Gratitude

Awards, Colour, Public Art, Soul searching

I have written about being thankful and having appreciation a little but I had a bit of an AHAA moment last week when I realised that it wasn’t patience I was lacking, although that is an ongoing struggle but what I needed to develop a better sense of is one of being grateful. We can be grateful for what we have but when we live in a society that encourages bigger, better and  more it gives us little time to focus about what we already have. Not only in terms of possessions but the miraculous facts that we wake up in the morning, that we can see, smell, taste, walk, smile. That we can be healthy, we have loved ones around us. Psychological studies have been done showing that gratitude is a key factor in happiness and that if you start to increase you levels of gratitude your base line level of happiness will rise. Nothing is permanent in this world, everything has an end. So it is important to be grateful for what we have when we have it.

“The Branch represents man with a deathly oily hue, pillaging the earth’s precious resources. A bird perches precariously on top of a woman’s outstretched toe creating a symbol of new life.” This piece, ‘The Branch’ has just returned from the solo exhibition at The Royal British Society of Sculptors, it is in some respects about what we take for granted from the earth’s resources.

Branch 4

‘The Branch’

Over the last few weeks my time spent at our business has made me appreciate the work my husband does. It’s very easy in the role of being at home with the children to bemoan the tasks involved and at not having a break but being in a different role makes me grateful for the time I have had at home with my children and also thankful that I haven’t had the stresses of work alongside it and the weight of running your own business. Although, I do have them indirectly. I am now a little more aware of why and how it affects my husband. Also increasingly impressed with how he manages both the business and the art world. I read recently that it often the way with highly creative people that they work very hard and intensely. I think that is definitely true. When we go through difficulties we can in some way relate our situation to something that may be more difficult and then be grateful. However, to be grateful in times when things aren’t as testing, when we are at ease. When you are  locked up in your own personal pleasures and enjoyment it is easy to forget the realities and fail to remember to be grateful.

Branch 3

‘The Branch’

‘The Toy’

Conceptual, Exhibitions, Galleries, Philosophy, Soul searching

It feels a while since I have written but the past few weeks have been a detoxification of so much that I haven’t had the desire to sit and write so much.  I had even prepared much of this post to quickly slip a post in in anticipation of lack of time to write.

For me, this is one of the best pieces of my husband’s work.  It is more museum worthy than public art, most of the other work is ‘willing to grow’. This could be outside if cast in bronze but I do think this is one for a large indoor space. Yes, it is sinister, disturbing, intriguing… but in today’s modern contemporary art world where almost anything goes, sometimes you have to make a statement that will make the viewer stop. Look. Think.

The journey of this piece started last year and has continued to be one of ‘blood, sweat and tears’ . It was selected for the Hot one hundred so was in exhibition in London when it got pre-selected for the Threadneedle prize, which we were very excited about. So, we had a little bit of logistics and negotiation to get it from A to B.  Having applied for the Threadneedle for the last two years and not been successful we were feeling fairly hopeful that this was a good sign. The piece seemed to fit  the requirements, for example;  “Work that possesses a life force of its own… work that has ‘that something’ which stops the viewer in their tracks.” Tim Shaw. Having got it to the Mall galleries  and putting it amongst the other pre selected work my husband was still pretty optimistic about the next stage. So we waited for the Thursday announcement. On the Wednesday my husband got a call from them and though it could only be good news. It wasn’t. The reason for the early call was because it did need to be collected and the collection days were the same as the rather large cycle event happening in the London on the same day, could he go earlier to collect it. Needless to say, living so far away from London we couldn’t really go any other day and we also needed to drop some other work off at the Cork street gallery (just round the corner). So, my husband and his man with a van headed into London to the Mall galleries  and Cork Street, to deliver work and to collect a rather hefty piece of art, at the same time as some 16,500 cyclist needed the very same road. I printed out maps of the gallery and the cycle routes, the roads which were closed and the roads which would be restricted. I didn’t think it looked possible.However, there was not a lot of choice off they went. I was rather expecting a call to say they hadn’t been able to get it.

Here is what happened; after successfully managing to deliver work at The Cork Street Gallery at 10am (not quite sure how they got there in such good time!) they circled around and realised they just couldn’t get the van to the entrance of the Mall Gallery. Pulling into a lay-by as the driver needed to go to the toilet, on finding a toilet my husband realised that they could see the entrance of the Mall gallery. They decided to walk to it to see how far it was but rather than being able to go straight across the road they were diverted because of the preparations for the crowds supporting the cyclists. On getting to the gallery the driver insisted that as they were there they ‘may as well’ carry the piece back. The images here do not show the glass box which my husband decided to exhibit it in. So, each carrying an edge of the box they walked the mile back to the van. Crowds now gathering, had to shift quickly once they realised two men were carry a glass box and not in fact just pushing their way through. Apparently, they got comments about ‘where the camera was’. I am not sure whether they did that before or after the actual ‘Toy’ which must have then caused another commotion, as though two art thieves were stealing in broad daylight. One way to advertise your work. They did it, they got the piece out but unfortunately not in the shortlisted Threadneedle.

