Monday, 28 December 2009

work house

This time of the year I am always filled with too many ideas the inspiration pot bubbles over and you are not sure which way to go. Terrible thing to drown in inspiration. So usually I start with random mono prints drawing with ink getting rid of what's inside my head, on to paper, back of fag packets, tax return forms anything that I can get my hands on. My studio is always airing on the cool side, it keeps my brain working much the same as"the Einstein" a quick submerge of your head in a cold sink of water. Many a time when I have had to get work finished for deadlines, have I had to do an Einstein.
I am working on too many projects at the moment so days of scribbling to formulate and delete ideas helps. My Studio is one of my favourite places in my world. It's all mine not many people ever visit it, as I keep it hidden, apart from Archie the cat who practically lives there. It is a place where the past,present and future blend together. Throughout my studio everything is in the middle of becoming something. One end of my studio is where I work, the other full of shelves covered in books, fabric, old radios, jars of buttons, threads, odds and sods, things that you will keep as they will come in handy and on the very odd occasion do. I like my living space to be calm and ordered but my work space to leave you always feeling inspired in a little bit of chaos.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

our family on the other side of the world

I would like to introduce you to some of my very favourite people in my world, they are my Cambodian family. They live on the Tonale Sap lake and make there living fishing. They live on a floating house that moves around the lake depending on the time of year, the lake is vast more like an inland sea. The Tonale Sap is said to be the heart of South East Asia with it's ebb and flow defined by the Mekong river fed by the melt down every year of the Himalayas. I met Thy on the right hand side when I was staying in a tiny little guest house, whilst working out there the first time. Throughout my stays in Cambodia we have become good friends with him and his family. They are 10 as Thy's mum died last year at 42 from pneumonia. The head of the house now falls to Thy's oldest sister sitting next to him in Blue. There little house is as wide as they are sitting across and about 25 feet long. They all live on this boat. I still find it difficult to believe, no space is your own. No room for privacy in Cambodian families. They sleep on the floor with pillows they all role out. In the heat of the 40 degree summer you must go nearly mad. Everything is so clean and beautifully organized everything has a place. They cook at the back of the house in a 4ft square space in a big wok. Everybody takes turns to eat their food, usually of fish and herbs. These can be found growing in anything they can find on the side of the house. The lemon grass is the most heavenly I have ever tasted. Life in Cambodia is hard, Thy's family live on 2 - 3 dollars a day, some of the children go to school but this costs money, health care is far from adequate. People and children die from diseases that are completely treatable with basic health care provision. A wonderful man who I met out there, has set up an incredible project which means health care is reaching the thousands of people who live on the lake via catamarans. Thy has taken me in I have lived with his family shared in weddings, funerals, shared culture, food, language and they have showed me how to live without a toilet. Thy and his family have generously shared and I have found out about the heart of Cambodia. My life is so much richer for knowing Thy and my Cambodian family. I still speak bad Khmer and can't throw a cast net to save my life.

Monday, 21 December 2009

land of magical happenings

Ta Phrom the trees have reclaimed the temples
Bayon Apsara dancer relief
Apsara dancers

Nothing can prepare you for the sheer beauty, magnificence and wondrous temples of the Angkor Watt in Cambodia. They commanded a vast empire under the auspices of an all powerful god - king. And they sustained a civilization of unparalleled achievement in south east Asia.
So often we find ourselves at the world's most incredible monuments, we are in awe of there architectural genius, there scale and magnificence. But rarely do we have the opportunity to see what it was like for the real people. Many stories and information of our past are told through chronicles of kings not peasants This is what makes the temples so interesting they tell the story of everyday life of the everyday people.
I love that you can still walk and climb over them all. No health and safety, you can fall from the top and maim yourself at your own risk. Can you imagine being able to climb all over Stonehenge it's a no fly zone let alone a no touch zone.
Around every corner you can't but wonder HOW?????? They are works of pure genius. Last year I ran a marathon around it at sunrise, that was quite something on two counts me running and being there for the sunrise. Where else in the world would you be stopped in the middle of running by an elephant crossing the path. That really was a wonderful sight as the sun began to peer over the top of the Angkor watt that morning. What makes the Angkor Watt so special is that the everyday life, they once supported has not totally vanished and can be seen all around, families gathering wood, monks, people just living. We went off the beaten track at some of the more distant temples which we shouldn't have because of landmines. But this is where you find hidden gems, whilst we were out walking we came upon dwellings where monks lived all their saffron robes were hanging on trees to dry. I walked through quickly with my eyes shut wouldn't do to see naked monks. I have been back to them now 8 times and still want to see them again. If you have the opportunity to go and see them don't tell too many people as I like to keep them a little bit secret, but you can't help sharing how wonderful they are.
Visit my shop and you can see little bits of my journies in the stuff I make

