Handmade Business Cards

After creating my mini portfolio from an unused Filofax binder I decided to make some matching business cards that I could give out to prospective clients.  I decided to go down the handmade route as I wanted to be able to showcase my work and my creativity too and for the cards to stand out from others and be memorable.

I started off by printing my images onto photo paper as a contact sheet and cutting them down to size. I then mounted the images onto black cardstock and cut them out with scissors leaving a small edge around the image.  I mounted these images onto unused black and white 35mm film – the use of this was to add texture while linking the images to photography and what I do – it shows my job role even before the reciever reads the blurb on the card.  I then cut some black cardstock to size using a guillotine and typed up what information I wanted on my business card – I included my business email, mobile number, blog and Facebook page.  I left off my etsy and Instagram, deciding that if the reciever was that interested and went to any of the sites mentioned they could soon find the rest of my sites.  I duplicated the information enough times for the amount of cards I needed using word on the PC and printed it all out on normal white paper.  I then cut the information out and stuck the information for the back of the card to the cardstock already cut.  I then added the prepared images of my work and decided where to place them on the front of my cards along with the the front information.  I decided to make each card slightly different and unique.

 

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Anti Journal Pages and the reason for my absence.

I have been MIA for the last few weeks and have not had a chance to blog about my completed pages for the last few weeks, except for uploading to Instagram (and the last of those pages was completed and uploaded 2 weeks ago…).  The reason for this absence….

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This pair of cuties…. brother and sister, mine is the smaller of the two and we are looking after her brother for my step daughter while she is on holidays.  🙂  And its not that I haven’t started any pages…more that I haven’t finished any yet…however, I do have some pages to share that were completed before the arrival of our puppy…. here they are!!!

 

Anti Journal Page 5 – 8

Page 5 Anti-Journal

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“Try to Draw Perfect Circles By Hand” – this took me hours!  I was going to create a picture from the circles, grouping different coloured ones together to make shapes but decided in the end to doodle tiny circles in random fashion over the page instead.  I love the colour clash-brightness of the page and how I have managed to fill the whole page pretty evenly with circles!  I have no idea how many I drew, nor do I have the desire to count them!  Lol!!!  I used Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens to draw the circles.

 

Page 6 Anti-Journal

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“Continue This”.  I wish I had taken a photo of this before I started just so you could see the mark on the page which I continued, if you look closely at the full page image you can just about make out the original mark (its pretty much centre of the page!!!).  Before I started this page I was a bit put off by the idea of continuing something that had already been started but once I had my pen in hand something inside me clicked and I found this pattern to flow really easily from my head to hand to paper.  I used a generic gel roller ball pen to create the black doodle and my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners to add the dots of colour.  I had thought about leaving the design in black and white but I kept coming back to the page and felt that adding colour would make the design pop a bit more.  🙂

 

Page 7 Anti-Journal

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“Today is a Blank Page, Fill It Vibrantly”.  I decided to use the equilateral triangle shape for this page as I really like the shape and had a plan to use triangles on this page as soon as I saw the prompt! I made the shape from some cardboard creating a template that I placed on the page and drew round, overlapping the shape as I went to create a layered look.  I used a generic gel rollerball pen to draw the shapes and used a felt pen, in hot pink, to colour any spaces not covered by any of the triangle shapes – the background.  I then used several makes of highlighter (the vibrant part!) to colour in the triangles, changing the colour where an overlap of shapes took place.

