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Glittering Shards

Glittering Shards: August 2011

Glittering Shards

Monday, August 22, 2011

Being absurdly delighted...

A quick little pit stop to say hello as we are in the midst of washing piles of laundry after a beautiful week camping on the Norfolk coast... and getting ready to go to the Greenbelt Arts festival.
We have been relishing beaches, waves, woodland walks and some of the traditions of a British seaside holiday (Punch and Judy, donkey rides and eating ice cream on a wet and windy pier!).
Sunset day 2
My favourite moments...staring at the amazing sunsets...and the night sky, so full of stars last night that I felt I could almost reach up and grab a handful.
Sunset day 3
It reminded me of a quote I heard from a lady on TV recently. She had been born with 2d vision and through a program of therapy, regained 3d sight. Her attitude towards all she looked at was as if she was seeing it for the first time and she spoke of how she was "absurdly delighted by everything".

'Sunset' day 4! (don't they look like cotton wool?)
What a way to be. The deeper I go into my work as an artist, the more I am convinced that the greatest creative skill is not what you do with your hands but how you look with your eyes, mind and heart. That is how I want to look at each sunset, each bee buzzing round a flower, the colour of each human eye that meets mine.
Sunset day 6

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer in the City

This week, being a tourist in our beloved London.

Houses of Parliament from the Abbey Gardens (free to enter, very quiet and peaceful place)
Despite recent events just up the road from us, scary and unnerving, we keep

...our eyes locked on the overwhelmingly bigger amount of good (see here and here and here)

..our minds working through the deeper questions, avoiding knee-jerk reactions, helped by voices such as this and this and this and this and this (and this which wells me up everytime I watch it)

...our hearts believing in the ultimate goodness of humans and praying for pain, darkness and badness to be transformed.
Rainbow over London (and my washing!)
Holidays await us in the next 3 weeks, coming and going between London and Norfolk and the ever-inspiring Greenbelt Arts Festival. Looking forward to spending a lot of time amongst trees, beaches and the creativity of festival fun to calm and nourish us.

 I'll be seeing you very soon...

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Friday, August 05, 2011

New (he)art work...

Some stuff comes from deep within... Here is my latest offering to the world.

It's 51cm x 77cm and made from vitreous and porcelain tile, glitter tile, ceramic tile and glass nuggets. There is a lot of iridescence in it (so hard to capture well on photo). If you are in the South of England, you can see this mosaic as part of the "Rome and More" exhibition at Fishbourne Roman Palace between 20th August and 6th September. 

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Flying Lessons for artists....reflections one year on

Its just over a year since I took Kelly Rae's amazing "Flying Lessons" e-course on developing your creative business (with a big focus on being an artist online). This post is a reflection on the last year-  what I learnt  and what I have achieved. Its been a full-on and amazing year for me and with gratitude, I can look back and celebrate (I try to do this regularly as you can see here)...

- my first solo exhibition (see it all here)

-being taken on by the wonderful bGallery that serves as a centre for the arts in Bedfordshire and Cambridshire. Too exciting! This great place has given me a permanent outlet for my work and I am so pleased to be part of it and to  have my work sitting alongside some wonderful independent and established artists (including Rolf Harris and Beryl Cooke no less!). Any of you that are interested in exhibiting your work in their international online gallery, send me an email... it is launching soon and looks set to be awesome!

- three successful community mosaic projects completed and a new one just confirmed. A little insight into the projects here. Just so fulfilling and, as serendipity has it, a wonderful merging of my artistic and social work career (no design on my part!)

- another year of fully booked mosaic workshops and the addition of a new outlet for my mosaic teaching at the fantastic Artyard in South West London. The next course at my studio starts 6th September and the next series at the Artyard on 23rd September. Teaching creativity is just the best...

- a tutorial published in Disney's Family Fun magazine (nationwide on magazine stands in the US) last October (and on their site here). And I have just been contacted by the Stampington Press who are interested in publishing my mosaic work with children in their new "Create With Me" publication. How exciting is that?!

- an article in the British Mosaic Association magazine on my innovative use of recycled materials in mosaics
Silvia (left) being presented with her award by Topps Tiles rep, Andy
 -one of my students winning a Topps Tiles Award for Achievement in mosaics - deservedly so - for her amazing first mosaic

- some lovely new commissions done...
"Together" - commission
- taking part in two group exhibitions. The first in Lichfield Cathedral and the forthcoming "Rome & More" exhibition at Fishbourne Roman Palace 20th August - 5th Sept 2011. Details here. I have just finished a new piece for  this (grouting tomorrow so can't show you yet!) and I love it, love it.

