Birmingham Christmas Markets 2017 Roundup

I love a good arts market and I've seen a lot of them floating around this year, so here's a roundup starting with this weekend, in case anyone is interested. 

18th November - Kings Heath Art, Craft & Food Market
10:00 - 16:00, Kings Heath Village Square

18th & 19th November - Christmas Craft Fayre, Highbury Hall
11:00 - 16:00, £1 entry on the door

25th November - Digmas Christmas Fair, Custard Factory
11:00 - 17:00 

25th & 26th November - Made in Kings Heath Art Trail
11:00 - 17:00

*Newly added* 26th November - Christmas Craft Fair
12:00-17:00, Prince of Wales Moseley

1st & 2nd December - Etsy Made Local 2017
12:00 - 17:00, Custard Factory

2nd December - Winter Market (Seasonal Markets)
12:00 - 18:00 , The Bond Co, Digbeth

*Newly added* 2nd & 3rd December - Christmas Arts Market, mac
11:00 - 17:00, mac birmingham

5th December - Stirchley Community Market Christmas Edition
16:00 - 20:00, Stirchley Baths

9th December - Digbeth Arts Market Christmas Edition
12:30 - 19:30, Digbeth

9th & 10th December - Christmas Floating Market
10:00 - 17:00, Canal near Barclaycard Arena

9th & 10th December - Kings Heath Christmas Market
10:00 - 18:00, Kings Heath Village Square

*Newly added* 9th & 10th - Christmas Arts Market, mac
11:00-17:00, mac birmingham

10th December - Harborne Handmade Christmas Market
10:00 - 16:00, Moorpool Hall

14th December - Winter Craft Market, Ikon
16:00 - 20:00

16th December - December Moseley Arts Market
9:00 - 15:00

*Newly added* 17th December- Festive Food Market
10:30-16:40, mac birmingham


Yorks at Ikon

New: Art at Yorks - at Ikon

Mark Murphy's work.

Mark Murphy's work.

Lily Wales' work.

Lily Wales' work.

Opening 15th March, the new Yorks cafe at Ikon Gallery will host a new exhibition of work by two hand picked local artists: Lily Wales, and Mark Murphy. Curated by myself, Jenny Duffin, the work will be in situ at the new cafe until June, to coincide with the Ikon exhibition running parallel.

All the work is available for sale, with a fresh exhibition of work being installed in June.

The exhibition has already attracted the attention of I Choose Birmingham, and Lily's work is also due to be featured in Bab Mag.

See Mark's interview by CLICKING HERE

There will be a launch evening especially for this exhibition, date to be confirmed once the cafe is up and running. There are also plans to run collage workshops at the cafe, so keep your eyes peeled for dates.

About Mark.

Mark Murphy is an Artist, Designer and Musician, based in Birmingham, UK.

A Graphic Designer for many years, during the past 5 years Mark has enjoyed the challenge of making works in a purely analogue way. Seeking out weird and wonderful print from the last 70 years, he creates hand cut paper collages that play with graphic composition, juxtaposition, space, scale and surrealism. 

Chance plays an important role in the creation of these works - which elements present themselves, how they combine. The pieces are sometimes abstract, sometimes figurative, often humorous.

Mark creates his collage work in a shared studio space in Stirchley in the south west of Birmingham, close enough to the chocolate factory to smell flake in the air on a densley cloudy day.

About Lily.

Lily Wales is an Artist, based in Birmingham UK.

Lily Wales specialises in hand crafted photomontage, producing work that demonstrates the entanglement of nature and culture within industry. Upon graduating Visual Communication at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, she was awarded Best Emerging Artist by Karen Newman and given the Fine Art Photography Award from Brian Griffin.

Currently she is undertaking the Fine Art MA at the Birmingham School of Art. Within the MA she is exploring the tactility within photomontage. The materiality of the work produced for Yorks is informed by the Roger Hiorns exhibition at the Ikon and explores the culture of the atomic age.

Manchester November 2016

This trip was the first 'official' step I took towards the planning of a new festival of 'making'/ 'craft' in Birmingham. The ideas I've had for this have been evolving for 2-3 years and I'm finally saying it out loud to more people. I plan to put in a mini-G4A bid before Christmas with the hope to R&D-ing the concept, with the hope to the first fest happening Autumn 2018.Eek.

