Friday, 5 December 2008

I have gone from the sublime to the rediculous today.
A great day at the Reclaiming the Rural seminar in beautiful Pen Pont Nr Brecon.
Followed by an evening with Lyn Evans, creator of the Large Haldron Collidor particle accelerator. I am not sure what to make of it at the moment. A waste of money? - probably. Scarry? - I think so, despite Mr Evans saying not so (did Oppenheimer think the same before his great development?). Possibilites? - Unknown. Interestingly he died in 1967 - the year I was born. A lot happened that year.
Other strangeness with numbers:
Dark matter - Just over 21% of the universe.
Human skin - 21 sq feet.
21 gms - weight of the 'soul'.
3 weeks - 21 days - (that was the time I had to write the 'horrific tale' for my experiment project, remember - Oh keep up!)
In 2005, astronomers from Cardiff University claimed to discover a galaxy made almost entirely of dark matter, 50 million light years away in the Virgo Cluster, which was named VIRGOHI21. (I am a virgo).
The solctice is on the 21st.
The Roman festival of Divalia was a was held on December 21st, in honour of the goddess Angerona, so it is also called Angeronalia. On the day of this festival the pontifices performed sacrifices in the temple of Voluptia in which stood a statue of Angerona, depicted with a bandaged mouth and a finger pressed to her lips, demanding silence.

Something is coming to mind. At last.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Thought of the day

"...but things are so complicated and tangled together. I can't seem to separate them out and do one thing at a time. I don't know how to untangle things."
"Start by thinking about the simplest things and go from there. You're are not in a hurry to decide anything. It may be tough but sometimes you've got to just stop and take time. You ought to train yourself to look at things until something becomes clear."
-extract from The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami

Thursday, 27 November 2008

thoughts on 'the experiment'

Recession -the very mention just makes me smile. I think of writing a 'horrific' tale, related to troubled financial times, and just want to shout from the treetops - ABOUT FUCKIN TIME. Did you think that this excess could go on forever, with no consequence??

'... what is interesting ... is the novel beauty to be found in works of art and architecture of the past which have changed their appearance due to the damage of time or destruction by disasters in the course of the centuries. This is described as the beauty of decay, but is it not perhaps that beauty which material assumes when it is freed from artificial make-up and reveals its original characteristics? The fact that the ruins receive us warmly and kindly after all, and that they attract us with their cracks and flaking surfaces, could this not really be a sign of the material taking revenge, having recaptured its original life?...." The Gutai Manifesto

I get references to Alan Kaprow and Fluxus all the time. "The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible."
Humour and collapse. The thin line between laughter and tears. Think positive. Look for the space between destructive and creative action.

A Sunday walk

To ease the troubled mind of Mia, I have to take her into nature more; to give her a sense of wonder and of context. We are not all that important. So we had a great 2 hour walk on Sunday. I didn't even know there was a lake across the road from me. Will try hard to do this every week at least once.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

A wreath for Nain

I am so pleased that I decided to do this ourselves from the garden and lanes nearby. We both thought of Nain as we collected items and made it.
We will look for her in the stars.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The New Thought Experiment

Have I made a mistake??? I decided to join in with the 1st years in dong the Thought Experiment again as I felt it gave me such a good push off last year, and as I have no real committment to a particular piece of creative activity at the moment I decided it could only be good for me. HA! Look what I have...

  • Evaluate current trends
  • Devise the most horrific tale possible
  • Write it in three weeks

It relates to a comment on William Faulkner's plan for writing the novel Sanctuary in the 1930's.

Keep you posted...

Monday, 29 September 2008

A lovely and inspiring piece of writing. I do seem to have a predeliction for reducing things to'nothing'. Devore = devour. giving away things. paper shredding. Hmmm..

A wee bit of an experiment

OK. So I followed instructions to clean fleece with lots of tubs of water.It was OK, but still had to do a final rinse in washing machine.

So I am now trying a different approach.

