Wednesday, 30 December 2009

How It Is

How It Is is a huge dark chamber with a steel exterior exhibited by Miroslaw Balka in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern at the moment...

Balka explains it far better than I can:

" 'How shall I move forward?' you might ask yourself as you stand at the threshold, confronted by the darkness ahead. The unknown can be terrifying, especially if it is also without light. How you approach it is unique, as your first encounter with anything can only ever be as an individual. Staring into the black void may make you wonder whether to move ahead at all.
'It's fine' you reassure yourself, 'what can actually be inside?' How It Is is only complete when you, the viewer, enter. The container focuses you inwards, both physically and psychologically, deeper into the darkness. In choosing how to move ahead - to march in fearlessly, or to skirt along the walls - you create your own journey. But as you bump into others, or mistakenly grab a stranger's shoulder, your trepidation eases and collectively you navigate the void."

I began by entering the box in the center - no walls to hold on to, but I soon was exaggerating my steps and treading carefully (it feels like you are in a dream) and as I got further, was grabbing for my Dad's arm. Maybe thats it: I like to seem fearless, but in fact am not. Even a bit.


The only item that featured on my brother's christmas list this year was a Husky puppy. Unsurprisingly, Father Christmas did not grant him his wish (he'll have to be nicer next year). He therefore refused to come on the Boxing Day walk (top 2 photographs) as it was apparently "pointless" as we didn't have the dog to walk.
That we bought him a Husky calendar and a pin badge was not taken in good favour either: "rubbing it in".
Anyway, enough of the dog loving... cats are much nicer. (3rd photograph is Phoebe, my Auntie Hilary's cat)

Christmas creations

Here are some christmas presents I made...

From the top: gingerbread stars for my Granny, aunties, cousins and the Timmins family; a IN/OUT timer for my Mum, who never knows when to take her creations out of the oven (she refuses to use the timer on the cooker); an A3 poster of the A-Z of Professions for my brother who is fairly clueless as to the direction he should take in life; a seasons chart for my lovely friend Ally, who works in fashion and yet does not understand the seasons!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Pecha-Kucha cheat

I was invited to present my work at to one of Think Public's design clinics. Last Wednesday was the day... I walked around in circles on Brushfield Street, looking for the studios. Eventually a nice boy making coffees pointed me in the right direction.
There was popcorn and beers and crisps and wine and brownies to welcome the eight nervous participants. All armed with a Pecha-Kucha presentation and a christmas gift to give to another.
The work and disciplines were wide-ranging, making for a diverse set of presentations. I had familiarised myself with the Pecha-Kucha format (20 images, with each lasting for 20 seconds, then automatically continuing to the next - there isn't much pausing for breath involved!) and so had added 8 slides to my presentation when I saw that my template only contained room for 12. Apparently everyone else had stuck to the 12 they had been given. Using my initiative made me look a bit of a cheater I think.
A discussion about the service design industry followed... I have lots to learn! But I did have a few points to make. I would really like for them to think I wasn't a cheat and give me an internship! You never know... it is christmas after all.
The snoel snowflake transfers were my present with a grey card to make my own snow scene.

Friday, 18 December 2009

'OMFG, my father totally just threw an apple into my back'

This is genius. At the tender age of 19, these two guys are very funny... and well read. A perfect birthday present from Mandi.

Here are a few points at which I snorted:

THE METAMORPHOSIS by Franz Kafka - 'OMFG, my father totally just threw an apple into my back.'


Sunday, 13 December 2009

Thank you nice friends and family

Today I am 23. Here are some of the lovely presents I received. I couldn't fit the beautiful chrome desk lamp and the guillotine in to the shot. Thank you nice friends and family.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Sleep in a pile. And make an igloo.

Trof breakfast, christmas markets and an afternoon trip to see 'Where The Wild Things Are'. The film was as wonderful as I had anticipated... beautifully shot, good soundtrack, amazing costumes. A joy to watch. I want to sleep in the middle of that pile of fur. And make an igloo.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Bed no.1

So, I am on the first of many dates with the floor tonight. My month of London floor-surfing begins tonight. All in the aid of a little job at Elle magazine until Christmas. 
Bed no.1: East London futon with flannel grey bedding.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Take care of yourself

I took advantage of last Thursday evening's late night opening at The Whitechapel Gallery which is exhibiting Sophie Calle's 'Take Care of Yourself'. 

Calle: "I received an email telling me it was over. I didn't know how to respond. It was almost as if it hadn't been meant for me. It ended with the words 'take care of yourself'. And so I did.
I asked 107 women chosen for their profession/skills to interpret this letter.
To analyse it, comment on it, dance it, sing it, exhaust it. understand it for me. Answer for me. It was a way of taking the time to break up.
A way of taking care of myself."

