Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The story of the golden parasol

OK the last post was all about the British countryside and the possibility of rain - and then I saw this. This is the image I would like to share with you to celebrate summer:

image: clickclickjim

It's from a new posting from Creative Director, Lisa Piercy's website, showcasing some of her recent creations.
I love this parasol. Instantly I had a picture in my mind of the parasol sitting in the corner of a room in a hot, hot country. I could hear the crickets outside the window, feel the humid heat and see the girl coming forward to pick up the parasol and join the celebratory parade coming past her house. That parasol smacks of a very special party. Is it her wedding? Or is she joining lots of other people carrying the same parasol? What story do you think the beautiful, golden parasol has?

We may need telepathy until the first week of June

After spending the autumn, winter and spring embracing everything Apple I'm about to see what it is like to go pretty well cold turkey. I'm going back to seeking out internet cafes while on the road, but please do keep messaging and I'll catch up with you within a few days, hopefully.
I'm off in the van to Cornwall via three possible stopovers, for Run To The Sun this weekend in Newquay. They still have tickets available if you fancy a little drive and some dub step and if you don't drive there's a lift share tie in.

On Friday there will be a Cruise to the site, starting from Reading and collecting cars, classic cars and VW buses en route but I don't think I'll be joining them. We have a speed all of our own depending on hills and warm up.

If not in Newquay, hopefully we will see some of you at Sunrise Celebration   Festival in Somerset the following weekend, 3rd - 6th June? There were still tickets available for this too, last time I checked.

Sunrise is one of my favourite festivals for being relaxed, informative and fun. And yet small enough to nip back to the van to change if the weather breaks.
So the one thing these coming two weeks have in common is it's all about the sun. Here's hoping ... wellies, check. Rainproofs, check. Sunhat, check. Circus themed outfit for Saturday at Sunrise, check. See you there? Yay Roadtrip.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Bristol's Urban Paint Festival

And while we're on the subject of spray cans, Bristol has a brilliant family weekend coming up on June 5th and 6th. The Urban Paint Festival have chosen a poignant choice of image for their poster - the weekend is aiming to raise aweness of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.
If you are Avon way, go and have some fun at Upfest Tobacco Factory. Facebook fan page

Monday, 24 May 2010

Be a lean mean spraying machine

If, like me, you wonder how graffiti artists manage to achieve such control of a spray can, there's a weekend of opportunity in Brighton this bank holiday weekend. Grafik Warfare Street Art Collective and Geisha Arts are offering workshops in the art of the spray can. Limited spaces, see this poster for booking details:

And here's something some of the artists did earlier:

This wall was the work of a few artists but I'm a bit in love with Bot the Robot by Sinna One. This wall was created over the recent Street Art weekend. Two days, chilly winds and a fair bit of drizzle later:

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Hardcore Handmades

Now I'm all for cutesy. Give me a pic of a puppy who's been adopted by a cat and I may pin it on my notice board, but I'm not too good on sweeeeet art and crafts. I like my handmades a bit more hardcore. A little dark or distressed. Rough round the ages. For some reason (and maybe you can tell me why?) my blog seems to be sandwiched between very pink, perfect and fluffy American craft blogs on Blogger. And that was before I posted the sewing machine story.

I do not have the fingers for needlework. Imagine trying to thread a needle in gardening gloves and you will understand. So I'm in awe of every one of my Blogger neighbours' abilities, talent and creations but I don't normally get drawn in to stay, by their images. However, I've gone one stage further with the Cut Out + Keep site and have even subscribed to access the articles. (It got me with the cover of this London Issue Snippets cover).

Snippets is their online magazine, featuring music, art, craft, fashion, Indie and DIY.
If you don't know them and you aren't all toes for fingers, give them a view. If only for more stunning images like this one of chiffon flowers.
The latest Snippets issue is Glitz and Glam: How to make your GaGa accessories and the definitely not cutesy

Audrey Kitching shares some ideas. Both of which may prove particularly useful if you are planning your costumes for the festivals. The theme for Bestival is Fantasy and Fact or Fiction has been chosen by Secret Garden Party. Maybe you will find some ideas within this issue but I can recommend having a look through the online magazine's archives. And there's a fine piece on celebration cakes gone wrong - something gardening-glove-hands here can empathise with ...

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Awesome lady of the week

Awesome amazing person of my week ... the lady who took a year to track me down (through change of surname, three cities and numerous addresses) to keep a promise.
Seven years ago I sold her a sewing machine for £20 at a car boot sale, with the understanding if her mum didn't like it, I'd like it back.
Last year her mum died and she remembered her promise to return it to me.

