the shape of a decade, part two

Part two of a look back at where my creative path has wandered since 2009
In the last 3 days of this decade I’m taking a stroll back along the timeline that brought me to where I am now. Join me tomorrow for the final chapter.

So much changes and evolves in the span of a decade. Curiosity lead me to look back at where my creative path has wandered since 2009… (catch part 1 here)


Mixed Media – Installations – Site Specific Art – Nest Building

Around this time I was exploring more of the cross over between my digital art and all the new skills I was developing in art school – digitally collaging images in photoshop, printing, then collaging these into art journals with more layers of drawing, printing, painting, buttons, beads and stitching on top. Bits of everything.

This is nen nen ju shin ki – the relief collage I made for my second year project.

Art mirrors life. For all that was complicated and complex in my art, that chaos was mirrored in daily life. I’m looking back now and seeing it as the whirlwind it truly was.

I moved house right at the end of the school year, so my end of year show set up and nesting merged into one continual process of painting walls and shifting heavy stuff about, which took up most of my summer.

First step was bringing some necessary color to the new home!

Back to college at the end of the year, I started work on an installation for the spinal unit at a local hospital featuring a series of 16 portraits, all collaged from hand cut screen prints.


Animation, Word Drawing Installation, Graduation, Textiles.

I reached my final year at college, and my final major project was an enormous (over 20 feet long!) word drawing which ‘poured’ down the wall around a projected video animation / sound collage entitled “In Other Words”. More about this another time.

After college ended, nesting was front and centre of my attention. I’d acquired a gelli printing plate and was experimenting printing onto textiles to make soft furnishings with a mishmash of dying & printing with hand & machine stitching. And a LOT of colors. Obvs.

I began a gigantic (formerly floor length curtain) wall hanging. That’s still a work in progress, another story for another time. Multi-layered and colorful, but most importantly, really fun to make. Currently it looks like this


Online Learning, Collaborating with Nature, Video making, Altered Book.

Throughout 2015 I filled another art journal – this time at the rate of a page a week.

In January I enrolled in Connie Solera’s year long ‘IGNITE’ program, to learn about teaching online & mentoring. I published my first eBooks. Through this program I also met a group of women from around the world who I know will be lifelong friends.

In the summer I made a hanging sculpture from ivy and this video of it dancing in the woods.

As you know I love to sew, and play around with ideas. The idea came to make these funny little animals from scrap fabric. I made a big family of them for my friends, so most have flown from my nest. The last of these ones now live on my bookcase, awaiting the next generation to be stitched into life.

2015 is also the year I began playing with altered books and collage, and made my first (of so many) flip through videos.


Mentoring, Teaching, Travelling, always Learning.

This year I returned to the IGNITE program, this time as a peer mentor for a new group of students. In August I travelled to Washington and spent a week with some of the women I’d worked with online last year, I don’t have words to tell you how much I enjoyed being in their company and sharing creative time with these fabulous friends.

I taught my first online class about color as part of 21 Secrets, and began planning what was to be a 2 year project based on this to begin in 2017.

This is the first time I’ve looked back at these sketchbooks for a while – they’re filled with ideas I’ve gone on to develop without realising. Isn’t there something magical about the process of making sketchbooks and art journals, and in looking back years later.

These ideas are seeds I planted back then, which are now starting to bear fruit.

to be continued …. come back for the final part tomorrow!

If you’d like monthly updates on what I’m doing and making, sign up for my Studio Musings Newsletters. You’ll be first to see what I’m up to each month + you get 10% off everything in my Etsy store as a thank you for joining me ūüôā

Success! You're on the list.

that time again! (1 of 2)

Looking back at things I made in 12 months makes the year stretch back further. January feels like a lifetime ago now…

My 2016 in art journalling has looked like this







The tail of the year, the time to look back & look forward, funny cos in so many ways it’s an arbitrary number, tomorrow will still be tomorrow whatever we call it. But I enjoy the process of evaluating where I am in this life from time to time, so now’s as good as any!

Join me tomorrow and I’ll show you the second half of my 2016 in art journaling.

Want to make 2017 brighter and more colorful?

Join me in TWELVTY!  beginning January 1st.

Can’t wait that long? sign up below and get a lovingly hand crafted ebook all about color right now!! ¬†

…then join TWELVTY…obvs! ūüėȬ†


Be well, my friends, Much love to you all X


(Your email is absolutely safe with me, I’ll just pop by and check up on it time to time, feed it biscuits, plump up its cushions, that sort of thing.)





