Category Archives: short poem films

Sunday…with Weekly Snaps

September 25, 2016

Filed Under : Arrangements - Art - Autumn - Brighton - colour - cycling - exhibitions - London - My Home - short poem films - texture - The Shed - Weekly Snaps - workshops


I’ve not been quite on the button with my Weekly Snaps since the Summer for some reason..I’ve been having to play catch up on a few weeks, this being another…anyway, here’s 2 weeks worth of them!

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You can see the Steller Story version here and book a December workshop here


Sunday…Weekly Snaps

August 21, 2016

Filed Under : Art - colour - moving stills - My Home - short poem films - Summer - texture - trips - Weekly Snaps

Photo 20-08-2016, 10 59 34

I’ve got slightly out of sync with my Weekly Snaps, but here’s a selection from the last 10 days…Photo 12-08-2016, 11 05 15 Photo 13-08-2016, 11 46 16 Photo 14-08-2016, 08 04 43 Photo 14-08-2016, 09 37 37 Photo 16-08-2016, 08 43 01 Photo 16-08-2016, 15 45 32 Photo 16-08-2016, 20 12 27 Photo 18-08-2016, 10 08 39 Photo 18-08-2016, 13 07 23 Photo 19-08-2016, 09 41 05 Photo 20-08-2016, 12 22 47 Photo 20-08-2016, 22 32 55 Photo 20-08-2016, 22 35 40 Photo 21-08-2016, 18 26 33Photo 18-08-2016, 18 24 10 Photo 14-08-2016, 11 40 07 (1)Photo 20-08-2016, 18 21 46

Photo 21-08-2016, 11 57 59Photo 19-08-2016, 15 45 01

Photo 21-08-2016, 15 57 12 my son rigged up a slide projector in the bathroom…Photo 21-08-2016, 15 12 31 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 56 26 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 11 27 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 19 11 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 06 33 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 52 12 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 42 58 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 05 24

…and also a bit of Super 8

You can see the Steller Story version here

Saturday…with Moving Stillness

August 13, 2016

Filed Under : Arrangements - Art - moving stills - short poem films - Summer - workshops

Photo 13-08-2016, 11 46 16For a while now I’ve been playing around with movement within a still image…I had been inspired by an absolutely incredible Instagram account @ncour where he combines collage and extraordinary movement.

I’ve always been a massive collage fan and whenever I have a bit of a creative block, collage always helps as the images always dictate the composition, rather than relying on an initial idea from me…and they are invariably funny and slightly suggestive so I usually end up being really silly with them which helps…as you can see below! 


I also saw this post here on the @lockhatters Instagram account, which I completely fell in love with.

So…I endeavoured to find a way of working to create moving stills…

I spent days and hours googling and testing and trying to find ways of making it work which was really hardcore computer slog. I was surprised that there didn’t actually seem to be an app out there which was exactly what I wanted…it seemed like complicated photoshop methods on YouTube were the only way I was going to achieve what was in my head, and I’m not that skilled in photoshop and don’t have the time to spend going on a course, ( although it is tempting when you have visual ambitions! ).

Then when I fiddled around with a very simple app I found, I felt like I had found some sort of magic; like a ceramicist who’d suddenly developed a unique glaze…hence my ‘magic circle’ type silence on the situation!

But I’ve been asked such a lot now about how I create them, that it sort of feels churlish not to share some of what I’ve found, and with the rise of ‘Stories’ on Instagram, I’m enjoying the shake up it’s rattled inside me, and has reminded me that Instagram has always been my virtual art class where I started, early on, with some really wonderful and inspiring visual voices; to name just a few  @famapa, @kbasta @sandrajuto @elf_girl @passeggiatayu @msuze @pardalote and @piccolotakesall…these were my class mates in the early days. @kbasta for example was one of the original single tree photographers on IG and always seems to combine a Mark Rothko-esque composition within beautiful natural contexts from Chicago, @passeggiatayu was one of the people who opened the door to Japanese photographic aesthetics, @famapa just has the best and unobtrusive contemporary eye on everyday life and @sandrajuto has always seemed to me to quite simply be the template for every creative lifestyle account I see.

