Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Trees on Death Row

On the 27th of December I went for a walk in the woods near my grandparents house. My brother and dad were looking for sticks and twigs to whittle (dead ones, no live wood!), but I just wandered around the familiar paths. Noticed some trees with green spraypaint marks on their bark, like the black spot for pirates. A sign on the gate said that an oak disease had left trees with 'bleeding lesions', so they were having to cut down about fifty dead trees. Here are two trees on death row.

I hope everyone's had a very nice Christmas. I did, my brother made me this bird table with an 'H' carved in. Best present ever! No birds on it yet - and it will be moved to Kingston on Sunday. Maybe I'll get a parakeet on it.
I got some linocutting things so on Christmas Day I made some prints of the tree. You can't see but without the wedges the tree is actually at a 45 degree angle - we bought it discount from the garden centre.

Having a lovely break, got about a million books on the go, and working on a very exciting personal project!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Encounters at the End of the World

This is Werner Herzog's documentary 'Encounters at the End of the World'. It's about Antarctica and the people that live and work there. Herzog says it's not another penguin film. And it's true: it is the most beautiful film that changes the way you see humans, as well as having the most amazing sequences of underwater filming. There are philosophers in Antarctica that drive forklift trucks, linguists on a continent with no languages, a plumber who keeps a bag packed with raft, sleeping bag, tent, everything he needs to leave at anytime. There are scientists who celebrate finding three new species under the ice with an electric guitar concert of the roof of their lab. I don't want to give away anything else that might impair your wonder on seeing this film.

You really, really, should watch it. It's all on youtube. (Or, I watched it on More4 last night so it might be on 4OD). But if you don't watch the whole thing, at least see this excerpt from an underwater dive. It starts at around 3.30 in the link above. One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Fuzzy Felt Bible Stories

From the Age Concern charity shop at the bottom of Sutton, for £1.99. I collect fuzzy felt, I've got fuzzy felt ballet, farm animals, house...lots of nice ones. This one came with one scene already done. It's a nativity - but look above Joseph's head. I think it's Dumbo...

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Three Cake Day

Today I baked three cakes: one coffee cake with honey and maple syrup butter icing, and two cinnamon cakes with honey butter icing. Two are for my grandparents 80th birthday party on Saturday - it's tea at the Ritz-themed. And one of the cinnamon cakes is for my house, who are all suffering with essay. I was considering icing 'fuck essays' on the top, but I thought the possibility for a comedy mix up was too high.
In other news, Caitlin has made a mod roc whale that is drying the bath.
And our Tord Boontje light is looking nice.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Dreams, grey, and railway engine

A few weeks ago graphic designer Jonathan Gray came to Kingston and did a talk about his work. He did the cover for Everything is Illuminated by Jonathon Safran Foer, one of my favourite books. He also showed us some pictures about the Central European classics series he did covers for. After the Wave on Saturday we detoured to the book stalls under the bridge at Southbank, and I found a copy of one. It's a brilliant brilliant book, beautifully written - every sentence is peculiar and so evocative.

"Grandpa Rafik, my mother's father, died for good a long time ago - he drowned in the river Drina. I hardly knew him, but I can remember one game we played, a simple game. Grandpa Rafik would point to something and I'd say its name, its colour, and the first thing that occured to me about it. He'd point to his penknife. and I'd say: knife, grey, and railway engine. He'd point to a sparrow, and I'd say: bird, grey, and railway engine. Grandpa Rafik pointed through the window at night, and I said: dreams, grey, and railway engine, and Grandpa tucked me up and said: sleep an iron sleep"

Also, today I bought a brilliant bike lock, in strangely similar colours.

Friday, 4 December 2009


BIG BIG climate change march tomorrow (saturday 5th dec)

I watched the age of stupid last night and it's pushed me into action

make your placard now!
I don't know how to rotate that...

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Monument Party

After a long, drawn out project. Two day group project to make a monument for a mini speakers corner in our studio. We (me, Theo, Kelly and Emily) celebrated our right to free speech, whether it be serious or nonsense (or both which is characteristic of Speaker's Corner).

We asked year one illustrators to write what they would change in the world on a tiny piece of paper, which was then put into the parcel addressed to the House of Commons and sent by first class stamp - all legal- via balloon.

It was pouring with rain but it flew beautifully.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Round up

Recently I have been to London Zoo.

And thought about Newfoundland some more. This is from a book I found in a charity shop called Eye of the Beholder, full of beautiful old colour photos, you know the old vivid kind of colour.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


Painting of Newfoundland. I would like to go there one day. Theatre of Fish by John Gimlette is an excellent book of his travels round Newfoundland and Labrador , the people he meets and an exploration of the history and the weird status of Newfoundlanders.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

One Man Band

Today me and Phoebe my housemate did some gardening. We planted red and yellow wall flowers, and black and white tulip bulbs. In doing so we unearthed

1. The concave bit at the bottom of a wine bottle - really old and thick and green glass
2. a piece of glass with with fragments of letters on that would have once read 'cough mixture'

Plus whilst researching things to animate for my walk cycle I found this amazing one man band
(but I think it's a bit too ambitious maybe)

Good day.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

In the beginning

Now I'm going to use this more.

I've just started my degree in Illustration and Animation at Kingston University, really excited about everything at the moment.

On Fridays I have a self directed drawing project. I'm going to Laban dance institue in Greenwich, drawing dance classes. It's a fantastic building - designed by Herzog and de Meuron who did tate mod - with translucent walls with colour overlays that give the studios inside beautiful green and blue backlighting. It's also a real warren of glass and lime green walls and industrial staircases. Last Friday I sat in a class by Jonathan Stone, who does shows with his brother all around the world based on invented language. Sitting in front of thrity people energetically conversing in made up language whilst walking in step was a bizarre experience but quite amazing. Looking forward to going back this Friday.

drawing of workshop where students had to work in small circles conversing instinctively in gesture

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Whats up Propp

Fairy tales are works full of convention and patterns and things that recur. The number three, certain trees, the stepmother, greed, capes and eating.

Been thinking about what makes a narrative a narrative, and reading lots about it. How do you define a story? It's a lot about causality.
The king died and the queen died is not a narrative.
The king died and then the queen died of grief is. Or something. I'm not sure I've completely grasped it, and anyway it's all opinion.

Anyway, there is a fellow called Vladimir Propp who analysed about a hundred Russian folk tales (Morphology of the Folk Tale, 1927). He looked at the common features and broke them up into 31 chunks. Propp said that every folk tale is in the same order, though it may not include every narrateme.

By the wonders of the internet you handily click on propp's 31 elements and this little machine will spurn out a ready made folk tale.

It's like chewing on centuries of russian peasantry and spitting it out on a screen.