I’m a bit late to the game with the ‘what I did in 2016’. I realise some people find these sorts of posts tedious. Not me. I’m afraid I’m one of those annoying list ticky people and I’m also quite a forgetful person so above all else I need this as a reminder of what I did so I can work out what to do next.
So 2016… I really only had one main goal and that was to find a good balance between my new motherhood situation and returning to my practice. I thought because I had spent nine months out of work that everyone would forget me. I had also read some horror stories about maternity and working rights which I discovered was more commonplace than most.
Well I was pleasantly surprised that I hadn’t been forgotten about and after firing off some emails to past colleagues found myself working straight away. Here are a few things that I did:
- Found a new studio sharing with a ceramic artist
- Pleasantly discovered my new Studio mate was a perfect fit and has been a true inspiration to getting back into my work
- Reignited my passion for Book Apothecary an artist book museum I set up in 2011 – possibly due to sharing a studio floor with two of the artists
- Made lots of artist book plans
- Ran a series of workshops with an artist I mentored just before baby came along
- Set up a weekly sewing group
- Proposed and got a new solo exhibition in Macclesfield
- Gained an artist residency at A garden in Gateshead working with asylum seekers and refugees
- Learned how to make Korean Bojagi textiles
- Received A grant from Arts Council to deliver my solo exhibition and residency
- Received a grant from arts council to travel to South Korea
- Went to South Korea and visited the last silk producing town, delivered workshops and collaborated on new work with Korean and British artists
- Met my Korean family after 31 years
- Cried a lot
- Ate a lot of Korean food
- Found a great nursery for my daughter
- Watched her take her first steps
- Got ill a lot because my daughter was now going to nursery
- Went on a train without her and felt like I’d left something at home
- Made some brilliant mum friends who helped me get through all the changes
- Took part in my first open studio
- Reopened my etsy shop and sold some work
- Got given a really massive table for my studio
- Ran my first workshop from massive table
- Received a commission from New Writing North for Durham Book Festival
And of course there were a few things that didn’t go to plan like applying for opportunities that I didn’t get or an entire batch of 2000 silk worms dying (argh) and that when you have a baby things change – including friendships.
Friends who don’t have children stop calling you or asking how you’re doing when actually what you’re doing is going through the biggest moment of your life and that as well as it being amazing it’s bloody tough and that even though you are now plus one, you’re still you and more than ever you need your friends around you. Now I am with baby I have made new friends who I believe will be my life friends and perhaps they have been replacing my older friends. It’s not ideal but right now that’s what I need.
This is fast turning into a post about motherhood – but that’s what I am now. A Mother. An Artist. A mother artist.
Let’s see what 2017 brings…
I reopened my etsy shop over the holidays after a three year hiatus. I’ve forgotten how nice it is to send things in the post and how really lovely it is to make a thing with your hands and have someone buy it. That connection to someone else which is only joined through this object just fascinates me. Thinking about how I want to develop small objects and how I might sell them has been my Christmas obsession. Still have a long way to go but it’s a nice project to think about in between exhibition making.
I’ve been working on a new workshop programme for my Book Apothecary project which will launch next year. The idea is to provide workshops in traditional and also not so traditional book making.
I love books but I especially love making them. I learned how to make books at The Lit and Phil Library – they have a bookbinding group there which is hugely popular. Then I picked up other skills alongside projects I was doing. I often incorporate some sort of bookmaking into most of the projects I do.
So I’m kickstarting January with a simple Introductory course where we’ll make different book structures with covers. If you are on my mailing list you can get a discount on the course price. If you’re not you can sign up to it here. I’ll be sending out the email tomorrow.
At open studios I wanted to trial the idea of making some wrapping cloths as an alternative to Christmas gift wrap. I had some fat quarters of Japanese fabric so made some up and they were a hit! In fact they sold out hurrah!
Wrapping cloths are historically used in Asia. Japan and Korea both have an established culture of giving gifts wrapped in cloth. It goes further in that giving gifts in certain colours is crucial at certain events. I find this ritualistic giving really interesting and I definitely think the idea of a recycled wrapping cloth that can be reused is brilliant!
The fabric I used was cotton Katazome – which is a type of dyeing using rice paste resist and paper cut stencils. I was really excited to learn this was how kimonos were originally printed. I’m now obsessed with this technique which sadly is quite ancient and isn’t used much anymore… actually that’s what’s made it more exciting. So after much research I have gathered the materials to experiment with dyeing my own Katazome fabric.
In the meantime I made some new wrapping cloths which will go on sale in my shop later this week!
Have a look at my new shop, I’m slowly adding items to it. Let me know what you think?
I’m pleased to announce that I am running workshops from my studio now after I have upgraded my table set up.
First up, is this Festive Paper Ornament Workshop. There are only 8 places, which I think is a lovely intimate number for us all.
Join me in my studio in the heart of Ouseburn Valley for a festive workshop making paper ornaments for your tree or to give as a gift.
In this workshop we will look at the sculptural possibilities of paper to create small hand crafted ornaments inspired by the festive season.
Participants are invited to create six individual paper ornaments using origami and Paper sculpture techniques. Your finished pieces will be packaged into a beautiful gift box ready to give to your loved one (or keep for yourself).
Lead by visual artist Yvette Hawkins who works across installation and sculpture using traditional craft techniques including Paper folding, bookbinding and textiles. Yvette is lead artist and founder of BookApothecary.
TICKETS £25 (plus eventbrite booking fee)
Buy here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festive-paper-ornament-workshop-tickets-8992164807
All materials included. Refreshments provided
Please note that my studio is located on the 5th floor. Street level is at level 2.5 with only stair access to the studio.