Friday, 18 December 2009

itchy feet

Spirit house Ho Chi Min City Vietnam
My wall showing some of my favourite places

Do you get that feeling when your feet are so itchy and wanderlust is all consuming. You long for journey's to meet people from far of lands and to just travel and be free. I like that feeling of having nothing more than my smelly old Moroccan bag that smells like a dead camel, passport and an unknown journey ahead. Terrible thing, I know in these days of Carbon foot prints, but I really love the smell of aviation fuel as I know new experiences are just around the corner. Every morning I wake to the wall in front of me filled with my favourite photos of my favourite places I have travelled to. It heartens me to think about where next. So many places, so little time, the year ahead is to be a year where I go and see a whole lot more of the world and all it has to share. I thought I would blog a week of sharing my favourite places, people and their stories.
Be still my wanderlust, be still until February.

Monday, 14 December 2009

what's happening?????

I have shared my life with a wonderful person for many years. We are the odd couple.
When we did our degrees it was fish and fashion.
For a while now I have started to worry that there is every possibility that this much loved wonder is turning into a mermen. I quite expect to wake up one morning only to find his feet have metamorphosed into flippers. How can one person eat, breathe and sleep water. I think he will soon be able to breathe in it.
The water lures him like sirens the sailors, he works in it all day, when not working his passion is fishing for the mystical carp, he dives and when he comes home every night he falls asleep in the bath with a glass of wine. If it's over an hour I send the cat up to make sure he is still alive. How can one person have such an affinity with water? I like my feet firmly on terra firma, as water is probably one of my greatest fears. I once went and was regressed to see how I had lived my many previous lives, the one that I remembered most about was my life in Atlantis. So the fear is real, if you believe all that stuff. I can often be found swimming or running from water in my dreams. I nearly drown at least once a week in them.
If he does grow flippers, I don't know how he will get shoes to fit.

Friday, 11 December 2009

caged in

Just finished two cushions they were inspired by my journey to Vietnam, where all the shops in one particular street had rows upon rows of miner birds nattering away in Vietnamese. It really made me laugh a lot, so I sat and sketched a couple and this was what I have made. My sister got hold of this brilliant 1970's summer dress and that's what I cut up for the psychedelic fabric. I love the acidic colours and swirling pattern.
Just going off to work at a project I am involved in. I have been working as an artist with people living with locked in Syndrome. I can only liken their lives to birds trapped in cages, but they are trapped in their bodies. I use line, colour, form to enable them to express themselves when many of the other ways of communicating are not working. It takes a long time and much patience to work in this way because the communication is so subtle and can easily go unnoticed. It's sad I work with someone my age 37 who is unable to move apart from her eyes and mouth. We laugh lots, she still has retained a wicked sense of humor that I was assured by her daughter she had always had. Every week I leave and wonder. How do we measure somebodies quality of life??????????

