In September I look reluctantly at the coming of Autumn because hell, who ever really wants a good thing to come to an end?! The truth is I love Autumn : the leaves changing colour and falling, the excuse to wear a ton of warm layers, black tights and boots, lots of hot chocolate, sitting around fires with friends, reading a good book under a duvet, quietly creating in the studio alone and the darkness. This is the time to embrace the darkness and love her, she has so many secrets to revel to you if you just look deeply.
So every year I honour the coming darkness with my annual project the West Point Lantern Parade that is held in West Point Gardens every 31st of October. I invite my local community to join me in creating illuminated sculptures to hang in the trees of The Gardens and share together an evening music, performances, candy, games and art. This is my gift to my community and it gives me so much joy to see everyone having such a good time every year. My creative partner Clare Eaden-Mayor and I were not sure if we would have all the funds we needed to pull everything off this year but were ecstatic when we were awarded a Neighbourhood Investment Fund Grant by Manchester City Council. We are forever grateful for the funding, to all the people who performed, volunteered and who came out to enjoy the night. It really was beautiful.
I'm sitting here now post event preparing to make payments to those who gave their time and effort to make the parade happen, complete some applications for new creative opportunities in Spring, book trains and accommodation for the Outdoor Arts UK conference in Coventry in two weeks and also start working on the Christmas Markets this weekend! Life is busy but I'm definitely gonna find time for friends, fires, studio time and some quiet Darkness. Peace.
So here I am. Back out here to spread some love by sharing a bit more of myself and my artwork. I took a very long time off choosing a bit of a break to grow some children, home educate them and develop myself. Life altering stuff, shake yourself-to-the-foundations-kinda-work. I've got new visions for the future and got a little of myself back that I left behind. Life is exciting!
2019 is about change and taking control of the things I can to make stuff happen. It's what I do. It's what I love and I'm ready to play! So I've spent the last few months gaining some knowledge and creating some new work and it feels great. I took a crash course in community radio training at All FM 96.9 in Levenshulme, Manchester with my great friends Inda and Cathy. So I've jumped on the radio waves a few times and subjected Mcr to my yank accent, had quite a few laughs and played some great tunes by my favourite women artists. I did a few workshops up in Hebden Bridge at Handmade Parade HQ. One on parade movement and choreography with the fabulous Gill Burns who got me outta my comfort zone and hand me dancing in time with others. Well almost. hahahaha I had a killer time doing a 2 day workshop with Brunskill and Grimes (NAMEDROP: they did Warhorse) learning about puppetry design and mechanics too. And finally I did a certification in stewarding so I can understand a crowds better and keep people safe at the West Point Lantern Parade as it grows here in Levenshulme. The stewarding course was actually super interesting. We covered the psychology of crowds, venue design and safety procedures. The UK actually leads this kinda of training world wide since they unfortunately had to deal with deaths in football stadiums over the last few decades.
I've got a few commissions recently which is exciting. Local Levenshulme mover/shaker/life-of-the-party Jamie Whittaker asked me to make some decor for Summer of Lev again this year. I also provided him with some butterflies from last years lantern parade. I've improved the jellyfish sculptures so they are even more dynamic and they are of better quality to be reused again and again. I'm currently working on a amazing headdress for a performance artist I met a month or so ago. No spoilers. I'll post more soon.
And last but not last I'm finally opening up my studio to you to join me in creating some jewellery, screen printing and lino prints. I hope to have those workshops all launched by the end of the month. I cannot wait to see you. Give me a shout and let me know what you think of the new site. Plus you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram now. Peace