 

Page 8 Anti-Journal

 

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“Bleed Colour – place Under a Dripping Tap”.  This photo was taken while the page was still wet and I can honestly say that dry, it looks even better (I will add a photo of it soon!)  I struggled with this page initially and was worried that I would ruin the book by introducing water to the pages but I got around that by placing a few sheets of A4 paper behind the page before dripping water onto it so that the water only saturated that page.  I chose to colour stripes of differing width with felt pens as I know that felt pens can bleed a lot better than other mediums, its to do with the pigments and chemical make-up of the ink.  After I had coloured all the stripes I spent some time getting the tap in my kitchen to drip speed that I was happy with, not too fast and not too slow.  I moved the page around under the drips so as to get at least one drop of water over each line to merge and bleed the colours together.  As the drips hit the page the inks were pushed outwards and merged together and as they dried the colours kind of got sucked back toward the centre of where the drip had hit.  I loved the effect that this had on the lines and now it reminds me a bit of tie-dye.  Id love to use this effect with some lighter colours or try blotting the paper as soon as the drips have hit.  Definitely something to try in the future!

Wreck This Journal Pages 6 – 9

Here’s my most recent pages, 6 – 9.  This past week I have surprised myself and managed to complete 4 more pages, 2 of them were completed on the same day which helped a lot!  Each of these pages probably had between 2 and 5 hours work put into them 🙂

Here you go…

Page 6

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This is a close up of the page I completed – “Draw Thick Lines And Thin”

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And this is the full-page!  I chose to do “ribbons” of colour that overlap and weave around the other lines as the subject for this piece.  Originally I wasn’t going to have a background colour but towards the end of colouring the lines I felt that it needed something to make the colours “pop” so chose this blue colour.  I used felt tips for the colour and chose to use an unbranded gel pen to make the lines.  I really like using felt pens as it is quick and easy, the colour is stable and the saturation more consistent than when using pencils… well, until your marker decides to run out toward the end (note the middle bottom section which isn’t as evenly coloured as the rest of the blue sections).  That is probably the only thing that I’m not entirely pleased about with this image and can see myself re-colouring it at some point in the future!

Page 7

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Here’s a close up of the start of this page which gives the instructions to “Document Time Passing”.  I had several ideas for this page but upon putting pen to paper, this is what happened…

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I went with a clock face theme and the words “tick tock” written over and over in different sized letters.  This image was inspired by school exams and times when you are bored, all those times when you are super aware of the minutes passing by, when you can hear the tick tock of the clock, minutes can feel like hours and hours can feel like minutes.

I used my Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens for the outlines of the image and generic felt pens to colour the words.  For the background grey colour I used Aquash watercolour pencils and water brush.

Page 8

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This is the page I created for “This Page Is a Sign, What Do You Want It To Say?”.  I chose the words “Dream Big and Believe” as it is a saying that I try to remember when I need motivation.  I chose to do the lettering in my handwriting and fill the blank spaces with swirls and dots as it seemed to fit the theme of the quote really nicely.  I kept the colour theme to one shade of blue and one shade of pink, partly to fit in with the “dream” wording and because it just felt like the best colours to use for the page.

Page 9

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 Heres a close up of the page “Document a Boring Event in Detail”…

And the full thing…

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I decided to create the page using the phrase “It Was Really Boring” as when I get asked about a boring event that has happened that is how I normally respond.  I used the speech bubbles with “Blah Blah Blah” and “Yada Yada” as when I have to recall things that were said I can never remember them and it seemed fitting for this theme!  I also included the words “Yawn” and “Zzzz” as boring events seem to have the effect of making me yawn and feel sleepy, whether this be a uni lecture or a meeting or sometimes, even going out somewhere!

I have already made a start on my next page after completing another which I will share next time!  If you would like to see them in advance of my blog post then head over to my Instagram where I usually upload pics of the pages as I have finished them!

New Year…New Resolutions

Happy New Year to all my lovely followers and blog readers out there!!!  I can’t quite believe (still, 7 whole days in), that it’s 2015!

I didn’t really make any resolutions last year which, at the time quite suited me, I was, after all battling to complete my degree, college course and holding down both a full time job as well as a part time one.  I think my very words to resolutions last year were “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”.  And, you know what?  I kind of missed them.  In a way I had a ton of goals already pre-set for me and they were more important (dissertation writing, project sorting and getting all my assignments completed for college) but I missed setting my own goals and tasks for the year.

