Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy St Andrews Day!

National Day for Scotland is 30thNovember. There are a few events happening around Scotland to celebrate a sort of mini festival.

I'm going to try and make it up to the High St in Edinburgh if the weather holds tonight.

More info here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Not Martha is a sort of upscale crafty/foodie blog. All this dark cold weather we're having makes me more crafty/ foodie minded. I've organised a Stitch & Bitch intervention for an at home single parent. We go around there and teach her to knit as she is unable to leave infant. Also cool - possibly for presents - knitted felted boxes.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Why Work?

I conducted my life as though it were a foregone conclusion that losing my job would mean homelessness, hunger, or complete insecurity. But the lesson here for me was that no matter how much we may want it to, security does not come from outside ourselves. Security does not come from having a job or money, despite what we may have unconsciously absorbed from living in a money-worshipping and job-focused culture. We can live in a shack and feel secure; conversely, we can live in a mansion and be filled with fear and insecurity. Real security, the kind that will last a lifetime regardless of job status or bank balance, comes from facing up to our fears and mastering them. We may have heard this before…but do we believe it? Failing that, are we willing to at least give it a try, and act as if we believe it? It couldn't hurt, and it might actually work. This is not meant to suggest that we don't need any money or support to live comfortably. It is meant to suggest that if we're afraid that we can't survive without a job, we have a perfect opportunity right now to face that fear and master it. We can use that fear to learn how to find real security!

My surface questions about how to pay the rent without a job were a red herring. They covered up my unexamined and deeply ingrained fears of scarcity and lack. Once I learned to ask myself some deeper questions, I was able to address what was keeping me feeling stuck in the daily grind regardless of whether my survival needs were met. Here are some examples of how the voice of my fears cropped up. Each is followed by the response my deeper awareness gave when the question was posed.
1) "There isn't enough wealth to go around, and if I don't work hard and strive and compete and achieve, I'll be homeless or hungry or destitute."
(Are you aware that the World Game Institute, the work of R. Buckminster Fuller, and many others have confirmed scientifically that we live in an abundant world with sufficient resources to care for every person on the planet? Are you aware that the only obstacles to all of us manifesting this abundance in our lives are personal and political - e.g. our deepest beliefs about wealth, and how the resources are distributed? Are you willing to let go of your fear of scarcity, work toward more equitable distribution of the world's abundance, and ALSO replace your fear with trust in an abundant world?)

More here at the Why Work website.

Money / workis a huge issue for people who want to be creative and well just for those who work. I've not posted a huge amount about it about it but want to explore the issue more.

Have I mentioned Supernaturale? Great crafty site - the articles and links are great and the forums are very lively.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for

The early 80's khol rimmed Marc Almond alike look on my cat's face.

My cool student for telling me about Sheila Scott Scottish Aviatrix who flew around the world in a purple flying suit with a matching skirt which could be donned when she needed to make a public appearance.

Real coffee in my moka coffee pot - though I didn't realise the link between coffee, aluminium modernism and fascism...

Finding my Holga camera after many months of it being MIA.

Delightful friends

Fabulous soap (orange & geranium best) and Lush Angels on Bare skin.


Making Polaroid Transfers

interesting how to article here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

beta blogger

Thinking of upgrading DONT - just wasted an evening trying to turn off the annoying feature which tells you how many posts you have done in an archive month and can't - so removed the &%"$! archives wholesale. If you know how to put the archives on without the post numbering let me know....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Heaps of Books

I've been on a reading deprivation week - as perscribed by the Artists Way in order to allow a little creative outflow. Well I did start sewing up a scarf project which has been stalled for two winters.

I gobbled up Michael Chabon's The Final Solution last night which I loved - since going on the reading deprivation week books have been raining in on me and now I've been tidying the house in preparation for letting my spare room and found a ton of books to read and re-read. Please please universe send me a nice lodger.

