30 June 2017

bloom and grow

Have you ever seen any photographs that inspired you for the first sight? The image that grabbed your attention instantly and makes you want to look closer. The image that makes you feel so comfortable and makes you so happy. I have so often as a matter of fact, and always wonder how do they do it?? 

Since I started Instagram, I became more and more intense in creating the images in my head. When photographing ceramics, it can easily go wrong by looking like just a product shot, which I always wanted to avoid. Of course, beautiful product shot is important itself and good for selling the work after all. But for me, it was more than that. It’s like sharing a part of me, a part of journey, a part of my life. I wanted to reach out, connect to the audience and tell a story. I wanted to get better at it, but struggled to figure out how. 

Then there it was, a new online course "bloom and grow" by Sara Tasker from me_and_orla. The four week course to learn how to create more effective visual images using flowers. I had an eye on what she does for a while and listened to her podcasts, which are just excellent. So I was intrigued with her new course, but you know me, at first I hesitated. Would it be really helpful? Can I actually manage within my time? What’s got to do with flowers with my ceramics? All those questions popped into my head, but after reading the more details, my curiosity has won. And I am so pleased that I signed up. Indeed I’ve learnt so much and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Each week, we had a key element to work on. She gave us ideas behind and sound reasons that she has already researched, which is good for me of course! We practiced and stretched our mind and imagination through some tasks on the way leading to the end of week challenge. It would be difficult to explain in short, so please have a look at some of my work each week.

What do you think? Anything stood out to you? If you would like to see the detailed information of each image, please have a look at my Instagram (→here). You can find all of those captions. 

Obviously some are better than other, and more uncomfortable than other. But even for something that was totally out of my comfort zone and I felt so challenged, I hope I’ve managed to push myself to try thinking with a different perspective. What I realised after taking this course, it was not just about how to. It was also about learning myself and my true voice. On the top of that, the connections I made through other cohorts has been amazing. So supportive and inspiring. There are so many others that I would like to introduce to you here, but the best way to find out more, you can click the photo gallery of this course #bloomandgrowtogether (here). Hope you will find your fav, I am sure!  

By the way, the image on the top is a part of my excersise in this course and I made a short video. You can view it (here). 

6 June 2017

Smile Maker of the Week #15 - Painting by Debbie George

It’s a time of “Smile Maker of the Week”, my only series in my blog (he he!), where I share brilliant artists work that I love and makes me smile. Today I would like to share a fabulous paintings by Debbie George from Yorkshire. I am sure many of you have seen her beautiful paintings, but if not, she is a must!

I remember the delight when I first came across her paintings via Instagram probably about a half year ago. Her paintings with flowers and ceramics (which is the best choice by the way) are just so breathtakingly charming. I love that somewhat nostalgic style she creates and the way she treats the surface with scalpel, which I felt a bit like scraffitto sensation in clay that I love. 

I have been following her Instagram since and always (yes always) loved every single piece of her work without fail. I wanted to purchase her work so much but obviously could not afford many (I wish!), so I was closely monitoring her feed and talking to my heart. One day her Instagram feed came up with an image (→ this post), which wasn’t actually a painting but a photograph of a small cup with a rabbit on it and forget-me-nots. Suddenly I had a sort of flash back and felt very emotional. I even felt a bit personal. I knew this was it. So I contacted her if I could possibly purchase this combination of painting, which I knew she would paint wonderfully without a doubt. 

You can guess how delighted I was to see the painting in real life, which arrived to us last month (sorry this series title is “this week”, nevertheless!) via her solo exhibition at The Edition

So why personal to me? 

Well, I have a thing with rabbits but the story was this. 

Me and Muffin at my old flat
I once had a little rabbit called Muffin. 8 weeks old Muffin came to my small flat I used to live nearly 15 years ago. It was one of the most difficult time for me after having experienced a few years of physical and emotional abuse from my ex-husband. Left that ugly moment behind, I started my own life from a scratch again and slowly, but it was not easy than you might think. 

Muffin was a calm but funny bunny. I absolutely adored him. He became a great company for me. In a way I felt that he helped me to rebuild my self-esteem. He showed me a light out of tunnel, telling me that life is good. He was a saviour. 

Some years later, having started a relationship with a new man - now my husband, Muffin and I moved to a new house and settled down well. Muffin loved my step-son and he loved Muffin. Muffin became a part of our family. Unfortunately Muffin suddenly died before my daughter was born. But he remains in my heart as a symbol of good life. 

This particular painting has certainly stolen my heart, with my favourite flower, forget-me-nots. (And how not to love that name!) I now see this painting as a reminder of good life, no matter how hard the things can be. Now sitting in my living room to shine everyday. I must get it framed soon! 

Thank you so much Debbie for such a wonderful work. More of her paintings, do check out her Instagram here