It's a classic car among sewing machines and these old workhorses are revered so I hope she sells it for a big profit*. Would I have gone to that much trouble to keep a promise? Honestly no. I would have returned it if it wasn't immediately right for my mum but six years later?
I'd have found it a more convenient new home six years down the line. I'm humbled.
*And if proof were needed of the love for this machine.

image: Rudolf Couture

Thursday, 13 May 2010

When I grow up - I don't want to be a princess

My birthday outing was to Kensington Palace to experience the Wild Work's Enchanted Palace production. There's a melancholy smell to the Palace rooms, even before the story of the sad princesses is related.
The intention is to send little creepy chills down our spines. If the dim lighting, a crown floating above a dress and a Vivienne Westwood gown running down stairs doesn't do it, then the whispers and chatter coming from hidden speakers may help.
The exhibition is beautifully executed and I was mesmerised by Stephen Jones' headresses floating from the ceiling. And yes, I was enchanted by the ethereal room sets but I vowed never to go there after dark. 
Enchanted Palace is an anti-dote to all the sickly sweet, marshmallow, princess paraphernalia favoured by toy manufactures. 
Children like Fairy Tales, and they are often dark and pretty scary. I think they'll love the exhibition and will be way less affected than I was. I just felt so sad for the princesses. Another reminder that money and priviledge ain't all it's cracked up to be. Was that the intention in this "time of economic crisis"? 
Enchanted Palace is expected to run until February 2011. Photography isn't allowed, but there's a good photo story of the exhibit's creation on Wild Work's website.

Maybe this IS what it's all about

So far this week, inbetween working and celebrating my birthday, I've had two mind stretching hours of serious conversation with financiers; discussed an extrastentialist therapist's need to put people in a box and danced to a Beyonce video while hearing out a guy's reasons for returning to England, after four years in Spain. They all have very different concerns and priorities but they had one thing in common. They were looking for THE answer.
The work that I do has always been hard for me to "put in a box". It's a bit like trying to squeeze a ball of silly putty into a too-small tub. Just when people think they've got me into the tub, another bit pops out. How I work changes depending on other people's needs.
Happily others are better at recommending me than I am at defining myself. But one thing I do is help people sort out their thoughts and feel hopeful.
And then I opened this card this morning and laughed so loud:

Brilliant. Ah ... what if? Drop the worries - it's all about the Hokey Cokey/Pokey.
Here's an example of how it could well be . . . Filmed last week, during the current confusion in Greece.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Brighton : The Beautiful and the Canned : 8 May - 9 May

This weekend, more than fifty artists will be creating amazing murals (some over 10 metres high) round the streets of Brighton, using spray cans.
How do they do it? I am in awe of these men and women. I can't create such detail with a dainty paintbrush and yet they have given our streets some of the city's most photographed images. I'm not in awe of people who just spray their initials all over the place. I think even I could manage that and the only thing they have in common with these artists is, they can all hold an aerosol. 
I had a similar sense of stunned respect for Rolf Harris as he dib dabbed paint on an enormous canvas with a 8" paint brush and stood back to reveal . . . a kangeroo bouncing towards Ayres Rock.
The Beautiful and the Canned is being organised by Wet Paint Productions as part of Brighton Festival Fringe. Here's a map showing where to watch the artists working and see their finished work afterwards.
Wet Paint's website gives more information.

Festivals - they're not all laughing cause they're mashed, OK?

This is what happy looks like. Yay! Festival time is here.
Festie season starts early where I live. It began a few weeks ago, as soon as the first of the festival workers returned from their winter travels.
The buzz and excitement this creates depends on your attitude to festivals. For some it marks the beginning of months of bumping round the country in lumpy-field-battered vans; hard 18 hour days of setting up, sparkling for the public and taking everything down again.
For others it means anticipation, excitement, "party party!" followed by come down and depression followed by anticipation, excitement, "party party!" come down and depression.
The Other Side Magazine have a brilliant Festival Edition online which helps newbies to understand the basics of festivals. Tips like "Don't bother taking an ex-army tent. Yes, they're sturdy and roomy, but they're heavy. Far better to take a flimsy supermarket affair in your pocket, and crash out in other people's tents anyway." Useful stuff like that. The articles are for festival veterans too, to help get in the mood and work out which of the Festival People we are. Well none of them of course, but we recognise each type. Funny that.

So spread the word. Not everyone understands. Festivals are not all about getting rinsed by too much cider and tripping on the latest chemical compound. People don't have to travel far from home to do that.
That's not the reason thousands explode with impatience, as they tick off the days on their calendars. It's because they are waiting for those few days at their favourite festival, where they know they can be themselves; have a laugh with their mates and just go with the flow.
Clocks don't exist, because even catching the bands they really wanted to see becomes less important than just enjoying whatever diversion they stumble across. (Like appreciating a busking badger, which was one of many created by artist B-FACED for last year's Secret Garden Party).

image: copyright B-FACED
At many of the festivals the mobile phone networks crash at the peak, so everyone learns to either stick together or hope they will meet up back at the tent at some stage. It's very liberating.
Some media have great fun promoting the idea of all festival goers as being drunk/drugged/fluffy air heads. They normally use a photo of a few exuberant, decorated, party monsters to illustrate their theory.
But the reality is they are not all off their heads. Many of them will have consumed no more alcohol than their grandpas would while watching a cricket match with their cool boxes. Many have worked hard for most of the year to pay for their ticket and they're having fun, festie style. Some press shots show the tired and emotional, but my bet's on those pics being taken after the subjects have had three days of walking miles; jumping up and down infront of the main stage; taking part in the fancy dress parade; making an art collage; winning the tug-of-war contest and entering the Mr and Mrs competition on the small stage. There's too much going on to sleep much.

Festivals. Sometimes muddy, sometimes overwhelming, but so worth it for the break from daily responsibilites and concerns.
We'll have more of that please.