What I would say is that being inspired is always a double edged sword…it invites a degree of plagiarism which is often quite frustrating and difficult to handle, but which, in this digital and always ‘positive’ virtual world, we must process silently…the world of image and idea sharing opens you up to all this and when those big brands do it to small designers it always makes me feel sick…and I think the only way to combat it in a creative way is to keep moving creatively, keep looking and discovering and as soon as you feel like you’ve ‘got it’, move on, even in tiny steps ( this is advice to myself as well by the way! ), so what I would say, is take some of my still movement tips here but play around loads with it; make it your own…make it unique!

I’ve never been very good with hashtags but I thought maybe I could for this so we can all share the ‘art class’ and feel like we’re all connected…so I thought perhaps #gentlemoving_stillness could work, so please do use it if you decide to create one of these #moving_stills ( there’s another hashtag! )


So, finally… the apps I use are: GifX, Flixel and more recently Lumyer. I won’t give a tutorial because I think playing around with an app in your own way is the best way to discover your own style…

GifX: this is a really simple app but you have to be prepared to be creative with both the gifs and the masks they provide you with and I would also recommend getting the in-app purchases. Don’t just look at the gifs on face value; manipulate them to within an inch of their giffness! The steam in the moving still below for example was made from a circle of moving feet!


  2. Flixel: This is a very sophisticated app which I haven’t explored enough yet. To get the most benefit from it you have to use a tripod and get the Pro version, but I sort of think it’s an investment into the future of my moving stills.
  3. Lumyer: I’ve only recently started using this app, but it’s brilliant, so I would suggest if you wanted to start playing with moving still, this is the app for you!

And that’s it really, although I also like to use sound as well, so you can add that after you’ve created your moving still.

Here are a few more of mine so you can look at how I’ve played around:


So the order of the day is be creative, mix it up, app-mash it up and find your own way!

Also a couple of other accounts to look at who use this sort of thing are as I mentioned before @n_cour, and also @this_is_the_house and @me_and_orla and @finelittleday You can follow @flixelphotos on Instagram too, for  lots of inspiration, and if you want to work more with making films generally, the Instagram queen of time capsules and boomerangs is @Xantheb who runs great online courses.

Happy stillness folks! 

( if you think a workshop on all this would be useful, just drop me an email at )



Saturday…with an Easter Table

March 26, 2016

Filed Under : Arrangements - collaborations - colour - London - short poem films - Spring

Photo 15-03-2016, 15 52 55 (2)I used to spend every Easter when I was a child visiting my Grandpa in the Lake District…

On Easter Day we’d always have lunch at an hotel which was really old fashioned and we were only allowed into the dining room after a gong on the staircase was sounded…

The waiter wore a short white jacket and didn’t need a notebook to take the order; he remembered everything which always really impressed us.

After we’d eaten there was a room, which overlooked the garden with the sea beyond, where coffee and biscuits were served. At that point my brother and I would escape; there was a big hill we’d roll our dyed Easter eggs down…my brother, who’s older, usually got a bit bored with simple ‘rolling’ and would take to bombing my egg until there was nothing left, until it was destroyed, and then he would decamp to the pond and round up strands of toad spawn and newts and get completely filthy.

I would walk around pretending I was a ‘good’ Victorian child…until I got bored too, and joined my brother at the pond. After a while I would run back to the coffee and biscuits room and report back to the grown ups about what he’d been doing. No-one was really interested in my reports; they were probably so relieved that they were having a quiet moment with a cup of coffee without us arguing and winding each other up!

In the afternoon I’d go for a walk, often in Cartmel, with my Grandpa and my Mum ( my Dad and brother would go back to the house to fall asleep in a chair and play billiards respectively…even though billiards was banned to my brother unless my Grandpa was present! ) and in the evening I seem to remember small sandwiches and the Antiques Roadshow featured heavily!

I grew up in Warwickshire, right in the centre of England, and even as a child I felt land-locked and claustrophobic by my home turf and though it was very pretty, I longed for these Lake District escapes; full of natural space, high fells, sea and lakes.

