Busy, busy being creative..!

Thursday, 29 September 2022

On seeing things through

 


It’s been a long time since I’ve written to you and, like many people, I’ve been struggling. I’ve been struggling with life really and with how our current world and society is panning out. Most of the time I’m asking why is this happening and how can that be allowed to happen [I have written to my MP], and for the most part, I have felt heavily weighed down by it all. I have felt unmotivated, despondent and deeply apathetic.

I’d somehow forgotten ALL the things that actually helped to support me, and I had forgotten how to do these things, which is weird! It seems to be a fault of being human, that even though we KNOW what’s good for us, we don’t do it. Or we do the opposite and then wonder why we feel s*hitty.

It’s definitely something that I’m getting curious about again and asking myself ‘why’ and then really, I mean really listening to the answers that pop up. It can be surprising, painful [sometimes] but always illuminating. Bear with me, though – I promise things have taken a turn for the better and I have made a commitment to myself that what I can do is to see through my creative projects, no matter what. The good, the bad and the ugly!

You might have guessed that I’m talking about my long-standing UK Islands project that I started in 2017. I have felt shame about it taking so long and for one reason or another not being able to finish it, and beating myself up about why can’t I just do it? It’s not really that hard! Well, until you overthink things, or get distracted or lose motivation, or wonder why you are doing it in the first place, but I KNOW deep down how important completing this project is for Me, and really that’s the only person I need to impress. Yes, of course I want you and everyone to like it and for it to generate complimentary comments – but actually by not doing it, the only person who’s really missing out and suffering is me. [Have you got a creative project that you're working on, or would like to be working on, and can resonate with this?]

So, I am saying it here – I am seeing it through, no matter what, to the end.

Yes, I am working on this becoming a book and I have publishers to pitch to, so I'm figuring out how to go about this…

Yes, I have big ideas of how I would like the films to look that have been bubbling away in my imagination for the past few years, I have accepted that they might not turn out exactly like that, and Yes, some of what I create and produce might start out a bit rubbish, but actually, I can’t know how to improve on that unless I actually make a start and DO IT! All nothing new here – but something I’ve had to strongly remind myself of.

So in the spirit of diving-in, earlier this week I filmed my first proper ‘UK Islands Project’ talking to camera and everything update. And I shared it on YouTube, and in the process of doing that I discovered something unexpected and hilarious that has had me laughing ever since.

I couldn’t figure out how to get YouTube to create automatic captions for my video [I’m sure it’s done that before] so I used some software to transcribe the audio. The software didn’t quite interpret what I said correctly, so I had to make some corrections – for example Looe Island to the software was either Lulu or Blue island – so I corrected those plus a few other minor corrections, but one, ONE was just too funny not to leave exactly as it was. I’ve included a screenshot below – can you spot it? Or if you’d like to watch my first ‘talking to camera project update’ you can watch that and turn CC on to look out for the funny caption. I hope you enjoy the film.

 
This small thing reminded me just how much I love the random fun that does happen when developing creative work. And that’s actually one of the things I love about creating – those totally 'random', 'unexpected' things that happen as a result of taking action.
 
That’s it for now, as I am really reconnecting with you after a long time, I do hope that you'll join me on completing this creative adventure. I will be in touch with you more often as I work on this project.  Take care and see you soon!
 
PS, if you want to know when the next update is live on YouTube, best to subscribe to my channel as I’ll be uploading there first.

Happy Adventuring and to seeing things through.

Morwhenna
xx





Thursday, 15 October 2020

LAUNCH DAY!!!



Very excited that Launch Day for my NEW collection inspired by the Isle of Portland has finally arrived!

To view the full collection fly on over to my Folksy shop here: https://folksy.com/shops/Morwhenna

THANK YOU!

Morwhenna xx


Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Launching - Here's what to expect


I had planned to share a lot more before we actually got into 'Launch Week', yet there’s been so much to do that suddenly I’m running out of time. Taking product photos, making short animations and creating listings is a L-O-N-G job…

Thank YOU for being with me along the way.

I am slowly getting through all of my tasks [alongside my part-time job] and I’m actually rather enjoying it. Some are small satisfactions such as FINALLY being able to use the lovely piece of branch I picked up years ago, because as a prop, it's perfect for hanging owls from! [see below].