If you only ever watch one film try watchingThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a translation of the French memoir Le scaphandre et le papillon by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby. ... who suffered a brain hemorrhage and became locked in, he went on to write his memoirs using just the blinking of one of his eyes. Difficult viewing at times. Nobody said this life was easy.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

lipstick lady

This painting by a dear friend makes me smile every time I look at her, she is hanging in my dining room and I treasure her. She died a year and a half ago. She kept popping into my head today, so I thought I would like to share this painting "Lipstick lady". She was in her late 70s, she was a true eccentric, who when had money lived like a king, when none lived like a pauper. I used to see her every week we would sit in her flat which was hardly ever cleaned, a shrine to art and fashion with a shed load of dust on top. Every week we would read Harpers, Vogue, Tatler, any of the glossies as well as avant-garde and quirky publications. Shirley lived ate and slept art. I loved to sit drink gin out of the finest chipped tea cups, delight at each page and natter for hours about the world and his wife. Shirley lived with Schizophrenia throughout her life, I met her in the last 12 years of her life, when she came to an arts project I had set up. It wasn't until she died that I found out that some of those stories that were so ingrained within her were not the reality, they were part of her delusions that were so real that she had lived with them all her life and where reality and fiction had merged the delusions had become her reality.
We always laughed lots, she painted with anything she could get her hands on. She could often be found knocking up the paint on the whole dinner service. Even the cleaner who she paid to come round and sort out the almighty mess, stopped doing the cleaning and ended up coming around for 4 hours a week to be the life model. So the house remained a messy magpie's nest.
My favourite story was when we had gone up to London to visit some galleries and we came upon Vivienne Westwood's shop, Shirley popped in and found some wonderful earrings. Me being the voice of reason said "Shirley you are about to be cut off you need to pay the electricity bill." She promptly replied "Sod the electricity bill darling. We have candles".
Thinking of you!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

simple pleasures

Just put up our Christmas decorations. There is that lovely warm feeling getting down from the loft boxes of decorations that some how feel kind of new but feel very familiar. Each bauble tells a story, whether bought in Cambodia, Singapore in the garden centre with my Nang (gran) or ones that have been handed down from my mum. These baubles look a bit worse for wear they are showing there 40 years old. Is that not what Christmas decorations are all about memories, tradition and love. I don't have a Christmas tree, the thought of them being chopped down to end a sad 2 weeks in a central heated house over Christmas. I can't do that so instead my mum every year coppice's the cork screw willow and this is what we have. Dec's are up and just lit the first fire of the year, there is always that expectation that you are going to be smoked out, as you haven't swept the chimney. Everything seem ok at the moment.
Off for a glass of wine and some carrot and orange soup and lovely crusty bread. Life is about simple pleasures.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Bruno and his amazing magic mushrooms..........

Last evening myself and some friends attended the preview of Reveal an exhibition I have some work in. It was a lovely evening, shared with wonderful friends. My mum has always said to us all "You are as rich as your friends" I am a zillionaire as I have a wonderfully eclectic mix of friends who I really appreciate and love. Everything was going well at the exhibition until the magic mushroom incident....... In the middle of the exhibition were many plinths full of ceramics and glass. Yes breakable, fragile, delicate things. I must set the scene, I was over the other side of the room talking to my dearest friend and over the other side of the gallery next to the plinths stood Phil, A ( anonymous because she doesn't deserve to be connected with the incident and BRUNO, who does deserve to be named. It was a chilly evening and Bruno and A came from work with coats and bags. I was watching them talking in a group as I was catching up on the gossip and then in slow motion I saw the bag swing round and decapitate a ceramic mushroom on a stick that was poked into a flowerpot of sand. There was that split second where you don't know whether to laugh or not. Bruno's face was a picture. Was he going to reveal his crime or place the mushroom back in 2 pieces? Did anybody see as he looked around the room, he scanned around everybody was busy nattering. Would he be able to live with the dark secret ? Was he going to confess?
Yes he did, frog marched up to the desk by Phil. Bruno looking like a Brazilian Harry Potter,waving his decapitated magic mushroom. A his wife moved away from the impending problem and we watched Harry Potter try to buy a broken ceramic magic mushroom. The maker was terribly gracious and said not to worry at all. How kind. That was good news for Bruno as there had already been a car clamping incident the day before, so a broken magic mushroom expense was not looking good.
God I have laughed until I hurt about last night.
Thank you to my friends. You are wonders.
Visit reveal if you can, there are some really wonderful makers exhibiting there, just be careful of the mushrooms.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

revealing all !