"At Convergence 2000 in Cincinatti (The giant Handweavers Guild of America conference) I took a seminar from a lady whose name I'm embarrassed to say I don't remember. However, her talk was on Pee, Piddle and Whiz. It was about using urine in your spinning and dyeing processes.
She told us to "get over the yuck factor." Urine is not some acid that will eat through your hand. It is pH neutral and sterile, which is more than you can say for your water supply.
Urine was used in ancient times to wash wool. Yes, wash wool. She did an experiment. She put some grease wool in a ziploc baggy and poured urine over it. She sealed the bag and waited a few days for the wool to completely absorb the urine. She opened the bag and let it air out and dry out a bit. Then she touched the wool. Soft and very easy to spin. Maybe the ancient folk were on to something. Of course, she washed her finished yarn, so no urine actually was in the finished product.
Dye recipes also used urine. However, old recipes don't mention it. It was like water. They took it for granted that you were using it. Also, stale urine has different properties than fresh urine. "Stale" being urine that's been sitting around in a vat waiting to be used. I read somewhere that men on their way home from a pub on the Shetland Isles would stop by the dyers house to donate to the vat. Don't know if that one's true or not. I do know that old indigo recipes used urine. It's got to be safer than alot of chemicals you can buy

So now I pee into a pot in the garden. Then zip lock it. This is the 1st one after 4 days. Looking good. I am going to dry out a bit today, then rinse in machine on wool setting.

I have also tried adding some plant stuff to see if it will dye whilst cleaning.

Waste of 1 beetroot

5 fennel heads

10 blackberries

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Cleaning: two bags ready to go - 1 soaking in my fresh wee, the other to be washed in granny's soap flakes


Am about to embark on the fleece project! The poor thing has been sat in a bin bag for 2 months. I am now about to clean it with advice from Lime and Violet's blog!. It is an amazing shape, and sooo thick. Waiting to hear back from Danae's mum who it was from and what breed she is.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Click here! for Quebec piccies

Back home again - missing the Montreal art lifestyle. Be back soon....

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


Off to Montreal in the morning. Very excited, nervous, and as yet, unpacked.!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Really really free

I would really like to start a 'Really really free market' here in Cardiff. Coming sooon!!

"About the RRFM
Because there is enough for everyone
Because sharing is more fufilling than owning
Because corporations would rather see landfills overflow than anyone get anything for free
Because scarcity is a myth constructed to keep us at the mercy of the economy
Because a sunny day outside is better than anything money can buy
Because "free trade" is a contradiction of terms
Because no one should have to do without food, shelter, entertainment, and community
Because life should be a picnic, but it only will be if we make it happen

Have you ever picked up something you found on the sidewalk? Or saved your neighbor from throwing away something useful?
A Really Really Free Market is like a potluck for whatever you want to give or take away. Have you ever brought one dish to a potluck and gone away with a full belly and a balanced meal? Everybody brings something and goes away with more.
We all have skills, ideas, objects, smiles, talents, friendship, excitement, discussions, and many other things to share. If we bring them all together at the Really Really Free Market, we can provide more balanced and full lives for everyone.
As a community we have many more resources than we do as individuals. If we share our resources we won't need to buy as many new ones. This uses fewer of the Earth's resources, and fewer of our working hours, leaving us more time to devote to ourselves and our communities.
Would we all work forty hours a week at one job if we didn't feel we had to? What if instead we worked at improving our individual skills and talents and shared them with each other? We would all spend more time doing things we enjoyed."

