My Pussy Riot poster is a ‘third party intellectual property infringment’

So I woke up this morning to find that my Pussy Riot print in my Society 6 shop has been taken down from my Society 6 account has infringed a third party’s intellectual property. This is highly interesting, as it would go against all that Pussy Riot believe in. I first drew the poster and offered it for free around the internet for it to be used during Pussy riot’s imprisonment in 2012. I now have it in my shop as a print. You can read the email from Society 6 below:

Continue reading

Short Story Competitions 2015

Manchester Fiction Prize
is a major international literary competition open to anyone aged 16 or over. The winner receives a cash prize of £10,000 (US$15,500). Stories can be up to 2500 words in length. Entries open in April and are expected to close in August.

Manchester Poetry Prize

Under the direction of Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at Manchester Metropolitan University runs the annual Manchester Poetry Prize – a major international literary competition, celebrating excellence in creative writing.
The 2015 Manchester Poetry Prize will award a cash prize of £10,000 to the writer of the best portfolio of poems submitted. All entrants asked to submit a portfolio of three to five poems (total maximum line length: 120)

Continue reading

Putting your own experiences into fiction without writing an autobiography

 

 

We can’t help but write about ourselves. It can be incredibly cathartic to do this- being a writer has helped me though many tough periods of my life. But it can be distressing trying to write something painful directly from your own viewpoint. I’ve sometimes felt frozen, or caught up in the bad feelings that I couldn’t write a thing!
I once wrote a character and situation during a particularly troubled time in my life. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the character was saying everything I couldn’t say with my own voice. What happened is that I’d started speaking through my character, lulled into a false sense of security by my focus on her fictional life. I’ve deliberately employed this technique ever since.

 

The bottom line is that you will always put yourself into your writing and that is a good thing. You can use it to enrich your characters. No-one else has your personality, your life experience or your way of seeing the world. Mix this with a character with completely different life experiences to your own and you’ll create something magical.

Continue reading

Saturday Queerfish making

I’ve gathered new materials and I’m making Queerfish again.

I’ve always loved this project, and I’m planning to create a new installation piece incorporating the sculptures and writing work. I visualise the Queerfish hung around the walls and ceiling, surrounded by drawings of the project and ocean sounds. I’d also love to have the short story printed on the wall, or maybe read out while people are looking at the sculptures.

20150207-130134-46894283.jpg

Continue reading

Poppy (WIP)

I’ve never liked to be in complete darkness, so when I first saw the Milky Way in 1910, I thought, I could sleep soundly if I was in the middle of all of those stars.
The 1920s were dark until I was allowed to come back into the light of civilised drawing rooms. I’d been ill they said, to explain my gaunt cheeks, and shadows; were love had been, curled under my eyes and refused to go.

I travelled into the future and light spread before me. I watched candlelight replaced by Edison’s electric bulb. Some said electricity was witchcraft and full of dangerous vapours, and I thought if it was, then I was intoxicated. I watched the Industrial Revolution with as much fervour as a nation being set free from beneath a shadow.
I followed it to Chicago, 1933, where crowded in the Hall of Science courtyard, the crowd was so electric that I believed that we could light a star. Arcturus had travelled from 1893, a time traveller like me, and when they pointed their photocells at him, he obliged by producing a great white beam that cut across like sky like hope.
I came to London in 1984. 24 hour laundrettes and cafes. I stood at Piccadilly Circus at midnight. Neon signs and illuminated playhouses fed me like dining at the Ritz every night. All the lights burned in the big cities, where street lamps, scattered by dust and gas molecules made the sky glow and kept darkness at bay 365 days a year.
The BBC national anthem in 1994 was like saying goodbye to a friend, to the light, to people, every night. I felt abandoned. I went further out.
In 2050, people shut lights off because of light pollution, then in 2060, people went all the way out to live in the darkness of space. The lights went out on Earth one by one and I was alone again. I tried floodlight therapy but felt like a fragile sea creature having submarine lights shone on it for the first time.
When Sanderson regulated time travelling, I chose to be anchored in 2009. I found a job as a nurse and took the nightshift. The hospital, lit up in fluorescent lights like an all year round Christmas tree, protected me until each morning arrived as pink and wondrous as a newborn.

 

 

Continue reading

Homework 3 part 1- fake memoir

My MA class this week was led by the wonderful Hannah Lowe. Hannah is a poet and her recent book ‘Chick’ was published by Bloodaxe.

