Wednesday, 25 April 2018

More handmade books

I have recently got back into the joys of handmade books, and what a delight it has been!
For me, pinterest is always a good starting point for fresh ideas.
This week I made two books,
with another two recently as part of a #mindfulnessandcreativity workshop.
And here are the books - 
This first one has a quote from a lovely hymn that I only recently heard "now the green blade rises" a lovely hymn to spring.
It's a tiny book one inch square when closed with a wax seal on the front, ribbon ties and printed leaves and wording inside.



This second book I made during a book-making workshop, demonstrating the beauty and simplicity of concertina books. The cover, which wraps around the book, is handmade paper-cloth, with some machine embroidery detail. It has a simple closure sliding into a slot.
Here is the book open, revealing its concertina length.







This is the 3rd book, and I had lots of fun playing with the front cover. The book is pages grouped together into signatures and hand-stitched at the spine. The removable cover is made from handmade felt (mostly from Oliver Twists, not me!) and machine embroidered on the leaves and background. With a handy pen or pencil holder at the side.
And the 4th book is my personal favourite!




This small book has a clever closure with the key sliding through the ribbon slot.
The paper cover is from Namaste.
Half of the pages have a lace-like cut-out edging.
It's only little but it's beautiful!

Hope you enjoy the books! :)

Saturday, 7 April 2018

What does a Mindfulness based Creativity course involve?

This is the short answer! It involves being open,
recognising fear that can arise related to creativity and going with curiosity instead!

What do we mean by creativity?

Creativity can take many different forms, including how we build a home, cook a meal, or create an atmosphere where people feel relaxed. For the purposes of the course these are specifically writing and drawing as we consider these to be the solid foundations upon which to build creativity into all areas of our lives.  
 How many of us experienced a time, often at school, when we were told we couldn’t draw, or write creatively? What impact did this then have? How does this belief possibly impact our lives more subtly now? 

NB I have included snippets from my own journal during the course as examples, but we really encourage people to explore their individual creativity.
Through this course we encourage you to unlearn the habits of judging and saying to yourself,
‘I can’t do this’ or ‘it’s no good’ and to have a go. Fear can be very constricting and so we encourage a playful sense of fun and curiosity in each session.

If you already have a creative pursuit and would like to bring more mindfulness into your practice then this course is for you. If the ‘C’ word (creativity) terrifies you this is exactly the course for you!
MBCr provides an exploration of how mindfulness and creativity can mutually support and nourish each other. 

This course is suitable for beginners (to both mindfulness and/or creativity), as well as those wishing to refresh or deepen their mindfulness practice, or explore their creativity in a new way. We invite everyone to put aside their previous knowledge and experience (or lack of it!) and engage a Beginner’s Mind.

This course will be taught over eight classes from 1st May to 26th June (excluding a break on 29th May). Each class will be 2.5 hours long and will take place on Tuesdays from 10.30 to 13.00 in the beautiful setting of Helmsley Walled Garden

The ethos of the course can be summed up in this beautiful quote from poet Mary Oliver,

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?


For more details and booking information, please follow this link


#mindfulnessandcreativity #beginnersmind #justplaying #ncmc 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

More curiosity than fear



Mindfulness & Creativity Workshops
Thursday evenings, starting on May 10th, 6.30 - 9pm (running fortnightly).

The stimulus for each session is one of playfulness rather than having to produce something.
All creativity involves an openness to what is in front of us, noticing what is present 
which is why we use the term ‘more curiosity than fear’.

What's the difference between any creative class and one based in mindfulness?
Well. for a start there won't be a radio or music on in the background, 
as I find this a distraction rather than a help.
We begin with a mindfulness practice that sets the tone for the session
then proceed to different creative crafts
where we work quietly and gently, exploring together.

There will be time for a tea break and questions or discussions as we go along
but the emphasis for each session is a mindful awareness of what is going on, 
maybe working with doubts that arise about our abilities,
 judgements about what we are producing or
comparing ourselves with others.
 These are not just ‘have a go’ sessions,
but a chance to deeply explore creativity from a present awareness.

Session 1: Playing with words, including a creative writing exercise 

Session 2: Playing with paper, including making a card or simple concertina book

Session 3: Playing with colour, including a technique with watercolour pens and water droplets

Session 4: Playing with pattern, including a contemplative exercise exploring pattern-making

Session 5: Playing with words II, including exploring a meaningful word or emotion from a creative perspective

You can attend one session or sign up for all 5, but booking is essential, 
so please follow this link for more information and booking via Eventbrite. 

#mindfulnessandcreativity #playing #yorkmbsr  #waterpebbles

Friday, 26 January 2018

Cycle of life

I wrote and decorated this poem on Wednesday evening as part of a mindfulness and creativity workshop I was running. https://mbcrworkshopsjan18.eventbrite.co.uk

It is dedicated to a dear friend who's husband is close to the end of life.


This cycle of life
essence of nature
Why do we resist it?
Why are we fearful?
Celebrate instead
the energy created
from this individual.

Celebrate each drop
each pulse of energy
drifting out in the universe
as floating embers
from a burning flame
touching hearts and minds
wherever they land.

How far do these pulses travel?
How wide does their influence reach?
This energy of love and peace
of vitality and curiosity
carried on the wind
as floating embers
from a giant burning flame.

© 24 Jan 18

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Glass soap dishes

In between all the excitement of water pebbles I took some time (with my son's girlfriend and her mum) to go back to the local glass-making workshop in Knaresborough.
This time to make some soap dishes!
In my endeavours to reduce the amount of plastic we use in the house we have stopped buying liquid soap  dispensers and instead reverted to organic bars of soap. This is fine, and they were sitting in lovely blue dishes, but the soap got all soggy as there was nowhere for the water to run away. 
So I decided to have a go at making some soap dishes with holes in, to let the water drain.
Having researched a bit, I discovered the way I wanted to try would be strips of glass to make a grid, so they retain the holes in between.
This was new to Jane so it took some thinking about as to how it would work.



 These were the first two, following a similar pattern or glass strips laid in a grid. We had the idea of putting small squares at the end of each strip to create a knobble. This was more successful with the green than blue, as you'll see later.


This was one gorgeous piece of glass with clear squares of glass on top and fibre squares underneath so the squares would emboss. We ended up doing this twice to make the raised squares more prominent.
Having made the first three (these are all pre being cooked in the kiln) and taking them home I discovered they were too big for the downstairs loo, so went back to make another smaller one.



And here it is. The shards at the end of each strip are the ends cut off the blue one, as they didn't work once cooked.


This is the blue one cooked, pre slumping (to give it a bowl shape). 
Although it looks lovely I wasn't happy with the pieces at the end, which hadn't 'knobbled' as we expected and were too prominent. They came off and became the knobbles for the small one above.


The green one cooked but not slumped.

And finally, each soap dish in it's final resting place.


The blue one next to the kitchen sink.


The green one by the bath.


The purple one in a brand new en-suite.


And the small one in the downstairs loo. Sitting very neatly between the taps!

I'm really happy with how they have all turned out, and had so much fun exploring this with Jane. She's great to work with!
#mindfulnessandcreativity #glassmaking #playing #saynotoplastic


Friday, 12 January 2018

Water pebbles - breathe

I have since been exploring combing calligraphy with the water pebbles. I had some time on a retreat in October to play with this idea and a create a large piece, A2 size, based on the calligraphy breathe.
As I discovered on a workshop recently, with this type of calligraphy I find it easier to form the letters from right to left, working backwards and starting with the last letter. Obviously this is very counter-intuitive, so takes some thinking about and planning where to start!
I began with the word breathe, and played with the images around it.


1st stage!


2nd stage, creating the pattern before the fun of the water pebbles.


And then the water pebbles begin. 
On this one you can see the water droplets have only just gone onto the paint, and aren't yet really taking up the colour beneath. To the left of each droplet you can see the reflection passing through the water from the window.


This now shows half the image covered with water pebbles.


And now complete with the first stage of droplets.
Because some of the coloured dots and swirls were so close together I couldn't put the water droplets on them all at the same time as they would just merge together.


Stage one complete and dry.


And now the whole piece complete having gone over with a second stage of water droplets. 
Although it looks really interesting, to be honest, I wasn't pleased with how the spirals turned out, but this is all part of the experimentation, as I couldn't predict what would happen beforehand.


To me, these are the really interesting photos, close ups of the water pebbles 
with these below following the shapes of the spirals.


#mindfulnessandcreativity #waterpebbles #playing



Thursday, 11 January 2018

Water pebbles circle

Lots of glorious colour in the fabulous technique of water-colour pens and droplets of water, which I am calling water pebbles.



This circle is 14cm in diameter and shows the image drawn/painted and partly covered by water droplets. 


Here's a close up of the circle once all the water droplets are in place, picking up the colours of the paint. I love the way some droplets merge and collect more than one colour (this looks better wet than dry, as once dry it becomes a bit of a muddy brown!)


Here's the finished image.
Lovely though it is, I still feel the wet images are for more beautiful!


And them I experiments a bit with swirls of colour rather than just dots. 
This is the completed image still wet.
This circle is 21cm in diameter.


A close up of the image with water droplets on it.


And the image dry.

#mindfulnessandcreativity #waterpebbles #playing