Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The (Daily) Happiness Project…..

Happiness exists in the working life within the quick glance at other people’s blogs/pinterest/Flickr accounts etc. I’m overwhelmed by people’s industrial commitment in recording inspiration throughout and at the end of the day.  Creative life, as hinted before, starts when I leave work and quite often these blogs make me feel frustrated to be in work and not working.
However, they provide a welcome cleanse of all things monotonous within the day with ideas I’d have never even thought of before-such a buzz.

Today’s viewing has been an old favourite, the beloved Jen Corace’s work and a series of artistic stepping stones from one blog’s favourites to another. The tea soundtrack today started with the beloved ‘Earl Grey’ (Empress), Green (Pure) and finally ending with a Smokey Lapsang which made me crave a bacon sandwich made by the art man.

Designing an art studio:

The ‘Art-man’ and I are getting married this year, but before that ultimate date we are designing and committing to the ultimate union of….possibly, sharing a studio. We are lucky; our new 1960s abode has two conservatories, one a little bit smaller than the other and yet perfectly formed. It would have been perfect if these two spaces had been made into one but alas no. But maybe this isn’t a bad thing due to our subject areas being so different: Sculpture (paper) and Mark-making (albeit, Graphite/Watercolour/Oil).

As artistic individuals, we respond to having our own space. I think if we are honest with ourselves, most creative pursuits need a certain amount of physical as well as creative head space. So, the wedding surfing is on hold momentarily whilst we settle our heads into our new ‘arty’ homes.  Is it wrong that the ‘studio’ porn on pin interest and Flickr is so much more exciting than wedding planning right now? I do think it’s a little bit of Ostrich syndrome but still, the ideas/pictures of how to organise art supplies make me weak at the knees.

However, and note the delusion here, we need to organise the studios as a lot of our wedding is going to be handmade….there, knew I’d find a way around it!

Happy Monday all ………..

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Diagram-atically different

O.k. so I maybe on my own with this appreciation but, Japanese diagrams make me giddy with joy. Alright, so the majority of Japanese diagrams I’m looking at daily are origami ones and they’re inherently aesthetic but the beauty relates to their design.

Most diagrams within the West follow a linear grid fashion, and whilst there is a time and place for such a display - information is all the more beautiful when it has a shape/design.  Consider the design below: the meandering instructions keep the brain interested and alert and the very colour use is tantamount to diagram fireworks.

Japanese food is by far a favourite of mine, clean/ healthy flavours with an artistic element at the core of its formation. We try to eat a Japanese inspired meal at least once a week and take care to arrange the ingredients to keep both the head and palette happy. But, this sometimes slips and I get drawn in by authentic Japanese ‘pot’ noodles in the supermarket, I blame the packaging. The instructions are so beautifully realised that I think they make the food taste better. The fact that the little boxes contain just enough to feel satisfied but not ‘full’ is equally a joy. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Everyone’s got at least one in them…maybe a couple

As the saying goes, most people have at least one novel in them. I have been fiddling around with a piece of writing, on an optimistic day it pertains to being the start of a novel on a bad day it’s a collection of witticisms that are so secular in their appeal it’s untrue.  I nearly always have a word document open on my screen, trying to pencil certain ideas and observations that I think, sometimes, may add to the characters I’ve known/developed for a few years.

These characters are as familiar as friends and quite often I will have a blindingly obvious connection (usually in Sainsbury’s) between our everyday life and an imagined day. But in truth I’ve lost confidence in the idea of somebody reading what I’ve written. To counter this I’ve started dropping abstract scenes into conversation with the ‘Art-man’ or Mum and oddly they’ve liked what they’ve heard up to now, which is such a thrill.

These dual approaches, coupled with a lack of sleep (I drink too much caffeine) often results in odd scenes in my day. Imagining a protagonist’s activity within my daily routine helps with the writing but doesn’t aid my consciousness.  This sounds terribly pretentious, and please believe me it’s not. Rather, it is a confusing set of scenes that I take home with me each day, wondering what happened and what I imagined…..yes, after typing that I agree I need committing.

