Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Video Killed the Radio Star?

So - I love plastic. And, I hate plastic.
One of things that really irritates me about plastic is video tape.
What was once, loved and adored film and TV collections is now 5p junk in every trash store in the country.
Yuk, what do we do with the stuff now practically no one owns a VHS player?
Art? Why not!?

So after a few weeks of freecycling, and shocked by the alarming abundance of unwanted video tapes there are in existence, I managed to collect a large volume of once loved video collections in the pursuit of making some challenging art with the stuff.

Here are some of the ideas that I have so far played about with...

Wow, so I discovered that this tape can become quite beautiful.
Fascinated by this, I decided to try and get other people inspired to play around with the tape.
My focus was to get people to think about upcycling - changing its form and giving it a different or greater use. 


So in one hour only, approximately 40 wonderful, creative people of all ages came along and weaved, knitted, sculpted, tied, formed, shaped and re fashioned miles of unwanted video tape in to a unique, one-off piece of art.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


As many of my friends and relatives know, I have what I think as of endearing (but most would say annoying) habit of carrying trival pursuit cards about in my handbag.
This practise of mine has now gone on for years.
Any why not? There is nothing more perfect in a uncomfortable silence, or when your in a cue at the bar or night club loo to pull out a few trival pursuit cards and have a mini quiz... whoop!

So inspired to make my passion for trivia BIG, I built a number of triva installations at the Out of the Ordinary festival.
These were a MASSIVE success, and festival goers enjoyed passing their time in the sunny afternoons, and chilled out evenings in the pursuit of knowledge....!

And I slept well knowing that my work there had been done...


One of my own projects for the Out of the Ordinary festival was to bring along lots of unwanted and unloved plastic waste. 
My focus was to challenge the festival goer about plastic. I really wanted to make people think about the alarming abundance of plastic that we use on a daily basis, which, when it reaches the end of its life, is planet destroy land fill.
Now when I say plastic, I didn't want to use plastic that we normally associate with waste, such as plastic milk bottles, food packaging or thinks that we would call 'junk'. I wanted to use plastic that we form an emotional attachment to...vinyl records, video and cassette tape.
It really interests me how shocked and distressed people often get when they see the work that I have done with recycled vinyl records -  childhood memories melted and re worked into pieces of art as you have never imagined. I love the juxtaposition of  how one type of plastic becomes "almost criminal" to destroy, yet another piece of plastic, well, its only role from beginning to end is junk.
I am fascinated with using this treasured precious plastic to make large installation pieces that really question our attachment to plastic itself and I hope this work really make us think about the ultimate destruction that this material is doing to our world.
So the 'To Create is to Distroy' project was born, and the Out of the Ordinary festival seemed like the ideal place to execute it.

My first project was a very large, and heavy organic form make from melted vinyl records.
The form is made in two pieces, so they can be adapted for a number of applications.
I was really fascinated by people reactions when they saw the piece; nnostalgia, happy childhood memories and excitement along with sadness and shock that their once treasured musical memories are now in a different and challenging form - re fashioned and unplayable.
When chatting to most of these people, I discovered that most people do not even own a vinyl player.
Now that's something to think about.

My second project was made from cassette tape.
This piece is a comment on how we make wonderful, thought provoking and often life changing music but produce it on a form that is heading for landfill and ultimately destroying the planet.
All of the tapes used in this piece were hand recorded mix tapes – I imagine a lot of love and energy went in to making them.
I loved how ghostly the piece looked at night time. Most people approaching the installation had no idea until they were practially touching it that it was made from old cassettes.

Out Of The Ordinary Festival 2011...

Last Summer I was kindly invited by Jim Mitchell, the director of the 'Out of the Ordinary' festival to become part of their core crew in helping to organise this wonderful event for 2011.
My role at this point was undecided, but after many meetings, coffees and too many glasses of red wine, we established that I would be ideal for the role of Installation Manager. 
However, I was also keen to bring to the festival an element of modern craft - upcycling, affordable gifts, unique must-haves and handmade crafts from local artists who would not normally be able to afford the price of a full pitch.
My vision was to create a space within the festival for local artists, crafters and designers to showcase their work, for festival goers to be able to purchase unique handmade art at affordable prices, and a space where people could come and take part in free arts and crafts workshops. 
So along and taking on the role of Installations manager, I also decided to make my arts and crafts area a reality at the festival. 
So after lots of hard work I was extremely pleased to bring to the festival a wonderful assortment of fresh, modern and distinctive artists, crafters and designers from the South Coast.
We had 'live' art murals of sacred animals painted my the amazing local artist Sara Abbott...

Amazing live spray paint workshops from Zee Zee Twenty Two...

Brilliant installation pieces from the amazing Taz Lovejoy...

Fabulous mural painted on site by Local artist Micheal Carlton...

Wonderful installation pieces made from recycled metal thanks to Circus Kinetica...

Along with inspiring arts and crafts stalls including Sibel Largerdahl of Leftover who makes gorgeous pieces from recycled and unwanted waste...

Handmade creams and beauty products from Marion Mackonochie of Field Remedies...

Beautiful feather hair fascinators from Jordana Wakelin of Fancier Feather...

And delightful handmade jewellery from Jennifer of Midnight Deer.

plus many many more exiting and inspiring crafters, designers and artists - far to many to mention!

We also had a full schedule of workshops including hair fascinator making, handmade beauty cream workshops, build your own carnival mask, home made paint making, badge making and balloon decorating to name just a few.
One of the most successful workshops was screen printing which was brought to us by Hannah Edy of Big Love...

So not wanting to lessen my own work load I also brought to the festival a number of my own art installations and workshops - but Ill bring them to you on another blog!

Its great when an idea comes together... THE WORLD'S BIGGEST POMPOM!

So I think my Pompom obsession started with the tree sock project... (
The more that I made Pompoms, the bigger and more colourful they became. Then it happened...the make the worlds biggest Pompom!
So when asked by Liz Bishop of Brighton Fashion Week to become part of the creative team for the event, I soon realised that my Pompom dream could soon become a reality....a pompom that is made from recycled this could work....
So with the help of the amazing, hard working Brighton Fashion Week team - my dream was born!
The wool was loaned to us from a company called 'Bag to School', who recycle old jumpers cast off from charity shops, they export them to a recycling plant in Italy, who break them down to their natural fibres and re make them in to fabulous! So 'Bag to School' kindly Lent us 2 tonnes of woollen jumpers which we made into miles and miles of 'rope' by tying the sleeves together.
The Pompom itself was constructed in a garage over the perod of one week. It was made from 12 individual panels - each panel wrapped in miles of woollen jumper rope.
On the grand unveiling day, each panel was moved in a truck to Jubilee Square Brighton where the final construction was completed by a team of approximatley 25 people.
 6 hours later the world biggest Pompom was made measuring a marvellous 14.7ft across!