I am part of the gang showing at Reveal from Thursday 3 - Sunday 6 December 2009 to find out more take a sneaky peek at
I am nearly finished making, and as ever am feeling a bit scared about putting my heart out on the block for all to see.
Oh well onward and upward.
Off now for a big glass of wine.

Friday, 27 November 2009

drawing from life

The loving couple cushion
can be found in my folksy shop

Got out of bed the wrong side this morning, I really wanted to finish my dream, in a clinch with Colin Farrell and my little nephew came in sleep walking talking about a toothpaste monster. Darn it why can't you slip back into those dreams?
I don't have children and don't really think I have a maternal bone in my body, but I absolutely love children and my nephews and niece, they bring such joy, wonder and I find them a great source of amusement.
So with thoughts of Mr Colin Farrell swimming round in my head off I go to life drawing, it is really good practise, everybody should do it to free up your line, thought, observation and it's so relaxing.
But today no body beautiful certainly not Mr Farrell more like a 70 year old barrel. I know, I am being mean. The sketches I make in my life drawing sessions inspire many different paintings and other stuff.
Maybe next week it will be Colin Farrell, Brad, Jude,the highly beautiful Armani man of the moment,or the man at the gym. Some hopes!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

motivation for the gym

Is it ever ok that your motivation for going to the gym, is to watch the beautiful man that runs there ?
He is glorious!!!!!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

fallen of the edge of the world

I feel like I have fallen off the edge of the world. All is ok though! I am clambering my way back. For the last two weeks I have become a hermit working to finish commission, making for the Reveal showcase in Henley. Wandering aimlessly through my mind to my inspiration memory bank, I have been over to the dark side, the inspiration desert. I came through and then once I started the ideas just didn't stop. I would like to say a big thank you to all my loving friends, family and ever so patient Phil. They have rang me up to go out, drink wine and gossip and it's been no, I must get this finished!!!!! I did go out this weekend it was lovely just to be in the world, eat lovely food and laugh until you hurt. Now the cold light of day on a Monday, I have to get my house and studio back, to it's normal ordered chaos, at present it just looks like a fabric explosion, every surface covered in thread, fabric, paint, and buttons. Also my car is in the same state. I had a tin with over 500 buttons in it, I swerved to miss a pigeon and the buttons went everywhere. There's a job! My car just might stay as my giant button tin.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Thank goodness!

Photos both from Vogue's December issue 09

I am very rarely ill, touch wood, but last night and today feel so fragile and it comes as a shock to the system when you can't race about and the journey down the stairs feels like your descending Everest. All I can say is thank goodness for the post as December's Vogue fell on the door mat. So me and Archie the cat have been wrapped up in a blanket sitting on the sofa looking at the heady delights of December's issue. It is so lovely to indulge yourself in the wonder of the world of fashion. Stephen Jones beautiful hat from 1992 or the fashion story red alert with strong graphic red silhouettes set against the white cliffs of Dover. I have fashion illustrations to finish with an ever nearing deadline. So not being able to do anything has been a day for thought, contemplation and inspiration gathering, from the sofa.

Monday, 2 November 2009


Spent a lovely Sunday at Bookface which was a celebration of unconventional book and local artists creations, poetry readings and organic beer and delicious cake. Perfect combination for a Sunday. The building we were in was old and cranky, with appalling colours on the walls, walls maybe on the verge of tumbling, dusty old wooden floors, a baby grand piano that's just ever so slightly out of tune, chipped mugs and those coasters my nan had that showed picture postcard views of wales. It is all these imperfections that make this place so, so perfect. I didn't have any knowledge of performance poetry really, but Bookface fuelled my thirst for getting out there and finding it and enjoying something new. The performance poets were brilliant, I am hooked. We were there to launch our little artist hand-made book Fishy Business, it was lovely to be surrounded by artists and unconventional's who see the world through many eyes.