She helped us to explore confessional poetry and particularly, the elements that make our work seem real. She brought up an interesting point about poetry and truth; we naturally assume poetry is truthful, but she helped us see that it can be embellished or just plain made up like prose.
Continue reading

Homework 2 – Scepter’d isle

This week’s MA homework was to pick any world nation, then pick a national monument, and have a character become lost in the vision of an ideal version of their country… then be brought back down to earth with a bump. I went a bit left field again.

//

 

The house has a lonely grandness about it as it looms like a chalk cliff against the grey sky. A red, white and blue flag snaps loudly in the wind.

I tug my wool coat around me; but the chill penetrates my stocking clad legs. A man apologises in a southern drawl as he leans over me to take a photo. I wish I could wrap myself in his warm Tennessee vowels. Continue reading

Homework 1 – I’m a writer

The written assignment on my MA this week was a piece exploring ourselves as writers and I went a bit left field. I don’t like writing from my own voice- I find I can be more honest from a fictional perspective. ‘Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth,’ said Oscar Wilde. (So… blogging will be fun! I’m currently writing a non fiction book with memoir elements, so it’s something I’m working up to.)

I’m a writer; which for me means that I pretend to be other people. I don’t have my own ‘voice’. So, I put some of my characters to work and had them do my homework for me. Here are a few of them discussing me as a writer, or omipresent God character intruding on their worlds. It was interesting hearing what they thought of me as a writer/person/diety- I’d recommend it as a writing exercise.
Continue reading

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof analysis

cat_hot_tin_roof_book_cover_final

I’m currently working on my series of Tennessee Williams alternative book covers. As I was plotting out the imagery for the cover of ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’, I’ve ended up putting Paul Newman, my favourite and a classic Brick, front and centre. As I sat there looking at my scanned drawing it occurred to me that normally it’s Elizabeth Taylor, or Maggie, that’s front stage on the book cover. (I’d argue that this is partly because she’s a woman, and her partly dressed body sells theatre & film tickets, and books.)  Also, we assume Maggie is the cat- she herself says she feels like a cat on a hot tin roof, and her victory is staying on as long as she can. Continue reading

My work desk

2013-03-19_1363711347

I love to see people’s work spaces, I love seeing what they surround themselves with when they work. Mine doesn’t always (ever?) stay neat, but during a rare tidy up I thought I’d document where I work. The desk came from a skip in London and I added some Ikea legs to it, painted it green and decoupaged it with a pile of Japanese male fashion magazines.

My cats also keep me company- the black fluffy one is Severus and the tabby is Luna :)

Continue reading

Bjork Swan Dress DIY & Pride Float Design

9443003216_1042173787_c

My choir, Rainbow Chorus, had a float this year for Brighton Pride. We had a week to get the float designed and implemented. We chose Pop Icons as our theme. I’d recently lent a hand in re-branding the choir with a new colour scheme, so I chose a sexy new desaturated theme for our float to match.

We had a small grant from the Rainbow Fund (thank you!), and I saved a lot by choosing to use leftover household paint on leatherette fabric. I chose a simple but bold design, and spent most of my time cutting out the stencil of our Top of the Pops esque logo.
The full set of pictures are up on flickr here.

My second project that week was my Bjork dress for the float. I’ve often been told I resemble Bjork due to my round Polish features and I’ve always admired her as an artist. What a great opportunity to make and wear her infamous Swan dress! I basically built it around a nude coloured vest top with layers of recycled net curtains layered with white voile. I made the swan head like you’d make a soft toy swan, and blended it as best I could with the voile.

Continue reading

Our Parents’ Armour – Animation Workshop

parentsarmour_grab


I took part in the creation of an animation project led by animator Evan Wilkinson. I came in for two sessions as an illustrator and fellow animator to talk about character design.

This is the final result of a mixed media animation project at The Connaught School in Aldershot, for Hampshire County Council and Strong Island Media.

‘Our Parents’ Armour’ is a poem that is written and animated by young people from The Connaught School, who are all children of military personnel. They created a suit of armour for their parents out of memories of home and messages of support. This project was funded by the MOD Community Covenant and formed part of the Hampshire Forces Film Festival.  Nine groups took part in the project, each making an animation about life in the MOD.

