Monday, 26 September 2011

The Pay It Forward Art Fandango

The lovely Corinna Spencer recently gifted me a small, but perfectly formed, piece of artwork as part of a pay it forward art fandango that she was participating in. Here is the piece she sent me ... it was hard to take a photo of it without capturing anything too revealing < blushes >

Pay it Forward art

So now it's my turn to pay it forward. If you'd like me to send you a piece of artwork then leave a comment below or give me a shout on that there twitter. The first five people to holler will get a small something sent to them, completely gratis. The only catch is that you then have to send five people a piece of art/doodle/scrawl/whatever.

If you like the idea of getting art from me for free but feel lightheaded at the thought of having to send out some art yourself then there is another way ... ... ... < wait for it > .... ... ... yes, that's right, you can Give Blood, Get Art instead. Let the art rush commence!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Hand-drawing a Library of Creative Inspiration

A while back I set up an Amazon affiliate shop widget thingy that (in theory) makes me a few pennies when someone clicks through to buy any of the books I've included in it. I say 'in theory' because so far I haven't made a single penny. Even so the whole 'making money from simply curating a collection of books that have inspired me' things leaves me feeling a bit icky and uneasy.

So I dreamt up a personal art project that disperses my own sense of ickiness about making unearned money ... I'm planning to hand-draw the front cover of each of the treasured books I own and share the reasons why I cherish it.

First up is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg which I bought in 1999 from a bookstall at the Womad Festival when I was slightly under the influence of hot spiced cider. It was the first Natalie Goldberg book I bought and it's now dog-eared and travel-worn. Every now and then I misplace it at the bottom of a bag or a box and it seems to always resurface just at the moment when I've given up on ever finding it again. It was also the first book published by Shambhala that I bought. Over the years I've come to treat the Shambhala logo on a book as a sign that I should go ahead and buy the book I'm leafing through in a bookshop - they've become the gold standard of zen books for me :)

The opening paragraph will probably be enough for you to recognise whether Natalie's words speaks to your life story. It certainly was for me:
"I was a goody-two-shoes all through school. I wanted my teachers to like me. I learned commas, colons, semicolons. I wrote compositions with clear sentences that were dull and boring. Nowhere was there an original thought or genuine feeling. I was eager to give the teachers what I thought they wanted."
The overall message of Writing Down the Bones is *Sit down to write. Keep your hand moving.* If you sometimes find yourself frozen to the spot by perfectionism and procrastination then you'll find Natalie's words as comforting and inspiring as I did. What Natalie writes about is a lifelong journey of making "a choice for beauty, kind consideration [mostly for ourself], and clear truth." Mindful choices made with our feet on the ground and in the knowledge that "we are not running after beauty with fear at our backs."

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Carrying a campfire within me

Even though it's been nearly a month since I headed to deepest Hampshire for Uncivilisation: the Dark Mountain Festival, I still don't quite have the words to tell you what I experienced there. So for now ....

.... Wrap this woollen shawl around your shoulders. I finished knitting it as I sat listening to the bands perform and the speakers speak. The yarn was soaked through with the words I heard and I knitted them into the very fabric of it ....

.... Hold this rough ball of stone tightly in your hand. I found this small spherical rock just by the entrance to the Woodland Stage as I quietly slipped into a session where an animist priestess held a space for us for to unravel and reveal our true motives and share deeply intimate stories ....

.... Listen to the fearless feral choir and wonder what the world would be like if we all had opportunities to test the full range of our voices along with a congregration of strangers, who would quickly become friends, in a spirit of trusting solidarity and communal courage ....
The Inaugural Performance of the Uncivilisation Feral Choir

.... Words are on their way in the form of stories and poems but for now here are the words I've been catching as they swirl around my head:

It's great to know that a date has already been set for next year's Uncivilisation I'm already looking forward to the long journey to hope and then back home.