Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Things that I love about Folkestone: 1 - The Folkestone Urban Sirens

I don't know if there are E.U. quotas on 'Crazy' but if so, Folkestone seems to have got more than its fair share of people who fell out of the loony tree hitting every branch on the way down, and then climbed back up again for a second go.

My favourite of these are a group of self-styled '30 something bored housewives' calling themselves the 'Folkestone Urban Sirens' whose hobby is to dress up artist Cornelia Parker's 2011 statue , the 'Folkestone Mermaid'.
(photo by Mick Dudley)
The ladies believe (and they have a valid point I think) that the statue, placed on Sunny Sands, is 'not a mermaid as it has no tail'. They have renamed it the 'statue of the naked bird with her bits out' aka S.O.T.N.B.W.H.B.O. and to highlight their 'cause' they carry out 'covert operations' whereby they dress the statue in a variety of costumes which are then photographed and sent to the local media!
After a quiet period, they announced their return in Grand Style this morning with a couple of photos protesting the conviction of Pussy Riot posted on their Facebook page:

I'm liking the new look BTW Ladies!
If you don't know who Russian Punk Protest group Pussy Riot are, a) where have you been? and b) click this link for more info.

A selection of my favourites from the archives include:


This one was titled 'If you can't beat them, join them' and was inspired by comments from a disapproving local that they needed to 'read some books'.

And last but not least; this hilarious 'Interview' with local radio station Academy FM, which makes them sound like East London builders!
I'll keep you updated on their antics!

Monday, 27 August 2012

A Pirate's Life For Me!

A Pirate's Life For Me!
For those of you who hadn't yet noticed, I have quite a thing for Pirates!
So naturally I put myself forward when The Folkestone Film Factory were in need of a narrator for their latest workshop production 'A Pirate's Life'.
The short film was written and directed by two incredibly talented under sixteens taking part in a week long film making course, Hanne Jessen and Max O'Sullivan, and stars Folkestone based actors Ash White and Andy Butler, who you may recognise from local events such as Romney Marshes Day of Syn.

It tells the tale of Brian, a landlocked Pirate, struggling to come to terms with life on land after becoming disillusioned with the direction modern piracy was taking.
 To compound his misery on land, he has lost his faithful parrot 'Sir Squawksalot'.
Notice that someone has actually taken one of the contact slips!
It caused much amusement at the Film Factory when people stopped to seriously read the 'lost parrot' signs that were put up around town during filming; I would have thought that the 'reward' of 500 Doubloons was a dead giveaway, but apparently not!

Max and Hanne with me after I recorded my voice over.
Anyway, that's enough waffle from me; here's what you have been waiting for:

A Pirate's Life : A Film Factory Workshop Production
More films from the Film Factory can be found on their YouTube channel here.
Enjoy what's left of the weekend Folks. I'm off to find the answer to one of life's most important questions....
See Ye later Mateys! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

I do Love a good Boot Fair!

I haven't done a boot fair in a while, so was really pleased with my seemingly random 'haul' above. It all cost under £5, which I think makes it quite a successful trip!
I think the most 'relevant' pieces to a blog that is supposed *ahem* to be about my work are these two completed tapestry canvases. I love, love, LOVE tapestry and these reminded me of a pair of 'Embroidery' chairs by the young Swedish designer Johan Lindsten. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these yet, but I'm sure I'll show you when I do.
Check out this link - Lindsten's quite a cutie! ;)
My next favourite item is this Pirate fuzzy felt set! 34 years old and still playing with fuzzy felt....
It will make a nice addition to the 'Wall of Pirate' (which I still haven't written about) so that's my excuse for buying it, and I'm sticking to it!
Other items included two brand new bandannas, which will be used for fabric as they are pretty much Fat Quarter size, not bad for 20p each, and a rather interesting 1923 novel by Colette called 'Ripening Seed', about the coming-of-age of two teenagers one summer in Brittany.
I also picked up Slash's autobiography, because I LOVED Guns n' Roses as a teenager (still do), and it gives me an excuse to sign off with this picture:
Have a Great Bank Holiday Weekend! I'm off to put the kettle on.....

Sunday, 19 August 2012

People whose work I admire: 1. Tara McPherson

People whose work I admire: 1 Tara McPherson

I had completely forgotten about the work of Tara McPherson until I was tidying up my book shelves the other day and found my copy of Lost Constellations (the link is to forbidden planet's store - an awesome shop and the cheapest I can find it on line). The picture above is 'Hey, We All Die Sometimes' and features in Lost Constellations.

