Category Archives: The Shed

Sunday…with Paintings, Artists Open Houses and The Worldwide Tribe

May 15, 2016

Filed Under : Art - Brighton - colour - Open House - The Shed - trips

IMG_6791I find painting quite a temperamental part of my life; it’s almost like the painting part of me is a separate part of me who I hang out with periodically throughout the year.

The ideas have to sit with me for quite a while, almost to the point where I think I’m avoiding picking up my brushes, because I start to feel that the idea itself is inevitably going to outstrip my basic execution on the canvas…

I paint in 2 different ways: my synaesthetic paintings are an abstract meditation of my experience with the senses; I take away emotions connected to the sounds, smells and tastes and focus on what is actually happening visually in my head…sort of like notation.

My other paintings are emotionally based and often focus on how small and insignificant I feel within the elements; a feeling which I think keeps me aware of how much more powerful nature is, and which steers away from those hubristic feelings humans find so easily accessible.

I’ve found over the years that working on the combination of emotional paintings and synaesthetic paintings keeps me balanced…I have to work with both, and I have to give both their individual time…a bit like living with 2 very different children.

Back in February I visited the Calais Refugee Camp with The World Wide Tribe and Davorka Andjellic ( @tilly2milly on instagram ) to create a visual document and share the trip on Instagram and which I wrote about here the day before the French Police moved in and torched, tear gassed and bulldozed a large part of the camp and the same part we had spent most time in during our visit; the part with the church, the mosque, the school, the library, the first aid, the shops, the cafes…not to mention all the unaccompanied minors and displaced families…
Photo 27-02-2016, 15 02 55When I was at home I felt al sorts of emotions; anger, sadness, fear, relief, but I also had a feeling of helplessness…

Jaz, who set up the World Wide Tribe, had worked in fashion and travel but after visiting the camp last August became completely taken over by the overwhelming need to help people on a grass roots level within this crisis and has since become an incredible force for change and awareness with her close team.

I could completely see how this could happen as meeting people in the camp there; tender, intelligent and kind human beings, makes you so aware of how lucky you are and how helping them should be so easy…

But it’s not always that easy for many reasons…donating money is a great starting point as even if it’s a small amount it not only helps massively but it also makes you feel connected with the crisis. But I felt I should do more, but it’s impossible for me to turn my life around and spend a couple of months volunteering in one of the camps at this moment on my life: I am a single parent with a teenage son and I have masses of domestic responsibility…and so then again I was left feeling a bit pathetic and at a loss for what I could usefully contribute…

However, I am creative, and I thought that maybe that could somehow work to be my contribution…

The Worldwide Tribe champion creative and art based projects within their help programme, recognising the therapeutic benefits as well as how through art and film making the awareness of this crisis can gain a much wider awareness and appreciation, and I really believe it’s creatives who have a capacity and responsibility to highlight and shift social change…Photo 27-02-2016, 16 49 05Davorka and I were both inspired by the incredible structures in the camp; shelters which had been built by the refugees and volunteers together and which had all become personalised homes with individuality and a sense of privacy…IMG_3328Alpha was refugee and an artist and who adapted his shelter in an extraordinary way and became a gallery…
Photo 27-02-2016, 16 19 27As Davorka is a teacher, as soon as she was back at school she created a whole project with her class based around the idea of refugees and these shelters, their homes; helping children create such instinctive and brilliant responses which are below…Davorka children's work 2Davorka children's work 1Davorka children's work 3Davorka children's work 4Davorka children's work 5IMG_1606IMG_1607IMG_1608IMG_1609

My responses were slow…things percolated inside my head for a couple of months, but I couldn’t pick up a brush…

And then I realised that I should paint something to do with the structures themselves; the geometry and colour…and also what I couldn’t see inside…IMG_3340 Photo 27-02-2016, 17 00 12IMG_3339 Photo 27-02-2016, 15 23 42 IMG_3207Photo 27-02-2016, 14 49 51Photo 27-02-2016, 14 43 48I was also really struck by the massive use of gaffa and parcel tape within the camp…it’s a incredibly useful but obviously temporary tool, which summed up a lot of the transience for me…Photo 27-02-2016, 16 40 08 Photo 27-02-2016, 16 41 22 IMG_3269 And I also wanted to utilise the uncomfortable feelings I had about feeling a bit like a voyeur…I was taking photos of people’s homes; catching slices of their lives through odd shaped windows and gaffa taped shapes…Photo 27-02-2016, 15 03 36Photo 27-02-2016, 18 20 01Photo 27-02-2016, 18 00 12