My word for 2016 is Flow. I¬†made¬†a pinterest board for my word when¬†I started doing this last year, but this time I’m amping up the imagery by having these pins printed out and in one of my journals.

flow2.jpgThis way it’s something I see most days, and I guess is more Vision-Board-y like this.


There’s space left for words and gaps for more images. I like to think it will develop as the year goes on.


A Year in Mixed Media ~ part one

Throughout 2015 I completed a mixed media art journal, one page each week.

Some weeks were easier, some were colourful, some were hard to start and some were hard to finish. Both in terms of the art, and in terms of the weeks out of which the pages emerged.

It’s all metaphors, right?¬†

This year I’m revisiting my year of mixed media, and bringing the pages to life in a different form. Here I was, one year ago:


Starting out here, in January 2015, a blank book (year) ahead¬†–¬†full of possibilities img_3578

Week 1 unfolded, bright, wordy and eye-filled.


Week 2 was a big ole brain dump. Funny how this process cements moments into the memory.

I remember listening to podcasts and YouTube things as I doodled this out. Words and phrases filtered through my ears down, out through my drawing hand – sometimes verbatim – sometimes slightly altered by the messages I heard inside the words.

‘Make 2015 the year you question everything’, said the scrap of paper. Glued into my book, glued into my imagination, this phrase was to inform the way the coming months played out. Question Everything.


Week 3: Comfortably into the new year I was¬†setting myself some targets.¬†I achieved the¬†specific ones¬†– way¬†quicker than I expected¬†too. But reflecting from a year further into this life, I see how woolly and unquantifiable some were. Lately I’ve been listening to Leonie Dawson. Do you know her? ¬†She’s also loud, smiley, fun and colourful. I like her a lot.¬†She’s big on goal setting.¬†I’m following her wisdom this time round.


Week 4 found time to pause for thought. I was brimming with optimism, which mirrored again this year as a time so rich in potential and beginningness. As much as anything else, I’m getting to know me a while lot better through doing this. Turns out that’s my happy place: just on the cusp of an ending and a beginning. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering – the computer came back in full health¬†–¬†having not forgotten anything).


Week 5 – the cross over from January into February. Another big week. (They’re even bigger looking back – it’s a trick of perspective, maybe).


So as we turn into the next month today, this seems a good point to pause. Part two will follow along soon. 





3 weeks: 5 realisations

3 weeks into this year, I’m learning to adapt to this new structure that’s unfolding.


I live by metaphors, they are the framework of all my understanding. The skeleton on which I hang my beliefs and theories.

Since January 1st 2016 I’ve¬†filled¬†one of these 1″ squares each day. They are in a book with enough pages¬†to carry this daily practice over a few years. Will I do that? ¬†I hope to.¬†The project is entitled Self Love 365¬†and everyone who¬†shares their daily squares has a unique interpretation. I love to see how our¬†days are represented and recorded.

I’m looking at my¬†first 3 weeks of squares and seeing a good degree of haphazardness, conflicting colours, but a bigger pattern is beginning to emerge.

When I drew out the grid I left a little gap between each square – it allowed¬†one week to fit tidily across the width of the page that way, every day has¬†a margin¬†of breathing space. Except I’m scrappy and resistant to constraint by edges. Some days expand and¬†overflow, some are linked by doodled extras.

To begin,¬†I had trouble connecting the project to self love. Now I’m starting to understand. Here are some aspects of kindness I’m extending to myself:

  • Scrappy and overflowing are character traits¬†not flaws. Vital¬†in the Yin/ Yang of conformity.
  • The few minutes I set aside each day are a meditation, a discipline, a habit. Sometimes it’s easier than others to find the minutes, some days I want to doodle on ahead, but I keep rolling along, one square a day.
  • If I can see patterns develop over 3 weeks, undoubtedly I’ll get more insights over the coming months. This is¬†a gift to me in the future.
  • Hustling for extra meaning isn’t necessary. It might emerge on its own, it might not. Patience!
  • It’s a whole book of unfolding metaphors for me to carry on defining my sense of how things are.

wobbling, blurry…

It’s all metaphors, right?

As I look at what I do I try to pick out clues as to what I mean and feel and understand.