Last month I went to Manchester. I went specifically to attend two events, Make:Shift, a two-day conference run by the Crafts Council, and Maker Assembly, held at MadLab – Manchester’s Fablab/Makerspace. This trip was made possible by the support of New Art West Midlands (formerly Turning Point WM) by means of a micro-bursary covering the chunky costs of conference tickets, trains, and accommodation, so THANK YOU! 

This is half write up / half notes, so to anyone reading this apologies for the inconsistency in detail.

NAWM Logo 1.jpg

Thursday 10th November

I arrived on the Thursday morning at Manchester Picadilly and headed over to the Museum of Science and Industry where the Make:Shift conference was held. It was well signed and there were volunteers waiting in the main entrance to direct us to the top floor where the event was held. There was an open plan room with the registration table, tea, coffee and lots of people chatting. I was handed a bright yellow tote bag with all the conference info and away I went to find a cuppa. I've travelled alone a fair bit, and gone to many ‘networking’ type events alone, but doing both was somehow different! I managed to find someone else who had come alone as well and by the time we'd done introductions and shared which sessions we were thinking of attending, it was time to go in to the opening talks...


Soon enough it was time for opening speeches, which were in the ‘speaker room’. There was a welcome by Rosy Greenless, and keynote speeches by Annie Warburton – Creative Director of Crafts Council, and Mark Miodownik.

Mark spoke about the tv series he co-presented in ‘Chef vs science’

·         He said that the chef he worked with Marcus Warering said cooking was all about ‘love, care and understanding’ and Mark challenged the concept that science wasn't those things.

·         He spoke about how mankind had always had a skill for finding new methods in making, for instance blacksmiths always knew that they had to beat metal, however only fairly recently did we have the knowledge and understanding for how that works and why that is.

·         He spoke about living materials vs not-living materials and how perhaps we could manipulate non-living for the future to become more 'living', using the example of self-healing concrete. He questioned whether having structural materials like this that didn’t need human intervention to repair, meant whether the ‘love care and understanding’ would be lost. But he said he thought we would become more like ‘gardeners’ for roads, guiding the self-healing.

Session 1
Parallel Practices: Learning Through Making.

Chaired by Lucy Sollitt, with John Grayson, Shelley James, Riccardo Sapienza (Matthew Howard was absent)

This was an interesting conversational talk about a project at Wheatstone Lab, Kings College London.
Video about it below.

The Lab residency-type-project was all about bringing together people from different practices and creating a space for students to explore materials and techniques through collaborative practice.

Students made an automata incorporating their new found combined knowledge of glass, mechanics, and electronics.

Session 2
Augmented Bodies and Prosthetic Devices

Chaired by Andrew Sleigh, with Hannah Perner-Wilson, Graham Pullin and Mika Satomi.

Graham talked about ‘Hands of X’ and customising/personalising prosthetics.

He talked about ‘Materials for imitation’ vs ‘materials for wearing’ and said Hands of X took inspiration from personalised manufacture like Cubitts eyewear.

He also wrote this book:


Hannah Perner-Wilson. Hannah works a lot with tools and wanted to look into how the tools become an extension of the body. She had prototyped a few different ways of wearing her tools on a semi-permanent basis, such as an apron-style dress, which you could wear out in public as well as in the studio, so never apart from your tools. Her ideas developed into a rucksack which unrolled into a wall-hung tool pouch. You can see her work here:



Koba Kant, Mika Satomi – Spoke about the difference between prosthetics being very subtle and undetectable to the untrained eye, and them being used as a method of expression. She talked about exploring the idea of having chameleon-like skin to a prosthetic arm, and how this combines the two approaches, an adaptable skin.

Using liquid crystal ink, which changes colour with heat, and puff print – the printed areas puff up so they’re raised. Spoke about uncanny valley, at what point does something start looking close to human.

Break – handling session.

There was a room set aside with items from the Crafts Council collection. I MAY have gone back 3 times…

It was really reassuring as I already knew of a few of the makers and had noted them as avenues to explore further.


My faves:
Richard Hutten’s ‘Playing with Tradition’ – reminded me of similar work by Faig Ahmed
Michael Eden’s GSOH 3D Printed Ceramics
Front’s Blow away vase. Reminded me of Livia Marin
Tom Mallinson/Digits2Wigits 3D printed textiles - see video below. 

