Wednesday, 29 February 2012

finding my feet...

today is a leap day. it comes but once every four years...

following on from my exploration of fairisle design, i decided that stitching/embroidery would be the best way to go as knitting a fairisle pattern might be a bit beyond me at the moment.

much fun was had in mandors looking for suitable woven and mesh like materials and when it came to choosing threads i found myself a little overwhelmed by the vast choice of colours.

after what seemed like ages and felling a bit dizzy from running back and forth along the rack, i had a handful of colours. i was trying to think, 'right, fairisle... fairisle colours?' i'd hit a multi-coloured wall of embroidery threads... and then, when i least expected...

inspiration hit. i reached for my phone and found this picture of my croft in skye and it was then easy to find the colours i needed. standing there, with this picture in my hand i realised that everything i've done so far is linked to the croft in some way. it always sits in a corner of my mind somewhere, just waiting so i suppose it makes sense really. 

i left the croft when i was seven and i might not live there again until i'm seventy, but knowing that it will be a major theme in my future work keeps the dream alive... i love it when a plan comes together!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


i've been looking at mehndi, where the feet are decorated with henna in intricate lace patterns...

and imagined what the effect might be if the pattern was from a different culture, like mine...

this has brought me to fairisle patterns

my own, humble collection of fairisle including 
one, genuine, vintage, shetland yoke neck sweater complete with hand darned repairs!
i love it very much

these grid textures on sauchiehall street remind me of grid paper patterns

Sunday, 26 February 2012

my feet are killing me...

once upon a time... long, long ago... i was a highland dancer and whilst i have been researching the feet and movement, balance etc i have been looking at dance, ballet in particular. 

something i've noticed about dance shoes or pumps, is how they bind the foot to provide support by holding all the muscles and bones together. on a darker note this reminds me of chinese foot binding (gag)

last monday i joined an adult ballet class (brave) the muscle memory is stilll there, just, but i have noticed over the years that my feet have changed shape slightly and they certainly lack the strength they used to have. i just wore socks, which became loose and grubby in no time so tomorrow i'm going to wear a pair of my old dancing pumps from my highland days. now, they haven't seen the light of day, never mind my feet for about twelve years (what???!) and they seem to be a lot smaller than i remember. my toes aren't used to being this close together. they're usually in my green puma sneaks (see below) sitting comfortably in an adequate space.

so, i'm going to wear them all day and see how it goes. these are my most recent pair, a slightly different design than my usual type. they bind/support more than others i've had. there are more holes for the laces and there is only a half sole on the ball of the foot because that is the part of the foot that has most contact with the ground.  

highland dancing pumps by hullachan

my old favourites, well worn and holey

i took them off after about four hours and this was the result....

the laces have left quite prominent marks where they were tied. the laces weave in a criss-cross pattern and tie like a corset.  the grooves were fairly deep which they never used to be in the past and i don't remember my feet being this fat and puffy! there must be a seam running across the knuckles of my toes, my second toe was being rubbed while i wore them.

Friday, 24 February 2012

park life...

what a lovely sunny day to go exploring in the park!

kelvingrove park is an excellent source when looking for texture, trees in particular. i have only studied a small section of the park so far, there's lots more to find.

in the afternoon there was a talk by gsa artists in residence, rhona mccallum and bekki churcher.
they talked about there work so far and what they've been doing since graduating. 

i felt i could relate to rhona's work the most, she uses lichens and textures from west coastal shores as her inspiration. i noticed her work in the roger billcliffe gallery on wednesday by coincidence.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

stu, stu, studio...

at last! we were finally unleashed into the jewellery studio today, which is quite a big deal for us wee first years. we began by learning the basics...

roll printing and piercing copper

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Saturday, 11 February 2012

looking for feet...

i've launched a facebook event called show me your tootsies! where i hope to collect images of peoples feet in socks, shoes or bare... its been a good start so far, in just a couple of days about ten images have been uploaded!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

flying feet...

i went to the kelvingrove art gallery and museum in search of more feet...

i particularly like mercury's wings

later, it was off to the flying duck for more foot analysis

Monday, 6 February 2012


new brief: mapping the body... i am to investigate the foot and its anatomy, structure, movement, limitations, taboos, etc...

 the anatomy of the foot

on the way to life drawing i snapped some feet at the mac

looking at the structure of the foot

Friday, 3 February 2012

dandylions and biscuits...

i have spent the last few days tying up loose ends, literally, so i can present all my art school projects to date.