The piece speaks about the 21st century, the society that we live in. It is representing the idea that you work hard and are not going anywhere, like a rocking horse. However long it rocks, it is simply moving back and forth, not moving forward.  The black for the skeleton (it is not a real skeleton) shows that we are in a time when petrol has become more important than human life. As for the horse-tail, (it is real horse hair) this represents the way society keeps pushing you constantly to look after your health, going to the gym, good diet etc etc, and this is a similar technique for a horse race. It seems the horse that has constantly been looked after, good diet, great exercise goes to the race and wins makes the owner very rich. Hence the title, ‘The Toy’ for this concept presents us as having become a toy to our boss, to our society, to our media and to our routine, played with and somehow we believe that this is the normal life that we are supposed to have. People work 9 till 5, six days a week, sleep eight hours, have three-course meal, wish to live longer and will end up being in a nursing home, sitting down on a chair rocking thinking that you lived the life in full. This is an observation of the world through my husband’s art. When words can’t describe what he sees.

Front View

Front View

'The Toy'

‘The Toy’

'The Toy'

‘The Toy’

'The head'

‘The head’

'The Toy in shadow'

‘The Toy in shadow’

'The Toy' side on

‘The Toy’ side on

'The Toy' - in spotlight

‘The Toy’ – in spotlight

'The Toy'

‘The Toy’

Double Success

Awards, Mother and Child

I was throughly excited and pleased to find out last week that I have been nominated for an award The Liebster Award! My first blogging award 🙂

liebster

The nomination came from charcoalblue which is one of my most recent blog finds. Which is a beautiful blog I feel such an affinity with. The need for creativity within a world of mothering, the mix of art and thinking and literally and metaphorically drawing from art and life.Simone who writes the blog, Charcoalblue described my blog as “opening my eyes to a world that I am becoming increasingly interested in – sculpture” So it is a huge compliment receiving this nomination. However, I have failed miserably in getting this post published as it has taken me a while to sift through ideas to answer the questions, really a tough challenge for me. I also have been away for the bank holiday weekend so that is another excuse.

I wondered what the nomination meant,Liebster’ in German means – dearest, sweetest, kindest, beloved…. I’m overwhelmed , grateful beyond words and tremendously humbled. It is also a really good way to find other new blogs and I discovered to my surprise that many of the ones I was following had huge followings. Anyway better get on with it;

The First Step for the Liebster Award is to tell 11 things about yourself:

1. I am currently into knitting, I am knitting every possible minute at the moment as I have a deadline. A yarn bombing event at my eldest child’s school!

2. I love food. Eating it and baking, when I look back at old journals all I seem to have written about is what I have eaten that day.

3. I won a wrapping competition in a former life and had to go on a day time TV show and wrap a garden gnome, needless to say I made a complete ‘bodge’ of it. Fortunately this was before utube existed 🙂

4. I like exploring.

5. I love reading.

6. I am indecisive, that can be a good and a bad thing.

7. I have big eyes.

8. I am a listener.

9. I am naive, my husband says I don’t live in the real world.

10. I am a solitary person, I like to be alone. I heard an interview with a writer who said the same. I hope that means one day I will actually write and that the time to myself is a gathering of thoughts and ideas to finally one day put pen to paper.

11. I am wife and mother two really important jobs.

The Second Step for the Liebster Award is to answer the 11 questions asked by the nominating blogger:

1. What is a fond childhood memory?

I was in the park today (now last week) with my son and I sat on the swing and we were swinging side by side. I suddenly had a memory which flooded my mind, of swinging in my childhood garden.Bliss.

2. Your favourite movie?

That is such a hard question, Big Fish, Public Enemies, The Three colours trilogy,

3. If you could do/be anything – what would it be?

A palm tree

4. Most common item you buy that is under $10.00

Tissues

5. Something that annoys you

When I have got a plan in my head and it doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to!

6. Something that gives you pleasure

mmmmmm Chocolate.

7. Find your self daydreaming about ….

What I want to be, it changes all the time.

8. Where do you get your ideas for your posts?

My husband’s sculptures and then usual something happens in my day that connects an idea with his work.

9. Which do you enjoy most, pondering the possibilities or narrowing down the options?

I naturally narrow down the options, I am not sure I enjoy doing it, perhaps I should start practising pondering the possibilities.