So the paintings are basically about the inside and the outside view; the temporary, the shelter and the hope…

Each painting has a slice of golden outside; a peep at something better through weathered feelings and tarpaulin…IMG_6809

…these are some of my process shotsIMG_6737 IMG_6756 IMG_6742 IMG_6743 IMG_6744 IMG_6747 IMG_6754 IMG_6755 IMG_6757 IMG_6781IMG_6782 Photo 27-02-2016, 16 49 05IMG_6785 IMG_6786 IMG_6788 IMG_3362 IMG_6796 IMG_6794 IMG_6814 IMG_6810 IMG_6813 IMG_6812 IMG_6811 IMG_6808 IMG_6815 I wanted to create a collection of the paintings of different sizes to give the feeling of the shelters themselves.

They currently have their first showing in Brighton in the Artist’s Open Houses on the Fiveways Trail…IMG_8339 and it was a great feeling to see them put up all together on one wall last week…IMG_8327

The paintings are on display throughout May weekends in Brighton here at 3 Surrenden Road, BN1 6PA, and then they will  be shown at The Barbican as part of ‘Papers’ a one day festival of the art, culture and architecture of the refugee crisis being held on June 12th by The Architecture Foundation in connection with The Worldwide Tribe, and amazingly Alpha’s house which I mentioned earlier in the post will be reconstructed for the exhibition. ( You can have a look and also book tickets here

The paintings are for sale and 50% of the price will be directly donated to The Worldwide Tribe…( You can view and purchase them in my Big Cartel store here )

And if you would like to donate to The Worldwide Tribe you can easily do that here

In the next couple of months I will also be launching a really exciting digital and ceramic art project with The Worldwide Tribe, so will keep you posted here and on Instagram as well as all other social channels .Photo 18-04-2016, 14 43 05

 

Monday…with garden progress

May 9, 2016

Filed Under : My Garden - My Home - Spring - The Shed

Photo 09-05-2016, 14 02 56Over the last couple of weeks the garden has transformed…everything has woken up after such a cold early Spring…Photo 03-05-2016, 17 59 00 I managed to keep a lot of the succulents out of the frost and now I have to try and keep the snails and slugs away…Photo 03-05-2016, 18 13 45 The sage is in bud and this seemed to literally happen in days…Photo 03-05-2016, 17 48 54 this is my favourite patch where each year I move things around and try and create texture, colour and height combinations…Photo 09-05-2016, 14 31 13 Photo 09-05-2016, 14 31 26 I have Spanish bluebells, not like the sweet woodland ones, and I really have to manage them each year; digging up loads of the bulbs, otherwise they would completely take over and choke loads of the other plants…Photo 23-04-2016, 16 45 34 This was my echium just over a week ago and on the right, the poor one which got blown down in the high winds and which I desperately tried to save with no luck. I had to dig it up and saw it into sections, but I have kept the top half in water just in case I can save some of its buds…Photo 23-04-2016, 16 42 41 Photo 23-04-2016, 16 41 55 …before it completely snapped from its root

Thankfully I have this one as well which is growing at a crazy rate at the moment…Photo 09-05-2016, 14 34 23this is a cluster of quaking grass which I adore, so I let it pop up all over the place…Photo 23-04-2016, 16 47 21…and a mini giant echium in a more shady spotPhoto 09-05-2016, 14 34 55I found this today…a really pretty looking umbellifer, but one which I fear is hemlock, so I dug it out. I find it really difficult to tell the difference between the highly poisonous hemlock and wild carrot or Queen Anne’s Lace, but apparently wild carrot flowers later in the Summer and this is the prime time for hemlock flowers…will have to keep my eyes peeled in the garden. Funny thing is I think it got there because I had loads of it in arrangements in the house this time last year!!Photo 09-05-2016, 14 35 11Photo 03-05-2016, 18 13 32 baby succulents, common hogweed and hollyhocks..Photo 23-04-2016, 17 03 26I found what I think is toad spawn in a shallow dish at the bottom of the garden, so I transferred it to this deeper old enamel bowl which I found in the garden when I moved here 15 years ago…Photo 23-04-2016, 17 07 32 These cowslips originated from my Great Uncle’s farm, probably in the 1960’s. His wife was my Granny’s sister and she gave my Granny some for her garden, and then my Granny gave some or those original ones to my mum in the mid 1980’s. Each time we moved house my mum would make sure she took a section of the cowslips, and then a few years ago she gave me some from her current garden…hopefully I’ll still have some to give to my son…when he’s interested!Photo 23-04-2016, 16 46 38 Photo 23-04-2016, 16 43 13 the aquilegia has shot up and flowered in a week…Photo 09-05-2016, 14 33 40 The Granny poppies are well on their way…Photo 09-05-2016, 14 33 11 …and the miniature lilac has started to flowerPhoto 09-05-2016, 14 32 15Photo 23-04-2016, 16 51 31 …this was my one and only tulip this year. Hopefully more will come back next yearPhoto 09-05-2016, 14 34 36 Photo 09-05-2016, 14 31 42 Photo 09-05-2016, 14 31 59 Photo 23-04-2016, 16 50 29 Photo 09-05-2016, 11 08 58

