helenic: (elephant reaching to the moon)
The Queen's Head is proud to present our first ever arts and crafts fair! We've got also sorts of creative plans for this year, and to kick it all off with a bang we've teamed up with local gallery organiser Nikki to host a big, inaugural Mad March Fair on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March.

Artists, makers, crafters, knitters and cooks are invited to book a stall to show their own beautiful creations. We welcome any homemade or hand-crafted item. Soap, cosmetics, jewellery, notebooks, collage, paintings, prints, cakes, chutneys, wood-carving, metalwork, leatherwork, knitting, embroidery, clothing, bags, cushions, masks, greetings cards, painted furniture, painted mugs, pottery - you make it, we'll show it!

Please contact helen@queensheadrye.com to enquire about booking a free pitch. (Instead of charging you up-front we'll ask for a commission on any sales - we want this to be as accessible as possible.)



Admission will be free to the public. The Fair will be hosted in our timber-beamed Function Room and open from 11am-8pm both days. There's a free gig on the Saturday night in the Lounge Bar once the Fair closes, so feel free to hang around and enjoy the mystical medieval folk of local minstrel Kim Thompsett and her band.

Come along, browse beautiful hand-crafted items, buy gifts, sample some delicious handmade cakes and preserves, sit down for a cup of tea, a pint of real ale or cider and a plate of our homemade pub food. Stay around for the evening and chill out with some live music. Invite your friends!

Mad March Fair: facebook event

shiny ideas

Aug. 7th, 2009 05:11 pm
helenic: (chilli flower)

We can has website!



I'd planned to chill out a bit after Glastonbury, but then Denny and I decided to take over the world, so this had to happen. I'm pretty damn pleased with it. And who knows, it might even help us find clients! Because more work, yes, that is exactly what I need. ;)

And now, I sleep.

... Actually I help [personal profile] bard move house and go to a celebratory TG with the [personal profile] denny. That's almost the same thing though? Right?

helenic: WHAT (psychedelic space knight)

[livejournal.com profile] fire_brand and The Register have already offered much incisive commentary on Be (an ISP owned by O2)'s new rebranded website. HOW WRONG IS IT? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS. Not only does it look like it was designed by a group of bickering 13 year olds who can't decide which of their MySpace page backgrounds to use, but it contains my new favourite image on the internet.

Go to the "Personalise" drop down menu below the main navigation menu on the left. Select the second option. What is it? It's hard to tell, what with the awkward tiling and clashing colours, but do you know, I believe it is a KNIGHT IN ARMOUR RIDING A PSYCHEDELIC MAGIC CARPET WHILE PLAYING THE GUITAR.

WHAT.

As if that horror wasn't enough, check out the pink pixellated balloons that look like breasts a little further down. Because that's appropriate for a national ISP! Ho yus.

In honour of this piece of internet history, I have made an icon of the acidhead rockstar space knight.* Feel free to steal it!

*The filename is "beknighted.png". I crack myself up.

helenic: (book; graffiti)
Police State UK.

This is what Denny and I have been working on for the last couple of weeks. It's still a bit buggy, and we haven't fixed the theme in IE 6 or for the subpages yet, but it's functional. Readers, commenters, and contributors are very much welcomed. Please, if you care about civil liberties and human rights in the UK, have a look and pass on the link.

There's an RSS Feed here; feel free to syndicate it. DW feed is [syndicated profile] police_state_uk_feed.

Thanks.
helenic: (Default)

I made a website. I am very pleased with it. It's taken me weeks, in a slow, creaking-together-in-my-head sort of way, coming back to the graphics every so often and poking them a bit, trying to work out what on earth to do with the background gradient, having small ideas for the galleries. Then last week I sat down with the code and cranked the whole thing out in three days. This involved getting no sleep at all on Thursday.

For months I've been saying things along the lines of, "I cannot wait until earthskyart.com is online, and I have shiny new gallery software and do not have to create new html pages every time I want to add an artwork!" The observant among you will notice that earthskyart.com is online, and the gallery pages are still all hand-coded. The thing is that I spent ages looking at gallery software. Gallery is not customisable enough; none of the Lightboxes or Lightwindows are suitable. I looked at Drupal and Silverstripe, but Drupal isn't optimised for galleries and Silverstripe uses Lightwindow. I need a gallery that has the ability to display multiple images on a page, and as much blurb as I like. I don't want to be restricted to a single image per artwork and one-line caption.

