Thursday, 10 April 2014

Viriditas

My work is featured in this new anthology of women artists, presented by Magpie Magazine.
It is called 'Viriditas'. 



The chapters explore the various themes of the work and each contains interviews from all the contributors. I found reflecting on my creative process and imagery a revealing process - I'm grateful I had the opportunity to offer words as well as images. 



The works I have contributed are drawings which deal with sexuality, loss, life and death. 



I am particularly excited and honoured to be included amongst the beautiful imagery of other contemporary artists working and exploring today. 

You can buy a copy here



Friday, 4 April 2014

Puppet (slow) progress

So, my daughter changed her nap pattern. By 'changed' I mean drastically reduced it, and reserved it mostly for times when I'm out carrying her in her sling. But I have made a small amount of progress!

I have attached a rough torso and jointed arms. I've used foam because it is easy to carve, I can do a little bit and come back to it without needing to wait for things to dry etc and because I have a bag of ends that my sister gave. Free material!

I've made joints by hooking strong thread through wire loops. The thread and the wire can both be fed through the foam, which is another advantage of it. The only problem I can see is that it could tear if the puppet is not used gently.

I've altered my designed ideas a bit - I'm not going to make legs anymore as it will mean here people would need to operate the puppet. I want to be able to move her myself, maybe with just one other person.

So the next thing to do will be to finish her torso, create a central holding rod and hen make a dress...the dress will need to disguise her lack of legs so I will need a heavy material...


But now my sweet spawn awakens and so I must away...







Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Puppet...



Just before Christmas, I was a part of a puppet show. One of our guests/audience members was the artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins and his husband Peter (and their gorgeous little dog - who loved our show by the way). I'm very glad that I was unaware he was in the audience until after it was over! I would have been rather intimidated...

Over on his blog, Clive and Peter Slight are holding a Puppet challenge  - asking artists to use inspiration from fairytales to create their own original puppets.
The work that has already appeared is so exciting...I especially loved Clive's example of a flat, paper puppet which he animated. I can't find the link for this page right now - but I encourage you to follow the link above and explore his beautiful work.


fimo over aluminium foil

I entered myself for the challenge, knowing that Minka's immanent arrival would probably leave little time for making...I was right about that - I've been trying to post this blog entry for about a week! 

Just before Minka arrived, I did manage to start a puppet. I got as far as her head - I intend to experiment with making a body from simple tied wire and then pad it out with cloth and foam. 



I want to start focusing my making (models, books and drawings) on the story of the Handless Maiden which I heard for the first time last Summer at a festival. The story has many resonances for me, and I have felt haunted by it ever since.

This first puppet is not the Handless Maiden, but more a circus creature of some kind...I hope that I can learn some techniques as I finish her (when Minka gives me a chance), and then use what I learn for a second puppet.

For now though, my baby looks hungry...

Thursday, 16 January 2014

She's Here

On the 8th of January I gave birth to a daughter, named Minka Rose.

I did not announce the pregnancy here, or anywhere else public, for obvious reasons. But now the year has changed and with it our entire lives. I am still spinning from everything that has happened. 2013 was the hardest year of my life, the pregnancy both a terrifying ordeal and a joy-filled blessing.
I am lucky beyond words.

In fact, it all seems beyond words at this moment! But I promised myself I would announce her here - I imagined myself writing the words 'she's here'. I could hardly dare believe they would be true, but they are - she is here.

If I ever sleep again I will write something more coherent! Blessing to you all.



A few hours before she was born...

Minka Rose

Saturday, 4 January 2014

A year and a day

Today it is a year and a day since I found out my baby girl, Lyra May, had died.

Though she only lived for 19 weeks, she changed my life forever. Not a single day has passed that I have not remembered her, both alive inside me, and afterwards, in my hands. I remain grateful to her for everything her tiny life taught me about the nature of the world, the nature of grief, and of love.
My tears for her are endless.

This year has been the longest and shortest of my life. On this day last year I could not imagine making it through to the end of the next hour, let alone an entire year into the future. But here I am. Here we are. And that has taught me something too.

My love to all who grieve.



Her footprints

Monday, 23 December 2013

Figuren Theatre Company - First Showing

Over the last few months I've been exploring puppetry.

I've been amazingly fortunate to have met Howard Gayton (see some of his mask theatre work here, and a graphic novel project here) who has been sharing some of his theatre and puppet skills with me and Rima and Andy.

It has been wonderfully challenging and engaging to be studying a performance art form again, especially one which combines so many of my favourite things!
There is the craft of making puppets themselves (something I've been dabbling with for a while now) which I am deeply excited about and hope to to learn more of in the future. There is the precision and awareness of a movement practise which requires one pay so much attention to the way things move. There is the magic of theatre which brings the inanimate to life.

So, art, movement, magic - what more could one want?

After some initial workshops with Howard, we set to devising a little showing. The show we have come up with is called 'How the Hoggler got it's name'.
It, and the Hoggler, had their first outing a few days ago in five performances given to invited friends.

I surprised myself by really enjoying being 'on stage' again.
Being on stage with/for a puppet is very different from what I learnt about performing aerial. The most obvious difference of note is that in some ways the puppeteer is not performing to the audience at all. The aim, as I have begun to understand it, is to serve the puppet. All intention, energy and presence needs to flow through the puppeteer into the puppet. In a sense, the puppeteer is invisible on stage, even when very visible, as we most often were.

In some ways this direction of presence away from the self, reminds me of the way I sometimes engaged with aerial work. My mind often focused on the beauty and power of the visual imagery that could be achieved through aerial work. Because of this, I felt that I could sometimes vanish into the movement in a "Hey, don't look at me, look at my body in the air," kind of way.
This visible vanishing was often where I felt most comfortable, but was possibly not what is usually required of a moving body on stage...It does however appear to be vital to the puppeteer. Hopefully this bodes well!

All I know for sure is that there is a whole world of craft and magic to be learnt in this area. And I'm very grateful to have been granted a small first step into it.

Here are some photos of our showing.
Big thanks to Terri Windling (an amazing, amazing artist and author if you don't know her work) for the photos (close ups of props and gloves by Rima).
Rima Staines made the gorgeous props and the lovely Hoggler.
Andy Letcher (author, musician and my own dear husband) provided beautiful music and storytelling. We all devised choreography and the story itself.
Howard provided direction, training, studio space and genius :)


The Hoggler wakes up




The Hoggler climbs the World Tree













The Hoggler dances