Everything is Connected
I recently opened my first solo exhibition ‘Spaces’ at Entrepreneurs Network in Hanley - a collection of paintings, prints, textiles and ceramics looking at British wildflowers, with floral displays by Emily of Wilderness Floral Design. This work explored the relationship between the self, the natural world and the communities that surround us. Through connecting with these things, my belief is that we can cultivate an appreciation for our surroundings, and so begin to nurture and look after them with intention.
On reflection, the opening night (24th May) had gone better than I ever hoped it would. In the weeks leading up to show, my biggest fear was that it would be just me and my dog on the opening night in the middle of an empty room. It couldn’t have been further from the truth - so many of you turned up to support and I am totally grateful that you did. Rick & Rose performed a really beautiful set, considering they’d only practiced together twice previously. Pizza from Klay was on point, and the drinks somehow kept flowing (thanks Jake for a quick trip to Tesco). I was left on a high for a good few days after. I didn’t really concerned about my work, in terms of quantity or quality - in fact this is the first body of work that I am really content and connected with. For the first time I worked in an intuitive way, following my instinct instead of creating work that I thought other people wanted. It felt right. I’m learning more and more how to trust my intuition - it’s definitely worth working on. I am totally filled with gratitude from this experience.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - this work wouldn’t have come to fruition without a collaborative effort from so many different people. When you bring other people into a project that you’ve conceived, you have to put your trust in others and let go of control - which can be really hard. But it’s so, so worth it. Everyone who I’ve worked with up until this point has shown me the power of working collaboratively, and I can only hope we get to do it more.
As I had the space for 6 weeks, I decided that it’d be a shame for it to not be put to some use. I’ve come to really love hosting workshops, but thought the people of Stoke would probably fancy something other than Life Drawing and the sound of my voice. So, I invited local artists/designers/makers, who’s work and ethic I really admired, into the space to host workshops related to each of their practices. At the time of writing, we’ve had our first two workshops - Chloe Breeze’s Self Love Club portrait illustration session and Libby Ward’s silver Stacking Rings. Both sold out, and both days were super enjoyable. It was great sharing the space with others and I’m really looking forward to the next workshops that’ll be on - there’s still a few tickets available for some of them. Come to connect with a little part of the creative community we have here in Stoke, try something a bit different and maybe even get inspired yourselves.
Dominoes: move one, and it has a knock on effect to the one next to it, and the one next to that, and so on - a chain reaction. It’s the same thing with the choices we makes, even the smallest ones.The things we buy - clothes, food, books, hand-crafted items, experiences etc etc, all effect people (and the planet) in ways that aren’t always visible to us, until we dig a little deeper. The woman who made your garment, the farmer who supplied the produce you’re about to eat, the maker that lovingly crafted the ring your wearing, the materials they’ve all used to create whatever it is, that has been taken from the earth, for better or worse. The choices we make all have a knock-on to something further down the line, and it can be eye-opening once you start to delve a little further into it all.
Creating this body of work has made me feel so much more connected to my surroundings - the natural world (through observation, learning about different wildflowers and translating them into paintings/textiles, and the man-made one (the community, not only through the workshops but by collaboarting with so many different people). In this, I have felt more connected to myself and began to understand the things I really value - community, the natural world, and for me, the need to make sustainable material choices when putting more ‘stuff’ out there. As a designer I feel like I have something like a duty - if I’m going to add to the pile out there already, that I should make informed, sustainable and ethical material/process choices. Because the choices we make are like a chain reaction - everything is connected.
Pre-opening, finishing up.