It would be awesome to not have to create new pages for each artwork, but if I want a page on each artwork, I may just have to suck it up. The conclusion I've come to is that my needs are specific enough that unless I can afford to commission my own CMS, I am better off doing the cut-and-paste donkey work. (Although thanks to the magical wisdom of Denny, I am being initiated in the mysteries of SSIs, which will help a lot.) But having a gallery that auto-generates "next" and "previous" buttons on each page and lets you tunnel through the pages as well as click through from the gallery would be awesome. I did encounter http://www.zenphoto.org/ on Saturday, which might be worth investigating. Now that it's online there is nothing to stop me tinkering with it, in theory - although in practice, I simply do not have time and will just have to make do.

But I have a website, and now it's done and not perfect, but Denny has said to me several times that I am spending more time than I can afford on this, and if I were budgeting to pay someone else I would be much less inclined towards perfectionism. And it's good enough to send to people. And I have shiny, shiny new business cards with the url on. Look!



I also have shiny shiny greetings cards, but I didn't sleep on Thursday night and therefore forgot to pick them up from the post office depot on Friday, so I didn't have them with me for the Angel Art Market today.

Which was, of course, what all this was in aid of.

Well, I did my first art fair. I can add it to my CV. Apart from that, the day really was of no benefit whatsoever. It cost me an awful lot of work, £26 in cab fares, not to mention money spent on promotional materials (although those will keep), and it gained me nothing. I didn't sell anything. This wasn't really surprising, because no-one else sold anything either. It appeared to be normal, in fact, not to sell anything. No-one took any of my business cards, except for the other artists, who were very impressed by my ability to sell any paintings whatsoever through the magical medium of the internet. I possibly have a website job creating an art portfolio for one of the other artists, if she emails me, which is unlikely. In short, the only thing I got out of it was networking with artists who are less successful than me.

It was very strange. I'd always assumed that the world of art fairs and art markets was prestigious and high-powered, and I'm beginning to understand that actually people spend all weekend sitting by a stall and if they sell one thing they're lucky. It's a slow, low-profit margin world for people with too much time on their hands and independent sources of income. This is not how I'm used to doing things. Possibly I need to try other fairs - the annual events rather than the regular ones. But they're expensive. £400 is not unusual for a day's stall hire. I just can't afford that.

I can't decide whether to give it another go or not. The paintings are all still at Denny's, because the cab from his place to Angel was much cheaper than a cab from mine to Angel. So if I was going to do it again, doing it before I take the paintings home would seem sensible. Also, it's possible to do it both days of the weekend and leave your stall up over night, which halves the amount of setting up/taking down work you have to do (and the amount of cabfare you have to pay) for how much exposure you get. So if I was going to do it again, I'd do it in the next month, for both days of the weekend. I reckon it's worth one more try, but to be honest I do not see much mileage in this avenue. Which is a shame.

There's an annual art and design fair this October - with very expensive stalls - also by Candid Arts, so I'm going to call first thing in the morning and see if I can work it. I can't afford to hire a stall, but if I could volunteer (as I did today) then I might have more luck there. Apparently it's busier. And all the promotional work I've already done will continue to be useful, so it hasn't been a total loss.

It's odd, though. I haven't sold a painting all year, apart from one small thing through Etsy - my art's been in the Pembury for nine months with no interest. I don't have anywhere new to exhibit my paintings yet and I'm probably going to have to spend a couple of days going round cafes and restaurants and galleries in town seeing if anywhere is interested. I need a print portfolio really, and that's not going to be cheap to put together. But in general, I am most optimistic about selling things online. I have a list of places to sign up to, now, in addition to Etsy - Pinkdoodle, Dawanda, All Trade Art, Artist Rising, Red Bubble, Artist Portfolio, Visual for Business, Sexy Art Gallery. I have ideas for erotic art projects (and a couple of promising commercial leads), and I'm planning a Wheel of the Year pagan greetings card/prints set with cards for each of the eight festivals which I can then try and sell through the pagan community. I'm going to be looking up interior designers and sending them my portfolio and trying to get contracts doing series of paintings for commercial premises, because there is REAL money in that and I'm not proud when it comes to making bland or trendy art, it's still more fun than temping. So, you know, I have lots of options and ideas and I've not given up hope.

