Sunday, 1 October 2017

Nigel Bents - Mail Art Workshop

This past Wednesday we started the workshop rotations at uni. We'll be doing these for a number of weeks as inductions to all the various processes and studios. We have to blog these workshops as evidence that we did them and as a kind of way for us to have something to refresh our memories if need be. I thought it would be a great way to keep in touch with you guys. So am copy/pasting those blogs as I do them over to here. Up for that?  Let's go.
Nigel Bents - Mail Art Aficionado
For my first workshop Nigel Bents visited to host a mail art workshop. He set us three tasks. The first I took part in was to fill in a form of seemingly innocent questions but they really got me thinking. Things like "What is Your Favourite Smell?" (My Mum's baking on Christmas morning - Christmas has never been the same without it.) "Name a bad habit" (Nail biting) I found questions such as what are my favourite possessions and who would I invite to dinner - living or dead, particularly interesting to answer.
On the back of the paper we were to write a detailed message of where we expect ourselves to be in three years time. Then, for the second part of our task we made envelopes to seal them in and addressed them to our future selves. We will get them back in 2020 when we finish the course. I found this part of the task particularly difficult - did we just include where we hoped to be professionally? Or personally as well? We only had a little time for what turned out to be a soul searching task. I went the route of both personal and professional in the end. I enjoyed this task because it really made me think about things that are happening in my life at the moment but it also made me set long term goals which is always a good and useful thing to have and to aim for. I look forward to opening up this envelope in three years time and seeing how things have changed.
Carmen Wing Art Blog - Mail Art - Letter To Future Me

Typographical Postcards...
We looked through Nigel's postcard collection and were to pick some lettered cards to make our own words relating to us. I chose this word because it relates to my life on many levels at this particular moment in time. I very rarely use colourful language when I talk - never have, it's just a thing of mine. I'm not anti-swearing. I just never started doing it. But it does make me laugh and I do find other peoples use of it very funny. So - in many ways to use this word, right now, at this particular point in time seems very appropriate to me. It describes how my insomnia makes me feel, it describes certain things that are happening in my life and it describes the nervous excitement I felt walking through the uni doors on the first day. Oh...

Other postcards in Nigel's collection were thought provoking and also of their time. These named cards obviously have very different meanings than their original purpose. (Just names) I couldn't resist putting them in this order - had to be done. Criminal not to. And yes, I keep laughing like a child whenever I look at this photo.
Carmen Wing Art Blog - Mail Art - Vintage Typography Postcards - Double Meaning. Dick, Fanny, baby.
Oh, The History...

But then straight away on the flipside - we found a postcard with the Nazi swastika on it. Just a genteel birthday greetings postcard emblazoned with what has become an icon of hate. The message on the back so mundane, chitchat. It beggars belief that this was ok, this was normal. A fascinating collection to flip through - real social history right there in front of us. (Apologies for the blur - a photographer I am not.)
Carmen Wing Art Blog - Mail Art - Vintage Postcards - Social History - Nazi Swastika on Birthday Greeting
Carmen Wing Art Blog - Mail Art - Vintage Postcard message on the back of a postcard bearing a birthday greeting emblazoned with a swastika.
I also loved the postcards featuring the code of stamps and I am going to start using this myself - I do mail art quite regularly with a couple of friends and I wonder if they will notice and query the meaning of my wonky stamps. I think in an age of technological, pretty impersonal and easily deleted engagement, this sort of thing is wonderful. Getting something beautiful interspersed with the bills and Dominos flyers is such a bright spot of the day and anything to add to the interest and intrigue - I'm there. A disappearing art and one I hope to have a hand in trying to keep alive.
Carmen Wing Art Blog - Mail Art - Vintage postcard with the secret code language of postal stamps
Carmen Wing Art Blog - Mail Art - Vintage postcard with the secret code language of postal stamps
Our last task was to complete a pre-designed postcard to a teacher who has helped you the most in your life. A personal message thanking them for all that they have done. We were also to add our own personal touches to the front of the card. (I forgot to take a picture before I posted it.) Teaching is very often a thankless and under valued profession - it's a brilliant idea to let someone, whoever they may be,  know they have influenced you and had a hand in helping you to be where you are now. I took my English GCSE last year and chose my English tutor. I had already thanked him at the end of my course but when I contacted him for an address to post my card to he seemed genuinely touched by the gesture. Thank you are two very powerful words.
All in all I really enjoyed this workshop - it got me thinking a lot about things that I didn't think it would. (And that I'm not putting here.) I loved Nigel's enthusiasm and it was infectious. I was disappointed not to be able to attend his afternoon talk (I have to leave at lunch time every day to be sure that I am home in time to pick the kiddo's up at 3pm) but the workshop in itself has sparked lots of ideas and made me think a lot about personal influences, mail art and social history. Next step - how to incorporate this into my work.
Thanks for stopping by today :)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Silver Crow Project - The Collage

Well, Hello Again

I come bearing arty stuffs as well! No, I have not just been sat on my tush scrolling through Instagram, eating chocolate and watching NCIS back to back. That's only some of the time.

