Tuesday…with some new Workshop News!

August 7, 2018

Filed Under : 5ftinf Tables - Arrangements - Art - Autumn - colour - Conscious Creativity - Summer - synaesthesia - texture - workshops

At last I have some new workshop news to share with you! 

So, I will be running a Full Day creative workshop on Sept 8th on The Isle of Wight as part of the creative retreat which has been organised by Laura at From Britain with Love.

It’s for a small group of people and looks like such a relaxing but also really creatively stimulating weekend in very unique accomodation by Tiny Homes.

My workshop day will be exploring some of the elements which will appear in my new book Conscious Creativity which comes out in November ( but which you can pre order here ).

I’ll be exploring how to use use your instinct, intuition and whatever is around you to help discover ideas and notice details and we’ll be looking at:

SCENT

COLOUR TEXTURE and WABI SABI COMPOSITION and MOBILE EDITING TIPS …and in the afternoon we’ll be going on a sensory woodland walk to connect to everything right in front of us and under our noses and how inspiring that can be.
There are loads more details on the From Britain With Love website here, which is also where you can book your place.

It would be lovely to meet some of you, and help you to explore you Conscious Creativity!
( P.S  There are only 6 places left, but there are also a few day tickets for my workshop available too )

Monday…with Henley Regatta

July 9, 2018

Filed Under : colour - Summer - trips

This weekend I was invited again to my second Henley Royal Regatta by the wonderful Bremont watches who make not only the most incredible time pieces but who are also the official timekeepers for the Regatta itself.

Bremont had organised a seamless day which even started with a bag of Fortnums treats for the car journey. When we were there we got to see the competitor’s boat tents, speak to Olympic Gold medalists Alex Gregory and Greg Searle, have a fantastic lunch overlooking the river, and then a beautiful afternoon boat trip with Pimms ( and even some Pimms popsicles! )

I wore the one of the ladies Bremont watches with a gorgeous red strap and I’d been given a lovely jade green dress ‘Kitty Gingham’  by Collectif clothing which was absolutely perfect for the crazy heat of the weekend…

There is always such a great atmosphere at Henley and I spent a hot Saturday being thoroughly spoiled and very happy! ( and you can see my 2017 trip with Bremont to Henley Regatta here )

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The Design Museum…with Azzadine Alaïa

May 17, 2018

Filed Under : Art - exhibitions - Fashion - London - Museums - Spring

Last week I got a sneak preview of the new Azzadine Alaïa exhibition at The Design Museum in London. It’s a fantastic tribute to an incredible couturier who trained in sculpture at the École des Beaux-Arts  in Tunis and who regarded his dresses as works of art. He was independent from the fashion world, crafting very specific pieces for specific women. He created his dresses on the body itself, draping and wrapping the fabric to enhance form and beauty, and making each garment personally.

Monsieur Alaïa had been a huge part of the conception of this exhibition at the Design Museum and had started to work on ideas last April. Sadly he very suddenly died last November but his long term partner Christoph Van Weyhe, with his close friend and curator Mark Wilson felt the exhibition should go ahead. But this is no retrospective; this is an exhibition of hand picked garments Alaïa chose for the exhibition himself and which interlace with stories of his life. This feels much more than a straight forward fashion exhibition and illustrates beautifully how Monsieur Alaïa worked with ideas rather than any fashion trends.There is also a beautiful display of some Richard Wentworth photographs of a few of Alaïa’s dresses which are on the second floor gallery, and each screen behind the garments in the exhibition have been especially created by artists including Cristoph Van Weyhe.

I love being able to see the passion involved in the way an artist creates and it is completely evident throughout this exhibition.

Being able to get so close up to Alaïa’s designs is incredible; his stitches are virtually invisible… I even saw a couple taking close up pictures just so they could zoom in and find them!

There’s something about fashion as art, as sculpture which I find irresistible. The theatricality of being able to wear something extraordinary, something so exquisite which has literally been made for and partly inspired by your body, is more than fashion; it’s the point where art, texture, shape and form all share a moment of magic.