Monday, 26 October 2009

a pricked bum for christmas

I was told a story by a very dear friend one afternoon over a glass of sherry. She was born in the 1930s and told me that there was never much money for Christmas decorations. So she being the oldest was sent to go and get decorations from the woods. She used to ride her bike into the woods to collect holly and mistletoe. She used to tie the holly on to the back of the bike, and all the way home her bum was pricked by the holly. So the little sketches came about from the story, and then it was stitched to make the Christmas card. Like all good tales the story has been embellished slightly, in this case there was a little deviation in the out fit worn for collecting holly. But then again, how do you collect yours?
They will be going into my folksy shop later in the week.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Best salesmen in the world!

"much travel is needed before a raw man is ripened"
Arab proverb

I have just come back from a little wandering around North Africa.
I love so many things about this part of the world, a place full of Artisans around every corner where traditional skills are handed down from generation to generation with the greatest love and care. Wonderful people who are full of warmth, kindness and hospitality. The architecture in the Medina's is so hidden by forbidding doors. Once these doors are open you are sucked in and your senses are tantalized. The exquisite hand cut mosaics, the wonderful pink of the bougainvillea, fragrant honeysuckle and citrus trees and the fountains creating a sense of cool in the middle of the court yard in the stifling heat of the midday.
The thing that has tickled me the most on my travels is the amazing sales techniques used to get you to purchase goods. As I was sitting reading a book one day, I noticed a whole stream of merchants trawling down the beach with their wares, beautiful carpets, palm trees,( they really think you will get them back through customs in the UK) jewellery, the most succulent peaches, apricots, and dates, clothing, silver boxes to name but a few. If you can't get to them they will come to you. It got me thinking about how we sell things, especially cyber shopping. As an artist I make things and everything is for me about texture and how it feels, well that is completely lost through the screen. There is not that sense of truly connecting with that item as you are very reliant on just one of you senses rather than all of them.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

fluttering to you!

Let these butterfly cards flutter to you. There are 5 cards each one hand painted with ink and stick and come in their own handmade box. I would like to invite you to leave your name on my blog by November 1st and who's ever name is pulled out of the teapot, they shall be yours to enjoy.
Please take a sneaky peek at my shop
Good luck!

Name pulled out of the teapot was Oohmoo, they will be fluttering to you.
Thanks everyone

Friday, 9 October 2009

I am a fraudster

Bamboo graffiti and the stunning blue of the garden.

I am a fraudster. I have been going to the lovely Outcasts Knit night and fraudulently sewing whilst everybody else is knitting the most beautiful things. It's a whole language I don't understand and doubt I ever will. I am not very logical and can't follow instructions. I am one of those people who read the end first or not at all. So I really felt a bit of a fraudster there on Wednesday night stitching a Vietnamese Miner bird in a cage.Those miner birds really made me laugh when we were walking around Vietnam, they were everywhere in the shops spouting Miner bird Vietnamese.
I am rambling! Whilst I was at knit night we started talking about Morocco and the Jardin Majorelle, which is the wonderful garden of Yves St Laurent. It is more exquisite than you can imagine. Jaques majorelle designed the garden and then Yves st Laurent and Pierre Berge the artist restored the garden to it's former glory. It is a truly tranquil space full of rare and beautiful plants, architectural forms, all set off by the stunning cobalt blue buildings. It is so beautiful, you just want your magic carpet to fly you there to be captivated by the light and quietude and away form our grey skies.

Monday, 5 October 2009

phantom messages

For the last 3 years every now and again I am left a hand painted painted message sometimes pinned on my car, sometimes left in my art cupboard at a project I do some work at. I know the person who leaves them, I never see them, but it is always lovely to be left a phantom message. I have become very fond of these messages, they are always inspirational. I also like the fact that you never know when they are going to appear and if you will ever get another. I would just like to share today's wonderful message with the world.

