Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Thinking Day (with a touch of extra thinking)

So it was the Thinking Day event at the church today. From previous posts you may remember that we were to make salt dough characters and waffles in the theme of Norway. On  that note that did happen, but my, was it a struggle to get there!?

We actually met last night in preparation for this evenings event- so everything was pre-made minus the ingredients for the waffles- as those were to be fresh. However one thing that my Senior section weren't relying on happening was for their leader (ie me) being 30 mins late. The reason being, the amount of thinking that needs to be done for my Thesis.

I met today with my thesis tutor after handing in approximately 4,000 words. Baring in mind that this was the word deadline for December, so I'm a little behind. The tutorial was set to be half an hour long yet my poor tutor had to talk to me for an hour, half of the time trying to calm down my panic and the other half trying to explain everything that he was saying in metaphors. The end result of this tutorial was- you have 3 weeks. You better get it done. So yes i am panicking now, and i have consequently erased any plans i have over the next couple of weeks to get it done.However this very kind gift of an extra half an hour tutorial wasn't very good for my guides. I tried texting a couple of people on the way back to say i was going to be late but unfortunately no one seemed to get them so none of my instructions were followed and  i just got to the church in to a different state of panic.

Me panicking

100 girls aged 5-16. My Senior section were brilliant this evening though, each time we had a group, one manned the dough while the other made waffles which allowed me time to explain to them what they were doing and why it was Norwegian. It got a little hectic trying to keep the younger ones away from the waffle iron but no one burnt themselves (well, apart from me) which was great. The risk assessment was obviously very worth it!

I think the girls all enjoyed themselves in the end and i think the event went really well over all- there were about 10 country's for the girls to walk around and a personal achievement for us was that we made our activity less than 20p per head per child. I thought that was impressive anyway. The evening ended with us all renewing our guide promises together, in the good old fashioned 'tea light' scenario, which seems really boring but really determines a community within a town. Over a hundred people in a room that you can associate yourself with and talk to, without even considering the parents of the children. Its a lot of people, and it gives you a bit of hope that not everywhere is so socially isolating.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Norway Prep

I've just finished writing my risk assesment form for the event tomorrow at guides. Basically we are only making salt dough characters (from: The three billy goats gruff) and eating waffles but my risk assesment has made the task sound like mission imposible. Death is an option, but you would have to eat all of the salt dough you are given - oh and only if no one calls an ambulance.
The prep went well this evening though and it looks as if everything is 'salted' for tomorrow (ha ha ha- that is a reference to the salt dough) Should be fun, all i need to find now is a stamp in my room that symbolises Norway enough to put in the childrens passport. I think i only have Christmas theamed ones and a three goats book. I'm also taking my slr tomorrow, one of the senior section is a hotography student so i'm going to utilise her skills.
I have enjoyed the last couple of weeks of senior section- I think the senior section feel a little more familiar with me and on my part more regularity isn't a bad thing, i need to learn to communicate a little better and everything will be fine; i think its also helped that i have had an activity to do the last couple of weeks to keep us occupied. I'm going to have to start thinking about some new and interesting things to do with them.

Monday, 14 February 2011


I am ready to pass out. I managed to get back to the flat this morning at about 9am, surprisingly to my housemates who weren't expecting me back today- let alone so early. I had been travelling since 5am french time and sadly there was no chance to stop off for a croissant and coffee, because nothing was open. I also felt horrendously sick on the train, so even if there had been- I'm sure i wouldn't have been able to manage it.

We left for Paris on Saturday morning. We woke up at around 5.30am to Nick's phone ringing, it was the Taxi waiting to pick us up. After getting ready to leave in 5 minutes (Yes, just 5 minutes- impressive huh?) we rushed to the cab man who politely reminded us about 15 times that we were late. We laughed along as you do without realising he would stick £10 on the bill due to him having to wait that extra 5 minutes. A good start to an expensive weekend- although, to be fair i wasn't paying for anything, so the expense should not really be such a concern. During the day on Saturday we mainly explored the city. Nick wanted to avoid the touristy places and we took our time finding a very french restaurant for lunch. The waiters were the complete stereotype of what you would imagine a rude french waiter to be. Forcing you to sit with strangers and huffing because you have requested something unusual from the menu. Being a veggie, there wasn't much for me- however it did result in a total indulgence of cheeses so i didn't mind. The waiter wasn't pleased that i only had cheese. I think he thought i was wasting his time, either that or he was looking down on Nick for not feeding me properly. The restaurant- 'Chartier' was really fantastic inside- high ceilings and 20's train/ station design throughout. The tables each stood by a large brass over shelf for you to put your bags and coats and the lights were like a classier version of those from Cannon Street or Liverpool Street station. The waiter threw our meals down and hovered around us until we had nearly finished. I had to practically growl at him so he didn't prematurely take my cheese. The chips went though, as soon as nick placed his knife on the plate. Fantastic food though, and the waiter was worth the trip inside. We ploughed the streets a little more that day. Nick wanted to take some photos and got some amazing shots of odd Parisian moments and pigeons. I couldn't help but notice the amount of fancy dress shops everywhere.  wish i had more money- there were some amazing clown shoes with my name on them- 40 euros though. They can wait until the exchange rate drops i think.