Do you recall that I have to get eight pieces done for a pop-up exhibition before I enrol at uni? Well, I have definitely settled on the theme of Silver Crow. I tried to go all graffiti/street art at first - don't get excited - that didn't work, I just got high spray painting my workshop shelves a Barbie-esque pink and green. Seriously. #procrastination-win I'm going to revisit street art later. When I've recovered from the horror.

So I've started with something I struggle with equally as much... *insert doom laden voice here*  ...COLLAGE. Don't get me wrong, I adore collage. When other people do it. Me, not so much. I can't keep the page clean, I get gluey prints all over the place, stick stuff down then realise I should have stuck something else first - ack it's just a shambles. Let's face it. I'm Grunge with a capital G. So lets embrace that. Lets chuck some paint at this collage before we even start. Take away that "I'm going to screw this up with my grubby hands" fear.

I used some of my grey spray paints and a rather gorgeous 'Rose Fluorescent' paint from Pebeo. That's better. 
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - The Silver Crow Project - A grungy collage process
I went for a jackdaw in flight as my first image - whenever I see Silver Crow she is more often than not in flight or just taking off. The text I've used is from a dictionary sourced from the Plundered Pages pack I bought. It actually has mention of a White Crow in it. Had to get that in there.

This is how the final collage looks. It's hard to get a good photo of  - she's outlined in silver pen, not white. So her wings sparkle and shine. I'm not totally sure she's finished but I've moved on to the next one as time is short now. I am going to check over them all at the end with fresh eyes. See if anything leaps out at me.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - The Silver Crow Project - A grungy collage
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - The Silver Crow Project - A grungy collage

For a collage fearing newb - I'm actually really pleased. Lesson learnt - Embrace the Grunge Monster. Work with, not against. It's not going anywhere - I've finally realised it's part of my style! I know - a lot of you could have told me that years ago. My muse - we'll have to think of a name. 

I'll be back soon with Silver Crow number 2! 
Thanks for stopping by today :)

Sunday, 20 August 2017

It Begins! Uni Summer Project

Hello There,

So - I've had my welcome email from the uni and it contained the Summer Project which is to be completed before we even enrol! Um... yikes!

We have to complete eight pieces to be ready for a pop up exhibition by September 13th. If I wasn't bricking it before - I am now. There's been no mention that a sketchbook is required but I was having real trouble tying down an idea so decided to just grab one and scribble down some thoughts. I always find these spider charts help organise my mind - lets face it - it's a shambles in there. (The pictures are clickable to enlarge.)
Whoopidoo - UCA Canterbury Summer Project 2017 prep and freak out

Silver Crow

As you can see I've settled on Silver Crow as my subject. If you are new to me or my blog (Hello *waves*) Silver Crow is actually a jackdaw that flies around my local area. I've been watching her since she was a baby and am kind of obsessed with her. I've seen her a lot this year, more so than last year when I was getting a bit worried that something had happened to her. So I think she's the perfect subject to base my project on.
Whoopidoo - UCA Canterbury Summer Project 2017 prep and freak out
Please excuse the manic scrawl
Not going to lie - time is getting short now and I have my panic hat on. I've almost finished one piece and have an idea for the next two or three. It's the time aspect that's doing me in. Being a mature (ha!) student with young children is throwing me at the moment. I'm hoping that when they are back at school I am going to find organisation easier because at the moment - mainly with the youngest little Bear, I am struggling.

I have had so many "what am I doing?" moments over the last couple of weeks. As well as starting uni., I am re-entering the work place on a formal footing around the same time as well. I am attending self-employment courses and aim to be fully self-employed by October.

I Am Freaking Out.

Big time.

It's a weird sensation. This has been my dream since I was about 10. I always wanted to go to art college but ended up leaving school at 15 and joining what was then the YTS scheme. (Why? The bullies won and I bitterly regret letting them.) So - although I am following my dreams now and it's all happening... there is the fear that I've left it to late - I am now 40 - I'm not up to this, I can't manage the time aspect, I will crash and burn and let everyone down.

But there is excitement too. Huge excitement. And determination to succeed. And show my children that you never stop learning, you never stop trying. How do I tell them to reach for their goals and dreams if I don't do it myself? Lead by example... with a few freak outs along the way.

Through this process which properly started about two and a half years ago when I took that first Maths GCSE (Ugh!) I have met many amazing people. Some I am lucky enough to now call friends. This process has also opened my eyes to the people already around me. Somehow I have gathered an amazing bunch of people, someone called them my tribe... which feels good to think in that way. They may be scattered all over this globe, most of us may never ever meet in person but they are my friends and have proven that so many times over the past couple of years. I know who you are now.  I am so grateful.

*Ahem*

Well, this quick update soon turned into a ramble didn't it? Shocker!

But seriously - This is where I'm at. This is the start of the next three years. I'm panicking but am going to do my damn best. And I know you've got my back.

Thanks for stopping by today.