This year I have given a TON of thought to my resolutions.  I have been thinking about them since December!!!  So, here they are…

  • Save money – easy huh?  But under this broad spectrum resolution, which I have made time and again, and never stuck to are ways of saving that bit extra this year which become their own resolutions, helping me to keep this one…
  • Budget my spending – I have already created a spread sheet for this, logging my income and main outgoings – bills, food, fuel, savings etc.  I can add to it each month with other spending I do which will help me have a better idea of where my money goes.  I’m also hoping that by seeing all my spending in black and white will put me off any “extra” spending that I don’t need.
  • Plan purchases – For example – I am a huge beauty product geek and will buy something just because its on offer, regardless if I need it or not.  Planning my purchases means for me, planning when things will run out and only buy when I truly need them, not want them.
  • Stop unnecessary spending on things I don’t really need – pretty similar to the above really, except this goes for “pretty, shiny things” – shoes, bags, clothes, the list could go on and on… I have a ton of bags that I don’t use as they just aren’t quite right and keep impulse buying more in the hope that they will suffice, and they haven’t. I’m always returning to use the same bag again and again as its big enough (read too big) but not that practical or smart.  I need to research any future purchases in detail before handing over the cash.
  • Scale down the contents of my bag, and stop carrying around the same, unused stuff on a daily basis – maybe then one of the bags I have will become the perfect bag….???
  • Plan my meals better – at the moment I tend to snack eat which isn’t healthy.  I really need to plan meals in advance, and if possible pre-cook and perhaps freeze them so there is always something on hand to eat when hunger kicks in.  Hopefully this will lead to saving money too.
  • Do something creative at least once a week – since finishing university and college, apart from creating nails I have not done much creative until now!  I purchased a “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith last year and vow to complete it by the end of the year.  If you have never heard of “Wreck This Journal” then check it out here .  This book, and the others in the series are sure to get your creative juices flowing!  I will be posting images of my “Wreck this Journal” to my Instagram if you would like to see them!  (You can find me here )
  • Take more photos and actually do something with them…I already do take photos but not nearly enough and I don’t feel like I have worked on a project in so long.  I have now started a new project which I hope to share a bit with you all soon!
  • Use all my cameras at least for one whole load of film this year.  I have hardly picked up a camera in ages, not since I have owned an iPhone, and somewhere along the way I have started to neglect my other cameras, and I own a few!  I’d like to be able to create something at the end of the year which documents, truly, the year I have had – the good, the bad and the everyday.
  • Read more books and make a list of what I have read- I love books and since owning a Kindle I have read loads more than I have done since starting uni (well textbooks don’t really count do they?) but I have no idea the extent of books I have actually read.  it would be interesting to me to see the number of books I have read in a year and the variety I have read at what times of the year too.
  • Go on more trips – I have a vintage camper that we started to use more last year that the year previous, I think we had about 10 trips (or more) away in it during the summer and I’d like to be able to travel around a bit more and experience more of our beautiful island.  Getting passports is another must do this year, we are planning a trip abroad at some point!!!

I’m sure there will be many more things I could add to this list of “resolutions” and probably will at some point but I feel this is a manageable amount, and the smaller the list the more likely I am to stick to them!
What are some of your resolutions this year?

 

The Need to Write (or A Reflection on the Past) Part 1

Its weird, this is a blog I started up near enough 4 years ago (on the 6th May 2011 to be precise, making my blog just over 3 and a half years old!).  I created the blog as a way to share my artwork, uni projects, notes and things of interest that I have discovered.  I wanted the blog to be more image heavy than contain lots of writing, however, as time goes on I seem to have spent more and more time writing about things than sharing images and this is something that I feel I need to address.

