Tag Archives: ART

Urban Orienteering with The Lantern Company

This summer I worked with award-winning, Liverpool-based creative events company, The Lantern Company. The Street by Street, Creative Revolution has begun, and the DIY Festival project is now live!

Back in July, The Lantern Company put a call out for artists to help create a DIY Festival blueprint for families, community groups and neighbours. The Lantern Company is known for producing memorable, artistic events ( City of Light, The Monster Halloween Ball, Lumiere London, Liverpool Sound City, Hong Kong Parade, etc.) Due to Coronavirus lockdown, The Lantern Company can’t bring people together in its usual, inspiring way and so, it launched a brand new initiative. A DIY Festival Kit.

The Lantern Company

From The Lantern Company website: “The Street by Street Creative activities have been specially designed to kick start the party, from where you live. You can enjoy the activities in any way you want – at home anytime or as a way of connecting with your neighbours.

If you want to inspire families, friends, and neighbours to come together in your block / street / local park in a safe and socially distanced way, these activities are the perfect way to come together, apart, and have a mini celebration.”

I saw the call for commissions and immediately set to work on my proposal. A few weeks earlier I’d taken to the paths of Springfield Park to create some chalk artwork challenges for kids and their families to enjoy. They were well received and so I submitted my ideas to The Lantern Company – and they loved them too!

The Lantern Company

So, it gives me immense pleasure (still can’t believe I get to say this) to present to you – The Lantern Company, Street by Street Creative Revolution, DIY Festival Kit. Included are 6 different activities ranging from dance to music, baking, art, and my very own addition: Urban Orienteering.

Playing out is the new staying in! Inspired by old school pavement games, such as hopscotch, this workshop shows you how to create your own fun trail, using basic art materials and your imagination. Plan your route down the garden path, driveway, street, or community centre, with 2m gaps, add a start and finish line and get ready to race.

Rain or shine, young or old, we’ll have you stomping, roaring, twirling, and reaching for the stars, safely with your friends, families, and neighbours.

It’s essentially an arty obstacle course. It can be as easy or difficult as you want to make it. My favourite steps have been ‘Stomp and Roar like a Dinosaur’, ‘Emoji Stepping Stones’, and ‘Walk The Plank’.

For all the info about the DIY Festival from The Lantern Company, including video workshops and downloadable PDF’s, click here.

We’d love to see your own DIY Festival pics and receive your feedback. Share your pics with the hashtag #LanternDIYfestival and have LOADS of fun! 

 

 

 

 

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The Community Power Coat

During COVID lockdown, I was commissioned by Collective Encounters to create a piece of art that reflected the thoughts and feelings of my local community.

Do you remember how great it felt when your school mates (and one of two of the more sound teachers) signed your leavers shirt? Do you remember finding it hanging in the back of your wardrobe or rolled up in a memory box in the loft years later? How wonderful does it feel to remember those life events?

I took my cue from this feeling. I remember leaving primary school with the positive weight of good and hopeful wishes, literally on my shoulders. Fast forward five years and there I was again, leaving senior school with messages from all my friends scribbled and drawn all over my sleeves and chest.

Physically wearing thoughts and feelings is a truly transformative experience and one the majority of us remember fondly. Sadly it only seems to happen in childhood.

When I first moved to Liverpool age 8, I remember hearing my mum say ‘Oh, she’d give you the shirt off her back. referring to a friend who would help anyone and everyone, whenever she could. The saying stuck with me.

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As my teen years wore on in L13, I became increasingly aware of labels. I wore Bon Bleu, Sweater Shop, Fila and Nike Air Max 95’s. Our school coats were Helly Hansen and Sprayways. The lads all wore Rockport (in tan, obvs). Labels enabled us to fit in where it mattered. If you didn’t wear those labels, you weren’t cool, or in with the popular kids. It’s an age-old cycle on which we’ve all been on one side or another.

I looked more closely at how labels and their meanings change to us as we grow older. During the pandemic, labels such as Key Worker, NHS, Furloughed, and asymptomatic became more prevalent as we learned new ways of social acceptance.

Back in May 2020, Collective Encounters commissioned 10 new works by emerging artists. The commissions form part of its Above & Beyond project, and respond to themes of “community power” and “community action”. To fulfill my artistic brief, I combined the ideas of wearing feelings, labels to fit in, and labels to stand out and engaging with a community with human kindness at its heart.

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I created a coat. It’s a run of the mill, beige trench coat that you’ll see on any street in any town or city, around the world. Men and women wear this style and its colour is universal.

I began collating input from friends and family, then on social media and then with my neighbours, local food bank, and volunteers involved with food hampers and medicine deliveries.