Already in week two of this selflove365 day project (and LOVING it, btw).

The pictures are fuzzy. They¬†mirror the way I’m fumbling my way into the new year and¬†this new¬†project.

I’m finding my feet.

How do I interpret Self Love?

I’m defining it to myself: until recently I wasn’t aware of it even being a thing in my world. It’s new and a little confusing, I’m taking it on as a project:¬†here in this book,¬†here in my life.

So far, this is what it looks like….

day 1

Starting out with a literal expression of the theme. First thoughts… It turns out 1″ square is both larger and smaller than I¬†expected it to be. I can squish more into the space than expected, also¬†it’s also more¬†squinty to look at and to photograph than I expected.

day 2

I went to see Star Wars this day. It was fab. (Apropos to nothing at all.) 

day 3

What’s this? – like a¬†tunnel into the future? IDK. I’m still¬†consumed in confusion from the holidays. It’s still a blur. It’s been a Sunday for a very long time now.

day 4

This was the day I would have gone back to work if I hadn’t spent it flat out on the sofa, back home, recombobulating. I was watching a lot of YouTube. A lot of Kyle Cease. He’s reminding me to re-establish a daily meditation practice. I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project. She’s reminding me the same.

In terms of the daily¬†practice, I’m beginning to see how the squares can join up to become a bigger picture. I’m beginning to get¬†a grip on things again. Thank fuck for that.


Finally got into the year. Five days in… I’ve done than that worse before ūüėČ

day 6

Last year’s book¬†seemed to be¬†full of eyes. (My word for the year was¬†FOCUS,¬†it¬†that kept coming out.) Also my art often has eyes in. So here’s an image who is looking back at us.

day 7

Today I began another year long project. I’m feeling more comfortable with commitment than any time before in my life. (Strewth – I’m not becoming like an actual adult am I?) (NO)


I hope the first week of the year has been gentle to you, dear friends. I look forward to reading your plans and adventures X



new traditions: on letting go

Happy Solstice

In cultivating something new from something old, today I set some time aside to look back and to look forward.

I’m most especially grateful to Susannah Conway for her Unraveling the Year¬†which has inspired this practice. I first found her online workshop to find a word for the year one¬†year ago (my word for this year was Focus – I have my word for next year, but that’s for another conversation).

Today was a bit of balance in the midst of the mayhem.

a corner of my home, my retreat from the world.

The end/beginning of a year,

all these holidays associated with all these belief groups,

the altogether headfucking climax of consumerism and consumption,

the magic and
the glitter and
the feasts,
the feelings and
tensions and

All that stuff.

All of it.

All the tradition.


[truhdishuh n]


  1. the handing down of statements, beliefs legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word  of mouth by practice: a story that has come down to us by popular tradition.
  2. something that is handed down.
  3. a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting.
  4. a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.
  5. a customary or characteristic method or >manner.

blah etc blah ….

So much is ingrained at a young age end passed on by generations.
For so many people.

sanctuary under the stairs. shhhh…


Not me, not any more, I’ve made some adjustments to my ways, and that’s what I came here to tell you about today.

I don’t hark back to happy sparkly memories of childhood holiday¬†fun. The¬†people I was with¬†at the time are all gone. This isn’t the place for detail¬†–¬†this isn’t a rabbithole of self pity¬†– it’s just the context for what I’m writing about. And a nod to those who feel the same way. We¬†know¬†we aren’t alone, and we know¬†we aren’t supposed to talk about it¬†– it’s something like the emperor’s new clothes thing – if we begin to question why everyone is¬†getting so tangled up in a frenzy of guilt induced consumption and confusion it all¬†could just fall apart before¬†us.

Here’s what I’m doing:¬†I’m making my own traditions.

They are just for me. I don’t have kids, so these aren’t the foundation for any future other than my own.¬†I started this¬†a year ago, and¬†in¬†repeating them they’re¬†evolving into my new¬†traditions. They have meaning. They are a framework and a structure in an otherwise fairly arbitrary layout of days and free-floating lifestyle.


These short days and long nights at the turn¬†of the year are my retreat. Amongst the usual duties of the days, amid the outside chaos, I’m squeezing in some extra time. Time in my home in candle glow, with my books and my music and my thoughts.

Balancing on today’s¬†apex I look out in both¬†directions: Reflecting¬†&¬†Consolidating; Planning &¬†Wishing.¬†Taking time to just soak in my life, look at what I’ve done and felt and learnt since the last time.