I find I have bred a need to write, and I’m unsure where it has come from, it’s not writing in a creative (NaNoWrMo for example) way, nor is it probably very interesting for others to read, but I’m finding the whole experience rather therapeutic for myself.  It’s my way of recording things that have happened, of documenting my thoughts and ideas, a way of preserving something of myself for the future that is less likely to be destroyed than if it were written on paper.  I feel like, since I have finished Uni, that I have been neglecting this blog, not sure what to post, and not really having many images or projects to share.  I have one in the pipeline which I will be starting in the New Year, and several other thoughts about other projects I would like to pursue but no projects currently underway, but I have been thinking about these projects and how I want them to go and what kind of outcome I am aiming for.

Anyway, this post isn’t really about talking about the future, I have been wanting to write a post documenting the past four years, the years that I have spent working towards a degree in Photographic Art, a nod to the past and what I have achieved in that time!

I worked for a charity in the payroll department for 3 years prior to starting university, I had been thinking about getting back into art as it was my favorite subject through school and when the news broke that my colleague and I were being made redundant it seemed the perfect opportunity for me to begin life (again) as a student.  I went to an open day with my partner and met the lecturers of the course I wanted to take (Foundation in Art,  Media and Design or F:AMD) at The University of Newport, Caerleon Campus.  I learned a lot about the course and what kind of things the students got to produce and decided it was the course for me.  I enrolled and was surprised to receive a letter inviting me to an interview, even more surprising was that upon attending and going through the interview, at the end I was offered a spot on the course unconditionally!  That was back in 2010!  It seems such a long time ago now!

So, I started the course, catching the bus each day as it was prior to me being able to drive, or I’d get my partner to drop me off on his way to work and picking me up again on his way home (doing 12 hour days in college!)  I learned so much on that course!  We covered lots of different things in our first term, the lecturers designing the course so we could have tasters in lots of different art practices before we decided what kind of “artist” we wanted to be, and where our specialties lay.  We covered photography, fine art, fashion, animation, 3-d Art and printmaking in the first term.  I remember not really getting on with animation, we were required to create a stop motion movie of our name morphing into a chosen characteristic or description word of ourselves.  I created a flick book first and that seemed to work ok but when it came to turning it into a stop motion film I just couldn’t do it.  We were set a lot of fun “activities” to work on, for the fashion element we had to create head-wear based on a love song, I chose U2’s Sweetest Thing and created a hat which had a tear through the middle of it that had been sewn back up with ribbon and had a giant needle sticking out of it.  For the fine art module we had to create a fantasy animal that combined elements of other animals…we got to go to Bristol Zoo as part of the research!  I can remember constructing this fantasy animal, spending hours with chicken wire and paper mache, spray paint and glue, working out how to meld a zebra, flamingo and rat into this creature that then needed to be suspended through a canvas and hung from the ceiling.  That module was probably the hardest to execute.

In the second term I chose to concentrate on Fine Art and, if memory serves right, 3d Art.  I remember working on a project called Higgeldy Piggeldy, where the brief spoke about how some things can appear as one but are actually the opposite and decided to create 2 perspex boxes, one totally transparent and filled totally full of water and sealed in, giving the appearance that it was just a totally empty clear box and totally lightweight, the other giving the appearance of being full of sand but in reality the inside surfaces of the perspex being coated with sand and filled with polystyrene, giving the illusion of heaviness but being really light.  This was going to be an interactive piece, requiring the audience to lift the pieces to experience the opposite of what they imagined.  I remember being really frustrated with this project, I had so many issues with the perspex, it wouldn’t seal properly, my application of sealant was less than perfect and kept leaking, but the idea was there and I managed to back it all up with almost a sketchbook full of ideas and research materials.  we also worked on a piece called Mechanisms where I looked at work involving kinetics (movement), I spent days lying under my desk with a wooden board suspended under it and finding different ways of having a pen make contact with the surface whilst it swung back and for.  I then moved off into Knex and constructed a windmill like structure which turned with a handle and propelled markers around it before settling on making a version of a harmonograph.  We also worked on a project called Location in which I focussed on the area I live in and spent many days gathering leaves and making them into different coloured crayon rubbings before cutting them all out and attaching them to canvas.