I asked the questions: “What does community power look like, to you?” and “What does community power mean?”. The answers to these questions, coupled with the labels, words, sayings, and phrases that have become the ‘norm’ during the COVID pandemic, then formed the pattern for The Community Coat.

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The more I explained to people what I was working on, the more giving they were with their own experiences and feelings. Grief was an overriding theme as elderly loved-ones in care homes passed away without family members present. This gave way to rising anger as political figures were seen to be flouting the rules while funerals were watched through Zoom.

New behaviours and hobbies came to the fore. Family bike rides, street bingo, and making masks all got a mention. While riding the highs and lows of mental health on the Corona Coaster also featured heavily.

I used mixed textiles to recreate symbols old and new during this time. Black Lives Matter protests and moving tributes to the late George Floyd are there alongside nods to the International Space Station, our incredible NHS, and our city’s iconic architecture – surrounded by wildflowers, reminding us that the world revolved, without us.

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From crayons and sharpies to embroidery, temporary tattooing, stitching, gluing, painting, stenciling, feathering, and caligraphy – The Community Coat pays homage to a city filled with passion, dealing with grief, injustice, and new normals, all while having each other’s backs.

My profound thanks to Collective Encounters for allowing me to do something different with a creative brief, and for helping me to bring people from my community together, during unprecedented times.

Thank you so very much to each and every person who generously donated their words to The Community Coat. I hope it speaks volumes about our lives during the lockdown.

 

 

 

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Love Not Fear – Visions of the Future

Looking back through a huge catalogue of 17,000 images, I rediscovered a photo I took of my daughter, three days before lockdown. 

One good thing to come out of lockdown (aside from the incredible rosemary fries at Honest Burger, Bold St) is time to reflect. I don’t mean philosophically, although I’ve done a bit of that too. But through the massive haul of images I’ve taken over the last year, and one really stood out.

Now, I don’t profess to be anything other than a hobby photographer. Three years on I’m still only just getting to grips with my Canon 1300D (see, total amateur), but I’ve honed a skill for capturing absolutely ANYTHING that catches my eye. This has become a way of life now and just walking around the estate to the shop, throws up endless snap opportunities (it also adds an additional 10 mins on to what should be ‘nipping’ to the shop).

My daughter, Cleo is my willing subject. When she’s not throwing the peace sign at me and touching her nose with her tongue (eww) she genuinely loves setting up shots, looking at the light and how it affects the picture, and she’s nailed the ‘vacant eyes’ look which encourages the viewer to take in the entire scene, rather than just her little frame.

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I took this picture in Stockbridge Village, Liverpool. We’d been to a friend’s birthday party at the swimming pool. It was bedlam, full of fun and laughter and friends and good times. On the way home, we took a shortcut behind the housing estate and along the side of the primary school. Through a gate designed to stop people on quad or motorbikes avoiding police detection and along a path of broken paving stones.

The route was like a post-apocalyptic Total Wipeout course. Littered with broken glass, mattresses, small fire debris, kid’s plastic toys, laughing gas canisters, and household waste. There’s always dirty nappies, isn’t there?

On approaching the gate, we’d been full of chat, laughing about the kids having fun in the pool and playing party games. Walking along the path, each step felt like the party colours faded away. A modern-day Wizard of Oz scene.

I took the picture and we quickly moved along through the end gate. Far from an out of body or time travelling experience, the two minute stretch of wasteland was just plain eerie.

Love Not Fear (www.lovenotfear.co.uk) is a citywide collaboration uniting our communities through a digital vision board with people’s hopes and visions of the new world. It’s a place to plant the seeds and spread the message of the positive changes we want to see in our future through all creative mediums.

I have added my photo to the Love Not Fear vision board as a reminder that if we don’t take action to look after our community land and spaces now, the dirty nappies, mattresses and broken glass will be all that’s left for our kids. I’ve named the photo ‘Economy Class’. Investing love in our communities will help us to not fear the future for the generations to come.

You can add your Love Not Fear artwork here.

 

 

 

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Open Your Eyes

Painting my bedroom ceiling blue was such a good idea. Waking up on even the dullest of days, I’m met with a cerulean blue skyscape which matches the calm waters of exotic holiday destinations I pine for.

I forgot to take my mascara off again. Reaching over to my bedside table, I pick up my phone and see the barrage of late-night texts from the girls. F&ck, that was a belting night out. My hair, still half curled, feels matted with cigarette smoke and shots residue. Laughing to myself, I sit up in bed and trawl through the pics and videos of us arsing about with a stag do of lads dressed up as superheroes.

Ahh, there’s that fit one who said I laugh like Daffy Duck. Cheeky ba&tard. He was right like, but still. When the manic laugh comes out, that’s when I know I’m pi$$ed. Haha. He said he liked my freckles. Weird, no one else has ever said that before. Definitely not dressed as Batman anyway. Fun times, should’ve snogged him, I just wasn’t sure if he was actually the groom to be and I won’t make that mistake again.