But this has meant that some things haven't happened yet, such as the emotive piece that I'm writing to describe what inspired me about the Isle of Portland and how this translated into the collection I'm sharing with you. Actually - I'll tell you a bit right now. It doesn't have to be a long winded essay does it? I wanted to evoke the feeling of the place, but I'm guessing that you'd like it short and snappy - you're busy and you can always read a longer piece later...

So, here we go - The Isle of Portland is an intriguing place that has been quarried since Roman times. Portland Stone, a type of limestone, can be admired on the United Nations HQ in New York, St. Paul's Cathedral in London and the big shop in central Bristol that looks like a ship [now a Primark]. 

Due to the amount of quarries, most of Portland isn't actually there!  The marks left on the landscape, which would have originally been made by hand using a chisel and hammer, made me think of the marks made when creating a linocut print. That was the first spark. Add to that the fact that before starting this project I'd decided that, where possible, I'd use the tools, art materials and fabrics that I already had. This was another element to the Island theme as a lot of Island life is about using what you have to hand and making and mending. That's where this collection began.

I'm still beavering away with putting everything together for Thursday and everything will be 'live' from 12.00am in my Folksy Shop for you to see first, as promised. 

OK, back to my listings and see you again soon!!

Morwhenna

xx

Note to self - next time I start a launch, at least I'll have a better idea of how much time I'll really need! I have another 13 Islands to go after this one...

About the UK Islands Project



































The marks left on the Portland landscape reminded me of the way linocuts are made, and became the basis of my collection inspired by the Isle of Portland.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Launching my first ever collection - What if nothing sells?

Portland
















I've some news on The UK Islands Project!! I’m going to be launching my first ever inspired-by-islands-artwork collection on the 15th October! Whoop Whoop!

My original plan for this project has changed.  I’d been tightly holding on to the idea that I’d wait until I’d finished all of the artwork and items created inspired by ALL of the islands visited as one exhibition. I'd created this big, sparkly image in my head of how it'd be, BUT, I think that's been stopping me from actually getting close to it. I think that it got too big, and too scary! I've been giving this some thought and in the current situation, I’ve decided to change my vision.

My NEW vision, and the one I'm actually going to be doing, is to release the Island exhibitions one-by-one online. I'd created a series of artworks and creations inspired by The Isle of Portland - the first Island I visited, that were pretty much ready to go and thought with a few other things to finish I'll be able to get this all up and running in no time! Then *reality check* I sat down and created a mind map [see above] and listed out ALL THE TASKS and realised there’s a lot more involved in launching an online collection!  If you've ever launched anything yourself, then you'll already be aware of this, but if not, listing online means photo shoots, writing product descriptions, taking measurements of each item, and I've even gone as far as creating some ‘Certificates of Authenticity’..!

I'll be sharing the process with you over the next few weeks and hope you'll find it interesting and useful. 

Worst-case scenario - I don’t sell anything. 

Having thought of this, I felt better and it lifted the pressure. Of course, I hope that doesn’t happen and that I have created a collection that is appealing, interesting and that tells a story that you'll would like a piece of. But if it does happen, then that’s a lesson in itself!!

You never really know what's going to happen unless you actually DO THE THING, and often, as I'm sure you can attest to, things often work out differently to how you'd imagined. So I'm going ahead and embracing whatever unfolds - however that might look and wherever that may take me, and if I'm honest that's part of the fun isn't it? The seemingly random unknowns that ONLY come about because of one step that we've taken. Here I am taking that step. Or maybe more of a leap!

Is there something that you've been working on or would like to work on but are feeling the fear a bit? Figure out what you single small next step is and do that. If you need some help figuring out what that step is - drop me a line and I'll do my best to help you.

In my next blog posts, I’ll share what I discovered on the Isle of Portland, what it inspired me to create, and why, plus some behind the scenes processes. We still might not be able to physically travel far at the moment – but we can travel in our imaginations and plan future creative adventures when we’re freer to roam and ramble. 

If there's anything you'd like to know about this first island - or this whole project - please ask! 

And if you'd like to be the amongst the first to see the full collection and have an opportunity to buy from the collection before it's showcased on social media - sign up to my newsletter as I'm sending all details to by lovely subscribers first. 


See you again soon!

