Tuesday 25 February 2014


Social media can be a a wonderful thing and back in December I noticed an invitation to take part in the Artists Swap Box Project organised by artists Katie Smith and Dave Briggs. After signing up participants were paired with another artist and given the following brief:-

"The purpose of this project is to delight a fellow creative with some inspirational post. We suggest that you restrict the size of your swap box to that of a shoe box and include:

A work of art - this could be something created especially with the swap box project in mind or a piece from your archives. You can use any artform but may wish to consider the cost of postage when selecting your materials. As you are swapping with a stranger please do not send anything that could cause offence.
Career based words of wisdom – help your swap partner to avoid the perils of a New Year’s creative slump by offering some inspirational, motivational or practical words of wisdom. These could be scribbled on a beer mat, embroidered on linen or written in jelly tots, it’s up to you!
Feel free to add to your box as you see fit – your swap partner may appreciate a packet of custard creams, a vintage postcard or a thermal vest, who knows!
Once you have received you box we would love you to spread the joy and post a photograph of its contents here."
I decided to up-cycle the little apple prints I'd made on Apple Day in Fermyn Woods, pairing them with vintage Zoffany wallpaper and giving each print a word that could act as a reminder or a creative trigger. They have already been a starting point for me so I thought it would be good to continue the apple thinking.

Once I had made my 10 little prints I needed to find a shoe box and some other items to put inside and found that the two things were quite challenging. What do you send to someone you've never met and have no idea what their practice might be? I thought I'd go with the flow and put in things that said something about me and also set up the notion of popping down to my shed / studio to share tea and a creative chat. 

Finding the shoe box proved to be a harder task as many shoe shops throw their boxes away or are not allowed to pass them on without shoes! I also wanted a child's sized box to create a cozy space for my A5 prints. Just as I thought I was going to be defeated, one of the shop assistants I'd spoken to rushed after me and told me to try Clarks as they often had boxes which people used to send parcels to the Forces. The sales assistant in the Clarks shop couldn't have been kinder and found not one but three for me to choose from. The Black one was stylish, the grey one was grey but the green one seemed right in every way and I left the shop with a warm glow of satisfaction 'Mission Accomplished!'

Here is the contents of my box, ready to tuck inside

The Contents:-
  1. The felt was made as a demonstration piece at a recent felting day which could be used as the basis for making something else.
  2. The Garden Shed sign was an unused item left over from a walking project and my studio is my garden shed so it seemed a nice introduction piece.
  3. Two Cornish teabags which taste fab, are called Smugglers Brew and have great graphics, first discovered whilst walking South in Cornwall.
  4. A Bounce Protein Ball Spirulina & Ginseng Defence Boost which they say "looks weird, tastes fabulous", as in these difficult days we need to keep our energy levels high!
  5. I have a particular fondness for Tunnocks Caramel Wafers and Tea Cakes, I think the wrappers  have wonderful graphics and an interesting texture so I thought they could be used or admired and they always make me smile.
  6. Tiny pegs to peg the prints up with which also references the Tea Towel Installation for Back to Books.
  7. A Seeds of Change multiple with one of my digital images printed on it.
  8. My Art Party Conference Protest Placard Multiple.
  9. 10 apple prints that have been stamped, stitched, given a wax seal and bagged in cellophane.  


I know that my Swap Buddy Marie Shaw, who has the intriguing addy buttongrrl, has received her parcel so I won't be spoiling her surprise if I share the contents of the box more widely now. I can't wait to see what might lie inside my box and it has been great to meet a new virtual friend! 

I am also reminded that there will be warmer weather, my shed will eventually dry out, I will be able to return to working in the garden and there may be opportunities for people to pop by to make something with me or to share tea and ideas. I know that the other two Old Law Beacons will be joining me soon to make some items for our REfractal walk in Kings Wood soon - something else to look forward to!

I have loved this Swap Box project, it is an antidote to the current trend towards mean times and mean spirits, so thank you Katie and Dave for you inspiration and fabulous work to make this happen. You can check out who sent what where here

PS I have one compete set and a few random Apple Prints which I am selling to help raise funds for my trip to Salt Spring Island in August, please look in the blog SHOP if you'd to buy like one!

Thursday 13 February 2014

Little Glow of Pleasure

I had a little glow of pleasure seeing Barb Jungr wearing my 'To the Lighthouse' pendant in her Making of Hard Rain video. The piece was inspired by the Cocteau Twins This Mortal Coil - Song to the Siren and the pendant was a thank you gift to Barb from Back To Books members who are also part of the Deep Roots Tall Trees Choir after our epic race against the rain concert in Coronation Park!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

More New Town Pioneers

As part of the ACE Creative People and Place, Made in Corby taster events Barb Jungr, Head of Snakes, Gareth Fuller and the Deep Roots Tall Trees Choir went on a mini tour of community venues in Corby. It was a wonderful week of singing and bonding, sharing music together so by the Saturday we were feeling much more tight and together. However there is still much work to do, Choir Master Gareth Fuller will be stripping our parts in all the songs right back and rebuilding our sound, working on blend, breathing and phrasing. In the coming months there are more exciting plans afoot for the project. Some of the choir have started working with Barb to develop a new song for the new sequence, which is proving to be a fabulous new journey into an unknown land for me! The further we go on the more I realise how little I know, how much there is to learn and what a joy singing is proving to be.

Photo - Kate Dyer

"What a brilliant 4 days in Corby with lovely people, musicians, singers, writers and friends alike - am just home through the winds and thinking - how fabulous that was. Thank you all for your care, time and thoughtfulness. The Deep Roots Tall Trees project is life changing." Barb Jungr

You can see a film about the Deep Roots Tall Trees Project here

You can see a wonderful film about Barb Jungr's the inspiration behind and the making of her new work Hard Rain here

There will be a chance to see the show at The Core, Corby
FRIDAY 16 MAY 7.30pm

Barb Jungr
An evening to celebrate Barb Jungr's new album Hard Rain, featuring the music of icons Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Songs include, A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, A Thousand Kisses Deep, Chimes Of Freedom, Its Alright Ma I'm Only Bleeding, First We Take Manhattan and more.


To book tickets ring box office on 01536 470470