For the third and final module I decided I wanted to major in Fine Art.  We had to design our own brief, conduct appropriate research and come up with our own ideas about the subject we had chosen.  I knew that I wanted to focus on the past and on ornaments, the home and ideas of emotion and sentimentality.  I had lost my grandmother in the January of this course and that influenced the piece heavily.  I chose, in the end, to create an installation of part of a room with a cupboard in it that was semi open.  Inside the cupboard were lots of ornaments that had been wrapped in a kind of insulating fabric that was see through, giving the effect of dust sheeting over furniture…it was my way of making a statement about objects in life, many of them hold untold stories, from where they came from and the reason they came to be in the place to the sentiments attached.  No one knows those stories like the owner does and they are shielded away from many Peoples ears, only shared with the trusted few.  And then you die, and all that is left is this group of objects that seem so insignificant to others yet held so much to the person who owned them.

And, that summarises my first year in university… Stay tuned, or even subscribe if you so wish(!!!) for the stories from my degree!!!!

Is the #Selfie Epidemic Slowing?

I haven’t taken, or uploaded a #selfie in ages…a trawl through my Instagram feed (@siouxsietench) shows that the last one was uploaded 7 weeks ago.  The #selfie I am referring to is an image of me in my favorite pink VW hoodie, glasses on with my back to a view of the sea and sand dunes, attempting to capture the sunset on holiday (which was amazing and my #Selfie does not do justice to).  Prior to that was one taken a week previous where I was showing off my new glasses and looking particularly smug.

After working on my final degree project (formerly Insta-Rips then re-named “Reaching Out”) and writing my dissertation on Selfies and social media I thought this may be a trend that would continue for ever and ever.  Now though, I’m not so sure… you see, from realising that I have slowed with the #selfie taking I have become aware of the amount of #selfies appearing in my news feeds (on several social media sites) has depleted.  No longer, it seems are my friends and people I follow, taking these images of themselves and posting them up on social media for others to scrutinise daily.

Looking at Google’s Trends page, it seems that the trend for taking #selfies, has indeed dropped.  The trend is shown to have peaked around March – April 2014 and has steadily dropped off as the months have progressed.  The peak between March and April for this kind of photo could be explained by the presence of a campaign to raise awareness and funds for cancer (run by Cancer Research) which saw millions of people take part in a No – Makeup Selfie, the basics being simple to understand – don’t wear makeup, snap a #selfie of self with no make up on, donate money to charity and nominate a friend.  This trend saw countless celebrities backing the cause which in turn encouraged the general public to take part too.  This was a really clever strategy to raise money for the cause but could have manipulated the #Selfie data which means that the figures rose sharply and then fell away.

But, back to the main point of this writing, “I’m not seeing #Selfies PEOPLE!!!!!”  Where have they all gone?  Apart from the odd one uploaded as a friend wants a new “profile pic” and has decided to shoot one themselves (Facebook mainly) or someone is showing off their make-up or hair style (Instagram), I am seeing less and less #selfies taken just because…

I need to examine why I haven’t taken or uploaded any of my own #selfies for a while (7 weeks!!!! I still can’t believe this mostly because at one point in time this was pretty much a daily occurrence!) , I can come up with loads of excuses – I’m busy, I don’t think I look that good, I’ve got no new clothes/shoes/outfits to show off, I’ve been tired, I’ve not done much that is so exciting that I have to take a selfie to share…so many excuses!!!  But are any of them a real reason?  Nope.  The real reason is that I’m not seeing many #selfies from friends anymore, and therefore I am not being influenced by them to create my own, so not snapping myself or uploading as regularly anymore.