If you enjoy the escape of fashion,or just love delving into another area of art, this exhibition is not to be missed and transports you to another dimension of design.

Azzadine Alaïa: The Couturier is open daily and runs until October 7th, and you can find more details and prices here

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May…with the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses

May 8, 2018

Filed Under : Art - Brighton - exhibitions - Open House - Spring - Summer - The Shed

Every year during the Brighton Festival in May, masses of Brighton artists open their houses to the public to show their art, sometimes their work studios and often a beautifully curated display of other guest artist’s work. Brighton is heaving with creative talent all year round but May is special; it brings artists together and showcases not only their work but the home in which it is created, a special part of the artist’s world which is usually kept private.

I have been involved with Artist’s Open Houses for over 15 years and first naively opened my own house one Christmas just after my son was 2. There was no social media back then and I didn’t have a blog so it was mostly posters I’d made to advertise locally and try and get people to visit. I can’t even remember what work I was trying to sell and it was a very quiet open house that first Christmas. I joined my local open house group about a year after that, The Fiveways Artists Group, and it was a great learning curve, especially as I was the youngest member by far and didn’t really know what I was doing. I have fond memories of sitting around a table with lots of artists filling addressed envelopes for the ‘mail out’ during my first year of membership and taking my son to lots of private views in his pyjamas. Since then in both May and November I have opened my house and studio many times, always creating new shed installations ( you can see ’The Scented Shed’ post here ) as well as inviting other artists to show their work in my home. A few years ago I instigated and then edited our group’s now annual magazine for 3 years and have also provided this year’s cover image.

The whole of the Artists Open Houses movement in Brighton is very cohesive nowadays; there are brochures, a website, social media ( Instagram and Twitter here ) and local media which give you all the maps and information, including parking and cake options obviously, which you’ll need to plan your personal tour of open houses.

This year I’d decided early that I wouldn’t open my own house as my book deadline was at the end of April, but I was asked by Jehane Boden Spears if I would create one of my shed installations for her open house and show some of my work which I now sell on line. Jehane is an artist and designer as well as a licensing agent and has been part of the Open Houses for about 25 years and this year she has 17 artists showing in her beautiful home including: Iris Del Torre, Debbie George, Atelier Stella, Justine Allison, Sarah Hamilton, Paul Thurby, Eleanor Kolycheva, Cressida Bell, Marion McConaghie, Natalie Pedetti Prack, Ken Eardley, Annabet Wyndham, Jane Walker and Patternistas. Iris Del Torre’s work above and Patternistas rug below Jane Walker’s still life prints hang above Cressida Bell’s cushions and Debbie George’s paintings below Marion McConaghie’s butterfly painting below hangs above jewellery by Annabet Wyndham Ceramics below ( top and middle shelf ) by Justine Allison, and ( bottom shelf ) by Atelier Stella Debbie George paintings above and below are Justine Allison’s ceramics and Annabet Wyndham’s jewellery Scarves above by Cressida Bell and red damask designs below by Jehane Boden Spears
100% silk scarves, jigsaws, coasters, prints and cards by me, which you can also see in my shop here  Ceramic planters below by Natalie Pedetti Prack and ceramic spoons by Justine Allison Debbie George paintings above and ceramics below ( top and middle shelf ) by Ken Eardly and ( bottom shelf ) Atelier StellaI jumped at the chance to create a shed installation as it is my favourite part of putting my own open house together. After some initial thoughts and chats with Jehane about poetry, textiles and the senses, I found my inspiration in Brian Patten’s poem ‘A Blade of Grass’. I wanted the shed to be a multi sensory experience which evoked childhood memories of grass-filled summers, and I also wanted it to be a reminder about how much poetry is contained within the simple, everyday things such as one blade of grass…

Artist’s Open Houses are an absolute gem during the Brighton Festival and are always open during the first 4 weekends of May, usually from 11am – 5pm. It’s a great chance to get to chat to the artists as well as have a nose around the house ( the artist’s are very used to people doing that! ).  If you wanted a day out filled with creatives and loads of inspiration I highly recommend it and you can look on the Artist’s Open House website here for all the details of what’s on offer. You can also go straight to @jehane_openhouse instagram account to get more of a feel for it and have a look at my past open houses and updates on this year on my @64sandgate instagram account. I’ve also variously linked all the artists showing at Jehane’s to their websites and Instagram accounts so have a good click through to see more of their amazing work.