I was completely unaware of her work, until one day when I was scratching my inner nerd's itch at Playlounge just off Carnaby Street  (Go - they have moomins and tokidoki and Liberty, Drop Dead and It's Something Hell's are just around the corner) and came across the above book. It's AWESOME.

She's a US based artist who draws wonderful, dreamy, ethereal, kooky, Rock 'n Roll characters in surreal, fairytale worlds using a limited palette of colours (usually teally blues, dusky pinks and reds and black). I wouldn't say that her work directly inspires or influences mine in any way, but it's definitely an aesthetic to aspire to.

When I had my finger mo tattooed a couple of years back, I used her 'Lucius' character from a Melvins poster she'd designed as the flyer image to get sponsorship for Movember.

Terrible picture. Let's move on.

It's hard to pick out the best pieces of work from her portfolio, because I love them all - she's one of those rare artists who never seems to do a bad piece of artwork. For the sake of you, the reader, I'll have a go and say that this unicorn seahorse girl for a Shonen Knife album cover is one of my favourite characters.

'Laughing Through the Chaos of it All' features Mr Wiggles (the balloon) another cute character who pops up quite often in Tara's work.

I adore this Isis gig poster, and have a copy of it on my 'Wall of Pirate' (I'll blog about THAT some other time). I really love the resurgence of one-off screen printed poster designs for individual gig dates that seem to be 'en-vogue' on the Indie Rock scene at the moment. To see the archive of Tara's posters click here.

Her 'How to Heal a Broken Heart' comic strip (click on them to see larger images)

More recent works include:

This beautiful Indian influenced piece 'Safety of Water'

'Searching for Penguins'

And of course 'The Umibozu Wish' - because I have a fondness for small, black cute things with big eyes!

Oh, and whilst at Art College, she interned at Rough Draft Studios working on my favourite cartoon ever: Futurama. Respect!

Tara McPherson's website is here

The art boutique she owns 'The Cotton Candy Machine' webstore is here

The gig posters are screen printed by Diesel Fuel Prints  and their website is here

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Save Folkestone Owl Sanctuary Events Update & how a Clothes Swish Works

So yours truly is trying to do her bit for the Wols by organising a Clothes Swish at Googies Art Cafe on Sunday 26th August, from 7 to 9 pm.

(Incase you're wondering what a 'Wol' is, it's a Winnie the Pooh reference)

In case you haven't been to a Clothes Swish before, here's the lowdown:

Bring 5 items of good quality clothing, shoes or accessories with you. These can be for men or children but it's mostly womens clothing at events I've been too.

Bring the money requested (in this case £5 which goes directly to the Sanctuary) and bring a little extra for a glass of wine etc.

The participants start turning up at 7pm and will pay the organiser and put their clothes on the rails provided (i'll bring some extra coathangers but if you've got any to bring this can help) There will be some other clothes 'left over' from previous swishes there to help with the variety & selection available. Between 7 & 8 the ladies (or gents) can peruse the rails, try things on, working out what they might want for themselves.

All the clothes go back on the rails during this time though, because at 8pm (or whenever) the organiser will ask everyone to stand an equal distance away from the rails, and will then tell everyone to "Go!", at which point everyone rushes towards the items they had eyed up in the hope of getting there first! I know this sounds like a bit of a scrum (it can be) but it is the fairest way of ensuring that no-one can grab the best bits for themselves before other participants arrive. And actually it's part of the fun.

If there's something extra you wanted, but have already got your 5 items, you can usually ask the organiser if you can pay an extra £1 for the item (i'll say yes - it's for the Owls!)

You go home with a new wardrobe, and Brian gets some money for his lovely Owls = Everyone's happy!

Some of the best things I have acquired at clothes swishes include:

Silver Havaiana Slim flip-flops, hardly worn
A Monsoon embroidered linen skirt
A (wardrobe staple) black cardigan with the tags still on.
Black jersey wrap around dress (another 'wardrobe staple')
A brand new Floozey fascinator in it's box.
A maxi dress that actually fits (I'm quite tall)

Things I have seen at swishes (but haven't been able to grab in time) include an Armani Exchange top with the TAGS STILL ON!!!

Other things happening to raise money for the Owl Sanctuary

On the same night as the Swish there will be a Music Quiz upstairs at Googies organised by Hanging Man, it is £3 to participate.

Their facebook events page is here

Folkestone Promoters Blueskypie are organising a free open air gig outside Googies from noon until 4pm, called 'Owl is full of Love'. Their events page is here for info on bands & artists playing.