Photo 09-05-2016, 14 30 47I haven’t been sure what this umbellifer was until today. It’s been growing like mad and makes opening the shed door very tricky.

I thought it was common hogweed but it’s leaves were shinier, and then when I cut some today I realised it had quite a pleasant smell, so I looked it up, and it’s common name is ‘Alexanders’ or  ‘Black Loveage’ or even Smyrnium olusatrum…I think it may have travelled back from Cornwall with me accidentally as I don’t remember seeding one, but I love that it’s been a bit of surprise…and apparently you can eat it!
Photo 09-05-2016, 14 29 52 It’s apparently related to celery, so I thought I’d make a dandelion and loveage sald…Photo 09-05-2016, 17 44 53 Photo 09-05-2016, 17 45 22 Photo 09-05-2016, 17 46 41 Photo 09-05-2016, 17 46 03 I was a bit nervous about eating something I’d only just discovered, and I would love to say it was amazing, but it wasn’t massively flavoursome and the dandelions were quite bitter…however I like that it’s edible and I did really enjoy the flowers…more of a brocolli texture,  and who knows, it’s probably a bit better with dips!Photo 09-05-2016, 18 16 42

Monday…with distractions

March 21, 2016

Filed Under : Arrangements - colour - Spring - The Shed

Photo 21-03-2016, 11 09 23I was determined to tidy up this morning before getting to the computer, but I got distracted by the roses I was about to throw away, then by Snapchat, then by a beautiful ranunculus, then by The Cheeks, but when the light’s good and the colours and the textures are there, it’s impossible to do anything else before I settle down to boring stuff…

I’m enjoying an experiment into Snapchat, determined to use it in a different way from my teenager who thinks I’m using it in a really weird, non-snapchat way, but I want to play with it, and at the moment I feel like I’ve just bought a new product or brush from the art shop! ( my Snapchat image from the arrangement yesterday is at the end of this post ).

Anyway, here are the roses and ranunculus I couldn’t ignore…
Photo 21-03-2016, 11 00 12 Photo 21-03-2016, 11 03 11 Photo 21-03-2016, 11 06 17 Photo 21-03-2016, 11 16 56 Photo 21-03-2016, 11 22 25 Photo 21-03-2016, 11 35 56 Photo 21-03-2016, 11 11 33Photo 21-03-2016, 11 15 52Photo 21-03-2016, 11 14 07Photo 21-03-2016, 11 31 19Photo 21-03-2016, 11 41 45( this is where I am right now…I couldn’t leave them in the house after all that! )Photo 20-03-2016, 17 22 16…and this is one of the images from my Snapchat story ( my user name is: five5ftinf ), which you can still see for a few hours today or if you miss it I’ve put a version of it onto Steller here

Wednesday…with the Weekend Workshop

March 16, 2016

Filed Under : Arrangements - Art - Brighton - colour - My Home - Spring - The Shed - workshops

Photo 12-03-2016, 12 15 43

At the weekend I ran a couple of workshops looking into flat lay arrangements, particularly with the use of colour…

I love using colour, texture and shape within my arrangements and it was a lot of fun getting people to order domestic colour as well as colour in nature; building a sort of palette, noticing and acknowledging how everything makes you feel, and then incorporating those elements into compositions…

I like to notice details and differences of colour and get my participants to go on a sort of colour treasure hunt around my home, garden and shed; choosing things which we can categorise into colour groups. I also enjoy emptying my cupboards to find natural textures and colours to compliment domestic objects…

Ordering the ‘ingredients’ and then studying small details and shapes before pushing it aside and working on a piece is also an important part of the visual journeying.