Image sources:

Session 3

Speakers: Lucy Siegle, Maurizio Montalti, Nat Hunter, Kathryn Fleming

I seemed to take really minimal notes from this, but I left with a refreshed feeling that I must find a way of helping the planet, and have been far more thoroughly recycling since…

Lucy started by the big picture – we are all consumers whether we like it or not. Apparently the biggest polluter, behind oil, is fashion. The production of textiles is very polluting. Recommended ‘The True Cost’ film.

Maurizio works with fungi to create solid materials. Bio bricks. Mushroom leather.

Nat Hunter- Machines Room. Design for recycling. ‘learned helplessness’. Fab cities. Localising manufacture. Open desk. Knitting machine. Supply chains.
Production used to be in the hands of those who had the tools – this is changing.
Using recycled plastic bottles >> injection moulder. 

Talked about bringing manufacture back to the local - eg like Open Desk where the designs can be downloaded and then the pieces can be cut in a workshop near to where you are ordering the furniture from. Rather than buying furniture that then has to be shipped a long distance. She was also looking at how to reduce waste wood from this process - using the pieces of wood left behind from cutting the shapes out. 

Kathryn Fleming – One of my favourite talks. Inspired by nature. There's a type of antelope in high mountains that has the most efficient fur coat, really fine but really insulating. Birds of paradise don’t have pigment in their bright feathers, it’s all in the structure.

Grolar bears exist, due to polar bears moving due to temperatures. There are equivalent genes in all animals for making eyes, or for making 'body'.

Can we help animals evolve sustainably? To adapt with the environment that humans are creating? So they adapt and don’t go extinct. 

Future Craft. Born from culture, built for purpose, daringly simple.

Anthropocene.- (a word mentioned almost as much as makerspaces over the 3 days.)

Adidas have launched a line of shoes which are made from ocean plastic

Images below from 

Friday 11th November


Session 1 Maker Breakfast

Introduced by Jonathan Rowley.

Richard Arm – ‘As real as it gets’. Developed a silicon body, with removable organs, for use practicising surgery, general training.

Les Bicknell – Book artist. Questioning everything ‘is this a book?’ brilliant. A fascinating way of analysing definitions and structures.

Aniela Hoitink – Started ‘this is what I do, but I don’t know who I am’ which I quite liked. Why do we design clothes that last at least 40 years when we only wear them for a year or a season? Looked into natural materials/quickly biodegreadable. Mycelium is made from fungi – worked with Maurizio who spoke prior.

Looked at using technology with fashion, externalising internal systems such as heartbeat

Ann Marie Shillito – Developed really user friendly software for people to design their own 3D printed jewellery. Worked in collaboration with software developers.

Caroline Yan Zheng – extimacy, externalising emotions. Looking at how this might help mental health. Created cool jewellery-like devices.

Hideki Yoshimoto – Owns Tangent. Design and tech together. ‘Inako’ means rice fields – created glowing poles that sway as you move past. Developing ‘fine art’ but making it available on a household level. Kiko – means bubble. Created bubbling coffee tables/individual candles.


Session 2: Keynote

Caroline Till – FranklinTill. Mentioned a lot of really interesting stuff:

·         Viewpoint magazine. Secret sensory suppers.
·         Production & Materials together >> revolution
·         Merdacotta, new material made from cow poop! Museo della merda

·         ‘Unmaking’ – looking at how we unmake all the things we make and can’t dispose of responsibly.
·         Madame Jeanette – print on demand magazine. Looking at different ways of manufacture and production, reducing waste.

·         Ikea’s space 10 project looking at sustainable design.
·         Connecting product to place – Haeckels of margate. Marwood.
·         Fixperts.

Session 3: Two and Three Dimensional Fabrics

Mark Beecroft – Looked into 3D printed knitting and how different stitch designs react differently when made in 3D printed materials.

Jane Scott – Exploring fibres and how they react to moisture. Pine cones close up when wet and open out when dry. They do this once off the tree so it must be on a structural level – Jane looked into this and applied to fibre structure to her own woven fabrics.

Oluwaseyi Sosanya – Weaving in ‘3D’ and looking at how the method can be transferred to industry.


Session 4: Making Meanings: The Cultural Roles of Makerspaces

Daniel Charny and Hannah Fox.

Interesting discussions about community impact from Makerspaces.

Hannah Fox from Derby Silk Mill is creating a ‘museum of making’ where the community builds what the space will become. Sounds ace.