I’ll be around at Jehane’s open house this coming weekend so do just drop me an email at 5ftinf@gmail.com if you’re thinking of coming.

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Julian Opie Exhibition… at Alan Cristea, London

May 3, 2018

Filed Under : Art - exhibitions - London - My St James

Last week I went to the opening of the new Julian Opie exhibition at the Alan Cristea gallery on Pall Mall in London. I was really interested in seeing his work as I really enjoy the simple lines in his work which always give a great sense of form, emotion and place. I find it fascinating that so much complexity can be inferred by such simplicity and that his inspiration stretches massively across many art disciplines from Japanese Manga to seventeenth and eighteenth-century portraiture, nineteenth-century silhouettes, Roman busts and ancient Egyptian art. I also love seeing contemporary art which incorporates a sense of the ordinary. It feels to me like a full and considered acknowledgement of what currently surrounds us;  movement, everyday-ness, size, and the blending of land and industry.

The exhibition comprises of a combination of sculptures, animations and prints, some of which are mounted acrylic blocks and others which are fabric hangings. I particularly enjoyed the sculptural work on display, both his walking figures and skyscrapers but it was also great to see his interpretations of the Cornish coastlines. The exhibition runs until June 16th at The Alan Cristea Gallery, 43 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5JG and is a really great chance to see a collection of work by one of the country’s most important contemporary artists.

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The Flipside Exhibition…with Radical Luxury at Selfridges

April 26, 2018

Filed Under : Art - exhibitions - Fashion - London - Spring - trips

Last Monday I took a different bus from Victoria station and got off outside the corner of Selfridges. I went to dive down the side street to avoid the tourists and get a move on to my meeting. I always love a good window display but if I’m honest they rarely actually pull me immediately into the store. But last Monday was different…

There were some extraordinary pieces in the window; theatrical, operatic and not at all what I expected to see in Selfridges. It felt like a snippet of something from the V&A; more like a fashion and art exhibition I tried to walk on, but couldn’t. I had to go in…

So, I then discovered that since January, and since their Accessories Hall refurb, Selfridges have launched a campaign called Radical Luxury which will run until June and as part of the campaign they have created The Anatomy of Luxury at their Corner Shop, ( on the corner of Duke St and Oxford St ), which showcases a new brand, exclusive items and unusual collaborations each week. It feels incredibly contemporary, very free and excitingly transient. It was Gareth Pugh’s designs which drew me into the store and which then reignited my long standing interest in the combination of fashion, art and design.

Later that day, and by complete coincidence, I received an email asking if I wanted to have a preview of ‘The Flipside’ installation exhibition which is part of the Radical Luxury campaign and at the Old Selfridges Hotel in Orchard St. Excited by my new discovery of Gareth Pugh, and as he was one of the designers who had created a piece for it, I obviously said yes!
The Flipside is a multi sensory exhibition curated by Selfridges with the concept that it is the ‘alter-ego’ of the Accessories Hall. It has elements within it which reflect the design within the Accessories Hall like the semi circular Fount Bar and the orb lighting, but it stands as its absolute opposite; the entrance itself a rotating door, designed especially for the exhibition, and inspired by a flipping coin.It’s full of shadows, shifting light and an esoteric soundscape, focusing on the thought that time itself is the ultimate luxury. It invites you to forget time and be transported into a distorted, different concept of it which enables you to connect to your senses and actually feel the experience. 

