Saturday, 18 June 2011

Utter distain!

My parents have recently moved from a three bedroom family home to a two bedroom flat, as part of the downsize many childhood photos are being unearthed.  There are many, many photos of me wearing outfits that I clearly have UTTER DISTAIN for, the above being a fine example, my first communion outfit check those socks out!  Yummy.  As a kid I seemed to perfect this look of indifference/annoyance/displeasure as there are other photos where clearly the haircut, food, person sat next to me, weather or coat (infamous green coat story in my family, don't ask) don't seem to be to my satisfaction.  It's a stitch up!  I'm really not that miserable!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Good things come in small packages

This weekend was our allotments' 'Big Lunch' weekend, the weather wasn't amazing but the people were.  The place was heaving and I met lots of my allotment neighbours who were all really friendly and had lots of good advise for beginners.  Whilst queuing for lunch and trying (and failing) to answer a quiz sheet I had just been handed on plant related trivia a couple in front of me gave me a few pointers so many pointers in fact that I ended up winning a bag of zoo poo!  Now, I don't know about you but I don't think anything says winner as much as a bag of elephant and rhino poo.  Kevin (resident allotment God) has from day one been great, he's helped us get our bind weed under control, advised on pest management and been a friendly face who always says hello and stops for a chat.  My measure of how great Kevin is came when I showed him our first radish harvest:

Kevin suppressed a snigger and gave us some hints and tips for keeping black fly away from future crops.  In the face of such a comedy radish I thought this was very restrained!

We bought lots of fantastic plants at the big lunch and some really tasty cake (I did my bit and donated one banana bread which sold out in ten minutes and an elderflower tea bread made with Sam's homemade elderflower cordial), also picked up two bunches of some gorgeous smelling flowers it's exactly this style of flower arrangement we're going for with our flowers at the wedding:

As we edge towards the home stretch before the wedding the various odds and ends are coming together.  Sam's mum and step-dad visited at the weekend and brought fantastic craft treats for us to include in the big day:

Guest book made in my favourite turquoise, the lines look like layers of earth which are just beautiful and conjure images for me of all those family holidays we went on as kids, they always seemed to end up having a geography type theme/visit/interest (my parents were both geography teachers, yep envy me I've been on day trips and holidays to slate mines, nuclear power plants, up mountains and treks across moors to find the source of this river or that river).

The second and last batch of knitted flowers for the napkin rings!  I think Mary may never want to see a knitted flower ever again (I think the final flower total was close to 200), aren't they great? 

Just over 7 weeks and counting.......

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Trying to be a creative and not a 'normaloid'

I have a friend at work who gifted me the phrase 'normaloid' which I just love because with both our wedding and our lives Sam and I are trying very hard to be creatives and not fall too much into the category of normaloid.  I love my work, and the people I work with but it is so important to me that I have something to come home to that I enjoy, makes my brain tick and hopefully one day will make me my living.  So I thought I would take a mini break from talking about the wedding or allotment and showcase a few examples of what I like creating and what keeps my brain from turning to fudge:

This was a painting I did during my degree, I really don't like it much any more, it's too cluttered and lacks theme, but you've got to start somewhere and this was my starting point.  I've had a long running fascination with domesticity, especially in the 1940's and 50's where it seemed to me women had fewer avenues of expression beyond the home, but conversely there seemed a wealth of innovative creativity that sprung up in advertising, graphic design, fabric, clothing etc to entice and lure women to buy products for the home and their family's.  Sam introduced me to the stunning world of diagrammatic design which played a massive role in my paintings throughout my degree.

I don't actually own this painting, I painted it and have it in my home but it belongs to our lovely friends Ian and Lisa who now live up t'north, I'm waiting to see them so I can return it to them.  For the time being though I'm taking good care of it, it hangs in our bedroom as the safest place to store these paintings seemed to be the walls.  Its a very narcissistic home!  Again, I've been poaching images from advertising archives and the spaceman was actually referenced from a set of children's bedlinen.

More 1950's imagery but this time a reference from a recipe book that seemed to come free with the purchase of a certain brand of oven (I've lost the recipe book now which is a massive shame).

Sam says this is one of his favourite's.  It has a border of yellow to tie in with the brownies in the main image, like the spaceman painting I was beginning to look at border less imagination, expectation, and aspiring which tends to be eroded as you get older, but is evident by the bucket load in kids.  The imaginations of my two nieces still amazes me they can create whole worlds from nothing, I hope they hang onto that for a long, long time.

I think this was my prophecy painting (terrible photo, sorry!  A flash with glossy paint = fail) when I was doing my MA I was looking at why people start collections and have collecting as their hobby (not just one or two items, I was interviewing people with enormous collections of seemingly random stuff like eggcups, Russian calculators and banana labels) and the idea of man and allotment sprung out at me when I came across this image of a man smoking a cigarette.  I found it in a 1950's (again!) French hunting magazine (I had bought three very full boxes of these hunting magazines at a French car boot sale, the woman thought I was insane and likely charged me a couple extra Euros but lug them home I did and they've proved very useful so no regrets here).  Anyway I liked the idea of people who'd owned allotments for years, grown prize roses and vegetables and gained a real sense of escapism from their plots.  Now I have one of my own I am beginning to understand why people have them for so many years (our neighbour has had his plot for 52 years).

Well the above are just a small selection of work that's cluttering up the house, there are more at the studio, and I really want to make a commitment to carry on painting and make it my income source.  I want to be a creative not a normaloid, life is too short.

Talking of things being short, I am short no more!  Despite swearing blind that I would be wearing flats to the wedding I've gone and purchased a pair of heels :-S

I jest not, I am having to practice wearing them around the house.  I am not a natural heel wearer, in fact I look like a bloke trying to walk in his Mrs' heels as a joke, when walking downstairs I adopt a bandy legged frog pose, dignity is not a look being conveyed when I do this but I do give off a sense of stability which I think is half the battle won.  Just over 8 weeks of practising to go!!
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