The Compact

I read this today - 6 months into my own pledge not to buy new.
The Compact - A pledge to go a year without buying anything new
A pledge to go a year without buying anything new
By Kara McGuire, Star Tribune
January 8, 2008
Karen Heimdahl used to be part of the throngs that crowd area malls at Christmas. But this year, bound by the Compact -- a growing social movement in which members vow to buy nothing new for a year -- she hit used book stores and consignment shops. Last Christmas her husband received gadgets from Best Buy. This year he unwrapped a hand-powered coffee grinder that Karen scoured eight antique stores to find.
"Buying new is so much easier," she lamented.
The American economy depends on consumers willing to buy the latest in fashions, furnishings and flat-screen TVs. Indeed, in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, shopping was cast as a patriotic duty, a way to help prevent the economy from tipping into a recession.
But the Compact, started by a group of San Francisco friends as a rebellion against what they see as gluttonous consumerism and its thoughtless destruction of the environment, turns that notion on its head.
Today, with a former vice president as the spokesman for global warming and higher energy prices hitting everyone's pocketbook, some Americans see going green as their new duty, or at the least, a money-saving measure. More mainstream Americans are going beyond recycling to considering their carbon footprint when flying, buying locally and second-hand shopping as an environmental statement.
A KPMG Consumer Survey conducted in December found 88 percent of respondents were very concerned about the environment.
For others, buying less is the harsh reality after years of relying on stock market gains and home appreciation to live beyond their paychecks. With talk of a possible recession, others are spending less to fluff up their cash cushion.
The Compact, named after the creed made by the revolutionaries who sailed here on the Mayflower, started in 2004 with a San Francisco dinner party. The conversation had turned to the downsides of recycling, and the group agreed to a revolutionary idea of its own: to buy nothing new, aside from a small list of exceptions that includes medicine, underwear and cleaning products. They could buy food without restrictions, including eating out.
Officially the Compact has grown from 10 friends around the dinner table to more than 8,700 members of online users groups today. Founding member John Perry figures thousands more are living the Compact life offline, though it's hard to track exact numbers of members and success rates.
"We never set out to start a movement," says Perry, who works in the high-tech industry. A 2006 story by a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, who was a friend of a friend of a Compact member, changed that. The story created buzz around the world. There are about 50 users groups on Yahoo from as far away as Thailand and Australia. One in Minnesota was formed last January and has 41 members, although it's somewhat inactive.
Candles for dad
It was fall of 2006 and Heimdahl was counseling a growing number of Minnesotans having trouble paying their mortgage and credit card debt when she read about the Compact in the news.
"For a while I had been feeling fed up about the consumer nature of our society," said the 31-year-old financial counselor for Lutheran Social Service. "I think part of it is what I do for my job too, seeing a lot of people have debt ... and not having anything to account for it."
Still, she didn't sign up right away. "My first thought was 'well, I don't need to do that, I don't buy much stuff anyway.' But then I realized that was an excuse."
On April 8, 2007, she and her husband were sitting at their desks in their Waconia home. Without a triggering event or much thought of how this would change her life, she signed up for the Compact group online. Although her husband, Andy, was just feet away, she didn't mention her new commitment until later that day. She worried about his reaction, knowing he viewed the Compact as extreme. But he surprised her. "He was actually very supportive."
"I wasn't sure she was going to be able to follow through," said Andy, 33. "In this consumer-driven society it seemed like a nearly impossible task."
It hasn't been easy. The week after she signed up, she picked up a box of candles for her father's birthday party. Driving to the party with her sister, she confessed her sin, which her sister brushed off. It was months before Heimdahl set foot in a big-box store again.
"Every three months is when I tend to have a cheat," she says. After the candles was the gift certificate she bought for a new motorcycle windshield for her husband. She didn't actually buy the item for him, but with the gift certificate, "the intent was there."
Then in September, an out-of-town friend had a baby. The new parents were hosting the Heimdahls and they wanted to show their appreciation. They purchased some wine for their friends, within the guidelines of the Compact. It was the newborn gift that forced Karen to break the rules. "I looked and looked and couldn't find anything [used] and I found this outfit and it was so cute and I caved. I regretted it, but not really," she said. That was her last new purchase. "Maybe I'm getting better."
Repulsed by the dollar bins
Her dedication has impressed her friends and family. Some have said they've made small changes -- like saying no to plastic bags or thinking twice about buying something they wanted but didn't need.
Andy Heimdahl, despite his initial skepticism, has also been living in the Compact spirit, fixing a wheelbarrow instead of buying a new one and making a coffee table for his wife for Christmas.
Heimdahl has changed too. "It's really taught me patience," she said. "Solutions will come if I wait." She found buttons needed for a sweater she knitted at an antique store. She spent more hours searching for the materials to make a compost bin than she cares to remember. She's also learned to garden and cook her bounty. "It's kind of forced me to slow down in some ways, which I really like."
And there's the financial benefit of not spending $10 here and $50 there. The couple retired a loan for their property up north and have more money in savings. "Our pocketbook really looks much better for it," said Andy.
During her time, she's tried not to keep a list of new items she wants, although the first snowfall renewed her desire for new skis and she'd love to get a cold press coffee mug before she and Andy go camping again in the Boundary Waters.
Heimdahl can buy both on April 9, when her Compact ends, but "I'm not going to go out on a shopping spree," she says. And the influence the Compact has had on her habits is here to stay. "Everyone can make minor changes with just a little shift in mentality," says Heimdahl. She used to love Target and enjoyed wandering through the store's abundance of cheap, trendy items. Now a walk by the dollar bins repulses her. "There's all this stuff and so much is unnecessary and disposable."

