Friday, September 24, 2010

the renegade bee

The other morning I got to the goats shed as I usually do, only to find a disconcerting display. The girl goaties had taken it upon themselves to have a debate on who had power over whom. Two girls were bleeding off their forehead, others were chasing one and sniffing it in various places showing battle streaks of red across their noses. I rescued Hermione (Mientje) from two attackers and popped her near the hay feeder while telling the 2 prowlers off. They just looked at me with a bewildered expression. How dare I interfere!

Which me brings me back again to rituals in groups. Goats have a very distinct way of organising their peers. It can be quite brutal to watch, they are not subtle about it. There is a lot of headbutting involved to determine who is the strongest or they go straight for the pouncing approach which is cornering, chomping ears and making the weirdest noises I have ever come accross. The first time I witnessed it I was totally dumbfounded as goats are by nature very social, happy and gentle creatures. So what was all this about?

I reckon humans have similar ways of keeping fellow humans in check. They do not chomp ears and necessarily draw blood, but they sure have methods to ensure the pack does what the alpha leader wants. It's called hierarchy. The question is whether you want to play the game.

There is the possibility of growing past a group's habits and politics. You would become an outsider among the rank of compliers. Your direction would be your own. Naturally this doesn't gel with the existing layout. Least of all it feels pleasant to you as "fitting in" is a tiring exercise. As long as you act like the workerbee the hive will not notice. Once you start acting differently and stop talking like they do, you are on your own. Hierarchy certainly has its purpose, for example in the army or in a cooperative. From a leader's point of view though a renegade workerbee is labelled to be unpredictable and dangerous. If it can be replaced and if you are said bee, watch your back. If you can't be missed and bring too many assets to the table: you have a brownie stockpile and may have more space to rock the boat.

What is the merit of letting fellow goats chomp your ears? If you feel you have to adapt in order to be accepted by your peers and have an easier life then having your ears clipped can be something you take in your stride willingly. However you can decide to seek other renegade bees and join a collective of happy individuals. In my case I'm in the position of having access to both. My ears are in one piece and I intend for them to stay that way. I think it's far more preferable to have a conversation opposed to blood on my head. 

How comfortable is your position?

Monday, September 13, 2010

graduate style

Sometimes I reckon some of the best work we do happens in the graduate phase. Why? Because we are still eager, inventive and quite happy to make bold moves. Because we can. Because we allow ourselves. Because we want to.

For an artist there's nothing worse then being stuck in the same style, the same ways, the same toast sandwich, the same... (well let's leave it at that) year after year. If you wish to create wonderful art-works, un-limit yourself. I found just the other day while designing new work for Hemptech that really what I have come up with was so placid and frankly, quite dull. I was in shock! The mundane horror! Oh NO! Curse it curse it -teehee.

Un-limiting our minds truly helps in aiding the graduate spirit of free thinking and bouncing forward. Try it.

Photos: Mariposa chair by Edinburgh College of Art graduate Kate Rider 2009

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oodlies time

Recently I have mentioned "the whimsy". Someone who is excellent at creating some serious Whimsy Art is Joi. I thought I'd share some of her work with you today as I'm a BIG fan. Make that HUGE fan. She is about to release a book no less with co-creator Bambi Gordon: "If a smile should lose its mouth"
Read more about the world of Oodlies and how to get their children's book here. I have pre ordered two and golly ms Molly there will be more to follow.

Every day Joi draws away and oodlies appear. It's a funny thing. She's been making oodlies for about 10 years! She can draw them anywhere but usually at a small work station at home.

I find them hypnotic! There is so much to see and surprises around every corner. So who is the mysterious Joi? Read all about her (hilarious interview) here.

She recently made this design into a montage for a professional photographer friend. Joi has her own web design business: Joidesign. They specialize in branding for small businesses. Her clientèle is internationally based and her workload is huge. Of course! Being such a talented creative it's no wonder she is so sought after. Kudos!

A while ago Joi has been kind to also make one about me being the goat and farm beasties lady. I love it! Should you wish a commissioned piece too: send her an email via her website here and enter in the subject text: commissioned oodlie request. See what she says. Just try to not catch her at a PMS time that is hardcore ok. And if you want to send her something nice: send her Toblerone.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

press down

The posting of 4 times a week hasn't quite happened. I have been taken up by work, farm, projects, lack of sleep and too many things that make my brain either be buzzing like a caffeine fired up monkey or a zombie as one with lack thereof. I'm working my way towards a sweet balance and cutting out any caffeine anyway (better for my teeth too my dentist says.)

So what's happening chez nous? As you know I'm deeply over my head involved in a collaboration project. Yes that secret one. So what can I tell you? I've just started to look at these:
Don't they look grunty? Spin them wheels Harvey.
You're so right: when would I have time to spend working with these steely souls? They are called etching press machines and there's a jolly great story about the history of them here.

Why do I want one? I used these beasties for many years while studying (here) I learned many graphic printing techniques there that I thoroughly enjoyed. I had a great teacher and I've never forgotten the joy I had while mucking around with the various styles and options. The woodblock printing technique is what I worked a lot with. This article here is excellent! It shows examples. I found the website of artist Siemen Dijkstra who was taught by the same teacher, Wim van Veen, as I was. Great reads and good explanation of the technique! Read about his work here.)
The thing is: if I don't plan, it comes to nothing. It just fizzles out and dies in a corner. (I already had to park my desire to study to be a vet-nurse as reality told me there's NO way at the moment to cram that in anywhere. I also had to park the goat milk business for the same reason: too many things happening in our lives so I will keep you posted.) Getting back to the machinery: I have shown the hubbaliscious. I'm hoping he can help me out. He's a handy devil he is. He'll probably'd like me to bake a ton of muffins and banana cake and make his coffee, give massages at night and sing a lullaby. Babe I'd be happy to.

So what do I want to make? I like to be able to print on both paper and fabric at home. Screen printing is certainly an option too that I'm considering, it's easier to use when I'm drawing fine lines, but the grunty-ness and handmade cutting out process is so cool to do so I reckon this'd be GREAT! More examples of what's possible in the world of old school arty-farty made by other great folk below, including a lithografy piece at the bottom:

Groovy yes? How the printing is done of the cut prints here's some photos:

3 photos above courtesy of: