Wednesday, 30 September 2009

☼ Village Green ☼

This sunny Saturday we went to Village Green ~ a local arts and music event in Chalkwell Park.
It was fabulous to see friends ~ past and present in the park where I spent most of my childhood.
Some parts of it have changed and so have I.
It seemed so much bigger when I was 6 years old, sitting on the bench wrapped around the old tree with my Pa.
I sat on that bench again and listened to the sounds of reggae beats, distant acoustic guitars and the chatter of hundreds of voices.
The Park was filled with smiling faces and tents and stalls of handcrafted wares.
The air perfumed with the scent of the sea mixed with exotic foods.
(Alan never did get his curried goat)
It's avenue cheered with brightly coloured bunting made my local people in the 'longest bunting world record attempt'

One huge Circus Tent housed the Co-Exist Gallery exhibition ~ Sideshow.
Lucky me ~ my photos were included ☺
Amy & Emma curated a splendid show of oddities.
like this little picture embellished with sequins and stationery stickers
and this trapeze piece made of sewn and formed plastic
so I put my token in the bubblegum machine and got these perfect porcelain keyrings of love/loss
The day was rounded off at dusk with a screening of Yellow Submarine on a huge inflatable screen.
We sat in rows of blue & white striped deckchairs and sang "we all live in a ...." at the tops of our talked-out voices.
All you need is Love.

Monday, 28 September 2009

÷ immersed ÷

I'm bursting with inspiration and feeling slightly small in this big wide world of creativeness.
A visit to 100% Design in London on Thursday has given me new ideas and made me dig out old ones, shake them up and make them fresh.
The seed of a project I have been working on, may just have evolved.
Paper paper everywhere.
Here's some things that caught my heart ❤

This beautfully organic paper 'Cloud Walk' sculpture by Yu Jordy Fu
It's the stuff of dreams and fairy tales.

Dimensional wallpaper with free form fern leaves that catch the light and give texture with shadow from tactile wonderland
Tear off wallpaper from znak. Peel off paper to reveal colour beneath and create unique design. Imagine coming home after a bad day ~ pick and pick and pick until nothing is left!
Then start all over again ➥

Oh how delighted was I to see a piece by my favourite artist Cornelia Parker?
This chair is part of the excellent Pallet Project by Nina Tolstrup of studiomama

Can you believe it?
Salmon skin used for upholstery ~ elegantly soft but tough & eco friendly from es
There were a zillion good things to see and feel and watch and learn.
Particularly loved the designers block section ~ prototypes and sometimes surreal ideas.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

< happy harvest >

I had a surprise delivery today ~ by hand ~ from my friend Abigail.
She flew by *not literally* with this gorgeous gift.
Not just tomatoes of every shape and size ~ but perfect purple petals to brighten my day.
All grown by her own fair hand.
Thank you my lovely friend.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

.... a little bird told me ....

I have a velux window above my head as I lay in bed.
Lately I have been sleeping with the blind open so I can see the stars at night.
This morning, as I opened my eyes, I could see something stuck to the condensation on the glass.
A little white feather.
Probably left by the collared doves that coo-coo on my chimney pot in the morning.
A little gift to make me smile.

Today is my Brother and Sister's birthday.
I sent them texts of greetings and kisses.
My head has been full of memories of silly childhood games and funny little coded phrases that only mean something to us. They've been in my life for 42 years and they still make me smile.

Happy Birthday Nicholas & Zoƫ

Monday, 21 September 2009

: honesty is the best policy :

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

William Arthur Ward

It is said that we are born with one tendency or another and I always considered myself to be pessimistic.

Not for me the books of optimism, mumbo and harnessing the power of positivity.
But I have discovered that I am in fact, a realist.

An article I read the other day stated "that unhappy people work harder, look deeper at situations, find more creative solutions and do better work than happy people. Happy people overestimated their abilities, underestimate the complexity of the problems, and tend to opt for easy answers."
*I think the word 'some' should be added to that statement as it is rather sweeping don't you think?*

But what about a middle road?
The realist.
Isn't realism just another name for creative thinking?

Perhaps this is me after all.
When I point out the pitfalls I'm not being a party pooper ~ I'm looking at the whole picture, the contributing factors
& the ugly details that those optimists breeze past.
Optimism is good as long as it's accurate!
If you promise the moon and deliver a stone people will be disappointed.
Better surely to under-promise ~ giving yourself time and a get-out-of-jail free card ~ and then over-deliver.

