Friday, 31 December 2010

January meeting - Gabrielle Forshaw

Make sure you come along to the meeting on Saturday 22 January. We are very lucky to have artist Gabrielle Forshaw coming along to talk to us. Her work is inspired by museum collections, particularly the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Wellcome Collection in London.

I met her on the Embroiders' Guild stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace show this year, and was fascinated by her work. Do explore her website.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Ellimans Universal Embrocation

It seems I've moved away from the 'Gay slant' bra packaging to Elliman's Embrocation. I still love the bra packaging but it wasn't leading me anywhere. So I visited the Museum again, and I was drawn to this display. I was attracted by the name 'embrocation' because it sounds so deliciously old-fashioned. (It is defined as the act or process of moistening and rubbing a part of the body with a liniment or lotion).

I was then amused by the fact that the same formulation was marketed for both humans and horses, only the packaging was changed. And finally amazed that despite the recipe remaining essentially the same (a mixture of eggs, turpentine and vinegar) Ellimans Universal Embrocation is still available today for £3.49 for symptomatic relief from rheumatic and muscular pain; stiffness including backache.

Does it really have any effect? Isn't turpentine hazardous? Who buys it? Isn't it just a crack-pot patent medicine? Yet it can't be or it wouldn't still be on sale today, and in fact on the Chemist Direct website someone reviewed it on 19 November 2010 and said "A friend recommended Elliman's Embrocation to me almost 30 years ago and I have found it to be the best rub I have tried... others can be sticky or make skin itchy but this product is easy to use and very effective..." I have yet to buy it and try it myself. I think I should - especially after the aches and pains of taking my children ice skating for the first time today.

Where am I going with this? I think I want to question the trust that we place in medical or cosmetic preparations. How much do we really know or understand about what we put on or in ourselves. How often are we seduced by packaging and advertising alone?

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Inspiring each other ...

Don't forget to post pictures and comments of your progress on the project. This is our chance to see work as it develops - don't worry about picture quality or how much you have or haven't achieved yet. Don't feel shy... its simply interesting and informative to see how each other approaches their work.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Teeny-tiny books and creativity at the November meeting

Margaret Cooter began the day with demonstrations of lots of ideas for hand-made books.
We all had scissors, paper and practiced our folding and cutting skills.
We rummaged through Margaret's fantastic stash of hand printed papers to choose our perfect cover.
And all ended up with a fantastic array of teeny-tiny books. Some were purely folded, and some were folded and stitched. All could be enlarged or adapted in numerous ways. And we went away enthusiastic to try our ideas out at home.

In between the sessions with the handmade books, we had a session on creativity led by Jane. With reference to photographs from Slough Museum we thought about the ways in which we approach our own creativity. What ideas attract you? Where do your inspirations come from and where do they lead you? What floats your boat?

External, abstract, visual based -
Are you inspired by your environment - nature, landscape, city scape - what you SEE around you? Pure textures, colours or patterns.

Knowledge or research based -
Are you inspired by what you THINK or what you know or research - history, science, facts? Culture, geography, poetry?

Evocative, emotional -
Does your work result from your emotional responses - what you FEEL about things - emotional reactions, memories or nostalgia.

I find I like to look at what I see around me, and I often think I should be inspired to make something from these inspirations, I photograph leaves or flowers or landscapes. I try sketching. But these never seem to translate into anything I can actually work from. I tend to work with ideas that stem from evocative things, or emotional reactions, things I find difficult to express with words can be translated into something I can make.

What we like isn’t necessarily the same as what we can create. What we like in other people’s work isn’t necessarily what we are good at creating ourselves.

How do you find inspiration? Is there a pattern? Are you always drawn to similar types of inspiration? Is there something entirely different which gives you your ideas? Please comment ...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Playing in the snow...

...for a few minutes only, back inside before my toes turned blue. The first snow-pic is the dress lying in the snow, the one below is its imprint.