Googies Barista Tom will be dressed as an Owl for the WHOLE Bank Holiday Weekend. Go into Googies on Rendesvouz Street to Sponsor him.

Or you can sponsor (or participate in) the Chain Gang Ride Again sponsored bike ride taking place on 28th August. I think Tom, Matt & Kebb are starting out from Googies at 9am (sponsor forms are in the cafe). Not sure if Tom will still be dressed as an owl for this, but I wish him luck! PS. The adorable Owl on a Bycicle sketch is by C S Jennings whose website is here - check him out.

The Folkestone Owl Sanctuary are having an Open Day on 15th September. I believe that they need some help tidying up part of the garden before the date, so if you'd like to volunteer call the number on the bottom of their flyer.

Pavement Pounders are organising a special one off walk, showing you the history & architecture of Folkestone, with a bit of Owl Lore too. This takes place on Saturday 25th August and leaves from outside Googies at 11am. For info & booking click here.  It will be between 1-2 hours long and they are requesting donations, rather than having a set cost.
I should add that Googies are donating £1 from every Googie Burger sold over the whole weekend (surely an excuse to chow down on a 'Pinky & Perky' if ever there was one), and there are collection pots in the cafe at the moment.

I think that's it for now!

More updates to come soon so check back sometime.

Thanks for reading XOX

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Places I'd like to see before I die : Part 1

 Moominworld in Naantali, Finland.

As an avid admirer of the work of Tove Jansson, I'm completely blown away by how faithfully they have recreated Moominvalley from her drawings.

 The Moominhouse in the snow (Love!)

I'd love to have tea with the Moomins (and even Stinky)

But most of all, I'd just like a BIG hug from Moominmamma!
(apologies to whoever the kid is in the photo - I found the image on a Chinese news site!)

Lake Keitele, Finland.

It's just a coincidence that this is also somewhere in Finland. I first saw the image above in the National Gallery about 13 years ago when I was an Art Student, and immediately fell in love with it. It is a tiny painting, and was almost hidden in a room full of other European landscapes but somehow I spotted it out of the corner of my eye, and was mesmerised.

The water 'moves' before your eyes, it shimmers off the surface of the canvas. The artist, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, is relatively unknown over here, but I believe his works are considered an important part of Finnish Cultural Heritage. He also illustrated the Kalevala, the Finnish National Epic.

There is a Gallen-Kallela Museum on the outskirts of Helsinki, and I think this would be well worth a visit.

Lake Keitele actually looks like this. I love the importance of Nature in Finnish culture and want to live in a little cabin on one of the many lake islands for a while, fishing & having saunas! And I want to see the midnight sun.

Cappadocia in Turkey

I did a mental backpack rush across the Balkans a few years back, and got as far as Istanbul. I wish I'd done a bit more research/had more time/had more money before I got there because there is sooooooo much to see in Turkey.

My number 1 destination on returning there would be Cappadocia, Central Anatolia, so I could stay in one of the 'fairy chimney' hotels carved into the side of the amazing naturally formed rock structures, and hot air balloon over the area at sunrise (I've wanted to go up in a hot air balloon for years, but am saving myself for Turkey!).

This is the Castle Cave Hotel.

There are a number of underground cities and churches in the region, used by the Christians to hide from persecutors through the ages.

They either carved into the soft rock, like the Byzantine 'Church of Three Crosses' north of Goreme (photo by Paul Smit)

or painted amazingly colourful frescoes like this one in the 10th Century 'Dark Church', also in the Goreme area.

The Isle of Man TT Races

The last thing on todays list of places I REALLY, REALLY want to go before I pop my clogs is the (possibly less culturally 'highbrow') but just as fun Isle of Man TT, so that I can watch nutters like

'King of The Mountain' John McGuinness

and FIVE races in a week Winner Ian Hutchinson (if his leg gets better - 26 operations so far! Get well soon fella)

as they hare round the 37 mile Public Road course up to 6 times at speeds of over 200mph!

They go past peoples front gardens! No safety barriers, nothing!

Can you Imagine trying to do this in Folkestone? "Hey YOU! Watch my Privet!!" *shakes fist*

Look at the spectators sitting there with their feet on the track!


But Fantastic.

Note: Having never been to these places I have swiped photos off the internet, but have tried to give credit where possible. Sorry. Don't sue me, but if an image is yours get in touch & i'll remove it or credit you. Thanks :)