Morwhenna
xx

Sneak peek of some of the collection inspired by The Isle of Portland



Tuesday, 15 September 2020

On being determined




It's been a while since I've written a post here on my blog and I can't even begin to imagine how this year has been for you so far. I hope that you've been able to find moments to be creative and have some small adventures, even if these have been imaginary and in or close to home.

When I created these Goat of Determination Magical Animal postcards, little did I know how much determination, encouragement and support we'd need to get through the past 6+ months. I sent out some as gifts at the start of the year and they've been pinned to notice boards and stuck to fridges and [so I've been told] have helped and brought a smile when it's been needed. They've been a visual reminder that little by little, small step by small step, we can keep going. 

I've just discovered that I've still got some Goat of Determination postcards and so I've listed them on my Folksy shop at a reduced price [3 postcards for £2.50 plus p+p], as I'd really love for Sandy to go and to hopefully spread a bit of 'doormat' joy!  

Link to Folksy Shop:  Goat of Determination

I hope I can tempt you to purchase a few Sandys to send to your friends and family. Send to raise a smile and a hug by post.  ;-D

Keep Going, don't stop believing - YOU CAN DO IT!!

Morwhenna
xx


PS Please do share with anyone else you think might like to buy some. Thank you! 



Thursday, 2 July 2020

What happens when you say Yes...



Exciting Announcement!

I’ve written a chapter for a book called The Biggest Book of Yes and it's now available for preorder on kindle (print coming later this week)!  

This book is all about what happens when you say Yes. It includes 49 short adventure stories ranging from driving a Tuk Tuk across India, long distance cycle rides to what happens if you get up a little earlier each morning. Tales of adventures big and small as you know, adventure can come in all sizes. 

I'm so chuffed to be a part of the book and this project as it is filled with inspiring stories. I've a feeling, some of them will inspire my own future creative adventures...

I’ve written about the time I decided to go on my own pilgrimage following in the footsteps (ish) of Saint Morwenna from Brecon in Wales to Morwenstow by bike, boat and foot. 

It's actually 5 years since I went on that adventure and this Saturday - the 4th July, is the date I completed the journey in 2015, so the timing really couldn't be better!

Here's the link if you’d like to take a look at the book and find out more: https://bit.ly/TBBOY3

It's a book for charity, with all proceeds going to The Teddington Trust.

*Happy Dance* 


Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Skye in Cyanotype

I've been thinking about the Isle of Skye for some time in terms of what artwork it inspires me to respond with, and on first thoughts it was about the light, the colours, and the food. I'd been thinking around a few ideas and one that kept coming back, was experimenting with the cyanotype process using digital negatives which I thought could have lots of scope.

Before I show you my experiments so far, I wanted to share a bit about the history of the process and one woman in particular.

The cyanotype process was developed in 1842 by the English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel [who has a museum in Bath] as a way of reproducing notes and diagrams rather than in a creative application. It was Anna Atkins [1799 - 1871] who first saw the potential for the technique to be used as a type of photographic record and who used it to create a series of cyanotype limited-edition books that documented ferns and other plant life. Because of her use of this technique, Anna is often considered the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images and the first female photographer. Images from her book can be seen here: Anna Atkins Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions

The process works by mixing two chemicals [ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide] together in equal measure, and coating a surface e.g paper. Once dry, you arrange objects on the paper and put outside in direct sunlight to 'develop.' Mixing these two particular chemicals together causes a reaction that renders it sensitive to the UV rays in sunlightCyanotype photography was popular in Victorian England, but became less popular as photography improved.

So, here, I'm sharing my very first test pieces with you, and it was a rather magical experience seeing the images appear as you rinse away the chemicals! I discovered that the handmade paper I'd used wasn't really up for the job as some of the paper started to disintegrate when washed. So you do need to use a strong paper as you have to make sure you wash all the chemicals out of your pieces otherwise they will continue to develop. These test pieces were left in midday sun, with a glass plate covering them to improve the contact with the paper, for around 7 minutes. 

I was also surprised how well the digital negatives I'd made worked and which images created better prints than others. I did have to try a fern, as that's possibly the most cyanotyped object in history! And I can see why, as it creates a really strong image. 

Next is to try some different papers, objects and fabric.

I bought my Cyanotype set from www. cyanotype.co.uk and my Inkjet film from The Surrey Inkjet Company and have been surprised and really pleased with the results so far.  It's really fun!

Have you tried this process for yourself?  











All images copyright Morwhenna Woolcock