Mad to think of all the hilarious times we’ve had in just a small part of town. That time a bloke just picked Leah up, lashed her over his shoulder, and ran the full length of the street, proper Tarzan style. Her bag flew open, spewing make-up, coins, tampons, keys, the lot down the street. To this day, we still don’t know who he was or why he did it. We just cried laughing at her little head, bobbing down the street screaming “save me!”

I scooch back down under the covers and go for a full-body, cat-like stretch. It’s going to be a good day. Through the drapes, the sky is looking as blue as my ceiling which means my plans to wear the Vogue power suit, have gone out of the window. Too stuffy.

Looking around the walls for inspiration, my hectic studio creeps into the boundaries of my bedroom, stark in comparison. Having never fully grown out of the need to stick posters on my walls, my designing space is a riot of colour, cut-outs, and posters I have picked up at the cinema and vintage shops.

My favourites are the transport ones. We’re all commuters, one way or another. I love reimagining the 1920’s and 1940’s posters with modern fashion on the trams and old fashion motor cars.

Back when summer holidays meant a week-long visit to the coast, rather than a two-week break in Tahiti, travel was such a different concept. Long hemlines and long train journeys through the urban landscape to appreciate vast expanses of the sky at the seaside, were the norm. Beachside villas and country retreats brought about the same levels of excitement about shopping for a holiday wardrobe as we still get now. Something about packing makes me stupidly excitable.

No rest, nor holidays for the wicked just yet, there’s a collection to finish and meetings to attend. A bright, warm Monday morning calls for a splash of colour I think. Throwing back the blankets, I tiptoe on the cold floor to my walk-through wardrobe and trace my fingers along the rails. Oh there it is. The bright red, full length, wrap-around skirt with the white flower pattern. I first wore it for a play in sixth-form and tracking it down had been like a sequence from an adventure film. Call me Indiana James. Today it was the skirts time to shine.

Heading for the shower, with a spring in my step and Aretha on the record player, it was going to be a good day.

 

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#NoFilterNeeded

It will come as no surprise to hear..

That I love a good snapchat filter, or Instagram…..or flipagram….or Rple or Prisma and it seems like there’s a new app every week that can distort our faces into photoshopped perfection or a piece of art.

My Instagram is full of perfectly lit, posed pictures that look nothing like me whatsoever. The accompanying text along the lines of “Damn I wish my skin looked like this for real” typed while stuffing more pore blocking chocolate down my grid!  

Admittedly this fascination is doing little to aid my “be happy with how you look” crusade, but I’m fully aware that these smoothed out, contoured images aren’t attainable and are just a bit of fun.

A friend of mine Ste Johnson, is a professional illustrator and while he uses lots of new tech to create stunning artwork….give him a good old fashioned pencil and watch him work his magic!


I wanted to share an image with you, well it’s actually a piece of art and it’s not a narcissistic exercise, it’s an appreciation of skill. 

Ste managed to lift my self confidence with just a pencil, no filter needed, just some expertly drawn lines. Check out more of his work here.  

I’ve always loved drawing, colouring in and sewing since a really young age, but I’m not naturally gifted, just enthusiastic! 

Seeing what someone can do with just a pencil and pure skill will never fail to inspire me. Way more than a snapchat filter ever could! 

I’m so lucky to work with loads of naturally talented people and I’m always chuffed to discover a new artist creating something unique whether it be jewellery, baby items or framed art work. 

I met a lovely woman at Liverpool Loves on Saturday who knits and crochets. But I’m not taking baby booties and blankets! She knits octopus and mermaids and cactus and smiley veg! Check out her work at http://www.girlinpurlaction.co.uk 

Another exhibitor, GeekCycled makes tonnes of retro badges from old school comics, cue my eldest laughing at how different the chipmunks looked back in the early 90’s! 

She went home and made some Jacqueline Wilson badges of her own, inspired by the nostalgia. 


So here’s to all the true artists, the ones sketching in front of the telly, making mood boards from magazines, and cutting up old curtains to make tepees for the kids and buying half full paint tins and picture frames from car bootys to create masterpieces! 

Inspiring others young and old. You guys rock! 

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Like A Boss

I make no apology for writing (once again) about how awesome women are. That’s not to say guys aren’t amazing too (especially Michael Fassbender, Corey Parker and Eddie Redmayne to name a select few) I’m totally pro-equality….however over the last few weeks of my college course, I’ve met some seriously incredible women.

A woman I met a couple of weeks ago is 8 months pregnant and has a toddler running around with her 24/7. Already exhausting right? Now add into the mix the fact that this lady is a ridiculously talented, original, clothing designer and decided during the latter stages of pregnancy to design, create and debut her collection at her first ever fashion week……toddler in tow! All the while she looked stunning, form fitting wrap dresses, beautifully braided hair and tailored dress coats….and heels….and she nailed it! Hats off to you Taya.

