Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Winter Wonderland

Christmas markets have seemed to play quite an unexpectedly large role in our relationship. From being the venue of our first facebook profile photo to a marriage proposal with a beautiful ring (although he did propose a few months earlier with a Habibo ring which I did accept and actually still have in a box somewhere). We had been to Winter Wonderland together in the past and it took us a while to realise it was two years ago and not last year!! Time really is running away with us. 

Newly Londoners it was really easy for us to hop on the tube and go to Winter Wonderland this year and enjoy much of the capital's Christmas festivities. There was so much food to choose from ice skating, funfair rides, lights and people. Not one for scary rides, I love simply being around such a Christmassy environment and getting in the festive spirit. Attempting vlogmas this year I managed to create a short video and I'm really excited that Bernard is in this one!   

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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

DIY Christmas | Pinterest Inspiration

It's so easy to get lost in the depths of pinterest and spend hours and hours filling our eyeballs with beautifully handcrafted, dreamy lives. But it really is a wonderful place to be inspired and find interesting articles and blogs. With this festive season being our first as newly weds we spent a while debating whether or not to buy a Christmas tree and so I took to pinterest for ideas of decorations I could make and simply hang from our fairy lights if we didn't buy one or to substitute spending money on tree decorations. We have never had a joint home before and so I always relied on my parent's Christmas decorations and even though I lived alone at university I only ever made elaborate snowflakes. 

I was amazed by how seriously many people seem to take Christmas in the sense of decor, wrapping and outfits. There were so many beautifully wrapped presents, geometric paper ornaments and use of nature in wreaths and floral crowns. I have never been drawn to wreaths before but now living in London I have seen so many on such an array of front doors. My favourite have been those that are perfectly colour co-ordinated!! It's inspired me to really consider adding that to our future (more established) home. I must say I am not surprised to find marble and copper/rose gold dusted about in this years Christmas decor in stores and online but I really love it. 

Weirdly enough this year I've also found that many many people are against using tinsel! I made the decision not to have it on our tree and used thin sliver chaining instead, but I definitely think I have been influenced by the internet. I have been watching a lot of vlogmas series on youtube and clearing searching on pinterest and so many people seem to have focused on a more elegant approach. I've seen a lot of wooden ornaments, geometric, lights and the odd pastel unicorn. I have really enjoyed seeing how other people have decorated and are choosing to celebrate Christmas this year. It gets me more excited to create a DIY Christmas in our home in the future and hope you have enjoyed seeing some of my favourite picks from pinterest. You can find them all on my pinterest Christmas page here and click through to find all the sources. 

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Monday, 14 December 2015

Kensington Gardens

On my way to visit the Serpentine Gallery for the first time, I discovered these gardens. The gallery is situated either side of the Thames across two venues. Getting off the tube at Lancaster Gate I followed the well known London map posts and was delighted when I realised the journey would take me right through these massive gardens. Spanning fields, water features and countless dog walkers, reminding me of the open spaces in Stockholm. 

While there were many people in the gardens it still had such a calming and beautiful effect. I ended up enjoying my visit here far more than the art gallery which certainly seems ironic. Only exploring a very small portion of the gardens, it again reinforced to me just how family friendly London can be. You would never imagine that this area is just off a busy road and only 3minutes walk from a tube station. 

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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Inspiring Art Lectures #1

Working part time means lots of free time, not much money and honestly, a fair bit of loneliness. So while in this transitional period of my life I've been reuniting myself with things that I am passionate about and taking time to be creative. After buying the book Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry I started looking up art lectures on youtube. Talks by contemporary artists explaining their work, discussions between professionals within the commercial art world and anything that resembles a ted talk format. It's amazing how much you can learn for free sat on your bed at home. For many of us it has become natural to play things on our phones or laptops simply to have background noise, from netflix to music. So why not make it educational? I've picked out a few of my recent favourites to share.

Building Your Art Career - Michael Cuffe at the Academy of Art University
I hate when people disregard creative courses, degrees, talents, career pathways, ettccccc. These things are so incredibly important to us as a society and to our individual wellbeing. On facebook recently there was a snapchat of a foggy street with the words "as bleak as an art student's future" while funny, it is hurtful and misleading. Yes not everyone will become international, millionaires artists. But many people can make a living through their creative talents. This lecture ran at a university raises awareness for creative success through use of social media (and hard work)  Through our online presence we create a community or a following where people support one another and become interested in each others work. Personality combined with talent and clever self promotion really can yield results.  

Tracey Emin Artist Talk at MCA - MCA Australia 
We've all seen the Unmade Bed piece and wondered what it was all about and why it was worth so much money! After recent research into this piece I began watching many talks by Tracey Emin and felt really drawn to her as a person. While it is easy to appreciate traditional art work, when observing contemporary art it can be hard to understand the conversation behind the piece and the experiences that created it. Watching videos, reading up on the work or using audio guides is definitely a way to make it more accessible and relate with what you are seeing. The Tate youtube channel has some wonderful insights.   