I liked this post by Evelyn Rodrigrez of Crossroads Dispatches about only saying yes to what one has a deep internal YES to.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Portobello Arts & Crafts Christmas Market

Saturday 2nd Devember 1.30-4.00 p.m.

40+ makers selling hand crafted items - wood turning, jewellery, bags, scarves, felted textiles, paintings, cards, silver sculptures, prints, photographs, bead work, glass work, books.

For all your unique and unusual Christmas gifts.

Teas and coffees - 50p, children free.

at Portobello Community Centre - 3 Adelphi Grove, Edinburgh EH15 1AP

Together better

It really amazes me how this stuff works. I have classes where people admit to wanting things which they feel are impossible and the person next to them casually offers information to the contary. One student admitted to wanting a new job in a field that she said was very difficult to get jobs in - her neighbour offred up two potenial contacts from friends of hers in the same field who were leaving their jobs in the next few weeks. Another student confessed to a desire to go into space - a seemingly impossible wish. She wanted to be able to see the earth from the air. Another student pointed out that there are currently two supasonic planes in development to follow on from Concorde which will fly up to the edge of space above the earth and you will be able to see the curvature of the planet.

We should stop hugging our desires and dreams to ourselves and go out and broadcast them to the world because we never know someone out there may have the solution.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Tea Leaf Oracle

Reading No. 22
Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos.
~ I Ching

Writer Anne Lamott espouses the idea of "shitty first drafts." Not quite as elegantly put, but the same thing.

Don't try to do it perfectly the first time.

Just do it.

You can refine, perfect, polish later.

Get it out.

Take the first step.

Run with it.

Chaos, then brilliance.


Newspaper bags

I'm a bit of an ecological fundie. I often wrap presents in paper ripped out of magazines and tied up with ribbon. One year I made hand decoupaged shoe boxes for all my christmas presents and nearly made myself ill with the effort. Each box was carefully designed with images which matched the recipient. Result Christmas Eve me lying on the sofa giving feeble squeeks while directing my friends B & C which item should go in each box.

One of those crafty projects which went a bit awry. However ! Last weekend for the princly sum of 50p I bought a cool 'newspaper bag' made from an Indian newspaper with a cool help handle from the shop at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. Funky, recyled and helping street children. The label says 'The organization was started in 2004 by street children who wanted to give something back in return for the opportunties which had allowed them to escape desperate circumstances. These elder children, now married with children of their own, generate an income by making newspaper bags and juste items. This allows them to take care of thirteen street children that they have saved from the street's surrounding Delhi train station, support for this wonderful project means that these children can enjoy going to school and playing, rather than pulling rickshaws, shoe polishing, rag picking and worse.'

Monday, November 13, 2006

Do more things badly

encourages the writer Sark.

On that same theme take pleasure in the Really Terrible Orchestra who say on their website

'The Really Terrible Orchestra exists to encourage those who have been prevented from playing music, either through lack of talent or some other factor, to play music in the company of similarly afflicted players.
The policy of the orchestra is to make no distinction between the various grades of ability and the various forms of music, or time signature. The RTO looks forward to a further lowering of standards, in order to underline its commitment to accessibility and relevance.'

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stephanie Dowrick's key themes

Thursday, November 09, 2006

"The thing about art that delights and confounds us is that it never happens again. This delights us if we have learned how to look because the esthetic experience allows all of our human faculties to be absorbed in the environment of the present and for a while to be fully alive without reflecting, without turning back or looking ahead. Uniqueness confounds us because there are no rules for guides. There can be no science of the particular. In a sense this confounding is a delight because it puts us in touch with that aspect of reality which is described as uniqueness--the fact that nothing ever happens twice in the same way in every respect." ~corita kent

from Keri Smith

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A conversation on the intersection of craft and environment.

Very cool interview with Adrian Meade

How did you start writing?