10. Favourite novel

eek.that’s a tough as the film question; The Help, Remains of the Day, The Alchemist, Tiger Hills, Life of Pi……

11. Advice for a mum who will one day have 3 teenage sons – at the same time?

Be strong, Be calm, Be patient, Be yourself. It will only be for a period of time and it will pass. Enjoy having them with you and pat yourself on the back for getting them so far. In reading that back it could apply to now. Perhaps, as teenagers give them their space but be there when they need you. I don’t know one day I will have 2 teenage sons I may know more then! Good Luck.

The Third Step for the Liebster Award is to nominate 11 bloggers with relatively few (less than 200) followers:

 http://ittosjournal.wordpress.com/

This blog was my first ever blog read and gave me the courage to start blogging. Itto’s journey continues to inspire and support me. SubhanAllah!

 http://haywardhelen.wordpress.com/

 I feel she really has a strong writing style and I love reading the entries

http://stjohnstudios.wordpress.com/

An interesting family blog and it’s good to find other art blogs.

 http://free5piritphotography.wordpress.com/

A dear friend and her beautiful photos, you can see the development from the beginning until now.

 http://wharnsby.wordpress.com/about-dawud-wharnsby/

I bought a book of children’s poems by Dawud Wharnsby and last year took my children to see him perform them. This is a lovely inspirational blog.

 http://inayatscorner.wordpress.com/

An interesting and informative blog. Also spotted him on one of the ‘Big Question’ panel discussions.

http://adventuresinspiritualliving.wordpress.com/

I discovered this when suddenly having the idea about looking for blogs about rowing. What a strong spirit and powerfully moving blog.

http://sarahcrowther.co.uk/

Truly beautiful ink works. They look stunning digitally.

http://reikiroxywords.wordpress.com/

Roxy’s blog would be amazing if there was audio button that you could click and hear her voice read them to you, perhaps word press could do that? Utube or facebook her reikiroxy site to hear her or relax and read her blog yourself.

http://emmasouthlondon.wordpress.com/

Such an uplifting, inspirational blog. A good find.

http://ecolevivante.wordpress.com/

Perhaps I am cheating putting this in, if you can work out the connection. However, I really want to support this but thousands of miles a way felt this was a way I could. Motivational and fascinating to be able to see the progress of this project.

http://bethlauck.wordpress.com/

The images on here are awesome. This is a blog I need to look at more and so I am nominating it so others may do the same.

The Fourth Step for the Liebster Award is to ask your nominees 11 questions:

1. What prompted you to start a blog?

2. What inspires you?

3. If you had to choose an animal totem for yourself what would you choose?

4. If you had one country to choose to go to which one would it be?

5. What is your favourite sound?

6.What are you most passionate about?

7. What is your weakness?

8. Do you believe in fate?

9. What is your favourite poem?

10. What is your best recipe – (I am scouting for ideas!)

11. If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

Goodness, that took me ages…… but a very interesting and enjoyable process. THANK YOU again. oh yes and the double success bit was on the day I got nominated for this award that prompted all these questions, we also found out The Store Street Gallery had sold this sculpture; would have been ironic if it had been one of the eggs covered in questions!

womb3

‘Womb’

womb2

‘Womb’

I

‘From Donald Winnicott to the naughty step’

Colour, Connections, Exhibitions, Making, Mother and Child, Philosophy, Public Art, Soul searching, Steel

‘The mother, ready for paint’

'head in colour'

‘head in colour’

'in colour'

‘in colour’

'from the side'

‘from the side’

'The child'

‘The child’

'In colour'

‘In colour’

'Mother and child' ready for polishing

‘Mother and child’ ready for polishing

'Mother and child'

‘Mother and child’

'Mother an Child' in the studio

‘Mother an Child’ in the studio


‘From Donald Winnicott to the naughty step’ was broadcasting as I drove home last night from meeting up with a group of friends I hadn’t seen in a while. The night sky was still light so it was a lovely spring evening drive back and I found this fascinating and felt in total agreement with what was being discussed. “Seventy years ago the psychoanalyst and parenting expert Donald Winnicott first broadcast his idea of the ‘good-enough mother’; the mother who wasn’t perfect and was free, to some extent, to fail. From 1943-1962 he gave some 50 BBC broadcasts. Aimed directly at mothers, they had a profound impact on popular ideas about motherhood.”

In tandem I was thinking about writing about the progress that was being made for the pieces for the solo exhibition as part of the FIRST@108 award. Up until now I have mostly written about finished works and only occasionally  the process but actually now there is a need to document the process running up to the exhibition in October. The first piece for the solo exhibition is a reoccurring theme both in colour and subject, as are the discussions like the one I was hearing on the radio about;

Mother and Child

Winnicott’s ideas seemed to fit perfectly with this piece, “the idea of the body as important and needing to be taking seriously in bodily complaint but also the part the mind has to play in organising those or influencing them or producing them.” In the sculpture we see the mother in pink but if we look closer there is a subtle difference between the ‘body’ and the ‘mind’.  The mother is facing the child, the indicators of eyes from the tiny holes suggest visual contact. So important in seeing the child from a psychological point of view as well as a bodily and physiological one.