A documentary about the making of these films can be seen at http://hampshireyouthforcesfilms.co.uk

For more information about Evan and his workshops and projects please visit http://evanwilkinson.co.uk

Bearology Artisan Dolls

Smoke & Dulbin

Here are the new Artisan dolls I’ve created for my ongoing serialisation, Bearology.

They’re handsewn based on original character designs from the book. It was a challenge sewing them to look like the illustrations, but wonderful to see them in 3D! I think Smoke looks very handsome in his uniform, and it was a good reason to rewatch Due South to examine Mountie uniforms (Did you guess that I’m a Due South fan?).

Continue reading

Sketchbook

I’m a natural sketcher and I work best fast and loose (oo-er). I always feel like I lose the feeling of the piece if I trace a neater version. Although I do get a real buzz from polished finished pieces, I’m a concept designer and storyboarder at heart and often feel prouder of my loose pencil scribbles.

I’ll upload what I’m currently working on in here, along with older work from the archives.

 

Continue reading

Fabric & Pattern design

pattern_lovetrustandflamingos

Here are a selection of original patterns I’ve created. Quite often, they start as original artwork or sketching, that I then convert into a pattern.

Many of these are available as fabrics at my spoonflower store. I also use the fabrics in my own textile products.

‘Eye of The Dawn’ found footage documentary screening

mata_hari_grab

 Moving Image and Documentary.

This film is inspired by the concept of fake documentary and explores the boundaries between truth and lies. The film plays with the idea of legend and myth of a historical figure such as Mata Hari, the exotic dancer, accused of espionage by France in the first world war and executed by firing squad in 1917.

I did costume, make up and set for this short film.

Screening, Tomorrow Sunday 16 th December at 3pm @ The Old Market in Brighton, UK. Performance Sarah Saeed & shot by Nazare Soares photography.

The Wise Ones – Documentary

thewiseones

The Wise Ones

dir Maria Russo

The Wise Ones is a research based on the interaction between the following ideas: Intergenerational exchange of knowledge, cultural resilience and active ageing. This research has the intention to open a space for reflection about the small stories that shape our societies an also to reflect on our perceptions towards theirs protagonists. Also to encourage people to safeguar these small stories, and to be aware of the dominant ones.
Intergenerational exchange of sewing skills concur and enhace the concepts of ageing well and cultural resilience while promoting well being in both generational groups.

 

Come and see documentary film, The Wise Ones (9mins) Dir: Maria Eva Russo. 2nd December, 3.15pm, Nightingale Theatre, Brighton ♥.
I was interviewed about my sewing practice for a documentary film. I mainly speak about my second business, Plume Storytellers.
The film is being shown as part of the 10th Cinecity Brighton Film Festival, you can read more here.

Doll making – Dublin from ‘Bearology’

ece31816318211e289de22000a9f1406_7

This is my first attempt at dollmaking! I decided to make Dublin, from Bearology. I didn’t use a pattern, I just drew the limbs and head by hand onto the fabric then cut the pieces out. I think she looks beautiful, imperfections and all. As a designer it’s amazing to see your character in 3D! I’d make definite changes to her in the future- I didn’t capture her lovely round face shape as well as I’d have liked, and I’m going to make her limbs much plumper.

I made her a Hudson bay blanket dress like she wears in the book. Dublin is homeless; she lives in the airport and then travels for the rest of the book. She doesn’t have any money so she just makes do with what she finds to wear. I’d like to do more outfits for her based on items left behind at the airport during her life there. She especially likes her Hudson bay blanket because it’s while and soft like polar bear fur and it makes her feel closer to her bear family.

 

‘Make Hirstory’ Time Travellers Series (digital Illustration)

Postcard_1920_standard

I designed these characters to go with my ‘Make Hirstory’ scarf collection. The collection was based around the idea of time travelling and making your own history.

The characters all identify as genderqueer; some are crossdressers, some vary their gender presentation, some identify as both or neither genders and present as either/or/neither gender. I couldn’t hope to represent everyone or focus in on a particular group; so I focussed on dreaming up individual personalities who are celebrating their gender according to what they feel is right for themselves.

Gender is personal and unique to each person, whether it be being a tomboy who prefers to wear boy’s clothes in the 1700’s, a man who likes his gender presentation but adores wearing female shoes.

There are no blueprints, just people.