I was familiar with the project before I went to see the 107 responses, but all in a room together, it was quite powerful. The emotional beings that women are, attempting to understand a man's insensitive ending. A collection of interesting and varied responses to the words that fill the gallery. 
The predominantly female audience grew around the wall filled with films showing the video responses. We laugh, tut, roll our eyes together as the chosen women try to make sense. It feels like the room understands how unjust Calle's email ending was. Every one of the women in that room had a story, could relate. It sounds like corn-ville, but it felt like there was an unspoken solidarity in the room. It was nice.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Mapping the Mundane on Bibliotherapy tour

I have loaned a Mapping the Mundane adaptation book to Lucy May Schofield's Bibliotherapy tour - It has its own plastic wallet and is living amongst many many other beautiful artist books. How exciting!

New kids on the book block

Had to protect the precious books from the Manchester rain on my way to the Manchester Artist Book Fair...
... they survived...
... Good day - smiles all round
There was a certain naivety that came with Parlour Press' first book fair. We hope is was enderaing as opposed to unprofessional.
A successful day for the new kids.

Dad Advice

Lucy Vann and I collaborated on the book 'Dad Advice' which we came up with whilst on our summer travels...

A little piece of Mapping the Mundane

Mapping the Mundane had to be adapted for the Manchester Artist Book Fair, so people could buy a little piece of the project...

Friday, 6 November 2009

Parlour Press

Mandi and I spent Tuesday afternoon with tomato and chickpea soup & oatmeal and raisin cookies, designing the logo for Parlour Press. Now we are all set for the Manchester Artist Book Fair tomorrow! Its in the Holden Gallery in the Grosvenor Building at the Art School from 12 noon until 6pm - pop in and see some lovely books.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Books on tour

This afternoon, Mandi and I dreamt of our summer touring with the Parlour Press. Here was the beginning of our daydream... Think it is rather off the scale of our modest budget, but we want to get some creative book-lover, boat-owner to trust the 5 ladies of the Press with their boat so we can tour the UK. Boats of all shapes, sizes and conditions will be considered.

BOOKS ON TOUR shall be the chant.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

#35 - Write to someone who inspired you

Today, I wrote a letter. It was because I had been directed to this website: (I still have no clue how to make this a link!). Action #35 was 'Write to someone who inspired you'... so I did. I wrote to my old english teacher, Miss Tomkins who once reassured me that it was ok to be unsure of what I wanted to do and to take a year (which at 18, I thought was far too long to experiment) to do the art foundation year I was so uncertain of. I cannot imagine what I would be doing if I hadn't listened to her. Not writing this, thats for sure.
So tomorrow I shall post it and hopefully the post strikers will deliver it to her eventually. As a ps. I might have to apologise for it being rather creased - I put a chair on it by mistake.

Before I get washed away, I'm going to turn things around

Here is a storyboard I drew out the other day when I got home from work. Its for an animation I'm going to attempt. I'm not sure how, but I'm going to give it a go... watch this space. Well, watch this space in about a week.

Erm... BBC - look what I made for you

Over the summer a friend of mine did a typographic researching job for the BBC. The more I think about it, the more jealous I get... I LOVE researching and the library (which is where she spent the bulk of the time). So I decided to make the BBC a little something to introduce myself and make them see I would be a good little researcher to have on communication/design projects.
I climbed the few steps to the entrance of BBC Manchester, clutching the CV and hand-drawn intro I had packaged up in an A4 envolope so as not to fold my drawn HELLO. Only to be told by the lovely receptionist that they do not take any paperwork and they don't have a recruitment department that she could even hand it to. "Oh, ok" I replied with a dishartened smile.
Off I trundled, back down the steps with my silly envelope still in hand. So I am no closer to having a loving-the-library job and I wasted a good half hour of my life writing to people who aparantly don't exist.

APOLOGIES FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHS in this and the following few blog posts... no mac=no photoshop. Its all about levels.

Friday, 23 October 2009


I really want to submit one of my books for this self-published books exhibition in Austria in Spring 2010 ( However, having read the rules, you have to have a minimum of five editions of the book... which I don't have. I suppose I'll have to get drawing a lot more food maps if I want to submit my mapping book

Monday, 19 October 2009

Now we just need to make some books...

