1. This year I visited Frieze Art Fair for the first time, a rare and interesting insight into the contemporary art world and it’s followers. I found the amount of artwork on show hugely overwhelming, and it felt quite odd to experience art in a busy and bustling environment (unlike the normal calm, quiet gallery setting I’m used to seeing art in which allows space for contemplation and appreciation of artworks). It was however an interesting experience, due in large part to the eclectic mix of people milling around which made for good people watching! Afshin Dehkordi’s review of the contemporary art fair highlights important issues surrounding the affect commercialised art fairs are having on artists and their practice, including the benefits that arise from artists using art fairs as a platform to commodify and sell their art to subsidise more experimental or community based work.
2. The sculpture garden in surrounding Regent’s Park was more my scene, allowing walkers and joggers to encounter contemporary art as they went about their business. Black Light 2012, David Nash.
3. I’ve been frantically researching and reading up on cultural policy since starting my course earlier this month. First assignment is in the form of a 3000 word essay in response to the question “What does cultural policy involve?”.
This week I started the MA Cultural Policy Management course at City University London. I have been inducted, stocked up on pens and notebooks, and have a huge pile of reading to work my way through! Beginning the course meant that last week I had my final day working with More Arts, and I was stunned by the number of cards, gifts and well-wishes I received from those I have worked with over the last three years. Thank you to all the artists, volunteers and team More Arts. Here are just three of the beautiful gifts I received – all handmade in Berkshire.
1. I was on holiday in Newcastle last week, and there was much excitement when on Friday morning the town awoke to find that the promenade had been yarnbombed. The Secret Outside Crocheters and Knitters (SOCK) were the group responsible, who added a splash of colour to the sea front as part of Newcastle Arts Festival (NAF). Read the BBC article about the yarnbombing here.
2. The perfect way to spend your holidays – taking a sketching class along the prom. The classes are free every Thursday 10am-12pm throughout the Summer, led by artist Martin McParland.
3. Unfortunately I was unlucky to be struck down with the flu for most of my holiday, but the best cure seemed to be to get out in the fresh sea air, climb mountains, and smother on Dr Hauschka Lip Balm!
In the build up to the London 2012 Olympics, there has been a huge amount of discussion about ‘leaving a legacy’ – and not just through sport, but linking the Olympic values to all aspects of life. I enjoyed participating in two aspects of the ‘Tree Of Light‘ project which took place in the Thames Valley, a collaborative project spanning two years which aimed to leave a legacy by bringing young people together through the arts. The project culminated in a fantastic large scale performance with over 1200 participants, incorporating theatre, dance and music. As part of the project, The Big Weave was commissioned to teach people across the Thames Valley to weave through creating a large tapestry inspired by the Tree Of Light. The night before the opening ceremony I went up to London to thoroughly soak up the Olympic atmosphere and wandered through the Fire Garden, an installation inspired by the Olympic flame, at the National Theatre.
1. The Tree Of Light performance at Stonor Park featuring 1200 performers, a huge installation complete with lights powered by cyclists housed in the structure.
2. The Big Weave Tree Of Light tapestry still on the loom. The completed tapestry will be toured around the various schools and venues for all to enjoy.
3. The Fire Garden at the National Theatre – perfect pre-Olympic magic!
The weekend before last I was at Larmer Tree Festival in Salisbury, managing the Adults Workshop Tent. Hard to believe with all this sunshine that the main crisis of the weekend was people slipping on thick mud as they entered the tent! Artists from all over the country came together to provide a creative adults only zone where parents and adults got involved making a clay flock of sheep, giant dream catchers, and inspired portaloo pomanders!
1. Floral festival hair garlands handmade by my friend Romany at Blooming Loopy were on sale at Larmer Tree Festival – she takes commissions for brides and bridesmaids too.
2. Giant dream catchers made in the Adults Workshop Tent.
3. Treating tired festival stuck-in-the-mud feet to warm lemon bath and cooling toner spritz after a long weekend in wellies.
A couple of weeks ago I was at Wychwood Festival, a small music festival held on the racecourse at Cheltenham. I was there to help Festival Kidz who go about the country promoting fun family-friendly festies. I am a big fan of small independent festivals – interesting world music line-up, quirky arts installations, no queues for the loos, and most amazingly – hot showers!