A few closing thoughts notes:

·         Making new tech human

·         Amateur vs professional

·         Value and values

·         Collaborating with the old and new


The End
I left the conference with a head full of ideas. It finished at 3 so I headed across town to visit the Manchester Centre for Craft and Design. It was a fascinating space – used to be a Victorian fish and poultry market building. On the ground floor was a small café with an amazing cake range and a gallery space showing ‘heated exchanges’ a collection of contemporary glassware. There was a number of shops doubling up as studio spaces throughout the ground and first floor, some were shared between a few artists and others were solely owned.


Saturday 12th November

Maker Assembly event.

Started the day with fancy breakfast at Ezra and Gil.

The event was at Madlab which is nestled in the Northern Quarter, really near to the Craft and Design Centre.

When I arrived I met a few people by chance from DoES Liverpool, another Makerspace. When I mentioned I was from Birmingham they immediately mentioned the names of 2 people I already knew well through BOM and generally the Brum art & tech network. Small world!


Session 1: Learning from International Making Cultures

Liz Corbin chaired a panel with Justyna Swat (POC21 Paris), David Li (Shenzen) and Craig Dunlop (Cape Town).


Justyna spoke about POC21 – when her and a team built a ‘village’ on castle grounds in a rural area near to Paris. They created a space where they built a community from the ground up and developed a series of ideas surrounding climate change and innovation in making towards this cause.

David Li – spoke about the Shenzhen community and what life is like there.

Craig Dunlop – created an amazing space in Capetown, kind of by accident. He created an open workshop then developed into a place supporting those in unemployment into employment, through the power of making. He matched up employment skills with making skills eg trust & soldering.





Session 2: Making and Humanitarium Relief

Laura James – spoke about Humanitarium Makers, who use small-scale, local production to solve humanitarium problems. An example she spoke of was the sterile clips that midwives use to cut umbilical cords. They had been provided with a certain amount of them after an earthquake in the region they were working in. The next best option was to use the finger of a sterile glove – which were also in short supply. This is less than ideal, so they 3D printed these clips. The approach of HM is to identify local problems and solve them with simple production – training up locals with the equipment and then leaving it behind when they leave the area.

This idea of re-localising manufacture was spoken about a lot during the 3 days, which is interesting as it almost goes backwards in terms of progress.

Session 3: Making and Manufacture

James Tooze chairs panel discussion with Ruth Claxton (woop woop the Brum gang) Adrian McEwan, Paul Sohi, and Alon Meron.

Alon Meron – spoke about 1:1 solutions and multiplying that approach. He works to put together the ‘public’ – people with design needs, and designers/makers. An example he used was working with a stroke sufferer, who needed a device to help them put on their trousers.

Ruth – spoke about Workshop Bham, Make Works and Production Space and how the linked-up-ness of artists/makers and those with the tools and skills, was an interesting journey.

Adrian – talked about his internet of things. Powering devices with data – eg a twitterbot detects when a certain phrase is used and blows bubbles.

Paul Sohi – I didn’t write anything down sorry Paul you must have been too charismatic. Or I had a caffeine lul.


Session 4: The Role of Making in a Wider Civic Infrastructure

Laura Billing'The Open Works was an experimental project aimed at creating new ways that Lambeth Council can work with residents to develop a sustainable future for West Norwood: socially, economically and environmentally. It ran for 12 months between February 2014-February 2015.’


·         Making really is considered to be wide within this context. Though I was a little surprised at the lack of mention of 'traditional' ceramics, glass, textiles, metalwork. But that’s good. That’s one of the things I want to explore, the depth and breadth of making.

·         Collaboration is key. Something I'm a big fan of. There was a lot of talk about collaboration between mindsets/skillsets and how, actually, engineers, scientists, crafters, makers, are quite similar in the way they approach things. They just have different skills in terms of the methods, and different areas of knowledge.

·         Localisation as supposed to globalisation. Something mentioned frequently was how we look at manufacture and production, and how perhaps how Western society should rethink how we look at manufacture. Concepts such as OpenDesk seemed very popular- where furniture designs are kept online and then downloaded locally, with pieces being cut for the furniture in 'local' workshops.

·         Reverting to 'the olden days' but with new technologies and awareness. As above, reverting to some old ways of living seemed to be a common thread. Taking elements of the past, small community production and trading, but combining it with the powers of technology.