The fancy dress shops were amazing- much better than the niche ones you find in Covent Garden. People were actually shopping in these, seriously considering what outfit to buy, as if it was a weekly routine such as going to the grocers. I must have counted about 5 or 6 massive shops on Saturday and a couple more on Sunday. my idea of Heaven.

We popped into one bar on Saturday night where we ended up staying most of the evening. It was actually a Beatles themed bar although that was only really the music. It was a Bar/ Tabac ran by one man and had a really relaxed atmosphere. They served Ricard in Ricard glasses, with Ricard water jugs. Which is pretty much what kept us there.

Sunday was a little more planned, although i didn't think that the shops would all be closed, I missed out big time on buying food for the next couple of weeks- I did manage to get Charlotte's 'I Love Paris' T shirt though, cheesy gift shops are always open wherever you are in the world. It was a shame though, i think living in London you loose a sense of what real life is and everything becomes '24 hours'.
We went over to the Pompadu centre to see what was showing Art wise. I didn't realise how big it was, and the views over Paris were astounding, i took lots of photos- not that you could recognise anything in them. I saw a large group gathering around a street performer and remembered a conversation i had with someone about whether or not making performative work in some contexts was just 'street performance' I decided from that conversation that i would love to be a street performer (and anyone who says 'street performer in a derogatory sense has no soul) - but actually that will always be a dream- my work isn't as entertaining and it takes a special type of person to be able to hold a crowd.

Going back to Art- The permanent collection was extensive and probably too big for me to comprehend in one day. To be honest i rushed through a lot of it just so i could 'look' at everything. I really need to go back to Paris again, just to spend a whole day with the permanents, if only it wasn't in a different country. European galleries have such a more interesting way of hanging work- it seems crisper and easier to look at, in Britain i feel curation always a little to overcrowded or sparse (one extreme to the other).

The real thing that  i enjoyed about the Pompadu though was the feminist exhibition which had just been installed. This shocked me. Usually i find feminism a little samey, but this collection again was extensive- from Annette Messenger to Pippilotti Rist to Lucy Gunning and the Guerrilla Girls, everything was so different together and all the works were addressing different issues about culture, race, identity, anything. I must say also, that the video room was amazing- so many classic video pieces that i have seen in other exhibitions but just escalated to a new platform being surrounded by each other. I ended up writing obsessive notes walking around- not something that i have done since A-level, and also taking photos of work to show other people specifically, to help their work. I really wish i had bought the catalogue for the show now because i know i will want to reference it in the future a lot, perhaps i can find it on Amazon...?

Our Sunday evening ended with Omlette and Chips. Fantastic french cuisine. Nick insisted that he wanted to order in French, but the fact that we ordered classic English, French food meant that the waiter only spoke in English. I was happy, as my French is terrible- I can't even prenounce Orangina correctly!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Thursday, 10 February 2011


The catalogue seems to be getting sorted now which is good, everyone has a role and i think with quotes of costing we are set on binding and size of catalogue- we just need to collect an image and various details from 100 people before the end of term which wont be easy. Also again i am worrying that with all the plans made to print the catalogue that our fundraising wont prevail and we will be left with a hefty bill. That is a very negative outlook though and there is no reason why we cant raise enough.

Mid-term Review

 As we have approached mid-term already, we have been sent away to gather all appropriate work to show the tutors what we have been getting up to this year. This blog i felt would be the main event of what we would be talking about, but that wasn't actually the case and instead we spoke about archival videos of past performances and guides. I'm now wishing that instead of going for the 'informal chat' option i had gone with the 'formal power point presentation' option. I don't feel like i managed to get across what my practise was at all or that my processes aren't bound to 'community work'. It would be very culturally limited otherwise. If my work poses questions about culture then commercial cultures i also feel should be considered. This is something that i felt quite strongly about last year also, when organising the Hitachi project. People found it very easy to dismiss the Hitachi project as something that was purely commercial and for the students to make a bit of cash- but actually, i found it more to be something that opened student artwork up to a new sector of people, people that were interested in what we were doing and wanted to join in. Whereas in a primary school in an underprivileged area may get college art projects flung on it from government- people who work admin jobs in offices all day don't receive anything of that sort, and who are we as artists to say who is more deserving of art. You may say that they can afford to buy their own art, their own culture- but this is the only way it can happen without funding- so what is so bad about a company giving students money to make some artwork?
Anyway. Back to the review. I don't feel good about it at all. I think i am lacking in communicating my ideas and interests and also my capabilities as an artist. So hopefully i will start to do this on here. Be more precise on why i am doing things and who is influencing me. Plus those review sheets that we had to fill in- they were awful. If you had to explain your practise in one word (basically) however you have to list at least 50 different artists names!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Senior Section and a very crafty Norway