Seven different brands have created installations for the exhibition, and the fundamental connection between art, design and the world of fashion is evident throughout. It’s not just about selling bags and dresses, this is about witnessing the creativity and conceptualism of cutting edge designers. The issue I often have with fashion is that I can’t afford the pieces I want and then that makes me feel a bit cut off from engaging with it all. But going to this exhibition made me rethink…I don’t decide to go to a new art exhibition just to look for a piece of art to buy; I go because it’s inspiring and fires me up creatively. If, at some point I can save up for something really special; a ‘work of art’ I will; that is a goal…and that’s how I want to address fashion, because for me it’s the more extraordinary, exclusive and artistic pieces which I love. I don’t just want to own a nice dress or bag, I want to own a treasure and be inspired by just looking. Seeing how other artists think is a constant reminder that we don’t have to all be like sheep and that thinking outside of the box is not only exciting, it is completely invigorating.

The questions which anchor The Flipside exhibition are ‘What is your idea of luxury?’, ‘What does Radical Luxury mean to you?’ and ‘How do you define luxury’. These are questions and concepts which the designers and brands have worked with whilst also considering the future of luxury.

The brands involved are: Google Pixel 2, Byredo, Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Thom Browne, Mr Lyan, Gareth Pugh and Selfridges. When I had the preview, not everything was set up, so I didn’t get a proper look at the Byredo and Google pieces and which I hope to go back for.

Google Pixel 2 who will lend you one of their phones to take pictures as you go round as they are excellent for low level lighting shots apparently ( the shots here btw are shot on an iphone 7 which isn’t brilliant for the dark! ) and you can create ‘Your Luxury Portrait’ by selecting your definition of luxury.

Loewe who have worked with the concepts of tradition combined with limitless future and intelligent design to protect the Earth’s resources for their ’The Future is Green’ piece and which for me was also reminiscent of my late father’s obsession with technology in in th 70’s and 80’s but which then seemed to overtake his understanding of it as he grew older.

Mr Lyan has conceived a wonderful sensory experience in ’The Libationary’ which allows you assimilate various questions, tastes and smells  to determine your ideal personal cocktail.

Thom Browne presents a surreal, and almost sci fi, theatrical piece ‘Dreamscape’ which is like an old fashioned music box.

 

Gareth Pugh has created a video installation ‘Void’, which has an extra sensory experience as you enter. I love that his luxuries are escape, freedom and clarity and that entering his void really connects you to that.

Louis Vuitton have created ‘Radical Journey’ where they look at travel of the future where luxury is expressed as an experience.

Selfridges have created really thought provoking, yet gentle shadow and light displays which then come together in ‘The Shadow Dial’ where you become its middle point, allowing light and shadow to rotate around you. It creates your personal shadow journey and actively slows you down so you feel like you are becoming part of time itself.

I loved this exhibition because of its exploration of The Flipside; the darker underneaths of the instantly attractive. It also felt like Selfridges had a refreshing sense of self awareness. It’s a crucial contemplation at the moment because now more than ever,as people rush around to capture all the pretty;  grabbing the ’cream’ or the easy ‘cherry on top’, means that any thought about time, where things are coming from, where things are going to and our position in all of that can get massively overlooked or lost, whereas it should be fundamentally embraced.

 The Flipside is a site specific installation which I highly recommend to anyone who wants a London experience which is out of the ordinary and which transports you to another dimension.

It’s also a FREE exhibition, although you will have to BOOK ( which you can do HERE ) as there are timed slots. It runs until May 11th and is open Tuesday – Friday: 12pm – 8pm, Saturday: 10am – 8pm and Sunday: 12pm – 6pm.

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Synaesthesia and Painting in Jamaica with TUI

April 25, 2018

Filed Under : Art - collaborations - colour - synaesthesia - trips


A couple of years ago I was asked what my dream job would be and I said that it would be something which combined painting, photography and maybe a bit of chatting!

Last month, during the coldest late winter the UK had experienced in years, I was flown out to a very hot Jamaica for basically that dream job. 

I had partnered with TUI Sensatori, along with Perfumer Dawn Goldworm and Professor Charles Spence, to be one of their ’Sensatorialists’, staying at one of their five-star luxury resorts in Negril, Jamaica and had been asked to interpret my sensory experience by creating 3 abstract paintings utilising my synaesthesia. I was asked to bring to life on canvas, the sounds, tastes and smells of the most memorable sensory elements I experienced whilst I was there.