·         Design for different purposes and functionalities. This seems pretty obvious, but it was highlighted quite a lot during the 3 days. Design for problem solving, design for disguise, design for imitation, design for empathy... so many purposes and ways of approaching questions, problems or themes. 

One final thought-rant about makers/making. Making is great. That was very clear from the 3 days and it was so great to feel like a part of the 'making' community, surrounded by so many people who loved making as much as I do. It made me think about people I know, and humanity in general. Is everyone a maker? What makes a maker? If you're not a maker, what are you? 

Thank you to anyone who reached the end of this blog. It's mainly for my own records and to help me digest everything I saw and heard during my time in Manchester, but it's nice if other people can get something out of my trip too!

Week 10

Edible art / Art inspired food / Food inspired art... 
Remember to click on the artist names for more of their work!!

Patti Paige

This is just the tip of the ice (icing) burg of Patti's brilliance. How gorgeous and springtime-y are these?

Isabella Giancarlo

Sad but brilliant.

Whimsical Cake Company

I've had my eye on the Whimsical Cake Company's Etsy shop for a good while now. 


Mymodernmet have been obsessed with these all week, but I don't blame them. You'd want to frame it not eat it!

Ida Frosk

I've seen a lot of this type of thing, but these tickled me particularly. Look at little Frida's smile :)

Rommy Kuperus

Magnificent. Again, I've seen a lot of novelty food handbags in my time (yes, really) but these take it to the next level.

Week 8 & Week 9

I started these blogs when I had no work... I now have at least 5 days worth of work a week, so.... that's my excuse for being two weeks late!

During Week 7 I had a break from my ceramics course, so I thought I'd do a tribute to that with a ceramics focus. During Week 8 I had a brief moment of Buzzfeed fame due to my love of tea, so there's some tea related artists too... 

Week 8

Madriguera workshop

A beautiful blog. I randomly found these gorgeous tea flatlays via pinterest, via this blog: 

Images taken from: 

Week 7

This week seems to have an accidental theme of UK Jewellery designers! Check this talented bunch out.

Loela Loela, Manchester

Weekly Inspirations (Week 6)

Oops, was feeling so proud when I started doing this on Friday then forgot to post it on Monday AND yesterday! Good news though, cos I got more work last week, woop.

Charlotte Love

This woman is a creative genius - her instagram is beaut (click on the name).

Jemima Kingston

Jemima does other jewellery too, but I particulary like these vibrant dangly earrings.

Kerby Rosanes

Kerby has a huge range of work, but what caught my eye was these three recent illustrations. 

Jessica Kenyon

Oooooh the colours.

Weekly Inspirations (Week 5)

Week 5 woop woop!

Victoria Wagner

'Woodrocks' aren't they gorgeous?

Andrew B Faris

The way the painting lines match the landscape horizons, ooooooh yea.

Sam The Cobra

I found Sam through Instagram, and his work fascinates me, such a creative niche, check him out!

Weekly Inspirations (Week 4)

Click on the artist names for more of their work.

Zsolt Hlinka

Weekly Inspirations (Week 3)

This week seems to be a particularly colourful one!
Don't forget, if you click on the artist's name it will take you to their website. Enjoy!

Kitty McCall (UK)

I've liked Kitty's work for a good long while, so it's not really this week in particular but still. My 5 year plan is to have enough disposable income to justify buying one of these beautiful chairs.

Laura Blythman(Australia)

Alana Jones-Mann (US)

Edible art this week! Alana is an artistic and culinary genius, check out her website where she does tutorials too: The snowglobe cupcakes (top right in the grid below) are 100% edible, here's how she did them:

Tom Pigeon (UK, Scotland)

Sleek geometric tonal designs, with added shiny bits. Right up my street.

Holly Fox (US)

One day I will hold an event which requires pantone biscuits. How gorgeous are these colours?!

jujujust (US/Barcelona)

Also visit the jujujust instagram feed:

Sabine Timm (Germany)

I'm still not entirely sure what's going on here, but I really like it...

Lumiere London 14th Jan 2016

Here's a very much un-curated blog post about going to Lumiere London on Thursday night (14th Jan). I went with Tim a fellow producer, which was ace as we had similar interests, including how all the pieces worked, which bits were missing, how we would have done it.. etc! The photos below are all the photos I took, pretty much one of each piece we saw. Arriving at the first artwork at the start time 6.30pm, getting out of the tube at Bond St, we managed to see 19 pieces out of 30, before we had to get the train back to Brum at 10.10pm from Marylebone with a speedy takeaway cornish pastie. 