one project was to be selected as the main feature so i chose the first brief, signs, symbols and stories because it had the most finished work, i would have chosen text in form if i had found a conclusion to it. however, i consider all the projects (except 49!) to be ongoing.

it was mentioned that the way in which we display our work would show how we feel about it so i began planning a few days ago, its like 'curating' my own wee exhibition!

the best plans are always made in tearooms

my tying up of loose ends involved finishing a couple of half knitted 'things' which were previously abandoned like the turquoise loopy knit mentioned in my notebook above, which was originally going to be a neck piece/collar but looked so much like a bath mat that knitting ceased after just a few rows.

then, i had a cunning plan...

i finished it and framed it!

i already had a colour theme of red and turquoise so a few gold frames, inspired by the the interior of au boutique, brought it together nicely on the wall. 

the brief was to design three wearable pieces but i found, for me, that this project had two parts, dandylion one and dandelion two... 
i chose the symbol of the lion with all its different meanings and found myself in the wonderful world of the 'dandy lion' (think oscar wilde) a well dressed, dapper gent with his shiny boots of leather placed firmly in the past and a taste for the finer things. so, i thought i'd make my imaginary lion a few accessories to ease him into the twenty first century.

i was interested in the lion's mane and tufty tail, combining the two to make a very long tail that wrapped around the neck a bit like an eighteenth century cravat. this collection became dandelion one.

left: double tail neck piece knitted with a lucet

merino wool, mahogany and acrylic

 i have always liked dandelions especially in fluffy seed form and remembered they were called dandelion 'clocks' and again, when i thought about 'the dandy lion' he would surely have a pocket watch, so i began to think of ways i could attach something to a lapel or buttonhole.

clear acrylic i attempted to mould into a dome shape with a heat gun
it overheated causing it to bubble, i was disappointed
then i realised it had become a dandelion
dandelion two had begun

i couldn't figure how to use my dandelion until recently
then a revelation... there is a clear acrylic button at the back
held in place by the fishing line
so, it can be worn in the lapel buttonhole

peek-a-boo lapel brooch

clear acrylic, mahogany and printed metal

red dandelion lapel brooch

red and blue/clear acrylic and plywood

Thursday, 2 February 2012

show and tell...

i had my first exhibition today... well, more of a viewing of everyone's art medals from silversmithing + jewellery and environment art + sculpture. so, i suppose it was an exhibition!

it was great to see the medals displayed together although, each group was slightly intimidated by the quality of the other, they were all fantastic but hey, the grass is always greener!

i had to explain what my medals represented and the meanings behind them...


two thousand metres
two hundred years
two minutes

this medal is a response to the environmental effects of over fishing in scottish waters
we have rare and precious coral reefs off the north west coast of scotland which lie some 2000 metres below sea level and can take centuries to form. however, they can be destroyed in just minutes by deep sea fishing

i was inspired by a trip to the hunterian museum where there was coral on display with the most wonderful cellular patterns. it was of course tropical coral and there were story boards explaining how much of the tropical reefs we are losing due to environmental factors. this reminded me that we have coral here too and i thought of the coral beach in skye which led me to research deep water coral in scottish waters, i found two areas of significance, the rockall bank and the darwin mounds it is called lophelia

the wax i used was quite soft and squishy so i was able to achieve an organic texture on the outside that cast quite well, and a deep pattern on the inside resembling the surface of the coral i studied.
the pebble shape represents the the sea and the protection it provides,
it opens to reveal one half that is alive and growing, the other half is eroding and dying

tidal treasure

this represents a stack of sea worn, eroded limpets and is a tribute to my childhood growing up by the sea

i used a much harder wax for my limpets, they cast really well
if i am involved in the art medal project next year (which i hope i am)
i know that this would be my choice of wax

later on i went to the glasgow print studio to see an exhibition called resonance by papermaker jacki parry. jacki was head of printmaking at gsa between 1991 and 2001 but the reason i know about her is through her papermaking protege alison newman of pulp. i have attended a couple of workshops with alison where she taught me how to make paper solely from plants. this is one of the coolest things i can do, i love making paper and hope i will return to it one day soon.

while i was at trongate 103 there was also a photographic exhibition at street level photoworks called what presence! the rock photography of harry papadopoulos and features lots of scottish bands and singers such as edwin collins and even peter capaldi in his art school band, and bigger artists like blondie and david bowie. although its not my era, i really enjoyed the photos and the way they led me around the room, i liked the display it reminded me of the way i display cards and pictures on my own wall... memories.