There's lots of optimists out there ~ the multi zillion pound self-help book/dvd/bluray market is testament to that.
Quite the cult ~ join us and be saved.
But go against the grain and the happy-clappy crew will go off in their boat, not hearing your cries of "are there enough life jackets?"
But be ready to be accused of not having enough faith or being discouraging.

It's frustrating when some optimists have a need for things to work out. A sort of ocd.
They fluff up the news to soften the blow, miss out the bad points and blur the edges.
Yeah man ~ the optimist world, let's party and never mind the neighbours.

Do they really think we're too stupid not to notice?

Maybe sometimes it's best to keep quiet and stop offering up our realistic viewpoints.
Most people would rather believe in their visions, shove off, and then bail water later in a panic *even though they didn't bring any buckets for that inevitable scenario because that would be negative thinking*

Now I know that I'm not inferior for seeing things realistically or odd for simply calling things the way I see them. Confident that I do have something important to contribute ~ although believing this doesn't mean that anyone will listen!

If it is true that realists/pessimists see things for what they are and can do good based on these facts that others won't face as easily, then the heavily negative opinion towards realists/pessimists really should change.

Perhaps we should stop looking only for people with high energy/upbeat personalities and be more willing to listen to those who actually enjoy looking at the dark side of problems. We need a combination of voices to get the best out of everything.

So pessimists and realists ~ hands up ~ you've been in naughty corner too long.

Friday, 18 September 2009

(: friday things that make me smile :)

Most days I see my neighbour Marian as she tends her front garden.
She even mows the grass verge outside her bungalow ~ putting ours to shame as it gets ever longer while we wait for the council to come and trim it into shape.
She waves and smiles as she cuts and shapes the lawn and secateurs her amazing hydrangeas.
I've always admired them with their blue-pink laced Queen Mothers hat lusciousness.
I commented on them today as she prepared to cut them back ~ the flowers fading.
"Oh take as many as you like"
I could not resist.
I'm hoping they'll keep their pompomness as they dry.

I bought some beautiful vine tomatoes in Lidl today.
I could not resist.
Piled on my window sill they looks so jolly and plump and red.
Shall I roast them with a little olive oil and garlic and make a base for soups & pasta?
Or shall I make an ubiquitous ketchup?
Or even a yummy chutney to smother on cheddar and crackers?
Happy Friday bloglovers ^_^

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

+ more than just brushes and paint +

Being a practical sort of chocolategirl it's not often I call in people to do 'jobs' around our little haven.
Plumbers = yes, electricians = yes ~ it goes without saying, leave that kind of thing to the professionals.
Decorating is mine.
I love it.
Most happy with a paintbrush in my hand, pod on shuffle, windows flung wide.
But my new kitchen renovation was a bit too much to tackle alone, so I called in Kevin.

He'd been recommended to me ~ I'd seen his excellent work and it was to my picky standard.
I left him to his own devices, with teabags + kettle + home baked banana loaf at his disposal.
Kevin filled and sanded and filled and sanded and undercoated and filled and sanded and painted and sanded and fat coated and tidied.
Three days later = a beautiful job of a real tough canvas.

What I wasn't expecting was the good conversation when I did see him.
We were the paintbrush appreciation society as he showed me his collection ~ most people would think that odd but I was interested to see what he used and how it compared with my own selection of brushes and fitches.
He offered tips as I watched him cut-in and I photographed his dust sheet.
Jackson Pollock like drips of past clients ~ history on a cloth.

Apart from inherent anorakness, he told me about a friend who had said that people think of time as ending now.
He explained, if you take a timeline ~ say from caveman to viking to present day, that timeline ends in the now.
What about the future?
Then the timeline would be infinite surely.
Deep and thought provoking indeed.

How good it is to make new connections.
Perhaps we gravitate to people of our tribe because they are similar and we recognise a likeness.

It's not often that a stranger comes into your home and you find he or she's a friend you didn't know you had.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

(¯`pale blue love ´¯)

While picking some dried grass heads this morning I noticed that one of them has flowered for the first time.
I can't remember what it's called but the seeds are a delicate purple colour and I love the way they waggle in the breeze.
After gathering a bunch of interesting shapes and textures I took them to the Tap gallery for a lesson in a process called cyanotype.
My teacher, Emma of co-exist, showed me how to mix the ingredients and coat the paper to make it light sensitive. Then I laid my grassy tableau and took the whole piece outside into the sunshine.

Gradually the paper turned from pale lime, to olive green then blue.
A rinse with water and dried in the sun....

