Saturday, 21 June 2014

The ever changing life of an artist

Oh boy, it ended up being soooo long since my last post! But really, the last six weeks or so have been absolutely non-stop so that's why. This is literally the first free day I've had in ages. Much of it has been really fun, some has been simple hard work, and some has been unexpected difficult personal stuff that this isn't the forum to discuss, but all in all it's added up to a hectic time!

S, let's talk arty stuff that's been going on! As usual there's lots of ongoing stuff that I need to mention. So first of all, there's the big Geocaching project that I have become involved with. For those of you that don't know about Geocaching, it's basically like a real world treasure hunt where you use a GPS device which is hooked up to a worldwide network of "caches" that can be anything from a tiny camera film tube (remember them?) up to a cleverly camouflaged hollow log. Inside is usually a log book to sign and in the bigger ones some treasure you can take as long as you put something else in its place. It's basically the best known way ever to get kids to go on walks, as it makes them a real adventure. I have some really good friends that do it all the time with their kids, and I sometimes tag along, which when I mentioned it to another arts officer that was involved in the emerging artists project I talked about in my last post, was enough to get me involved with the project! (that's how my luck goes lately!) So, for the last couple of months, and until the end of August we are doing Geocaching events with lots of local schools and community groups. As part of my job to make it awesome, I arranged a meeting with a professional games designer called Holly Gramazio, who I had heard talk at the Future Everything conference I mentioned before. She has been involved in designing all kinds of awesome, real world games activities that you can find out about on her website. So travelling down to London to have a meeting with her was one of the things that kept me busy in May! She was able to give us some really good ideas about how to get the actual "treasure hunt" aspect of the event to run smoothly. Aside from that, we work with the kids before hand to find good hiding places, make their containers and the treasure, and make clues for others to find them with. Here's some pictures of some of the things we've done so far:
Our first batch or containers and Easter egg treasure

Dragons and their eggs made for a Fantasy themed treasure hunt
A well hidden cache
A really well hidden cache 

Containers for a WW1 themed hunt

The treasure to go inside

There's still lots more of these to go, including two events in Princes Park in Irlam to commemorate the WW1 centenary, that will be open to the public, but at the half way stage I would say the project is going really well! With the school we are currently working with we are hoping to put up a permanent Geocache that can go onto the worldwide network for anyone to find. Watch this space!

Right, as usual I have to dash off soon, so just time to tell you about my mixed fortunes at getting some of my artwork out there for the general public to see and buy!
On the plus side, I have started becoming a semi-regular trader at the wonderful Levenshulme Market. If you live anywhere near Manchester I really recommend checking it out. It's on every Saturday, but I go once monthly when the theme is "Handmade and Home". There's always lots of great food stalls and a bar at all the events though, and it's a really fun day out! I've been for the last two months - the first was great, with awesome weather, the second a bit of a monsoon, and fingers crossed for the next time I'm there, which will be July 7th!
How my market stall looks these days; regular blog readers will notice a degree of improvement from my earlier efforts!

I have also managed to get my work into an exhibition and an art gallery! Yay! The exhibition was part of "Fringe Arts Bath", a big annual arts festival taking place in that gorgeous city. Unfortunately the actual exhibition was on when things were at their craziest for me last month, so I couldn't go and see the exhibition. The lady that organised it kindly sent me a few shots of my work in situ, so here they are:


I wish I could have got to see this exhibition, but Bath is a pretty long drive from Manchester, and I struggled to even find the time to drive the pieces down for the show, let alone go again for the exhibition! And they are currently in the spare room of my friends house waiting for me to go and pick them up, because I couldn't get down there to collect them yet! Life as an artist can be so hectic sometimes!

Finally, there's my work in a gallery! It's the Mill Bridge Gallery in Skipton, a gallery dedicated to photography and sculpture. I have actually been in negotiation with Carina, the lovely lady that runs the gallery for several months to have my work up there, but she only has very limited space so she had to wait until some was freed up. So now I have a couple big pieces up on the wall there, and I left a few smaller pieces with her in case some more room becomes available. I must admit, it was a pretty proud moment, hanging my work in a commercial gallery for the first time! Here I am with my work, looking pretty darn pleased with myself! (Excuse the quality, it was taken by my husband, who was also excited!)

The two pictures in context, next to the work of a photographer I really like. Note the distressed frame on the top piece, which is a new innovation.

Right, well that's all there's time for today. Still lots to mention as ever, including how I nearly got included in a pretty prestigious exhibition, but then didn't, plus other exciting moments in the ever changing life of an artist! I know I say it every time, but I really will try and make it not so long until the next post!

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