Thursday, 23 December 2010

New work for 2011

I haven't been getting as much work done as I would like, and feel suitably guilty about it.  Christmas shopping, parties and mulled wine have all contributed to lack of time spent in my studio.  I can't even pretend that it's too cold in there; it's actually pretty cosy

However, come January I have new work to make, first for Visual Arts Scotland who are showing artist books at their open exhibition 5th Feb -3rd March at the mound. Then I want to put work in to the Society of Scotland Artists open exhibition which I didn't get into last year.  Fingers crossed for this year, it would do my confidence the world of good.
book with envelope pockets for Andrew
drawings from the zoo

The Artist Book Group that I'm part of put in an exhibition proposal to Patriothall Gallery at WASPS in Stockbridge that was accepted for late next year, dates still to be confirmed.

My drawing class at the Dick Vet School (below) finished last week, I want to realise one of my (hundreds) of ideas for the SSA open exhibition. 

Histology room, beautiful cabinets filled with microscope slides.
The Dick Vet School

Watch this space...and in the meantime have an enjoyable Christmas x

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Art and Veterinary Science-Sketchbook

Today is week 6 of Art and Vet Science at the Vet School.  We have been experimenting with different approaches to drawing using quick sketches, monoprinting and layering.  Here are some collages from my sketchbook.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Hidden Door Festival

On the 22nd-24th October Fiona, Susie and I collaborated with two poets for Impossible Journeys at the Hidden Door Festival. 

It was so much fun and so much hard work, lots of late nights and early mornings which I'm definitely not good at!   We only really had about two weeks to get organised, but in a way it worked well as there was no time for procrastination. 

We were given two poems to respond to, Rob MacKenzie's The Organist and Kona McPhee's Prodigal.  Both were full of fantastic imagery and we weren't short of ideas for how we could illustrate them.  Our space in the Roxy was the basement bar, for which we made hanging flower-like book structures, (I'm still dreaming of cutting paper circles...) collages for lightboxes and the wall, and altered books. 
Susie hard at work

Me working on my altered book

Fiona on installation night

hanging books and lightboxes

Prodigal collage

'Altared Books'


The Hidden Door was inspirational and demonstrated what can be achieved with a small budget and a hell of a lot of hard work. 

Sunday, 10 October 2010

First day of art and vet science class

We met at the Royal Dick Vet School which is at the end of the meadows.  I've walked past it so many times and not realised what it was. 

Inside there are some beautiful old features, like the pathology room that is high ceilinged and round in shape, now being taken over by dust and foliage, and the lecture theatre with seating curving round the blackboard and made of beautiful wood.

I'm thinking of ways to record all the information;  there is so much there, and next year the school will move to new buildings out in Easter Bush and the old building will be sold.  The work I make could echo the processes that go on such as dissection, obviously using paper rather than animals, or creating sequences of drawings to reflect the sequences of bones and teeth in display cabinets.  Here are a few photos.

horse skeleton

skulls in cabinets!

Monday, 4 October 2010

WASPS Open Studios

I really enjoyed the open weekend at WASPS West Park Place studios.  As I've only had the studio for a few months it was all new to me, and I was nervous about showing my work and also my messy space.  Ellen and I cleaned for ages the night before but the place has so many layers of dust!

It was pretty busy, especially yesterday, and plenty of people joined in the workshops and just came in to have a look and chat.  I sold two books and some cards, thank you to everyone who came along.

my book display

There was a lot of interest in classes, so watch this the new year I would like to start teaching book binding and drawing.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

By Leaves We Live

pamphlet binding
Last Saturday I exhibited with the Artist Book Group at the poetry library and did a workshop on pamphlet binding and japanese binding.  I had Fintan and Stephen on hand in case no-one came, but all the workshops were fully booked with waiting lists, yay!
 It was a really busy day and we got lots of interest and some sales as well.

For me it was a good learning experience, I saw what people were drawn to and also got an idea of what sold and how much people were willing to spend.

And of course lots of inspiration looking at what everyone else has been making.

I really enjoyed the workshop and will be doing  
pamphlet and japanese binding
 the same structures next Saturday and Sunday at WASPS Open Studios on a drop in basis.

Ellen who shares the same studio will be offering a heart-shaped lavender bag workshop too so come along to our lovely studio and get creative!