Synaesthesia is a merging of the senses and when experiencing sounds, tastes or smells the brain stimulates corresponding abstract visuals. I’ve been using these visuals to create paintings for about 15 years and as I had never been to Jamaica before, let alone painted there, I was incredibly excited.

Making the time to simply connect to my senses can often feel like a luxury. Life can be filled with train journeys, headphones and staring at the computer, but if we regularly connect to our senses and consciously exercise them, it’s obvious that when we relax on holiday we are much more open to their effect and the heightened experience and pleasure they bring.

Scientific research has shown that actually drawing things on holiday, rather than just taking photos or videos, is a massively effective way of reminiscing. Therefore TUI Sensatori are  on a mission to help people capture and prolong their holiday memories by getting in touch with their senses and encouraging people to sketch and make a record of their holiday in a more unique and visual way. 

I personally think everyone has synaesthetic tendencies but it’s whether or not you want to or are even able to find the place in your head where the images are. Babies must gather information in a very abstract way because they can’t read and they don’t have words but as adults it is absolutely a sliding scale; some people suddenly realise that they have always thought of the taste of lemons as spikey, others just don’t connect the taste to anything remotely visual.

So this is a blog post charting my personal experience whilst I was staying at TUI Sensatori in Negril, and showing you the paintings I created for TUI whilst I was over there. And although I obviously did take lots of photos, I also spent hours painting on the beach which I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed… 

Apparently there’s a lot of digitally induced holiday amnesia going on at the moment and as a big Instagram user myself I personally know how full on it can be, but my time with TUI in Jamaica genuinely took me into another, much more relaxed zone.

( I also got some of the press who came out with us, to paint on the beach ) And when I got back home I spent a bit more time getting the paintings finished, which brought the whole experience directly back to Brighton…

The Sounds of The Sea ‘The Scent in the Spa ‘Spicy Jerk Sauce Taste with Barbecue Smoke Aroma’

Whilst I was out there TUI also made a mini film about my experiences which you can watch HEREand there is also a quiz put together by Professor Charles Spence to see how connected you are to your senses and whether you have synaesthesia or not which you can try HEREWhenever I’ll think back to the resort in Negril, it will be recalling the sound of the gentle waves lapping on the beach at sunset, the barbecue smoke aroma on the beach with the taste of spicy jerk sauce ( something I had never tried before ) and the gentle citrus scent in their Spa…oh yes, and the fact that I walked off the plane in Miami right behind David Beckham!!

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Saturday…with some Weekly Snaps…

April 21, 2018

Filed Under : 5ftinf Tables - Arrangements - Art - Brighton - colour - exhibitions - Fashion - London - My Home - Spring - texture - The Lonely Kiosk Project - Weekly Snaps

I haven’t done my Weekly Snaps for absolutely ages, so I thought I’d put together as I think I’ve taken more photos this week than in the past 3 weeks together ( although I may just have snuck in a photo from a couple of weeks ago too ). I’ve been writing my book recently and sitting at my desk for hours on end isn’t massively photographic. I’m also prepping for a new shed installation which I’m creating for an Artists Open House ( Jehane’s Open House ) which will open in Brighton the first weekend of May…The installation is called ‘A Blade of Grass’, after a Brian Patten poem which has inspired it. So, I’ve been collecting lots of bits for that, as well as popping to London a couple of times, matching my yellow and black clothes to all things yellow and black, finding new decaying phone boxes, discovering Gareth Pugh and having a walk into Brighton… Btw, the note on this board says ” The Importance of Fashion”

 

Inspiration on The Somerset Levels at Godney Arts House with CoolStays…

March 12, 2018

Filed Under : Art - collaborations - colour - texture - trips - Winter

I never think of February as a particularly exciting month, although I do always try and structure the first couple of months of the year with day trips and a general feeding of my eyes and mind. January and February are always tricky to get through so over the years I’ve learnt  that I just give in to not knowing what I’m going to be doing and use the time as respite from the madness of the latter end of the previous year.