Had a meeting with the book collective lovelies this evening. We went to where it all began... the back room at The Castle Hotel. Names were thrown around (The Castle Collective/The Parlour Press/Queens of The Castle/A Book and a Beer)... we shall see. Our up-coming stall at The Manchester Artist Book Fair (7th November in The Holden Gallery, MMU - was discussed. Now we all just need to make some books.
I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


The dvd was snatched from my hand as I decided on my selection from the Vann lending library: "you have to read the book before you watch the film". So that is what I am doing.
It is wonderful. Well written, beautifully illustrated and funny too - the latter, quite an achievement for a book about the war in Iran.
I'm looking forward to be able to swap it for the dvd on my next trip to Sheffield and continue my new nightly obsession.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Creative Review

My '2 Sides' project is featured on Creative Review Feed. Have a look -

Shame 'Mapping the Mundane' got rejected... thats a good project - don't reject it!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Joyous Machines

I am still rather into machines.
Today I went to Tate Liverpool to see 'Joyous Machines'. The exhibition saw Jean Tinguely's work and how it inspired Michael Landy's creations.
I much preferred the rough drawings Tinguely did in order to realise his vision as opposed to Landy's intricate drawings depicting the same mechanisms.
I really liked the drawing machines (bottom image) and the ones that did not hide their mechanics... far more interesting. Also, I like the fact that some of the machines don't work, or in the case of 'Homage to New York' (top image), destroyed themselves. This was all part of Tinguely's vision: that it is almost left to chance. In comparison to Arthur Ganson's beautiful work, Tinguely's is far less perfect, in both its aesthetic and workings. I still like it though - it was reminiscent of Alexander Calder's work at times.
Good day trip.

Monday, 5 October 2009

"Look on the bright side..."

So, fellow high-achiever, Mandi Goodier and myself were invited back to MMU last week to give a talk entitled 'How to do 3rd Year' to Graphic Design and Illustration 3rd Years. We rather enjoyed ourselves - chattering away about our favourite year wasn't too taxing. And we were quite popular in the aftermath: "What are you doing now?" was the prevalent question. Erm...don't ask. You might wonder the point in getting a 1st. No, instead I explained the need to get back on your feet and try to get yourself 'out there'. I was there to inspire, not make half the year drop out.
I am ever realising that you have to do some not-so-great-things in order to be able to do the great stuff. The not-so-great phase I am experiencing at present is all part of the process. Smiling fakely at guests whilst working at a hotel, cutting up fruit and buttering bread in a sandwich shop is the reality of a recent graduate, I suppose. That I continually want to scream "WHAT AM I DOING?" just has to be pushed down.
I am trying my best to be patient.
It could be worse. As my Mum recently said "look on the bright side, you could have a disability". Yes, Mum, yes I could.

Image: book and illustration by NJ (2008 Design and Art Direction graduate)

Monday, 28 September 2009

Good talk

Thoroughly enjoyed my half and hour with Sam Winston.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Shout PENIS at the top of your voice!

I adored 500 Days of Summer. The blackboard wall with a headboard drawn in chalk; the days counter which appeared over the illustration of a tree, shouting PENIS at the top of your voice! Zooey Deschanel's outfits and hair were also rather lovely to watch throughout, as was Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Trailers before the film included 'Where the wild things are', 'Fantastic Mr Fox' and 'Toy Story' in 3D. Oh sweet. My cinema blanket/shawl shall get a few outings in the coming months.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Who needs a studio?

I spent the morning re-photographing all my work so that my website is viewable. However, with no studio or lighting, my garden was my make-shift shoot area.
After having to re-wash all my clothes after a bad bird excrement/washing line incident not so long ago, I did fear for my new photography area, or worse, work. Luckily I was not in their firing line today.
Have a look at my website with all new images.

Friday, 11 September 2009

I think I grew up

My (temporary) move back to my parent's house was made even more traumatic by my bedroom that was still 16-year-old Libby. No more: new and old things on my walls, bare floor boards, organised boxes. Somewhere during university, I think I grew up.
My room is me once more. I am now ready to work.

Collaboration with The Vann

Done. Trip posts finished.
Today, Lucy and I begun to do some project work with our travels acting as the content. Exciting.
Already it is good to look back on our rather extensive journals. We don't do things by halves, you know. And neither will we with our first collaborative project. I'm not giving anything away just yet...

Darlin' its better down where its wetter

31st Aug '09: KORCULA
Croatia has whoa sea (super clear, super blue) so Lucy and I became obsessed with purchasing an underwater camera. On the last day, I spotted a Kodak shop that stocked just the thing. Here are some of the results.
I imagined we would resemble Ariel (as in the mermaid). As can be seen, we did not. Water does strange things to the human body.