Friday, 2 October 2009

re -occurring

a little bird told me

An artist's early work is inevitably made up of a mixture of tendencies and interests, some of which are compatible and some of which are in conflict. As the artist picks his way along, rejecting and accepting as he goes, certain patterns of enquiry emerge. His failures are as valuable as his successes: by misjudging one thing he conforms something else, even if at the time he does not know what that something else is.” -- Bridget Riley.
Did not sleep very well last night and was lying awake thinking about the stuff that was tumble drying round in my head, It's always a time where ideas come to me, or often when I am driving. I am a great experimenter I am not frightened to try new materials, ways of working, so lots goes wrong but also that enables happy accidents, that are more often than not my most successful stuff. But whatever I try there are still re-occurring themes that creep into my work. The fragility and power of the lovers, solitary women, the day after the night before, stripes, messenger birds and ethereal buterflies just passing through. I work on commissions for lots of different things, but still can't resist somewhere placing a sneaky stripe in or something from my re-occurring file in my head. These themes are so deep rooted, I can't remember when they started appearing in my work. Maybe they always have in some form or another.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

finishing things

I have just finished a painting after 4 years. In that four years it has probably only been worked on for a couple of days in total. It has been up on the wall, framed then unframed as bits weren't quite right. How do you know when something is ever finished? It's a fine line, between just so and completley ******* it up.
Is anything ever finished?

Saturday, 26 September 2009

human stew

Every Tuesday I go to a little cafe called Picnic. I don't quite know anybody in there, it's like a human stew, a jumble of people who gather there to drink coffee, eat cake and gossip. It's not terribly big, but is the perfect place to sit, watch the world through the window, draw and write letters. The window looks out onto three other cafes. The other day, I was sketching and drinking coffee, when a large circle of Moroccan men caught my eye. They were sat sipping coffee and sharing stories in their mother tongue. It was intriguing to watch them, whilst telling their stories they get up wander about they are so animated whilst the stories were been told. I love the dynamics, passion, the overwhelming need to share their stories and the continuous heckling throughout the dialogue.
I go back to my scribbling and try to listen to what people are chattering about, in the cafe it's quiet today everybody speaking just above a whisper, as not to share their business with the world. Why in this country are we so worried about encroaching on others space? The only thing I hear with any clarity is that "he said his wife's face looks like a mouldy sandwich". Charming! For all I know that's what they could of been storytelling about over the road in the Moroccan circle. I really love that Moroccan people understand the importance of their storytellers as they keep the flames of their culture alive. We all have stories to tell, their in our bones.
I would just like to say how grateful I am to my Dad for his storytelling throughout our lives, and how lucky we were to have known his stories especially, little red riding hood the little raver.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

fragility of life

We run from place to place, busy onto the next thing before we have finished the thing we were in the middle of doing. There is no time to stop and stare. Sometimes you just want the world to freeze for a second to spare you time for thought and to enjoy the moments. The moments we have each and every day, that maybe we don't deem important, but it's all these moments that make a life.
On Saturday the world stopped for a moment when the very sad news came of a friend who had decided that she could not exist in this life anymore. She was too tired to fight, the colours had become dull, the sounds a thud and the taste of the world had turned sour. We met 10 years ago, I was invited to start an arts project for artists and creative people whose lives have been disrupted by mental illness. Over the last 10 years the project has grown out of an art cupboard with a few art materials, to a project where the arts have become an integral part of people's care and recovery. We have a gallery space, we exhibit nationally and in November are about to launch our monthly handmade boutique. Some of our gang are artists some were people who came to doodle, to escape the fear, loneliness, anxiety and demons. They are now exhibiting work in their own right. We work hard to dissipate discrimination through the arts. "1 in 4, like me, have a mental health problem. Many more have a problem with that" Stephen Fry.
We meet twice a week, it's a time to gossip drink tea, have loads of creative fags, to share worries noisily or just to come and forget quietly. The thing that brings us altogether is the art and some of the most interesting people you will ever meet. But yesterday was quiet, each and everyone their knows the fragility of life and sometimes you want to let go because it is more than you can bear, but something keeps you holding on tight.