But on a linked point, I seem to have developed an already simmering interest in Biblio-fiction recently and when going to ‘Blog-press’ I have a beautiful gift of:  The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger winging its way to me…eek, can’t wait!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Planting/Changing bulbs….

Well the ‘Art-man’ and I have moved house. It’s taken longer than we thought (over four months) but we are settled in our ‘haven’ of a house. The beauty of the house is that it has two ready-made spaces that are perfect for studios. We do feel terribly spoilt with this gift of space and creative potential but we’ve promised to work twice as hard on creative pursuits to even out the ‘spoilt’ karma. 

The wait for the property allowed us to dream (endless post-it note designs in work) and imagine what it may be like to produce art works in a new and unfamiliar environment. The longing and recent organising of the space has left, well certainly me, a little shell-shocked….I sat at my desk (what a luxury) last night and like a small child after too many ‘Barley sugars’ I didn’t know what to do first. Creativity, up until now has consisted of piles of paper being shuffled (croupier style) around our ‘bijou’ living space. Projects being lifted and moved from time to time to make room for supper, tea drinking or, more recently form filling. But now….wow wee!

I think I may have posted before that the ‘Art-man’ and I sun-light (as opposed to ‘moon-light’) as Librarians. This work is busy and enquiry led,  meaning two days are never the same but during the Winter months it is frustrating to return home ready to continue on art-work only for it to be too dark to appreciate subtle light nuances. It is refreshing that the evenings are steadily, if not infinitesimally, lightening with the promise of being able to push open the studio doors into the garden soon.

Really looking forward to Spring……..Happy New Year!

Filmic doppelgangers

Over the Christmas Break I would tease the ‘Art-man’ with the phrases: ‘Has he been yet?’ and ‘I can hear something can you?’  Now, the ‘Art man’s’ affection for me resulted in him either running to our new front window or cocking his head in a spaniel fashion. He’s stoic in the way he plays along to my silliness. Of course, all these questions were in relation to St. Nick’s arrival.
Remembering the feelings of Christmas anticipation through these phrases are some of the loveliest memories of Christmas 2012, especially as we had our house keys on the 21st December , Christmas activity was somewhat frozen.   

This activity of packing/moving boxes altered the dynamics of our conversations too. Rather than long chats about all things, it started a series of Q & As posed when carrying a box for the answer to be returned on the trip back into the house.  The famous question of: ‘Who would play you in a film? Or which character is most like you? Much debating resulted in the answer: Dick and Anaugh from ‘High Fidelity,’ we do the nerdist chic rather jolly well we think.

So who would play you? 

Smart(ie) Pants

I have always been curious about the idea of a ‘Key text’ for a course. Expectant students are poised with their sharpened pencils ready to make notes for the term ahead. The ‘Key Text’ reveals more about the lecturer in some ways than the reliability of the tomb.
Over 10 years ago I was privileged to meet (somewhat vicariously) the author of the greatest ‘key text’ for my undergraduate degree, his name was Ninian Smart. Smart’s dimensions of religion are burned upon many a trainee-Religionist’s brain, World faiths are divided into:








It is possible, according to Smart, to see these dimensions in most belief systems and philosophies. Quite often when I have to do something horrid:  vaccination, leg wax, boring meeting, CAT scan, waiting in traffic etc.,   I try and remember  the ‘dimensions’ and what we remembered through route in University.
Sad I know but this is how I roll….
I typed earlier that this was a somewhat vicarious meeting and it was, during his inaugural lecture I happened to sit next to his wife, Lubushka, who was, even more of a delight than her inspiring husband. She sat so neatly at the back of the lecture theatre, hands crossed in her lap and as her husband talked, she moved in the musicality of the anecdotes, supplementing information I’d never have known. It really was one of the most interesting lectures I’d ever been too.