So this was my last Easter in the UK for the conceivable future. Aidan did his thing with friends and family in Wales, and I spent the day with my family at my nan’s house in Coggeshall (a small town in Essex.) Now easter in our family has always involved an egg hunt in Mémé’s garden – and although most of us grandkids are pushing thirty, we stubbornly keep the tradition alive. Usually my dad’s older brother does the hiding, but this year my cousin Aleric did the honours with help from her boyfriend.
Expert egg hiding….
Of course Mémé had cooked up a storm. It’s inevitable that a visit to my nan’s ends in a very full stomach full of very tasty food!
On the way back we spent a good hour driving through the back streets of London, around Bermondsey, Southwark and Waterloo – which weirdly is one of my favourite things to do in this city. There’s something really magical about London at night, it transforms into something wonderful, and sitting in the back of my mum’s car on Sunday night I realised that it is something I will really miss about this city of mine.
So for this month’s things to see I made myself a little booklet featuring a selection of exhibitions that are currently on in Berlin. I was there from the 8th-12th April, and so decided to check out what was on at a few of the many galleries dotted around the city. One sheet of suggestions just wasn’t enough in this case, so I thought I’d put my bookmaking skills to good use and make my own exhibition guide!
Found all the info I needed on ArtRabbit – which is a great resource if you’re looking for exhibitions in London, Berlin, New York or Paris.
For details of the exhibitions included keep on reading below!
So today started stressfully, although I decided to poeticise my commute to try and make at least that part of it less frustrating: I missed my bus by the turn of a corner, and my train by a flight of stairs.
Commute aside, my mind was fully occupied this morning. I had a letter to print out, a letter which I had written yesterday – addressed to our headteacher, explaining a big decision that I was making. A decision that is allowing me to fulfill a life-long dream and embark on a huge adventure.
I emailed him, asking for a quick chat after support staff briefing – he replied saying yes, as long as it’s quick. I printed out my letter, signed it, folded it carefully into 3 and placed it inside a light brown envelope. I scrawled his name on the front, went to the loo to stare at myself in the mirror and make big, confident poses (I wish I was lying….) and went down to the office.
At 10:10am, once his office was cleared, I handed in my notice. As of May 26th I will no longer be working as an Art and Music Technician at this inner city comprehensive school. Then on the 25th of June, I will be boarding a plane with a one-way ticket, and going to a country that filled Aidan and I with a ridiculous amount of joy and wonder when we visited last year.
More to follow, there are still some very important people I need to tell about this. The next trip to the print studio is going to be a nervy one….
So yesterday was oddly and unexpectedly eventful….I went to the dentist first thing for a check up and a clean, and he ended up taking out my upper right wisdom tooth! The tooth has been giving me a bit of grief on and off for a while now, but it’s the kind of thing that you just get on with. Anyway, he could see it has been cutting the inside of my cheek and said it was a simple procedure that wouldn’t take more than ten minutes, so after a quick head in hands panic I decided I just had to get on with it….
Injections done, I sat in the waiting room for ten minutes shaking like a leaf and messaging various people, hoping for a response from someone to help me calm my nerves….then I was back sat in the chair, special goggles on, hands gripping the arms of the seat with white knuckles. 2 or 3 seconds of the strangest sensation I have ever felt and it was over. Cotton wool in the gap, calm voice and soothing words from Dr Norton….all over and done with.
The sensation during the removal was really odd. My eyes were closed tight, and visually I had a deep reddy-orange thing going on. I can’t remember hearing anything much, concentrating too hard on trying not to feel the numbed feelings in my mouth, trying to focus on the tips of my fingers tensing into the mint green arm rests. As far as the mouth goes….while he was tugging away, it suddenly felt like the tooth was occupying the space of a grapefruit in my jaw. A feeling like a black hole opening up, no pain, just a numb openness….
Aside from the bleurgh of having to swish salt water round my mouth once and hour, and the self pity inducing dull ache in the side of my face all day yesterday [and to a lesser extent today] – I’m glad I just said yes to having it removed there and then. I feel a teeny tiny bit proud of myself for just taking a deep breath and getting on with it!
So this post is going to be lighter on text and heavier on pictures.
March is a busy birthday month, which includes both my dad and boyfriend at opposite ends of the month. The hectic nature of the last few months have left me falling behind in my birthday efforts, and for now my dad’s hand-printed t-shirt has gone on hold while I concentrate on Aidan’s, whose birthday is tomorrow. For some reason I decided to go with him-in-a-t-shirt – which has manifested as his initials filled with little drawings of things that he likes and that I feel represent him.
So I started with a visual brainstorm, work quickly without thinking too much – stream of consciousness style. Then came putting all those little drawings into the initials – which took some time….
Then came transferring the design to mar resist film, as the plan is to screen print the design onto a t-shirt. Of course I chose a dark t-shirt….of course….so I had to fill in in negative (if that makes sense) – leaving my outlines white and filling in around them. This took forever, and I just hope it comes out looking halfway decent!
So since the move things have felt a little stagnant. Upheaval can really make it feel like you’ve hit the pause button within your personal life, while everything else races on around you. I don’t know where the last 2 weeks have gone! All I know is that my etsy is feeling a bit stale (although I did sell a bag last week), and that life is too short to get stuck in the oh-my-gods of a sideways shift in your day to day life.
Simply getting back in the studio last Tuesday to print labels for my bags was enough to get the ball rolling again. Sometimes you need something like that to force you back into action. So last week I spent Tuesday eve, Wednesday day and Thursday eve in the studio working on various bits and pieces – some etsy stuff, and some lithography. I managed to finally etch the 2nd colour layer for my white rooster commission, and after a few teething problems managed to get the main image layer printed on some paper samples I picked up from John Purcell Paper a couple of weeks ago.
I’m still new to lithography, so when the ink wouldn’t wash out of my closed stone I did feel a pang of anxiety! Paul assured me that the ink should still take, it just might take a little longer to get an evenly inked print. I spent 4 hours in the studio last Thursday, partly sorting out my new etsy packaging, but mostly stressing over getting my white rooster litho to print like it had before!
I’m so happy I’ve got the White Rooster proofed on a few different types of paper now, as it means I’m closer to getting the edition done. I tried out Fabriano artistico in traditional white in both 225 and 300gsm, Zerkall 902 smooth in 225gsm and Simili Japon in 225gsm. I think I’m going to go with the Simili Japon, top right in the picture above – it’s nice and smooth and is a lovely warm white, which I think suits the image better. So excited to be editioning my first lithograph!!!!