Body book, Small exhibition, poetry library Sept-Nov 2010

Artist's book group tables

Sunday, 19 September 2010


With the Scottish Poetry Library artist's book fair coming up soon (next Saturday) I have been considering how I feel about showing my work, something I've not done for a long time.

It's scary to show something you've created, what if people don't like it?  What if you don't sell anything and everyone else does?

And if someone does like your work, it can give you confidence to continue, but if I secretly think it's not good enough it doesn't really matter what they think.

I guess its self-confidence that's most important, something that no-one else can really give you.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Soul Purpose

I'm new to blogging and unsure how personal to make it, but I think the blogs I've read and liked the best are ones that are pretty personal.

Well, I'll try it and see how it feels.

I've been stuck for ages struggling with my soul purpose, finding what it is that really makes me happy, that I can do well and share with other people.  Oh and not to mention makes me very rich!!! 

I've been working as a manager in a bistro and doing some art work and courses in my spare time, of which there never seems to be enough.  I've been unhappy with this situation for ages, but seem to be in a rut and unable to climb out!

I think my soul purpose is being creative, possibly being an artist and writer, but there is always a lot of fear and doubt around it.  Which leads to procrastination.

self portrait (detail), pencil,  2007
If this blog could be a record of my journey from being stuck to being unstuck, from fear to freedom, that would be amazing!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

WASPS Open Studios weekend, October 2nd and 3rd

Come and visit any or all of the WASPS buildings, Open Studios in October.  There will be lots of artists around to chat to and if you want to buy work there will be lots of beautiful things!  I'm at West Park Place, just off Dalry Road.   Then you could go across to First Coast for lunch or dinner, the food is amazing.

Friday, 10 September 2010

I'm going to vet school...

I'm excited about a new course I've just booked at eca called art and veterinary science!  It starts next month and we have three hours a week at the Dick Vet School, to investigate, draw and basically fill sketchbooks with ideas from the collection of animal skeletons, equipment etc.  This opportunity has come about because the school is closing, and I believe relocating.  So eca has negotiated this class.

Spine, Pen drawing, 2007
I find skeletons fascinating.  Here is a drawing of one of the (faux) human ones from eca.  I did a project where I was wrapping thread around the bones, using the thread like a drawn line to create a pattern determined by the sequence of the bones.

I forgot to mention, my parents both trained as vets in Glasgow, so it feels like an interesting family connection to do an art project in a vet school.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Some more pictures

Here are some images of recent books.  The little black one is a flutter book made up of photographs I took 2007-08.  For a year I took a photograph every morning of my body, in different postures.  I wanted to make a record over a period of time, but I was more interested in looking at my body as a landscape, with different shapes, textures, shadows, lines and spaces.

I cropped the images so that they became more abstract, but still recognisable as the human form.  The images fit well in this structure, as you have to open and unfold each one to see it clearly, so it has an intimate or secret feel to it.

I also covered it with fabric from some clothing rather than book cloth,
and used ribbons to tie it to further suggest undressing something or someone; a sense of intimacy and I guess femininity.
This book is only about 5x5cm, so really tiny.

The next one is also small,
it fits inside a soap box.  I liked the kitsch design of the
soap box and wanted to make a book that would seem
really cute and delicate in this pretty soap box, but then have something darker or surprising inside.

Well, I haven't decided what that darker thing will be, so its unfinished at the moment.  I want to finish it tomorrow, so any ideas would be amazing!

I was thinking along the lines of maybe something erotic or suggestive that you wouldn't expect in a soap box?  The pages are just cream and it is really tiny, so it has to be something that I can fit in.  It could be text or drawings.  Hmmm.  There are all those beautiful drawings in the kama sutra and other old eastern books on sex....maybe something along those lines....

Just as well my gran won't read this, why can't I be the kind of artist who just makes pretty things that I can show my gran?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

First ever post!

It's a rainy Tuesday afternoon and after a good discussion with my partner I have finally taken the first step towards getting myself a web presence.  So here is my very first blogspot.

Right now I'm an artist making artist's books, which vary greatly in structure and content.  I just completed an illustration course which I loved, and I also write short stories.  So I hope this blogspot can be a place where I share whatever it is that I'm creating!

I'm just about to exhibit at my first artist's book fair at the Poetry Library in Edinburgh, on Saturday 25th September, called By Leaves We Live.