The second woman, or should I say women I want to tell you about are artists too. They run a phenomenal initiative and pop up store called OneArt. Every few months they move into a different store space at Liverpool One and revamp it themselves, rollers and Dulux emulsion at the ready!. After all that manual labor they then display their own and other local artists creations for the lovely people of Liverpool and beyond to buy. All the while they are consistently creating new spaces for local artists to sell their unique artwork, jewelry and ceramics. Freida, Karen and Katherine…you rock!

Childsplay Clothing Liverpool Fashion Week 2015

I can’t write about influential women without mentioning Fashion Week event organiser and mum of SIX…Amanda Moss. I’m absolutely convinced she doesn’t sleep, and if she does it must be standing up with her eyes open planning awards and auditioning models. Amanda always has time for a catch up and develops events and gatherings that encourages others to shine…..Patron Saint of Multi-tasking like a boss!

And to my female family, friends, old school mates and women I stalk…I mean follow, on twitter…seeing and hearing you achieve stuff makes me want to up my game, try harder, stop making excuses. From my friend Leah who, without fail hits the gym everyday at 6am and wakes me up with her motivational Instagram post….to an old school mate (and birthday twin) Hayley who despite having two teeny boys looks a million dollars wondering around Sainsburys doing her shopping. So much love and respect for my relative who is caring for her elderly mother who suffers from dementia and yet always makes it home to put dinner on the table…. and to my Caroline who has supported me tirelessly while I try and become the writer/journalist I always wanted to be.

Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you, make you laugh and support you is such a simple yet effective way to feel comfortable in your own skin. With so much opportunity on our door step that is freely accessible to women now its no wonder we’re unstoppable.

Here’s to you girls!

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Imagine

I carried out an act of vandalism yesterday, or maybe its classed as activism? All those who know me will be shocked and concerned about my welfare as I don’t do things like this, I’m straight-laced Kate, never get into trouble, get along with everyone and don’t like to rock the boat. Well never fear…….what I did wasn’t arrest-worthy….but I made a point.

I was enjoying a wonderful family day out at the Liverpool International Music Festival yesterday with my mini dudes (pics in the Inspiration gallery) and having devoured our picnic watching Alisha Dixon entertaining the crowds we wandered over to the family area. Sponsored by Liverpool John Lennon Airport the family section of the park was based around a huge man-made beach complete with buckets and spades and giant ice lollies, perfect for summer selfies! My little ones sat and listened to stories, made fairy tutu’s, crafted ice-creams from tissue paper and sported some pirate inspired glasses. They ran wild among giant strawberries, chased a very hungry caterpillar and finally wound up with Sharpies in hand (arghhhhh every parents worst nightmare) to add their scrawl to a giant LIMF cut out with the city skyscape printed on it, specifically for kids to depict their take on Liverpool life.This is where I committed my (not really) crime.

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Armed with a blue Sharpie, prised out of my toddlers hand I quickly scrawled ‘Imagine, Save Our Libraries….Hospitals For The Soul’ above an official illustration of John Lennon. I know…I KNOW…..move over Banksy, Kate is the new face on the scene of graffiti activism! Okay, so it was hardly a mass protest but its something I feel strongly about and I saw an opportunity. I wrote my message in the hope it might make just one person return to a library. I’d like to think John Lennon would approve.

Like most major cities around the UK, Liverpool is facing major cuts to public services and one very close to my heart is the regional library closures. Our city central library is a thing of beauty, after a monumental make over, taking years and costing millions it is now a multiple award winning centre of information and technology. I’m truly proud to have such a gem at the heart of Liverpool, from the stunning roof top view on the fourth floor terrace to the dedicated children’s auditorium complete with stage and toddler friendly bean bags, not many cities host free services like this.

The best bit is, all this greatness filters down to our smaller, suburban libraries too. Fitted with banks of PC’s, huge stocks of factual and fictional tomes plus a whole host of community based drop-in sessions from story time with Book Start to preparing for school courses and financial and welfare advice supported by local councillors. So why are we closing down these places of education that benefit everyone age 0-106?! I understand that cuts have to be made and money has to be saved but these regional out-posts provide much needed social interaction, support and last but not least, jobs to local people.IMAGINE

If you love to read, please shelve the Kindle and go and borrow a book from your local library, meet the staff, take your kids to listen to brilliantly animated people reading Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Jacqueline Wilson…because as long as the public are supporting them, the libraries stay open. To find out more about how local people are doing their bit to save our libraries click here……11 year old Elysce writes from the heart.

For more information on Liverpool Libraries, click here

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