All the info on the festival is here:

Here's the downloadable map and programme:

It's on until Sunday, so go tomorrow if you can!
I would highly recommend the works in the Picadilly Circus area - (2) Les Lumineoles (giant glowing fish kites), (3) Elephantastic (says it all really), (1) The Garden of Light and (9) Les Voyageurs. 

This is the route we did:

Weekly Inspirations (Week 2)

All or most of these artists seem to create a range of different work, I've just picked out some favourite pieces, they're well worth checking out further!

Danielle Clough

Katy Ann Gilmore

The patience involved in making these pieces is mind-boggling. Katy also creates 3D installations, as well as large wall pieces and smaller illustrations. 

Camille Walala

This was the hardest selection to choose, as all of Camille's work is stunning. I want my house floor to ceiling in these designs...

Gorman Clothing

This first row of clothing is a collaboration between Camille Walala and Gorman Clothing. Them both together is such a dream!

Photos of Gorman and Walala collaboration by Ben Glezer.

Zack Mclaughlin

Zack's work is incredible, making birds out of paper and wood (his business is called Paper and Wood neatly enough). Amazing craftsmenship and beautiful results.


Liz Payne

I'd quite like to stroke all of Liz's pieces.

Weekly Inspirations (Week 1.)

I spend a lot of my time gathering inspiration through other artists, designers, makers etc and I've occassionally documented it on this sparse blog, but not nearly as much as I should have. When I was at my parents' house over Christmas I also found some old sketchbooks, filled with artist studies, which seem to be where I got most of my marks when I was studying art (partly explains my career path). SO to try and keep myself inspired, I'm going to do a post a week, of 7 (so it's equivalent to one per day, with me?)  people, projects or even events that I think are ace.  Some of this will also help inform an event I am working on, more will be revealed when I know more. 
P.S. If you can think of a better name for these blog posts, please let me know!

Stephanie K Clark (US)

steph_clark_houses2.jpg (UK)

I originally discovered Becky because of her vibrant broaches on etsy. She's multi talented and all her stuff is lush. (I've just bought some prints as a result of looking at her stuff again eek).

Leah Jackson (Australia)

Smallternative's designs are meant to be for little babas and nurseries, but I'd rather like these pieces in my office!

RUGbyGUR (Portugal)

Putty Project Extension

This weekend project #PuttyBW was launched, with installs late last week and lots of visitors over the Birmingham Weekender. The work was originally planned to remain in situ over the weekend of 26th&27th September but as most of it has survived, it will remain installed until 6th October (dependent on survival). Here is an upto date map, if you want to do this trail over the next week. It's slightly makeshift, but hopefully it makes sense. I will try and keep it updated this week.

Here's the storify so far:
See below for some more photos.


Inspirations No.3 Crafty Weather

Art, Craft and Design inspired by the weather.

I think because my most frequent mode of transport around the city is on foot, I've become slightly obsessed with the weather. I check the forecast everyday, and in a stereotypically British way I often find myself discussing the weather with anyone and everyone who will listen.

Here are some creative people who seem to be equally as interested in the weather as me!

From Pygmy Cloud on Etsy 

From Pygmy Cloud on Etsy 

From sweetandlovely on Etsy 

From sweetandlovely on Etsy 

From OhDierLiving on Etsy

From OhDierLiving on Etsy

From mujoyas on Etsy

From mujoyas on Etsy

From TenaciousBoom on Etsy

From TenaciousBoom on Etsy

From Barruntando on Etsy

From Barruntando on Etsy

From CeramicaBotanica on Etsy

From CeramicaBotanica on Etsy

From sparrowandwolf on Etsy

From sparrowandwolf on Etsy

What am I up to?

What am I upto?

I usually post updates within my portfolio, but I thought I'd do something different and blog it today!

As of 3rd July 2015:

Birmingham Weekender 2015 (formerly Four Squares) 25-27th September
I'm producing a few bits for the festival:
Open Draw - commissioned to co-produce this with mac Birmingham and Tim Hodgson. Sketchers across the city on Sat and Sun.
Putty - A successfull open callout proposal. An art trail around the city centre, by artists Jan Vormann and Paige Smith.
More TBC

Camera Obscura
The new camera build is now complete, dun dun dunnnn! We're revealing the build properly at CoCoMad tomorrow, but also showing is at the Many and Varied salon this afternoon. 