I still have a deep yearning at this time of year to be back up North, particularly at Easter…maybe that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed my recent trip up there for The Landmark Trust so much; it captured or at least helped me re live something about my childhood Lake District memories..Photo 25-03-2016, 15 58 38 So, Easter is genuinely something very special for me…it always feel like things are at last looking pretty, bright and hopeful after a long, cold and bare spell…

I mentioned in my last post about the #mystjames project which I’m currently working on, that Fortnum and Mason is in the St James’s area, and one of the brilliant perks of this project is that I was given a bag full of Fortnums Easter treats to play with on the table…

I love putting my compositions together; not only placing objects in pleasing combinations of colour, structure and texture, but also thinking about the emotional sense behind it…and there was something about the memories of my childhood Easters in the Lake District, my love of Spring, blossom, chocolate eggs and tea which inspired the images below…Photo 25-03-2016, 16 26 58 Photo 25-03-2016, 16 29 16 Photo 25-03-2016, 16 35 45 Photo 15-03-2016, 16 01 10 Photo 15-03-2016, 16 37 55 Photo 15-03-2016, 16 07 39 Photo 15-03-2016, 16 28 48 Photo 15-03-2016, 16 47 22 Photo 25-03-2016, 16 59 48 Photo 25-03-2016, 17 04 47 Photo 25-03-2016, 16 56 54

a bit of stop frame bag opening…

Photo 25-03-2016, 15 40 55 (1)

You can see the Steller Story version here

Sunday…with the Calais Jungle and The Worldwide Tribe

February 28, 2016

Filed Under : collaborations - short poem films - trips - Winter

Photo 27-02-2016, 17 00 50It’s 01:22 am and I’m sitting in my car in a petrol station in Crawley…I’ve filled my car with petrol but there’s a long queue outside in the freezing cold to pay the lone attendant through the hole in the glass window. I’m in my car because the queue of slightly drunk men is really intimidating, and I decide it’s better to stay well out of the way until they’ve loaded up and left…

Two hours before I was at another petrol station in Thornton Heath waiting for Alice to come back with a bottle of water when a man randomly shouted at me through the window and tried to open my car door before I quickly started the car and drove away….

Four hours before, an Afghan man in the Calais Jungle had randomly offered Davorka and me a stack of hot, fresh naan bread he was carrying when he saw us eagerly looking at it…

And an hour before that, I’d been round a small fire with a lovely group of Sudanese men who insisted we sit down on chairs and share a cup of sugary clove tea with them…

I can definitely say I felt more intimidated at a couple of petrol stations in South East England than by anything in The Calais Jungle…


At the start of this week a group of us who knew each other via Instagram met at my house to knit some warm things for the refugees in Calais and which I could take across and distribute when I got to the Jungle.

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I didn’t know  what to expect at all from my visit, but wanted to be able to at least take something useful, and something which people in the UK, who cared about the refugee situation, could do at home and still feel connected…

I was going to Calais with Davorka ( from @tilly2milly on Instagram ) and Jaz and Jess from @theworldwidetribe. The World Wide tribe does amazing work on the ground at refugee camps and are working incredibly hard to raise awareness of the real situation the refugees are facing at the moment..

Davorka and I wrapped all the knitted hats on the Friday evening and got ready for an early drive to Kent to meet up and travel with Jaz and Jess and another lovely woman, Alice, who also came to the camp with us.

Photo 26-02-2016, 22 18 42

I plagued Jaz with questions for the whole journey and probably only stopped when we pulled up and parked near The Jungle itself.

My initial surprise was that the camp was so much larger than I had anticipated…I had not anticipated that what The Jungle actually feels like/has a sense of is a small town…

I went to The Jungle not expecting to find something so civilised; something with such order, tolerance and definite community. Yes, it’s muddy and a patchwork of shelters and tents, but it has personality and a sense of humanity, just like any village, and it has all been built up creatively by hand, hope and kindness.

I also went wanting answers to some of those basic questions which people ask and which I didn’t feel fully equipped to answer…

“Why don’t they just accept assylum in France…they’ve been offered it?”

So, very simply, they haven’t in fact been offered asylum in France, they’ve been offered the opportunity to ‘apply’ for asylum. This means that if they stay in France and they apply for asylum and don’t get it, they will be deported back to their own country, for instance as Sudan is not at war, and is instead suffering from ethnic cleansing and genocide, they are less likely to successfully gain asylum, and if they are deported they will almost definitely be arrested on their return and face torture and death for leaving the country.

