house somewhere.
A good place to shove some mess behind...

The children displayed their creations as they wanted.

They loved showing the visitors around.
Not everyone had a guest come along, but they were quite happy serving drinks and chatting, answering any questions.
I could see they were so proud, and so was I.

Pop-up Gallery


Water Pistol Watercolour Painted pictures with Sharpie drawing overlays.



I was reluctant to see the art work go, but I was so thankful for the chance to have this little club.
Hoping there will be another one soon!