Happy New Year! Here's hoping for a good one. When I reflect on my year last year, I kind of feel like not that much happened. But I am comparing it to 2015, where I ran a marathon in Italy, got a job promotion at work and passed my postgraduate diploma in education with top marks! So I entered 2016 feeling very achieved. However last year I did get to visit Jamaica on a holiday of a lifetime and Iceland which was pretty magical and again a lifetime experience to go to the Blue Lagoon. So I can't be too down on myself! I guess work wise, I feel that things have been slower, but as my boyfriend points out some years you need to plant the seeds that will grow in other years, which is true too. But overall it was a good one ! I am healthy and happy, I have a great job which I love to do so things are pretty good... I guess I just feel that I can and want to push myself further.
Above is my 'best nine' on instagram for 2016 - where I document my work and pop in a few life things in there too. It seems that a good amount of creations got liked the most - cat blackboards, when I got my cacti material printed on to fabric and whipped up into pencil cases. Halloween fun stuff I made this year - pumpkins, cats, moons and notebooks. A new tattoo and visiting Yayoi Kusama's amazing work in London in the summer.
I also took the Make Art That Sells e-course which has been super fun and through it I've completely fallen in love with Staffordshire Pottery. I was lucky enough to have my work live reviewed by the fabulous Lilla Rogers for the Uppercase competition I entered! I visited lots of exhibitions, my very fave has to be York Open Studios where I felt so so so lucky to have a peek inside Mark Hearld & Emily Sutton's amazing home. It was so inspiring. I will do a pilgrimage to it every year now.
I also visited Park Hill flats in Sheffield where the turner prize winning architects Assemble had their brutalist playground which was fun to run about it. I really dig the colours on their foam shapes, and I am a sucker for modernist buildings and the ideology of them so that was a fun day to explore.
I sold my work at a couple of craft fairs last year - I normally do quite a few but didn't do so many last year, for no particular reason. I sold illustrations, zines and creations at a zine fair in Nottingham where I grabbed this lovely screen-printed Rob Ryan zine:
I also did the Crafty Fox market for the second time, which is always fun! I aim to be more organised this year, applying to the Crafty Fox again and looking for more local events, especially towards the run up to Christmas.
At work I launched a project with the students called 'No Outcome' where, outside of their assessed work there was a place to test out ideas, make and play. I believe that assessment can kill innovation and we all need time to make work without fear of being judged, whether that is a tutor, a client, a stranger on instagram, a peer - whoever! I also believe that the best ideas come when we make and play free from pressure and for the intrinsic joy. I am currently writing a paper about the methodology behind it and what we've been doing so far and am delivering it at a conference 'Design Education for Future Generations' in February which is quite exciting! I aim to develop it a lot this year, exploring design education and design thinking in my research and hopefully showing the world how important art and design education is for all and how everyone should have access to it! Last year, I felt privileged to run a workshop for asylum seeking young people and refugees where we promoted just that idea - that art and design education should be for all and is important for social well-being. I hoe to do more of that this year. It was so humbling to listen to their life stories and make friends.
Some of the students mid-make work from one No Outcome session:
I continued to work on the Leeds College of Art 'Young Creatives', which again, offers art to all and is so important especially as we see that art education seems to be being written out of the national curriculum. A travesty and something that I want my research to tackle and bring light to. I did some print workshops with very young children. Those are my mono-printed cats below, not theirs!
And some fun Rio Olympic collaborative screen-prints where we drew directly on to the screen and made one-off prints.
At work, another highlight was when Mike Myers (legendary sign writer and all round super rad human) came all the way from the U S of A to teach us how to sign write.
That's my wobberly attempt up there! I also Riso-printed for the first time at Dizzy Ink in Nottingham, and made a little two colour zine.
Thinking back, I also went on some lovely walks this year, saw some castles, walked Snowdon in Wales which was awesome. Explored beautiful Yorkshire:
And I gave two pints of blood for the first time.
So I guess a lot DID happen. Once you actually start to document stuff, I guess you see how far you've come/what you've done. Maybe that should be a resolution for 2017 - to document what I do more? One of the best things was we got a kitten. A little looker called Chugsley who we love and is a big part of our little family. She's the best and I can guarantee that there will be some Chugsley inspired artwork being made in 2017.
So, what's new in 2017? I want to ride in a hot air balloon this year... a personal goal there! I want to visit the highlands of Scotland, the Lake District (I've never been!) and have a stay-cation in Cornwall. I might go to Australia in the summer. I would love to visit Japan... but we'll see about them. Work-wise I need to release more collections (there's a Staffordshire pottery inspired one and a zine on the way!) Print more fabric, make more stuff, and get it out there more. Since 2013, when I was working on my PGDipE, I haven't pushed my work into shops, galleries as much as I was able to do, so this year, is about that. I'm excited to get planning! But first, I think I'll eat that one last mince pie and just reminisce for a few more minutes about 2016. Farewell, turns out I didn't get promoted, I may not have run a marathon, or finished a degree, but you were a great one afterall!