.... beautiful blue prints on watercolour paper.

Friday, 11 September 2009

: symbol of resistance :

Beatrice Cenci was the true-crime heroine of a notorious Renaissance horror story. In 1598, she conspired with her brother and stepmother to murder her viciously abusive father, Francesco. From the age of 11, Francesco was dragged repeatedly into court, mostly charged with brutality and sodomy. He left serving women for dead and forced himself on the stable boys, and allegedly beat and raped Beatrice, confining her in his remote castle in the Abruzzi mountains. Eventually, his family bludgeoned him to death, throwing his body off a balcony but they left too many traces. Tortured into confession and publicly executed on 11th September 1599, the remarkably self-possessed Beatrice excited immediate public sympathy. The streets of Rome lined with people, flowers piled high as the procession made it's way past. Candles, crosses were left by mourners paying their last respects to this young girl.

She became a martyr and even today a mass is said for her in Rome on the anniversary of her death.
Nineteenth century artists responded to Beatrice's story ~ Shelley wrote The Cenci: A tragedy in five acts.
Julia Margaret Cameron's beautiful silver albumen photograph recreates the beguiling painting thought to be Beatrice, painted by Guido Reni which still hangs in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

)-all you need is love-(

It's funny how the sight, sound or smell of things can trigger a memory.
While tidying up in the garden I found some late flowering snapdragons that immediately transported me back to being 9 years old and walking to Junior School. There was a garden at the top of my friends road that had snapdragons and hollyhocks and lupins. So pretty and the lady was usually there, in her garden, weeding and tending her flowers.
She always smiled and said hello ~ one day she showed me why they are called 'snapdragons'.
Somethings you never forget.

The colours reminded me of loveheart sweets.
My daughter bought some recently and those little round sugar discs still have the same messages. Be mine.
Sometimes I would buy them on my way home from school on a Friday ~ we were allowed a sixpence worth of sweets. Black Jacks and Fruit Salad or shrimps and flying saucers. No wonder I've got rubbish teeth!

While crocheting my afghan blanket last night I listened to a series of programmes on BBC2 about The Beatles.
Oh I sang along to all the songs and remembered how my Dad used to play the albums loudly at the weekend as we busied and tidied and played around the house. I'd forgotten just how fab they are. The soundtrack to my childhood.

Friday, 4 September 2009

~`cornered '~

There's something magical about folding a piece of paper to create shapes.
I usually have a pack of origami paper in my bag when I'm on my travels.
If I spot commuters and travellers who use tickets or dogears to mark their places in a book, I take out my paper and fold them a little origami bookmark.
I get some strange looks at first as I place the folded paper on the corner of their page.
But that soon changes to realisation and a smile.
So if a woman puts a coloured piece of paper on the corner of your page one day ~
it will probably be me, the guerilla bookmark giver.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

* history on a wrist *

After taking a photo of my charm bracelet I googled those words to find out a little history of them.
I was given mine for my 21st birthday by my Mama and nearly all the charms have been gifts from her over the years.
There's a renewed trend for charms with modern versions such as Pandora bracelets and Links of London.

As long ago as Neolithic times people carried small stones or pieces of wood to ward of evil spirits and enemies.
The Egyptian pharoahs wore them as a sign of status and an aid to guide them to the right place in the afterlife.
The charm bracelet as we know it came as ww2 soldiers brought home trinkets for their sweethearts from the towns they visited. A personal and symbolic piece ~ small reminders of a life lived.

At the moment I am wearing this little stone on a ribbon around my wrist.
It was given to me on holiday by my best friend ~ it brings a smile and the recollection of a beautiful day spent on an Andalucian beach.
Apparently a holed stone should be kept by the finder or given in love.

I seem to be in the habit of collecting stones.
There are little dishes and piles of them around our house and I remember where they all came from. Memory stones.

There's an amazing weatherboarded house in Dungeness that was owned by Derek Jarman. He created a beautiful garden of found flotsam and jetsam from the shingle coastline. Apart from the gorgeous planting and driftwood, he placed stones in patterns and piles.
A plant pot in our garden is full of stones with holes that I have found ~ some from Dungeness. I like to walk along that beach too, looking for stones and imagining a life in a little wooden house, somewhere remote with the sea to the front and the woods behind.

It's said that holed stones or hagstones as they are called are lucky and have powers.
A string of them particularly potent it has been told.

Whatever you believe, I won't stop looking for them when I stroll along the shore.
And I won't stop smiling when the memory catches me.