1. Interactive yarn ship installation, which was built up over the weekend using yarn and fabric scraps woven over a willow frame structure.
2. Giant Colouring-In from Fancy Features, a creative company in Gloucestershire offering bespoke mural design for everyone to get involved in completing.
3. Dr Hauschka festival skin care kit I put together, containing everything you need to keep your skin care routine going even at a festival! It’s one of those small things that can help make you feel more human after a couple of nights camping.
After reading an article this week on The High Line Park in New York, I thought I’d dig out the photos and share a few on here for this week’s Three Things post. I spent my last day in New York at the end of my six month round-the-world trip wandering along The High Line spotting arty creations along the way – arguably the best park in the world! Read the article by Brandon Presser on the Lonely Planet website here.
1. Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat), 2011 - an installation by Sarah Sze along The High Line.
2. From high above, there’s a great view of street art normally hidden down at street level.
The Diamond Jubilee is nearly upon us! Here are three of my favourite Jubilee features I’ve seen around Berkshire in the build up to the event.
1. These fabulous armchairs were sat outside Trade Interiors Shop in Cookham. For a real experience visit their shop, which is jampacked with quirky bits and bobs, but you can also shop online on their website. Buy the Union Jack Chair here.
2. One of the most creative Diamond Jubilee window displays in my area at Flour Power – check out some of their Jubilee themed cakes here, an essential addition to any Jubilee party!
3. Prize for the best window installation in Wokingham goes to More Arts, and Sue Martin’s creation of a 1950′s Coronation Day tea time. Call by to see the window at More Arts, 43b Peach Street, Wokingham, RG40 1XJ. The Diamond Jubilee Exhibition, a collection of 1950′s magazine spreads from the Coronation, is on show inside the empty shop pop-up arts space too. Exhibition open over the Jubilee Weekend and bank holidays, plus Wed-Sat 12-4pm until 16th June.
1. The last few weeks I’ve been all over the place! Firstly I attended the Dr Hauschka Brand Ambassador day at Rush Farm in Wiltshire, which was a wonderful opportunity to meet other Dr Hauschka fans and learn more about what makes Dr Hauschka such a unique and successful brand. We all enjoyed reviving our cleansing routines through a Radiant You workshop led by Esthetician Elizabeth King. Find out how to get radiant skin in 30 days here.
2. The next day I was off to Ireland for my Granny’s 80th birthday celebrations where I was able to spend a couple of days in the seaside town of Newcastle. There I had a browse of the pop-up shop The Front Room (see my earlier post), and marveled at the huge sculptures that have been commissioned over the last few years along the promenade.
3. Then last week I was in Jersey working at the Liberation International Music Festival - a five day celebration of music from internationally acclaimed musicians, performing in stunning and unexpected venues including Mont Orgueil Castle and a WW2 Nazi bunker on a cliff edge!
I’m busy at work creating an exhibition to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with the More Arts team, using clippings and cuttings from 1950′s magazines. It’s made me pretty excited about all the different arts and cultural things that are going on to mark the event, so Three Things this week features Diamond Jubilee related arts and cultural offerings.
1. Hand Embroidered handkerchief – I was visiting my Nanny over Easter and talking to her about celebrating the Diamond Jubilee. It reminded her that she had this beautiful handkerchief, which she hand-embroidered in 1953 to mark the Coronation – apparently it took ages as I can quite imagine. Still in pristine condition after nearly 50 years – it’s far too special to have been used for wiping snotty noses!
2. Face Britain – The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts has been inspiring children across the nation to create self portraits and upload them onto the Children & the Arts website. Tens of thousands of children have taken part, and their images will be projected onto Buckingham Palace to create a giant montage image of HM The Queen. Projection artist Ross Ashton has been commissioned to create the montage, made up of thousands of children’s self portraits. Be the first to see the projection tonight, Thursday 19th April 8:30pm at Buckingham Palace. The montage image will also be displayed on over 400 JCDecaux digital advertising screens across the UK.
3. Planning a Diamond Jubilee party? This British Tea Party handmade mini bunting is an essential piece of Jubilee party kit. Created by North East based digital artist and graphic designer Laura Cartwright, you can buy the bunting online here.