Peer pressure, whether we are aware of it or not, really does influence us.  We are visual creatures, and creatures that want to be accepted into the groups that surround us, we want to fit in and be seen to be “cool”.  When our friends stop doing something, something that we used to partake in, it affects us, whether consciously or subconsciously and we alter our behaviour accordingly.  This is the real reason behind my lack of #selfies.  Whether I like it or not, I have been influenced by what I am seeing or not seeing on my news feed.  I want to fit in, be cool and be accepted, no matter that I tell myself that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter…the reality is that it does.  And it is this reason that the No Make Up selfie cancer campaign worked so well too, we are not just influenced by our friends but by the media and celebrities too, it only takes one celebrity to get noticed for doing something and it to be reported for a trend to start…remember velour tracksuits…I blame Coleen Rooney for that one.  We see celebrities doing, saying or wearing something and we want to emulate them, its our chance of aligning ourselves to them, a case of “if they can do it then I can too”, we idolize celebrities for their wealth, their “famousness”, their coolness and in some ways want a share of that.  Remember the cool kid in school that you wanted to be like so much that you would study their every move, their clothes, how they spoke, what they ate etc, and you would try to copy them?…Its the same thing, we envy what others have and how they are and want to copy them…its natural, its human.  And this is where I find myself now, I started with the #selfie trend as everyone else was doing it and now, Ive slowed with the images as I’m not seeing them so much anymore…

So, in the future, unless the #selfie culture booms again, you can expect the odd #selfie on my feed but probably more images of what really matters to me (my vintage car, my nails, my artwork and other things that make me happy), ultimately moments I want to preserve and share.

But for now… Let me take a selfie…. (The Chainsmokers – Selfie)

Insta-Rips and Anti-Social Media (Part 2)

I started to look at the “social media” aspect of #selfie images and how a lot of the images are taken in bedrooms or other places in the house, often away from any “friends” and then uploaded onto the internet for “friends” to look at, like and comment on which seemed to me a bit anti-social.  I then started looking at how we use social media and found a lot of people update their statuses and interact with people on-line when they are alone, either at home or travelling, either way, not really interacting with any human beings in the real world.  This struck me as such an odd thing to do, speak to people on-line via texting or typing messages back and fore, rather than communicating in a more natural way, like speaking face to face.  Conversing over the internet leaves out a whole lot of other communication skills that we have developed over-time and have began to use without even thinking about it, for example, reading body language.  We can tell when someone is approachable, happy, angry, sad, friendly within seconds, just by our ability to analyse how that person stands, how their arms are positioned, how they lean against something which we loose when using social media.  We also can not establish that persons voice tone, typing makes it harder to convey a sense of feeling and with that, meaning, its harder to decipher a text written in a certain way than someones tone of voice.  We also loose other expressions like those minuscule movements of a persons face which give away boredom or hope.  And then the hands, we use our hands to communicate so much, whether its waving to say “hi” or hold someones hand in a show of sympathy or care, or even when waving them around, gesticulating when we speak, that is lost too.  But then we are still using our hands to communicate to a degree, we are using them to hold our phones, grasp them tightly, hold them high to take #selfies, and to type messages out to our “friends” which then becomes a gesture, we use them more as tools to convey the idea that we are being “social” by using these sites.

I started to look at how we hold our phones and the similarities in hand gestures and realized that they were not so far apart.  I have begun to move away from the Insta-Rips and am now concentrating on taking photos of peoples hands, in the poses we see people holding them in when taking #selfies specially, but without the phone present to see what they would look like.

Below is the first edit I have done.  I have used my friend Alex as a model for me, and have been playing around with crops and whether to include a background or not, so far the white background is my favorite, the black being my second.  I like the uncluttered-ness of the background and the way the focus is all about the hand and nothing else, and I like that the hand is also seeming to “reach-out” from no-where to make contact, much like how social media enables us to reach out and grasp other’s friendship when we are alone.