It is one of the reasons I find it so easy to write about the sculptures my husband makes, in that they visual pictorial observations of human society, the human condition. Winntcott observed and was alert to the tiny signals, observation and listening to mothers and he documented this. It was almost mesmerizing listening to his strange dictation played back and it connects so well with this sculpture.

He spoke of the child being separated from the mother, “you are always an isolate, by the time he is born he has had experience both pleasant and unpleasant” which is visualised in this sculpture. The baby separated visually, literally from the mother yet fitting like a puzzle into one shape.. I can see this but I also think in the first three years there is a slow physical and mental detachment from the mother in to the ‘world’. The child in this piece also looks like a step, the naughty step we so often here spoken of today. Winnicott tells mothers to trust their instincts and I think in general I do. In some ways it is the only thing I am fully impassioned and feel confident about. It irritates me when that is thrown off-balance. That can so easily happen in today’s society where we have all kinds of information and view points being bombarded at us. The questions are the same now as to the time he was speaking, and we seem to be in a constant battle between those very strict methods and ideology  a pose to more gentle approaches which I would class his as.

There are lots of mothers out there writing about motherhood and here are three I picked out of a bunch;

http://haywardhelen.wordpress.com/

http://studiomothers.com/

http://rhythmofthehome.com/

I do think we live in a society which down plays the importance of the role of the mother. We seem to focus on the wrong aspects. I would highly recommend listening to the programme and see what you think. Either way, it is one of those subjects which is going to be endlessly discussed and analysed. Some people write about it, some people analyse it and some people depict it. This one is to be polish and put aside ready for exhibition in October.

The Result……

Colour, Exhibitions, Galleries, Public Art, Uncategorized
result

‘Evolution’

17.20 Interview gone well…….
17.50 Not long to wait…..
18.00 I get the boys ready for bed, we pray, we sit in bed waiting for the phone……
……waiting….
18.46 I text him….Any news?x…..I can’t settle, I can’t focus on reading stories and my plan of bedtime is not working as youngest child fell asleep on the school pick up run. My parents are coming so I can go to Pilates class with my mum and dad can put eldest to bed.
19.00 Parents arrive, too hyper boys downstairs and I receive a text….’ Not yet its too busy’
19.01 He sends another…. ‘Lets hope that I win’.

19.02 I text him, The waiting is unbearable, Inshallah x

19.03 Doesn’t look good habebe, he texts me. What does that mean. Ahahah I leave the boys with my dad and mum and I rush out. We are late.

19.25 Still no message so I go into my pilates class. Its my hour of relaxation. I can’t relax. I can’t think straight.

19.35 The room is at a local Methodist church and usually nothing else is happening. Tonight there is a local preachers meeting so the room has been split and should be self-contained. However, the microphone is switch on and linked in. We here everything. They start singing. We start laughing.Total distraction.

19.47 I hear my phone ring. I add to the distraction. I leave the room and call back. There is no reception.

19.53 I ring and it goes to answer machine grrrrrrrrr I ring again and again. I have to go and stand outside the church in the cold in my socks.

19.55 . HE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I squeal with delight. I ask him how he feels. He wants to run. I am shivering.

He tells me what happened but I am so cold and excited I can’t focus. When he couldn’t get through he rang our landline and spoke to my dad and then to our son who tells him not to worry he will tell mama. He says he has to go back in. Congratulations. So happy etectetc.

20.05 I go back into the room. I give my thumbs up to my mum who is trying to do the plank. I lie on the floor and I am so happy. I do the plank (so Pilates position that makes you feel very virtuous) I can’t focus. I lie down.

I spend the next 30 mins in a mind buzz, my body trying to be still.

20.25 I drive mum and I home, not sure how I am soooooooo excited.

20.35 Both boys are still awake. One crying because I am not there to put him to bed. Our eldest, ‘Guess what mama, Baba won’ He really won’

20.40 Boys so tired they go to sleep. I start to text everyone I know and sit down to write this……… I am still buzzing……..

21.25 What happens next……….I need to phone him. Click Publish.

Amsterdam and Awards

Colour, Exhibitions, Public Art

showcase

A visual review of the Amsterdam Showcase.

award

The Dutch obviously like the geometric minimalistic style, as my husband has been awarded Best Artist from the Five Golden Star International Gallery

However, perhaps the most exciting is;

first

The Royal British Society of Sculptors shortlisted 5 finalists  for this award  which will take place next year and my husband has been selected as one of the five. Just need to work really hard at getting presentation and maquette ready….