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


Feelin VERY pleased with myself as I have just had my feedback on practical module - with great comments and 5 x high-5 for my grades.
Had a great days collography workshop on Sunday. Results were not great but will lead to development of the nest images. But lots of fun with the MaP girls.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


YES! I have made a preserve this month - well its actually elderflower cordial. But preserved it is so it counts!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Free ad

Very pleased with my banners advertising the school fair - a bit more fabric used up and my hedge is now smaller!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

La Friperie

The show went really well. All given out! Is it allowable for art to be this much fun?

Thursday, 26 June 2008

nest building is hard

How do birds begin? I had 3 attempts and it is still very precarious. This was the start of number 2.

Lovely Lynn who came and helped.

Entrance and Exit

It's tomorrow.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Bill of sale

I have made up 'Bills of Sale' for the dress exchange - onto the back of scrap posters left over from the gallery. The ink takes a while to dry but should be OK. I like the roughness of the print. I have also made up my visual diary now, again from the scrap posters. I will have a rehersal tonight to work out practicalities of the 'potlatch' event.
I have scanned some of the dresses - lots more to go!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Feeling VERY happy following a nice little tutorial with tutor.
I am now going to give away the dresses only on the opening night, then leave some evidence of what occcured in the show cases I have use of. It then becomes much more a performative piece. At the end of the show I will make a gesture of clearing eveything out, removing the evidence, wiping the disk, and leaving no trace.
Some stuff has been put into my store room today - not a lot, mainly branches and scrap paper! But it's fine. There will be more I am sure. Checking the skip each day too. I am not aiming to make a 'piece' of work with it, but to create my space, my environment, for the giveaway.
Have started making labels for the dresses.
I will also have t-shirts done by a student a long time ago - I know she won't mind, and anyway - its about 5 years ago and I have tried to trace her with no luck.
So there will be something for the boys and girls who aren't into dresses.
Still need a mirror....

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Indigo fun

Spent the evening Indigo dyeing in preparation for a workshop. Not done it for ages. really enjoyed myself! Also tried some green sage leaves. Looks good, but have left overnight so results tomorrow. Note to self - spend the summer building up a good range of natural dye samples.

Tomorrow is E-day - the start of my work for the exhibition. The BA shows come down, and I start to collect their remains to make something. My show is to be titled Fripperie - always loved the term since I first heard the lovely Georgia Volpe refer to it in Quebec.

'Tis very exciting and liberating - having no firm plan or idea what I am going to do, other than give away some great clothes. I will try to keep up my documentation on here.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

1st essay!

Just finished my first essay - thank God. I now know all there is to know (professionally) about Mr Craig Wood!

Came in at over 4000 words instead of 3500, but ther we go - couldn't stop myself.

Now to concentrate on the exhibition that's looming...