"Circles" - part of the mosaic mural at Central Middlesex Hospital
 -lastly, one of my mosaics is now part of a big public art mural - another first for me. See it in-situ on this blog post about the launch  here


I have just sat down with my notes from Kelly Rae's course...pondering what I learnt, what impact this course has made one year on. So, for those who have done or are thinking of doing Kelly Rae's Flying Lessons e-course - or anyone out there who wants to explore being an artists and how this works in the online world - here are my Three Big Reflections one year on. The new course is about to launch (7th August) so have a read and click the link at the bottom of the post if you are tempted!

Reflection One
Flying Lessons was fully loaded with info and resources. Stuff on developing your web-site and blogging was really informative (I say this as someone who is pretty active in these realms) and it solidified the need to merge my blog and website. One year on, I am half-way there, having negotiated the various options (Squarespace or Wordpress? Designed by others or done myself?). After much pondering and emailing with other Flying Lessons graduates, I have opted for self-hosted Wordpress and, using a premium theme called Catalyst, I am building it myself. Hoping to launch my fully integrated site in the next 3 months!  There are many other areas covered by Kelly Rae that I have yet to scratch the surface with - licensing, publishing and online markets to name three - but I know my notes are there for when this becomes important. The course has both fresh content and info that consolidates knowledge for those already on this path. So, whatever stage of the artist journey (and that online) you are at, there will be something for you.

Reflection Two
The course is huge value for money. Kelly Rae shares 7 years of experience in a 5 week course. A blessing indeed, and she does so freely and without a spirit of competition (evidenced by the fact that every week she promotes many sponsors doing similar art and courses to herself). The downside is that she shares 7 years of experience in a 5 week course! For someone with my personality type (you know, can't sit still, need at least 3 lives to do all the things I want to do) this is a problem. Possibility is wonderful. But it is also stressful. If all these options (online markets, publications, licensing, printing...) were not available, I could just sit and make art, hoping that someone, someday, will magically come along and buy it (romantic and unrealistic). Yet these possibilities are out there in our online world, and I am glad. The issue is how I negotiate my relationship with possibility. I am learning to respond from a healthy place. Instead of trying to do everything NOW for fear that if I don't, someone else will 'take my space', truly believing that there is enough space for me to bring what is only mine to bring. This is tough stuff to process which often touches deep places of hurt (our very right to exist, to be, to have voice).

For me, the other down side of having someones year-on-year journey into a successful art career represented in 5 weeks is that it can easily feed into my skewed perceptions of time / ability (ehm...don't you ever think you are super woman who can achieve 10 days work in 2?!) I am learning that it's all in the journey. Kelly Rae (and others whose work I admire) have walked their path. I have to walk mine and I can't violate that process or skip that journey.  I can't be 'there' now, I can only be here, now and diligently walk the path to where my heart is calling me. I can't condense seven years into one (no matter how hard I think I can work). I can only put one foot in front of the other (piece of art by piece of art, blog post by blog post, workshop by workshop, project by project, tecchie learning curve by tecchie learning curve).  So it turns out that one of the downsides of this course is actually an invitation for me to deal with my tendency to over-activity, and my belief that if I only work harder, faster I can get there quicker. I can't. Instead, in the last year, I have sought to find a pace, keep a pace.  The 'possibility panic' that  a course like this can produce has been a constant inner call to respect the boundaries of time and my own limitations (especially as a mum with two young children).

Confession... I am still doing too much. But (and this is a BIG change in me)  my activity is not coming from a striving and driven place but a peaceful place - peaceful about my place on my journey. I am responding day by day to the opportunities coming my way (problem being that there are lots!). I have become a believer in serendipity and the mantra I whisper to myself is  "Concetta, (stern voice) there is a time for everything, you don't have to do it all now...."
Reflection Three
That peaceful (non-striving) place I mentioned above...? It came in large part from the impact of this course nudging me to take myself seriously in my career as an artist. Actually, it was more than a nudge, it was a push off the edge of the cliff with the wind whispering "Fly, baby, fly, this is for you, this IS you".  Any lingering self doubt about my place and space in the world of art and artists has dissolved. Truly. The molecules of doubt have dispersed and (to date) I have never again felt like a stowaway about to be discovered. If you have walked your path to art via traditional routes (art school etc...) this may or may not be a big thing, but for someone like me (who, like Kelly Rae, came via a career in social work) this is major. Above all else, I am indebted to Kelly Rae's course for helping me expand into my own place in the world.

If you are an aspiring / budding / practicing artist/maker/crafter/creator and you want a seriously full-on, resource rich and heart-full course to help you take your next steps, click here and start revving your engine!

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