I was 33 years old, living in New York and stressed out after 15 years working in the pressure cooker world of hairdressing and fashion shows. On the weekends I was helping out downtown in a gang's projects, persuading kids to give up their guns. I'd travelled the world, been in some VERY strange situations and people were constantly telling me that I should write about it all. A kid from Kirkby in Liverpool becoming a writer? Surely you needed a degree in English Literature to be one of these rare and exotic creatures?

Desperate for a new career I moved to Edinburgh with a plan. I would become a criminal psychologist! So I signed up for an Access course at Edinburgh University. Then that strange phenomena that I have come to love and trust kicked in. You instigate change....and totally unforeseen events begin to take over and carry you a different direction.
I was asked by some students to be a stuntman in their no-budget short film, as I had a background in Martial Arts and, more importantly, I owned a suit and tie! Once on the film set I realised that THIS was what I was meant to be doing. I'd always sketched, dabbled with music, LOVED films and was never afraid of hard graft. Making films and TV combined all those elements. I was smitten.

Now absolutely determined to to be a writer/director I planned it like a military campaign, visualising every step.
Step 1. I needed training and a calling card. I would make a short film. But first I needed a budget.
I worked 5 days a week in a Salon, 1 day a week at the Access course and 6 nights of the week as a bouncer. I snatched any time I could to write, five minutes here and there but every day I would write. On Sundays I would take out all my scraps of paper, write them up into a script and then pay a student £20 to type them into a screenplay format for me (I didn't own a computer and couldn't type.)
In nine months I'd saved £7,000 and went back to New York and made a short film on 35mm. I passed my Access course, the short won some awards and my two short scripts and feature (written mostly on the toilet in work ) secured me an agent at ICM London. I was off.

More here and a wee reminder his film Night People is on next week at the GFT and Cineworld Fountain Park

Interesting article in the FT about social networks online.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Autumn pleasures

Its suddenly gone rather cold here. Luckily yesterday I began a frantic clear out where I found my pink cashmere gloves.

I made soup from scratch. Lidle has half price veg this month. I am becoming a Lidle bore.

Autumn soup
fry one onion, chop a carrot and fry. Then put in a packet of cooked beetroot, one large potatoe, one tin of tinned tomatoes, one tin of butter beans, add some dried ginger and a spot of chili. Sloosh some water in.. Cook, food process about 3/4 of soup and serve with homemade bread.

Home made bread
500g of bread flour, one table spoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, one teaspoon of yeast, 250 g of luke warm water, one table spoon of olive oil, one egg. Mix and knead for 6 mins. Oil and leave to rise under cloth. When doubled in size knead in sunflower seeds ( a generous amount) then shape into round shape and bake about 30 mins at gas mark 6.

Finally the Archers has at last got some interesting story lines, adultery! gay marriage!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Art of Craft is a great blog I've just rediscovered on the topic of marketing works of art and craft.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Instincts and tulips

About 5 years ago I met a person who was very successful and I ended up having a professional connection with them over a creative project. I always had a 'funny feeling' about her. Whenever I met them I felt odd, off centre, something was not quite right and I couldn't identify what it was. I eventually had a great deal of trouble completing this creative project and in order to do so found that I had to remove myself from this person as far as I possibly could.

A few days ago I got some information about this person which confirmed all my instincts that there was something off and odd about them. I had not been imagining anything all this time, I had not been 'jealous' and I had not been making it up. My instincts had been telling me the truth all the time.

The more important question is why don't I listen to the 'still small nagging voice within'. It doesn't always bear bad news - I was once standing in Marks & Spencer trying to decide on the flowers to take as a present to an interviewee. Suddenly and clearly I felt myself self thinking 'I must take the red ones'. When I got to this woman's house her kitchen was acessorised in exactly the same shade of red.

Rather than ally ourselves with outside authorities we (and I) fail to take seriously what we already know but will not give credence to.

Zoe the cat has started blogging. She lives around the corner from my cats but is an 'indoor' cat so they have never met. I don't think mine would be into blogging - it would interfere with tree climbing time.

Make yourself a virtual pumpkin!