In January I met with CoolStays who suggested a trip to Godney Arts House as they said they were sure I’d love it, but I honestly didn’t expect it to be quite as beautiful and cosy and that I would feel so inspired by the Somerset Levels. The house is owned by artist Simon Ledson and designer Jane Peck and it felt like a perfect opportunity to reconnect with my painting as weather and the landscape often inspires my work. Brighton artist Sophie Abbot, who I always find an inspiring person to be around, came with me for the couple of days and we spent our time chasing starlings at sunrise and sunset in the hope of a glimpse of their famous murmurations, as well as walking, painting and relaxing in the amazing pub next door The Sheppy Inn ( who even served us soup and mussels when they’d closed the kitchen as we’d lost track of time painting ).

As we were only there for a couple of days, we decided to make the most of the journey there and back, so stopped off en route at the cliffs by Cheddar Gorge, and then popped into the Hauser & Wirth Gallery on the way home.

I have to say, as collaborations go, this was genuinely both an inspiring and relaxing break which is what Cool Stays is so brilliant for; they have such quirky and interesting holiday options that I really urge you to have a look through their site, particularly if you want a get away with style, character and luxury as well as keeping your independence.

I’ll start my photo story at Cheddar Gorge, which was our giant gateway into into a secluded Somerset retreat…The gorge cliffs were enormous and then the Levels were so beautifully flat…such incredible opposites so close by felt surprisingly humbling…Having driven down lots of sleepy, flat roads with gentle bonfires silently burning, we arrived at Godney Arts House greeted by fresh bread and Cheddar cheese…The house was instantly calming, warm and very cosy and all the windows there are to die for… The house is full of lovely, stylish and quirky details including artwork ( which is also for sale ) by Simon…

My two favourite things in the house though had to be this gorgeous bath and the simple kitchen table, which ended up being commandeered by water colours and pastels…
We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to be staying next to such a brilliant and unique pub which is well worth a visit, even if you’re not staying in Godney, as the beer and food are fantastic… I was desperate for one of these Spanish dolls as a child and here she was dancing in the Ladies!We drank ‘Wild West’, but kind of wanted to try this pump…although she scared me a bit! The following morning we were out of the house before 7am trying to find the starling murmurations, even going so far as to phone the starling hotline, and although we didn’t catch any displays we found them roosting like fat fruits in some of the country lanes…

After the sun came up properly we went for a morning walk around Westhay Moor Nature ReserveI made the mistake of testing how thick this ice was, and got a very wet boot!
We wanted to try and catch the starlings at sunset so had a leisurely afternoon

before going to the opposite end of the reserve to wait by the bird hide…and get extremely cold!! The starlings only made an appearance in the distance but we watched the sky for 2 hours completely enthralled…

Every piece of the sky was constantly morphing into new and more beautiful shapes…We went back to Godney Arts House and became engrossed in sketching, although nearly missed out on supper… We’d really enjoyed our early jaunt the previous morning so set of for an invigorating morning walk before setting back for Brighton… I could have stayed so much longer…this was a truly calming and quiet spot, but Brighton was on the horizon, although as the Hauser & Wirth gallery was so close by in Bruton, just before we properly got going on our journey back, we stopped off to have a look around ‘The Land We Live in and The Land We Left Behind’

I found this trip to be such a breath of fresh air and can’t thank CoolStays enough for asking me to go. Just looking at the landscape, walking along ancient tracks, staring at the sky and taking time to paint was invigorating and enlightening…if you need to get away you should definitely do it, even if it’s for a couple of nights, and I would also definitely use the CoolStays site as well as following their Instagram account @coolstays as a starting point.

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Colour Combination Collections…

February 26, 2018

Filed Under : 5ftinf Tables - Arrangements - colour - texture

I’ve been practicing colour combination collections on my table on and off over the last couple of months, inspired by suggestions made on my @5ftinf Instagram feed…

Lavender and Gold…

Turquoise and Satsuma…
Olive Green and Pink… Purple and Apricot… Burgandy and Taupe…
Spring Green and Egg Yellow… …and the table having a break!