Friday, 18 September 2009

no 29

I would just like to give something back to all the lovely people who continually inspire me and my work. This is from my little geisha collection no 29, they start life as little mono prints that I have embellished with silk, ink, stitches and jewels. I have been leaving some of them at bus stops, in cafes in books in book shops everywhere and anywhere. I am a great believer in fate so whoever finds them was meant to have one. It is lovely to receive the stories from where and how people have found them. I never name them they are always just numbered the name giving is the job of the finder. I would like to invite you to leave a message on my blog by 30th September with a name for no 29 and who's ever name is pulled out of the hat, she shall be yours.
Sew scrumptious your name was picked out of the teapot she will be winging her way to you as Isabella.
You can see more on

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

a granny,a spaceship,a tea cup and Balmain

Photo from October 2009 Vogue

Who could put a granny, a spaceship, a tea cup and a model in Balmain it could only be the bloody genius that is Tim Walker, creative god.
It was a pure delight to open October's Vogue and find the Tim Walker photo shoot The lady who fell to earth. His photos are like stepping into those strange and magical day dreams with an Alice in wonderland type quality, the kind of dreams you never want to wake from. One of my absolute and favourite fashion photos ever, is the wonderful image of Lily Cole on the spiral staircase with the never ending dress. Each photo in that whole photo story is exquisite, if I remember I think taken in Gujarat India in 2005.
I think his work is just like a little slice of day dreamy heaven.
We should all day dream more, it's when our creativity floats in, because we momentarily let go of reality.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

waited and I waited and I waited......................

Yesterday was a day of waiting patiently, and then a bit more in- patiently and then as the day went on just bloody well mad of waiting. We were waiting for our new red sofa, our window slot for delivery between nine and five. You are always hopeful at the beginning that you will be first on their list and then as the hands on the clock pass, you begin to get a little less hopeful. Then at 4.30pm, you make a call to see if there is a hope in hell's chance of it arriving. " Yes it's on it's way" she said. 4.55 our lovely red sofa arrived, 4,55. I think the term is sod's law. Why is it on those days that you can't settle, to do anything.
Sofa's should be like old friends, that you can curl up on, play on, sleep, dream and live. They should be big enough for you and friends, and thoroughly welcoming at the end of a busy day. I love our new red sofa, but still looking to new, no sofa war wounds in the form of cat claws, red wine or covered in threads like our other sofa. Our other sofa really is an old friend and has many battle scars. I have actually finished making some cushions for our home rather than the rest of the world. Now that is a miracle!

Friday, 11 September 2009


Had a morning of mono printing and drawing and working on my collection of little geisha. I now have around 50, they are little mono prints embellished with silk,stitching and thread. I still think drawing is like magic, that strange zap of something that makes your hand draw what's in your head. I don't understand it. It truly is a wonder. The first drawings you make are always the best they have those wonderful raw qualities, that we often loose, as we try to refine lines.

Matisse makes a drawing, then he makes a copy of it. He recopies it five times, ten times, always clarifying the line. He's convinced that the last, the most stripped down, is the best, the purest, the definitive one; and in fact, most of the time, it was the first. In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt. ~ Pablo Picasso.

You can take a sneaky peek at them

Thursday, 10 September 2009

a cat with a moustache

Just woken up in a bit of a fog due to a few glasses of champagne and wine maybe just one too many, never the less a perfect evening to celebrate my birthday, with lovely friends. So I am trying to lift my head off the pillow when I look at Archie the cat and overnight he seems to have grown and enormous moustache, I had a few last eve, not that many. As he comes nearer the moustache is moving. OH MY GOD IT'S A SNAKE! What do you do pull the duvet over your head, scream or faint? I scream pull the duvet over my head for a few seconds take a deep breath only to find out it's a slow worm. Still not good in your bedroom. This took me back to a strange site I encountered whilst in Cambodia. A lady hanging out her snakes to dry. I thought from the other side of the road, they were saffron coloured threads, hanging, but on closer examination hundreds of snakes drying out in the midday sun. I have had some unusual encounters with creatures whilst out their over the years. The most peculiar spectacles is the transportation of pigs. The transportation of pigs is unbelievable on the back of the moped, there is a plank of wood, about pig sized. These pigs are alive tied up on their backs with all four trotters up in the air. It is astounding, I asked how they get these pigs to comply with this mode of transport. It seems that the local home-made moonshine is the answer. Getting your pigs drunk for the journey, I wonder what the RSPCA would say about that. I don't like to see it, but I still think it far less cruel than the way we transport our animals half way round the world and then slaughter them. These pigs have lived their lives roaming freely, with plenty of food, and then they will go on a short journey, be it upside down to be killed and every scrap of flesh will be consumed. I know which I think less cruel.
I have been offered some real delicacies to eat in Cambodia, red ant paste, deep fried cockroaches and locusts, tarantula, baluk which are hard boiled eggs with the chick already formed, tortoise, and crocodile from the back yard. Each and every time with my hand on my heart. I have said thankyou but no. Thank God I really am vegetarian and have been for the last 27 years.

