“Far From The Sodding Crowd”

I have just come across this beautiful, funny and strange short film on the BBC Film Network website. Created to celebrate the array of days out to be had in Britain, that doesn’t involve a theme park or shopping, but more the adventures of jumping into someone’s unique collection, family run museum and/or beautiful obsession.


May we all look out for those small brown signs, keep our curiosity alive and learn wonderful things.


Back To My Roots

Practicing letter writing.  Bad signage pains me and good signage can make a venue/shop/event.  I have noticed this especially at festivals when working for Pieminister.  The best places with the tastiest food were the ones with the lovingly hand painted signs and menu boards.  Slowing down and taking care with your aesthetic, cooking, outlook and life in general… Well it simply makes everything quite delicious.

I am reconnecting with a love of making words larger than life and getting enthusiastic about learning and developing this craft a lot more.  Making connections between text and image, and allowing that 8 year old self who dreamed of being a sign writer out for a wee run around.


Letter writing practice.


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Twit Twoo Tattoo – Edinburgh

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Washed by hand. Painted by hand. Easton, Bristol.

Slowing Down and Savouring

What a couple of weeks! Lots to digest, reflect on and put into the nicely decorated assortment of containers in my mind.

A fantastic weekend spent with the mischievous Jamie Catto in his Transforming Shadows workshop, followed by a week of Light Box staff appraisals and strengths based role development and setting up for Term 3 kicking off on Monday.  Topping off all of this fantastic learning and development I have received a new and beautifully smelling copy of Edition 7 of Pretty Nostalgic featuring my first published article!  The icing on an a nutty carrot cake, or what!  “The Art of Being Alone” was written at the end of last year after spending time (documented on these here pages) relishing the quiet creativity that being alone was bringing to my life.  After the voices got louder and then piped down a bit, of course.  Do go out/get on their website an pick up a copy if you like all things vintage and British and fun and all of those beautifully heartwarming pleasures that make life wonderful.

So here’s to savouring blue skies, greenery awakening all around us and really celebrating our good fortunes and ourselves, in all of our weird, wonderful and unique glory!


Backpack Drawings: Documenting Journeys

First Backpack Drawing Box Experiment

After first visit to Drawn, before meeting Debbie Locke

Drawing Boxes No 1

This was real trial and error: Two pots; left – Charcoal pieces and red brick pebbles from the beach. right – ink cartridge with two pin pricks in.  Paper attached to bottom by blue tack.  Closed, sealed and put in backpack. Walked and cycled for 90 minutes.


Blue pieces added to very messy, inky bag containing (inevitably) bled cartridge box.

Charcoal Pot Drawing

Abandoned inky pot for return journey.  Broke down charcoal for to dusty, smalled pieces in other pot.

Second Backpack Drawing Box Experiment

After meeting with Debbie I used found object from home to create small drawing boxes. These experiments travelled by walking, train and car from my home in Bristol to childhood home in Wooden, Pembrokeshire.

Small Drawing Boxes

Small Box Drawings

Experimenting with paper from inner envelopes.

Small Box Drawings

Due to the confined space in the boxes and the rigidity of the wire that attached the pens there are many areas of ink bleed from stuck pens.  Even though desired effect was not made, I do like the images.  The capturing of dormancy and being stuck as well as small movements feels particularly poignant for the journey in which they were documenting.

Hand Drawing in Car – Layering

Hand Drawing in Car

The blue marks in this image from left to right – 5 minutes of drawing in car on Motorway (not driving!) with pen in writing position moving to 15 minutes of holding top of pen freely.  Layered with painted ink circles.


When creating this documentation became an interesting element. I wanted to be “free” and let my pen do what it wanted to but I found myself moving from keeping paper still to letting it move freely with the car, giving in to a tired arm and slackening the position, moving my pen away from the edge of the paper and back to a point as and when came to the end of the paper.

Hand Drawing in Car

Drawing Two Pens in Car

Close of up hand drawing made in car from Stakepole Inn in Pembrokeshire to childhood home in Wooden. 25 minutes. Holding both pens by the top in right hand.

The marks made from motorway driving and countryside driving are extremely different.  I love the freedom and layering of the countryside driving… Reflects the environment beautifully.