The people from countries at war may have a better chance of claiming asylum, but as the French authorities point out, it is not something they can guarantee…

“ but don’t they just want to come to the UK for the benefits…I’ve heard them interviewed and that’s what they say”

Well, it depends how  you interpret ‘benefits’…

If you are under the impression that these traumatised people; teachers, lawyers, students, musicians, people who are educated, who have jobs and who have not been living a third world existence out of tents and shelters in their own country, have travelled thousands of miles, lost friends of the back of trucks which didn’t stop to pick them up whilst speeding through the Sahara Desert, been robbed and raped by people traffickers and escaped machete attacks and torture in their hometowns are simply wanting to be in the UK for our state benefits, you have been grossly misinformed.

The benefits these people want from our country are the benefits we should be proud of; they are the benefits of the fairest system available to these people, a system which will not necessarily send them back to certain lifelong misery. They are not after our jobs, handouts and they are not here to frighten us or to try and take over…they simply want to be safe, and the UK offers more safety and fairness, if you make it here, than lots of the other European countries…the UK really does feel like a promised land, and not because suddenly they’re going to be loaded with free income from state benefits.

It’s hard to think of yourself in that position, put yourself in that terrifying place, especially I have to say, when you’re having a laugh with a 21 year old teaching student from Sudan who can’t understand why you wouldn’t like maths or physics, and who excitedly tells me that sounds even have colour!! ( to be honest I thought the chances of having a conversation about synaesthesia in The Jungle were going to be non existent!! )…and then you walk away, back to a car which is going to easily get you safely home, and you remember that he also said he thought his sister may be in Ireland, but he didn’t know if she knew he was alive or not…he didn’t have a phone number or know where she lived and he last saw her 7 years ago…

…and also that other question How come they’ve got mobile phones?”

All I can really say to that is, if you could have a mobile phone, or a smartphone in that situation you would, wouldn’t you?… If you were living in a shelter in a camp ( which you feel ashamed to be living in because you’re used to living in a comfortable family home ), and you could find a volunteer who’s managed to get some electricity running from a generator, a volunteer who’s installed wifi and a volunteer who’s managed to find you a donated phone, wouldn’t you take it and charge it up, call your family, your friends, and maybe even ‘someone who knows someone’ who can help you get into the UK…I know I would.

“Why don’t they accept the container housing offered?”

Having experienced the community in the Jungle and seen the containers which are being offered, I can personally say that they don’t look inviting at all; they look more like the child catcher’s come to town and they’re waiting to ’contain’ you. They look like they’re cages without freedom with certainly no sense of community like the camp has, and they are simply the next step to applying for asylum, they are not a solution, and there is no real safety or comfort involved. Having said that a lot of the women and children have taken this option, to keep their babies and small children clean and safe, but it’s not an easy option and is just as frightening as waiting in camp…

As the sun was disappearing we all ate at ‘Kabul Cafe’, a cafe run by some of the entrepreneurial Afghans in the camp, and had amazing Afghan food: spiced eggs, lentils, rice and warm naan.

As we left the camp, the sun had already gone down and I thought of one of the Syrian men who said he’d been asleep all day so that he was awake enough to be able to try and get across that evening…( some of these men try up to four times a week ). I thought of the Afghan man who was flying a kite which he’d made with his son, and who told us he’d been spared being robbed by traffickers recently while most of the others in the group he was with hadn’t been spared that indignity. I thought of the two teenagers we met who’d only been in camp for a few days and then of the men who’d been there for 7 months…

Our Sudanese friends walked us to our car, we hugged them, wished them Good Luck and they told us to be safe, and I got in the car and started on the journey home with a different sort of conscience…

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How Jaz manages to stay bright, cheerful, hopeful and strong whilst visiting the camp so regularly is a mystery…she really is amazing, and that’s obviously why they love her in camp, and she absolutely personifies The Worldwide Tribe.

If you want to know more about the camp, what you can do to help, or just want to be updated with news please follow The Worldwide Tribe on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and help raise awareness to this humanitarian crisis…

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