Creative Alliance
Along with some ongoing Admin work supporting the apprenticeship programme, I am also Project Coordinator for a new online Creative Careers Platform, bridging the gap between young people and creative professionals. We're moving into phase 2, the project (soft) launch was yesterday and we're pushing through towards the full launch in September now, via more testing.

I'm also plotting a couple of things:
Fun Palaces - I'm in the early stages of planning a Fun Palace to take place at BOM. 
Cycley event - Kerry Leslie has asked if I want to plan a cycling themed event with her, early stages but fun fun!

Inspirations No.2

I particularly love design at the moment. Here are some gorgeous pieces from Etsy, which I think go rather beautifully together. It also shows what a difference good product photography makes.

Etsy - Zana Products

Etsy - Zana Products

Etsy - BeanandBailey

Etsy - BeanandBailey

Etsy - leahduncan

Etsy - leahduncan

Etsy - MonochromeStudio

Etsy - MonochromeStudio

Etsy - urbancartel

Etsy - urbancartel

Etsy - snugstudio

Etsy - snugstudio

Inspirations No.1

I spent a lot of time finding artists and projects that I like online. I thought it was about time I shared some. I would love to say that this will become a regular thing, but I'm not very self-disciplined when it comes to blogging, so we'll see! Here's a couple I discovered today.

Artist: Livia Marin

Series: Nomad Patterns

Artist: Anna Duthie

Her website seems to be down, but I found her HERE.

2014 Year In Review

(Yes it's a month overdue, sorry.) 

SO. Usually not a huge fan of this kind of thing, but it's been one hell of a year and I'm certainly in a very different place now, compared to where I was at the start of 2014 so I thought a bit of reflection was called for! (Also I've taken a lot of photos I haven't published anywhere so here are some of my faves.)


I started the year blacking out rooms (making them into Camera Obscuras) with Pete Ashton, firstly at the top of the Rotunda in a Staying Cool apartment, and then at the Old Joint Stock Theatre. This was the first stage of our Camera Obscura adventure! In January I also produced my first of several Creative Alliance events; Get Into Creative Employment, which took place at The Rep and went swimmingly with an attendance of over 500. Since finding out I had successfully gained funding for the Birmingham Loves Photographers Spring/Summer programme on Christmas Eve, January was also the beginnings of the planning of this programme of events. I also met Kerry for the first time in January!
Meanwhile, I was still working in retail (Thorntons) to pay the rent..

Rotunda Obscura

Rotunda Obscura

Old Joint Stock Obscura

Old Joint Stock Obscura

Get Into Creative Employment Event

Get Into Creative Employment Event


February was a little quieter, I was working upto Valentine’s day working at Thorntons, planning the BLP programme, beginning to plan Birmingham Architecture Festival (BAF), I also registered BAF as a company.
In mid-Feb I visited my friend in Oxford for her birthday, saw an exhibition at Modern Art Oxford which involved a lot of oranges.


March saw my 21st Birthday, (going to Cadburys World for the first time, which was incredible), my other half starting a new job, going on a two day Event Management course in London, which helped me realise I did actually know what I was doing. It also saw the beginning of the Arts Council Funded BLP programme, kicking off with a collaboration event at 6/8 Kafe as part of Flatpack Festival. I began some volunteer work with Longbridge Public Art Project (LPAP) and produced my second Creative Alliance event- Creative Journeys: Meet The Professionals, at Thinktank.

Final flyer Programme side.jpg



In April I started a whole new era, leaving my retail job and pursuing my arts/events career full time. After securing the job in December, I had my first shift at NN Contemporary Gallery, Northampton. I also started at Ikon as a casual front of house worker too (my only successful job interview this year, thank you Ikon!). April was full of more BAF preparation, continuing to manage the ongoing BLP programme and planning the next Creative Journeys event for Creative Alliance.

May saw me produce my third Creative Alliance event, at The RSC 'Creative Journeys:Meet The Professionals'. Shortly after this It brought me the news that one of my closest friends had been killed in a road accident, this made the rest of the year feel very strange. I had an urge to take something positive from it, but I think it'll still be a while until that happens.
I did however manage to run Birmingham Architecture Festival still, and building the Camera Obscura also gave me something to focus on.