Monday, 7 September 2009


Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From the television show The Wonder Years

Memory is a funny thing, how one memory triggers another and then another, then before you know it you have the memory domino effect. Well that happened this weekend, my mum came to visit bringing a suspicious looking carrier bag from my sister. A carrier bag of dolls. Dolls from every part of the globe. There are elements of these dolls that are undoubtedly darkly grotesque, but there is something really quite whimsical about them. I still can't decide if I really hate them or really like them, the jury is still out. I was never much of a doll person as a child I was more in to decapitating them and giving them a felt tip makeovers, that Gok would be proud of. This bag of dolls started the memory domino effect with thoughts of this little bear, which my mum handed down to me a few years ago, he has no name, has one ear, medals around his neck, and sits on our dresser. He was my great granddad's and he carried this bear whilst fighting in the first world war and throughout his life, until it was passed on to my mum as a child. This bear has been a constant wonder throughout my life, of the stories he could tell, and a trigger for memories of a wonderful man who we all still really miss. I think it will soon be time to hand this bear down to Scarlett my little niece. That's a bit frightening.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Anybody got a cure for piles?

Anybody out there have a cure for piles?
Piles of stuff everywhere. I have just been walking around my house, garden and studio, looking for things and have counted 16 different piles of piles. Piles of drawings I am working on, piles of embroidery I am working on, piles of books that I am reading all at once, piles of newspapers,
piles of sketch books, piles of paintings for exhibition, piles of ideas in my head that need sorting out and as ever piles of socks and shoes who have lost there partners. When we all lived at home my mum's cure for piles was a cardboard box in the garage with each of our names on, and the pile stayed there until we could be bothered to retrieve them. One day I think the piles at my house will be so high that I will enter through, into my very own Narnia like world.
There is one thing that I have noticed about my piles, they have to look nice and inspiring, so that's a blessing, inspiring mess.
You can take a sneaky peek at my stuff

Friday, 4 September 2009

digging a way your worries

It's a lovely sunny morning and the perfect day to dig away your worries. If I am feeling anxious or worrying, or need to come up with a plan, digging, weeding and planting are my ways of thinking through worrisome thoughts. Your worries seem to stretch out in the garden you feel part of the universe, you think more clearly and you can hand your worries over to the world .
I used to work with someone who always used to say to me "You die if you worry you die if you don't"
Thank goodness I am a compulsive gardener because it counteracts my compulsive worrying!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

making stuff

After yesterday's holding on blog which are the grim realities of lack of basic medicine, clean water and education. I wanted to bring you a little of the work that I have been doing, I work hands on with children adults, pregnant women out reach, anybody and everybody, but I also run training for healthcare workers, NGO'S, children on the streets to look at how they can use the arts to relay health education messages set up workshops to engage difficult to reach people to give people the opportunities to learn new skills and my biggest concern, looking at how the arts can impact on mental health issues in a country where there is very little mental health provision. This all happens from one suitcase of materials which always seems to bring a whole world of chaos in it's wake. I always travel light, clothes your standing up in, tooth brush, red lipstick and perfume, because nothing in the world can save you from some of those smells. So this is my travelling kit and the rest of my bags full of paint, glitter, beads, pencils, scissors. I always wonder how one bag can explode into huge chaotic messes of creativity, as you can see in the above photos in the middle of a hospital ward. The most brilliant thing there is health and safety is really non existent, people use there common sense instead Hoorah! I still find it hard to comprehend that there were children and adults who had never held a pencil. I just can't imagine. My khmer is limited there English lots better than mine, but we don't need words. The paintbrushes dance and we have a universal language.