Next week there is a guiding event going on in our district to mark Thinking Day (For those of you that was ever in the Brownies, its that day where you light a tea light candle and think of different countries)- 100 brownies and rainbows are going to have a 'passport' and  travel around several countries, ran by the leaders/ senior section- each country has to have a craft based around their country, another idea around this event was to try and mix the groups a bit- so a little bit of cross generational teamwork. Our country is Norway, seemingly convenient after having gone to Norway, however the crafts that i found were extremely difficult to do. We spent about an hour trying to construct a paper weaved basket (maybe not the best idea for 5-10 year olds). In the end we came up with making Vaffels and whilst the kids are waiting to make them they can play with some salt dough (making some trolls, and idea from Ellie which i am very grateful for). Lots of preparation. I'm back to guides again on Tuesday to set up and make lots of Norwegian flags!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Mystic Meg

I just found this information sheet amongst some papers- A justification i feel for my up and coming work... plus another interesting thought on seaside entertainment. Paying a machine to tell your fortune. It is a step beyond falling for someones compliments- it is just believing what the machine says because you want to believe the machine- no persuasion necessary.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Beautiful Ballrooms

I managed to get to The reminiscence centre today for a rehearsal of the up and coming age exchange production. I was quite apprehensive at first- seeing as i haven't been to the centre for a couple of months, but i needn't have been because i got a very warm welcoming as i came in. A lot of the cast from the previous play were there as well as one or two new faces. Apparently there will be more coming, but we have lost a couple of the younger peoples theatre to university.
As always there were a lot of stories flying about, from the old days and actually some that i had in common about school discos- the DJ that always insisted on playing the Bob the Builder song and wore a silly wig and a Micheal Jackson mask. They were always bizarre, and obviously not too unique either. I also had to join in with some of the exercises as we were lacking cast members- it was immediately apparent that i am not able to follow a script, let alone dance, or even pretend to dance! Here's to hoping that more people will turn up next time.
The location of the play this time is actually going to be in a ballroom- The Rivoli Ballroom in Brocky. I didn't realise until i checked back on my e-mails today but I'm really looking forward to the stage managing now- it means i get to have a good explore around the theatre. In which case it shouldn't have really come as surprise to me that the play would be based around going out and dancing.
I'm back again in a couple of weeks to check up on what is going on- looking forward to the stories!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Postcard Auction: My postcard!

I've just noticed that my postcard has been put on the Website for the Chelsea Postcard Auction! It is coming up on the 28th February in one of the more fancy rooms in Chelsea- Have a browse to see what else can be bought at the sale  (If you have a look through there is an Anish Kapoor in there, among many more interesting artists) and if you would like to buy- come along!

Chelsea Postcard Auction

Melissa Bliss Workshop

A couple of us were invited along today to a workshop today with a community artist working in the local millbank area. I wasn't really expectant of what the workshop would be so i went along with an open mind- it was actually more like a seminar/talk in the end about social engagement, but more about the projects that Melissa had worked on or knew of. She showed us a couple of interesting projects that she had been involved with- one that stood out for me was in Mablethorpe- the name of the town sounded familiar, i think my nan used to go there when she was younger on holiday, but anyway, the reason it was interesting was because she was allowed to come up with a piece of work that she thought appropriate for the town- also the town didn't receive that much funding because it is next door to Skegness which usually swallows up the arts funding; so apparently as a town they were quite pro-active in doing things for themselves- an interesting response, i think, of how a public reacts when it is forgotten- perhaps it's the English mentality of not complaining and just getting on with it. Hopefully i can add a little of her insight into my thesis- especially as i badgered her with so many questions about her intention as a community artist and what she thought of government funding and ethical jurisdiction of community arts.

She also showed us a project that i was particularly interested in because it is quite local to my home town and also it seems to appeal to the whole of the area as opposed to just minority groups or those that are proactive;  What will the harvest be? is based around a community allotment and gardens that everyone is entitled to keep nice, therefore the longitude of this project depends on the people that it is for. It reminds me of a project  i had in mind of doing during my gap year, although i think my garden was a bit of a far fetched idea for the contacts and know how that i had at the time- plus my fingers are definitely not green.

Melissa Bliss is documenting her residency in Chelsea and the Millbank project on Wiki (Which can be accesses through her website- click Melissa Bliss)

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Work in Progress

A piece of working progress for  the up and coming chelsea Postcard Auction after-party/ art event

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

College tours

Myself and Joe have been doing promotional tours of the college now for a good couple of months and now we are coming to the end. The basic gist of the work to try and make as many students want to come to our college as possible. However today we were called in to give a talk/ tour about the Design course. To be honest you could say that we blagged it, and you wouldn't be wrong. We also managed to completely miss half of the tours by getting back to the lecture theatre too late after fueling up on coffee. Not a good morning. I think it was our main objective during the talk to get a couple of laughs (Just so we seemed human) this may not have worked due to the fact that only the librarian laughed at us and in turn this may have become detrimental to the intake of design students next year. Oh well, one more left, hopefully next week we wont be so daunting.


- I found this today while my sister was playing on her new wii game- carnival. I'm not sure if this is real research for me but it's definitely a new slant on what haunted house hospitality can be. Virtual entertainment tours.

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