In June I got some new work from Creative Alliance, working within business development, apprentice programme admin and overall administrative work. Pete and I also took the camera obscura on its first outing at Digbeth First Friday which went really well, lots of people were interested in the project and it was great getting exposure. It was knackering but good fun and we agreed that it was the equivalent of 'walking around with a giant business card' - a really strong networking tool.

June was also the month of the National Photography Symposium, where I did a half hour talk about BLP. On the second day of the Symposium we also rocked up with the Camera Obscura.  

Also went to the Botanical Gardens - I just really like this photo.

Also went to the Botanical Gardens - I just really like this photo.


In July I took a bit of a break, I went to Lisbon with my friend Ash for a long weekend. I also went to Venice which my other half. In between these two holidays I visited my parents for a few days and went to Art in Action at Waterperry gardens as well as an event about historic textiles at Denman College. In between the holidaying I was helping out at LPAP too, as well as BLP ticking over.

Art in Action

Art in Action


August started with an open day event for LPAP, one part of which was promoting Longbridge Light Festival. My other half and I also went  to Silverstone to the motogp, when I rode pillion (scary at first then super fun).
Later in August I was offered some paid work with Longbridge Light Festival as a result of my vountary work. 
Pete and I made several Camera Obscura appearances such as Festival of Imagineers, a screening of Pinnocchio at mac Birmingham/Cannon Hill Park and Moseley Folk Festival.

Not much excitement in September apparently, just continued Creative Alliance work and lots of Light Festival work.

A month of changes. My friend Ash left for Lisbon for 9 weeks. My friend Sarah moved to London. The BLP programme had its last event. The Light Festival work came to a head too. The Camera Obscura appeared at Fun Palaces. I became concerned about future work but Camera Obscura stuff became more strategic and hurray Creative Alliance got some ERDF funding for a new project and I became involved in the project management; coordinating content for a new online platform. 

In November I went to Paris with my mum and later to Brighton for the weekend with my other half to celebrate 5 years together. I also properly started my new work at Creative Alliance and we launched the Kickstarter campaign for the Birmingham Camera Obscura project.


In mid- December the Birmingham Camera Obscura Kickstarter campaign came to an end with us having raised over 2 and a half times what we set as a goal.  Continued CA work. When I was at my parents' for Christmas I went to Modern Art Oxford to see the Warhol and Morris show. It was rather lovely- they are two artists whose work I love and it was really interesting to see how the work had been curated and similarities had been drawn between them.


Shadows made from paperchains ^^

Christmas tree at CA -->


It’s been an eventful and overall busy year. Here are some goals, things I’ve learnt, and advice to myself for 2015…

Shout more about what you do/shout more full stop:
I found myself in the same situation several times last year, when I was talking to someone about a project I was working on and they’d say ‘Oh you’re working on that, I didn’t know that was you’ often when it was a project I was running. Let’s not have that again this year!

‘Don’t ask don’t get’
I had a mentoring meeting at one point this year which included a discussion about new clients. I was asked whether I had ever actually approached an organisation which I wanted to work for and asked them if they had any work. It was then made clear that I’d never done such a thing. On two occasions later in the year, this approach fabricated into work.

Worry less.
One thing I’ve definitely learnt from 2014, The Year I Went Freelance was that everything really will pan out in the end. Despite having a few weeks here or there when there wasn’t much going on, I also had some extremely busy times. Whenever I was concerned about an upcoming quiet time, things would fall into place, so the angst really wasn’t worthwhile. I worry by nature, but now that I know how things tend to work out, I should be able to chill out a bit more.

See more stuff
I spent a lot of time producing stuff last year which was great, but it meant that I did miss out on seeing things that other people had produced. My aim this year, especially if I have a quieter time, is to get out there and see more. I also want to travel more – but within the UK especially. I’ve never been to Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol… crazy huh?

That’s it then. Here’s to a good 2015!



Beautiful illustrations from Venice

On the last afternoon of our (my other half and I) trip to Venice, rain pouring down, dodging crowds of tourists in the winding side streets, ducking for shelter I spotted a beautifully illustration pinned in a doorway. We ducked into the cosy shop and it was filled with marbled paper, illustrations and other crafted items. It took me ages to choose but in the end I chose this selection below. I'm not sure what it is about them I like quite so much, but I wanted to share them. 

The shop they were from was called Liber - San Marco, 739, Mercerie S.Zulian, 30124 Venezia.