It’s always brilliant working with the participants choices and observations and I love the challenge of working with whatever they come up with…

I gave a demonstration on Saturday afternoon of how I tend to build a composition…working with what surprises me and what might suddenly take my eye, rather than any intricate planning. ( it’s the aqua composition with a hint of orange which you can see half way through this post.)

On the Saturday, jeweller Fiona Hutchinson  ( and she’s also on instagram here ) brought along some pieces of her jewellery to work with in the afternoon, and origami artist Coco brought a bagful of her delicate origami to her one-to-one on Sunday…and my cat decided just before lunch on Saturday that he would make a guest appearance on the table too…

So, here are a selection of images from both days, which illustrate some of the process we worked with as well as some finished compositions…

Photo 12-03-2016, 09 06 19 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 07 55 Photo 12-03-2016, 10 59 45 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 09 38 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 27 50 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 29 44 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 07 33 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 40 37 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 40 27 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 45 41 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 45 57 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 54 09 Photo 12-03-2016, 12 15 43 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 58 48 (1) Photo 12-03-2016, 11 59 26 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 57 28 Photo 12-03-2016, 11 57 13 Photo 12-03-2016, 12 01 12 Photo 12-03-2016, 13 43 32 Photo 12-03-2016, 13 46 22 Photo 12-03-2016, 13 54 37 Photo 12-03-2016, 14 23 32 Photo 12-03-2016, 15 09 51 Sara from Notes by a Stylist ( and Lobler and Delaney ) created some gorgeous work with these beautiful pinks and soft jade greens…Photo 12-03-2016, 15 22 38 Photo 12-03-2016, 15 29 52 …and Lilian from Ling Yeon B  ( and @lingyeongb on instagram ) found she started working on more of a flat lay ikebana with a brilliant use of texture with the colours she chose…Photo 12-03-2016, 15 33 19 Photo 12-03-2016, 15 47 10Lots of elements of Fiona’s fantastic jewellery are natural; cast silver cumin seeds, peppercorns and cinamon for example as well as incredible aquamarines ( which was apt as it’s the birthstone for March! ). Her pieces seemed to be drawn towards texture ( and some lichen I had found in Dungeness and Cornwall! )…Photo 12-03-2016, 15 48 14 Photo 12-03-2016, 17 01 22 Both days had wonderful weather which always brightens the shed, and the images below are from the Sunday work with origami artist Coco SatoPhoto 13-03-2016, 09 49 02 Photo 13-03-2016, 11 11 55 Photo 13-03-2016, 11 20 21 Photo 13-03-2016, 11 37 27 Photo 13-03-2016, 11 20 14 Photo 13-03-2016, 12 02 12 Photo 13-03-2016, 11 55 19 Photo 13-03-2016, 12 03 01 Photo 13-03-2016, 12 11 43 Photo 13-03-2016, 12 03 19 Photo 13-03-2016, 12 22 58 Photo 13-03-2016, 11 20 29 Photo 13-03-2016, 11 29 57 Photo 13-03-2016, 12 48 08 Photo 13-03-2016, 12 56 28 Photo 13-03-2016, 12 57 32 Photo 13-03-2016, 13 01 13 Photo 13-03-2016, 13 10 20 Photo 13-03-2016, 13 19 51 Photo 13-03-2016, 13 12 41 Photo 13-03-2016, 13 25 26 Photo 13-03-2016, 13 27 16 Photo 13-03-2016, 13 22 33 Photo 13-03-2016, 15 16 34 Photo 13-03-2016, 15 36 13 Photo 13-03-2016, 15 40 28 Photo 13-03-2016, 16 19 32 Photo 13-03-2016, 16 34 59

If you would like to attend a workshop, please e-mail me at: 5ftinf@gmail.com to be put on the mailing list, as well as checking for new dates of my Workshop Page here 

I’ll also be talking mobile photography and how I work at The Photography Show this Saturday with Mollie Makes, or if you’re in London over the next couple of days I will be in the Makers Market Event at West Elm on Wednesday evening 6:30 – 9pm or Thursday 10am – 8pm