Adult workshop 18+
Looking forward to welcoming you into my studio.
This weekend I will be opening my studio to the pubic to participate in an annual open studio event in the Ouseburn.
It starts this Friday 25th November 17.00 – 20.00 and continues over Saturday and Sunday 10.00 – 17.00.
There is a cafe with refreshments to keep you warm… plus heaters. Yes our studio will actually be warm!
I’m based on floor 5 of 36 Lime Street where I share my studio with Judith Davies, ceramic artist whose work I adore!
I will be showcasing a range of work in response to my recent research trip to South Korea.
All year I have been experimenting with natural and synthetic dyes and investigating the materiality of silk; a material which I have been using as a means to bridge my dual Korean/ UK heritage. All the silk I have on display comes from Hamchang, the last silk producing town in South Korea.
I’ll also have some older work in the form of artist books, maps and book sculptures alongside some experiments in paper folding.
In the Gallery a group exhibition exploring the various processes different studio artists use is on display throughout the weekend and I have two pieces of work in there too.
Some good friends and collaborators Hoes and Ditches will be greening up my space with some stunning teraniums and plants which are also available to buy alongside my work and textiles.
Check out all the details here.
Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!
I’ve had a really old folded paper experiment that I made years ago on my studio wall that I haven’t done anything with. It’s just been sitting there after I found it recently and I really want to go back and look at it again, take it a bit further.
I played around with stitching territory lines into my map tessellations with thread to indicate places I had lived. In that series, each map represented a location I had lived marking out 43 abodes from birth until 2011 in red thread. I’m interested in territories and the idea that my interests are delving more into the borderless and hybridity of investigating two countries and so I’m revisiting the thread map grids.
This work eliminates the found maps I had used before. There is a lostness within them. The folded 3dimensional structures indicate a topography which hold the grids in space.
I couldn’t bare to post any studio updates these last few weeks. My small studio world seemed so trivial in comparison what was happening in the UK. Half of our country voted to leave the EU. Half of our country is now grieving from this decision. Most of us are in disbelief at the sheer farce that has happened since then. The main instigators of the Leave campaign have resigned. The Prime Minister has resigned and Labour MPs are ganging up on our one shining light of hope Jeremy Corbyn, who for me, stands for everything I want in a leader of a left wing government. We are in limbo and I have never in my lifetime felt so uncertain about what this means for our future.
It seems that for many that voted to leave, this also has made it acceptable for them to say to pretty much anyone that isn’t a full blooded Brit to ‘Go Home!’ My friend who is half Iranian got spat on in the street. Every few days I hear of school children telling other school children to go back to their country. SCHOOL CHILDREN! This is not a country that represents me. I am European (my grandfather was French) but I am also British, yet currently I am embarrassed of this fact, that to the rest of the world the UK is coming across as a segregated racist country. In my lifetime I have had a chip thrown at me in the street, been told that ‘my people’ killed a mans grandfather in WW2, been called racist names on public transport and was once told by a teacher that if a child is being racist towards me then I should just be racist back. We are now not only isolating ourselves from the EU but also creating a barrier from the rich community of cultures that make up the UK. There has always been a problem with racism but after the EU referendum it feels like it has gotten a lot worse.
But life must go on and I must go back into the studio and this week I have realised that my work on INHABIT and the ideas around otherness, migration and borderless practice has never felt more important.
I made good progress on developing the Bojagi Korean wrapping cloths and taking them into sculpture, playing around with framing and light as well as trying out some hand painted versions for a workshop last Saturday which worked very well. Here are a few from the students…
I also showed the technique of how to make a sewn Bojagi which uses a French Seam. See, even my techniques are European!
As it was my first Bojagi workshop I think it went really well and I’m keen to do some regular Bojagi workshops as it seems to be relatively unknown in the area. Well if anyone reading is interested then let me know!?
I have another workshop in a few weeks on loom knitted raw silk, sadly sold out already so that’s what I’ll be working on this week as unlike other workshops I run, this one will be contributing to a knitted sculpture for the INHABIT exhibition.
I haven’t spent much time in the studio this week, but when I have been in I’ve been quite productive. This is good because I have two commissions happening that I really need to get a move on with. This isn’t even the big project that I really should be working on and with my Korea trip pending and my partner away for three weeks next month and reduced childcare on top of that i’m starting to panic at how little time I have to make these two pieces of work.
The first piece is a bojagi which I’m making for The Korea Bojagi Forum in Suwon in September. I’m new to making bojagi so there’s that, but traditionally it’s completely hand sewn and though you can machine stitch, this to me feels wrong so I’ve been practicing a lot and if I’m honest I’ve been a bit scared to start the final piece. The other thing that’s important to me is that I make a contemporary interpretation of bojagi. They work best back lit so the emphasis is all on those hand made seams. So this week I have been dyeing silk with the aim to create some interesting effects which will feature in the final work. Shibori has worked really well with this because it’s essentially folding and clamping, which mirrors the folding and sewing of the seams of a bojagi.
This is the first layer, which is dyed with blueberries. I’m pleased with the outcome and am looking forward to developing this further. Unfortunately my hot plate that I use to cook the dyes broke this afternoon so I’ll have to wait until next week before I can continue.
The second commission is still a secret and I can’t reveal exactly what I’m working on until August but it’s part of a bigger project and I’m really excited to be part of it. One thing I will say though is that it is going to again involved quite a bit of hand sewing (oh my poor hands) and so I’ve been practising mark making and stitch using the Kantha quilt technique.