Artist Talk: Marina Abramovic in Conversation with Sam Keller - Fondation Beveler 
I have had very limited if any experience with performance art and so I when I clicked through to this video I almost changed it within the first few minutes. But I am so happy that I didn't. It was truly eye opening and ingenious. At a 2014 exhibition at London's Serpentine Gallery artist Marina Abramovic used the audience to become the very art work. Through a series of mindfulness style exercises the viewer was immersed in a life changing experience. She puts so much of herself into the work in such a different way than other artists. She is the art work and not even in a vain or singular way but in such a way that shows she honestly cares so much about what art can give. The responsibilities of art to society and the world we create. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

150 years of Alice in Wonderland Exhibition | The British Library

I have loved Alice in Wonderland and everything tea party related for so many years. With countless birthdays being tea parties, dressing up as Alice and even encouraging my now husband to dress up as the Mad Hatter to match for a friends birthday :D. I first saw through facebook that the British Library were holding an exhibition to celebrate the 150yrs since the original book by Lewis Carroll and I knew that I had to go. So many of the events pages stated that tickets were sold out and others said that it was free. Turns out that there was an opening event with speakers and debates that was ticketed with the actual exhibition spanning from December - April which is free and open to the general public. 

Simply walking into the library we were greeted by an extravagant gift shop. I initially decided to go to the library with Leanne to show her their normal gift shop which is amazing. A cross between Waterstones and slightly Urban Outfitters homeware section. But we couldn't resist visiting the Alice in Wonderland Exhibition. I couldn't believe that they created an entirely separate gift shop for the exhibition and couldn't contain my excitement!  

Up the stairs into the central area of the library was the actual exhibition full of original copies of the books, the print blocks used by John Tenniel for his illustrations. A commentary of how the story and visual depth has changed throughout time. Reflecting on the darker interpretations post war and the happy childish innocence of the Disney version. I loved how the original story has stayed also the same since publication but the arts vision and personal interpretation can make it change it so much! We are invited to see people or stereotyped groups from our own lives and put them into the characters in the story.

 Sadly no photography was allowed in the actual exhibit (can you see the people standing looking at glass cases?) but I was able to photograph a lot of the 'pre-exhibition' showcase of graphic design work and interactive installations that summarised the story as you followed the numbered quotes and took soooo many photos of the gift shop. 

This was by far my favourite part of the exhibition. The gift shop was insane! (suitably so.) The whole experience of it was immersive with installation pieces suspended from the ceiling, a trippy floor, so many things everywhere. But so beautifully arranged and the range of products was incredible. Most of them were directly Alice in Wonderland related but then there were ties with flamingos and umbrellas and candles by that flamingo brand and just all the things! It was so wonderful. Seriously. I would come to the British Library again simply to go to this pop up shop. 

While I enjoyed the exhibition itself, it was fairly crowded with a lot of plaques to read and a lot of information to digest. It wasn't as well lit (for obvious reasons) and it was a very quite, stuffy place. The graphic design team did a brilliant job with dressing the exhibition, from posters to wraps with gorgeous typography and 3D hedgehogs, flamingos and an upside down pair of Alice's legs. It was really enjoyable as a whole and I would have loved to have been apart of the creative team working on the exhibition.

And if the photos aren't enough for you, I made a video!

I have started creating short vlog/montage style videos over on my youtube channel, if you would like to follow the along please subscribe. I'll be showing snippets of life as a newly wed, London adventures and figuring out life as a university graduate.  

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Monday, 9 November 2015

Balloons Over Covent Garden

Heartbeat by Charles Pétillon

Living in London means I can FINALLY make the most of all the beautiful art that the capital has to offer. Never have I had such ease and such access to so much inspiration. Not only am I surrounded by some of the most famous art galleries in the world but I'm also spoilt for choice by pop up installations and events. When I started to see blog posts and articles spring up about this piece I was so excited that I would be able to go see it in person. I have always found installations to be such an immersive and moving experience. While I love traditional oil painting, contemporary art has such a beauty to it. This piece is entitled Heartbeat by Charles Pétillon, a French artist. Representing that Covent Garden is a central heart to London's West End. Hundreds of balloons in various sizes ebbing with light. Of course followed by the countless people snapping selfies with them.  

By accident I found a pop up gallery that accompanied the installation piece. Practically empty it was a clear contrast to the view in the green house style market place. Filled with strong photography depicting similar artwork across various venues holding a simple elegance. Work that I would happily hang in my future home. I just wish that more people would not have missed out on this additional exhibition. I personally had heard nothing about it and only saw the unit because I was investigating the Magnum ice cream pop up store one shop down. (For which the queue was massive!) What do you think of Pétillon's work? Would you feel disappointed if you had missed out on the gallery show? 

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