Since this time last year I’ve been blessed to meet and share time with some wonderful people who’ve brought me new understanding and genuine heartfelt joy. I’ve uncovered new music, new ideas, new strategies and new wisdoms.

I’ve begun to take better care of this body and soul. Forgiven her indiscretions and daftnesses. Appreciated her well meaning and abilities. Accepted her doings and goings as the best she could have done given what she had and knew at the time. Acknowledged she needs time, she needs peace and she needs rest, I realised no-one but me can allow this.

I’m trying to show her more kindness.


I’ve released a bunch of judgments.¬†

I’m learning to reframe.

Wherever you are in this season, I wish you and your dearests an abundance of wellness and peace. Go gently, dear friends, be love. X

jumping across

I’m not rushing or hustling the old year out, I’m not one to wish my days away, but I am¬†dipping newest thoughts¬†into next month already.

Next month РNext year РNext incarnation of being me in this life. 

While I’m¬†indifferent to the big new years fuss that happens around midnight on 31 December, I do love the clean freshness¬†of 1 January every time it comes round.

So much so, I don’t want to guzzle it all in one day, I want to savour it.

My routine,¬†such that it’s becoming,¬†begins toward the end of November and by¬†Winter Solstice it’s up to¬†full speed. Those last 10 days of the year represent¬†the closing up of the old year. Loose ends neatly bundled, filed under¬†the past.

As 2015’s page a week book¬†winds up I’m already sewing the seeds for 2016’s year-sized art challenge.

To kick¬†off I’m going to take on Belinda Fireman’s¬†#selflove365¬†adventure of a daily 1″ square drawing.


I bought a concertina sketch book way back – I think with the intention to take it away on a trip – but either it didn’t go with me, or I didn’t find the time to fill the pages. Either way, it’s fresh and ripe and raw!

It’s already ready to be 2016-ed!


2016 Adventures…

What adventures do you have lined up for the upcoming year?

Are you a planner, or a wait’n’see-er? I’m a bit of both.

I like to have some looking-forward-to-things lined up, pre-booked, so that creeping apathy or the¬†inner critic can’t persuade me to wriggle out. But if I start organising my time too much I get freaked, run away … sometimes¬†have to sleep it off.

Since 2009 when I returned to education,¬†I’ve taken on at least one big learning project each year. One in which I’ve had to show up to the commitment I made. Partly through a loyalty to the others involved, but mostly to myself. Accepting a challenge. Jumping in.

In 2015  joined up for IGNITE, an online course for women artists run by the gorgeously wonderful Connie Solera of Dirty Footprint Studio.


I was so¬†inspired by Connie’s series of artist interviews, the¬†21 Secrets Conversations. Right from the off I was¬†fascinated by listening to all these¬†artists describe the path that’s¬†led them through their careers. But even more than this, I kept going back to watch more, I was totally¬†entranced by the joy and love that fills every episode. I just knew I’d found my tribe. I felt at home.

Over the year in IGNITE we developed and grew together as a group. ¬† We’re dotted about all over the world, so our meet ups were digital, but they were frequent and will be ongoing.¬†It’s been the most¬†amazing ride, through which¬†I’ve got to meet and know some really inspiring new¬†friends whose lives are in tune with¬†the same creative¬†energy.

…this video was part of a project I created back¬†in the summer for IGNITE…¬†

Emerging from the course I’ve got a much clearer understanding of my creative process, far more so than 3 years in conventional art education. I’ve developed a stronger sense of being-ness. A¬†sense of freedom and possibility has¬†replaced the sense of limbo I began the year¬†in. I really generated the momentum for the bounding leap into my¬†next paint-fueled adventures.


IGNITE is an intensive course, it runs¬†annually. In 2016 the course will begin again in early January. So are you wondering….?

Are you at a point in your creativity where you feel ready to stretch forward into a more exciting, dynamic phase?

Does it make you feel skippy inside to think of becoming part of a global tribe of soulful spirits ?


At the time of writing I believe there are a handful¬†of places left – so if you’re interested scoot over there now and check it out before they get snapped up.¬†Ooh, and on top of that – this year Connie is enlisting four IGNITE Alumni to act as mentors. And yes, one of them is me ūüôā

Come and join us – it will be so much fun!

%d bloggers like this: