Well its been quite a summer and now its winter – where did that year go?!
I have taken my foot off the gas when it comes to this blog but lots has been going on so I thought I would write a little summary of everything here. Different projects, both academic and private ongoing work, but all have a similar theme I would say. This has been a year of focus and decision making so its great to finally say that instead of getting excited running around like a headless chicken I have found some peace and clarity with my direction. That only came about after hard work, emotional decisions and learning lots about my strengths and weaknesses. This can only support my future and it certainly allows me to sleep better! Im really excited about all these projects but I will try and keep it brief!
LINCOLN ART NINJAS
(ARTBUZZ ‘LETS GET CREATIVE’ COMMUNITY FESTIVAL. 2018)
I love this project so much! It has been amazing to see it grow and people get involved with it. The aims of the group are on their way to becoming a reality and this excites me very much. I am working on this whenever I can but it is not exactly work, it really reflects who I am and what I can contribute to the world, so I feel very fortunate that it has been so well received. The future with the group is that it will continue on, growing organically in directions it needs to go. Now I realise that sounds very ‘fluffy’ but I am very conscious that I need to be open-minded about the development of the group and flexible in how this happens. It has already opened doors for me and there are plans for next year already.
AIMS and OBJECTIVES OF ART NINJAS
Combat loneliness and isolation.
To provide motivation and support for people to be more creative.
To spread and encourage acts of kindness.
To encourage and motivate people to get out in their local area.
To provide opportunities for people to meet others and make friends.
Helping others promotes positive self worth and distracts from ones own problems while creating balance and realistic goals for their own life.
Promoting that working on a small scale for art works encourages regular creativity.
Creating opportunities ( with the group) for members of the community to share their experiences of others work, artwork and ideas for future projects.
Engage members of the group in projects which they would not normally do (care homes, hospitals) therefore expanding their community involvement and enriching their life and that of others.
A spin off from Lincoln ART Ninjas is The ARTBUZZ festival will be a creative and creatING day for families within and around the community. It will be held outside in the park. Not just a line up of artists selling their wares, this festival will be full of interactive elements. I want to see people trying new creative activities. This can be simple things from knitting to playing with mud and making mini gardens, to painting to sculpting, to dancing and puppet making… all sorts. There are no limits! I see it as a kind of treasure hunt with all the activities dotted around the park to ensure people get around the beautiful space and add an element of fun!
I really passionately believe we need to get outside and to share our skillset with others and the community benefits from the people within it learning more about each other.
POLITICS OF FOOD
This topic is really interesting, it is a degree brief and one which is proposed every year. I was really conscious of that and really pushed myself to think of an original response to this brief. I will post more about the finished work and how it went.
My installation is around food waste. This is an area which I feel is always open to promote – it continues despite our best efforts. Every day so much valuable energy is wasted by the over production of food to eat. The huge portion sizes we are given in restaurants, it all leads to waste. And food waste leads to energy waste which leads to all manner of negative and damaging consequences.
ADAPTIVE ENVIRONMENTS and SILICON SCULPTURES
This degree brief sone which I did initially struggle with, but I went through the design process and looked at the self-made barriers I was coming up against. I resolved these and forged ahead with a project which is going to allow me to indulge my self with some silicon sculpting. I have missed this so much! Having spent over 20 years working on my silicon art I am really excited to be able to use my silicon in a way which also integrates it with technology. It is experimental but I feel sure it should be successful.
The concept I wanted to focus on this year is why people touch things. What makes us want to touch, or why do we give ourselves permission to touch things? Its a psychological research project in some ways but I want to test and prototype to challenge this in people and develop knowledge from this to enable me to create installations that will engage and allow people to interact with them on a broader level, on a fun level in this case. It has a more serious element in my mind in that I want to learn about human interaction and apply this to Healthcare and in particular short term memory loss such as Dementia care.
I have been learning about prototyping. There is no such thing as a short cut. When designing for humans I need to constantly test my work on HUMANS! yes! It really won’t do to sit in my studio researching academic papers and looking at the psychology, I need to get out there and learn from the very species I am designing for. It takes time and effort and it is beyond valuable to do this.
DE-STIGMATISING DEMENTIA AND DESIGNING A DEMENTIA WALK
This is an ongoing project and a subject I am really passionate about also. I am looking at creating an immersive experience with some new ideas around VR and creating the experience for carers and healthcare professionals so they can better understand how to support people with this condition. This is early stages.
I love to get outside and to see people in the fresh air. It is an environment which can calm and soothe and refresh. I am committed to creating moments of joy for the Dementia sufferer and joyful memories for their carers and family. The Dementia garden or walk will be my next big self-directed project and I am excited to be thinking and researching it ahead of time. I plan on including elements of music and interaction also, some water and lots of seating and interesting elements to touch and play with. I will develop this project and present it in the form of a Dementia Walk Project Plan Guide which public parks can implement in their own locations.
I am addressing this area too! I did struggle with the tech for some projects but came around to the conclusion that this was okay. I am working on developing my understanding of the technology and what it can do to apply to my work without necessarily forcing myself to learn it all! I learnt that my skill set is not in this area and it was not a useful way to spend my time. No longer phobic about it though, I have found a comfortable place with it. I love technology, it is amazing and moving fast, but I do personally believe that we need to engage with each other more, not less, and I am committed to using technology to this end. I am listening and following my gut instinct about this and I am happy to do that. I am authentically a believer in technology for human interaction but we do all need to get a break from the digital world. So I am in charge of the technology in my life these days and I am happier for it, my world is bigger and brighter!