Third Backpack Drawing Box Experiment

Drawing Box No 3

The most recent drawing box is made from scrap pieces from local scrap store and jewellery wire (found in a drawer). A thick grey felt pen, black hand writing pen and water filled brush pen.  Box taken in canvas bag (carried on one side) for 40 minute walk and train journey.

Box Drawing

Box Drawing

This image is so very pleasing.  I finally feel like I have cracked it!  Adding water filled brush pen (as done by Debbie) to the box adds a beautiful layering effect. This crosses over into Peter Matthews work from previous post, and feels like the secret ingredient to this image making process.  Having a strong bond with the sea, and a homeliness when by and in it, having water as a contributing element of this drawing resonantes with me.

Home Project Reflections

Looking back at my experimenting with this process over the last few weeks is very satisfying.  It has (as with the boxes themselves!) been an interesting journey (that is merely beginning!) and a drawing approach that adds much to my whole creative process of immersing in “Home”.  Links made with the body as home, documenting experience as means of grounding an home making, documenting journey too and from home and different homes and using home found objects.

Drawing and Control

This creative project finds me flipping forward, back, sideways and up in the process of exploring, experimenting and reflecting… and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I had thought it would be great to blog LOADS about EVERYTHING, but finding quiet to simply be IN the process (the good, bad and ugly) has felt more important.  This is where the question of control comes in. When to control, when to not, how much/little… I have not found it easy to relinquish control over the quality of work produced, over the last few weeks where the inner voice has been particularly loud. Inspired by the Writing and Control weekend at Arnolfini in February, I have been exploring this in relation to image making.

Playing with the process of drawing became my starting point after visiting the Drawn exhibition at RWA Bristol.  Knowing that I have all of the ideas, feeling, thoughts and insights around a subject flying around constantly within me, I decided to focus on finding making process based inspiration to take my work forward.  The previous post had been inspired by the simple mark making of drawing, and I was extremely surprised by the range of work and approach to the process “drawing” at the exhibition.

The first artist who caught my eye was Peter Matthews and his work “4 Hours in the Atlantic Ocean, England”  This beautiful, energetic, intricate and layered documentation of experience fascinated me.  As much as I have been aware of, and slightly dabbled with, the documentation of experience through drawing this opened my eyes to the unique and personal ways in which this can be done.

Four Hours In the Atlantic Ocean, England, 2010 full image website

I also came across Debbie Locke‘s Drawing Machine in the super fun interactive lab part of the exhibition.  Her Rucksack Drawings particularly struck a chord, as they curiously documented the experience of journeying.  I have since been back to meet with the lovely Debbie and hear how she makes her various drawing machines and the enthusiasm and ideas behind her passion to explore this.  This was really fascinating and inspiring.

rucksack walk1

Debbie Locke – Rucksack Walk

With all of fermenting in me I have spent the last two weeks experimenting with documenting journey’s various handmade drawing boxes and processes.  It’s become quite the delicious obsession!

The most interesting and exciting part of this development has been the element of taking and relinquishing CONTROL while making, journeying and indeed living.  How much control do we need when drawing? How does this feel for us?  How does taking our unusual obsessions out of the home and into public do to us?

I shall post up images of the various stages of the drawing boxes, and images of what came out, over the next week.


Another GREAT find these last few weeks is Mr Michael Nobbs and his Sustainably Creative website, books, inspirations and all round loveliness.  Having found a pot of juicy things to explore at Drawn, I was returning back to Keri Smith and her “Artist’s Survival Kit” for some fun, playful and not-too-serious starting points (note to self – aspiring to have gallery ready work within 2 weeks is not going to help with STARTING anything…) I found Michael’s Twitter page.

Following this, and a scout around his website, I fell in creative love with his approach to “one small thing a day to move your creative life on a little” and bought his “Drawing Your Life” book and signed up to my free months subscription of his website.  Receiving daily podcasts and snippets of inspiration on how to break creative projects down, keep things small and step by step and find the beauty in the every day to begin… Well, it has refreshed a wisdom in me that knows little and often is the great way forward, and this feels so very joyful and delicious. Thank you Michael!