But ... I've been working harder this last month than I have in a very long time. I haven't stopped since I moved. I've been juggling two careers and not dropping any of the balls; I've been crossing things off my long-term to do list; I'm motivated and disciplined and productive. But ... I'm very, very poor. I'm not eating properly, partly because my appetite's been fucked ever since I switched contraceptive pill in May, but mostly because I'm living on £20 a week after rent and half of that goes on Oyster. My rent was late last month because the standing order bounced first time round, and I couldn't afford the £40 fine for that any more than I could afford the £60 parking ticket we got when I moved. I'm holding it together - just - and Denny is very patiently loaning me cash when I need it and paying for me to go out and eat and drink the rest of the time, but god, I'm sick of being poor, and I've spent the last week working on my art website, which of course was unpaid work, and I was really hoping that it would pay off and I'd sell something today, if only so I could cover my own expenses. Selling a big painting would have made this month a lot easier; selling a little one would have made the day seem less of a waste. As it is, I'm exhausted and out of pocket with nothing to show for it but "experience". I'm not gutted - I knew this was likely - and I'm trying to look forward and be optimistic and stuff. I'm not demoralised. But I'm very, very tired, and it would be lovely if the myth I was brought up with were true, that if you work hard enough money will sort itself out. I am working harder than I ever have, far harder than I did at uni, and I am much, much poorer.

At some point soon, I will put the art down for a few months, get my design portfolio online and put my nose to the freelance grindstone. Soon, my credit will run out and I will have to stop chasing rainbows and get on with earning hard cash. But I have so many ideas for my art, so much enthusiasm and ambition, so much energy and inspiration. I am desperate, desperate to have some serious painting time soon. I do not want art to be a hobby. I don't want to squeeze it in around the edges. I want to be able to work at it, really work at it, get up in the morning and do it all day. And maybe, just maybe, if I have a solid online presence and a strong portfolio and I do art fairs and shows, maybe I will sell something, and then I will be able to justify painting more things to sell.

I'm not quite ready to give up. I can live on pasta for a little longer yet. But not much longer.

helenic: (hooping control)

I've ordered flyers! 100 of them! They should be arriving in two weeks, and they will be AMAZING.

I went with the first design in the end (I'd have used two, but it would have cost twice as much and I'm tight-fisted like that). What I didn't anticipate was having to redo the image from scratch in order to get it to a size and resolution the printers would accept. The eventual image has completely different proportions from the original design (it's relatively about half again as long) and was about three times larger, which was too big an increase to just size it up. Anyway, it's done now. Here's an ensmallened version of the final print image:

large images beneath )



In other K~nesis-related news:

- I have a binbag containing 10 identical pale heads in my kitchen. No, I have not in fact decapitated decaplets, although I think that that would be an awesome name for the artwork when it's finished. And no, I'm not looking forward to having to explain this when I take them through Paddington station this evening.

- The head shop was unexpectedly closed on Saturday, so Kristen and I ended up casting about desperately looking for things to cover with paint. Our initial plan to make plaster casts of the roots of trees sort of faltered before we even started (my neighbours were watching, the plaster was the wrong sort, and we couldn't find any suitable trees). We were at a loss until I realised that I had some bits of mdf in the downstairs loo which I'd obtained from Freecycle to board up the old catflap with, and which I'd kept for painting on at some point. The pieces of mdf are thick, curved squares (what's the technical name for a square with curved corners?) and they take paint BEAUTIFULLY. We undercoated them first in white gesso, then did a background layer of acrylics before swapping to oils for the details. Unlike the texture of canvas, the wood grain is perfectly smooth, and the colours came out amazingly brightly, with a polished finish.

We didn't finish any of the paintings, but all of them are another step on from our previous collaborations. The themes of the day were tropical flowers, excessively bright colour, dragons. One painting started out trying to be an extreme close-up of sunlight filtering through the red petals of a passionflower, with dark waving stamen in the foreground and the perfect filigree of veins on the coloured petals. It went through a tentacles-and-hellfire phase, and is now resting between firelight and tropical blooms. Another started out as a bird of paradise, and quickly became a dragon in flight, although it might be a hummingbird pretending to be a dragon. The third (on canvas) is just bright, bright petals and leaves in electric blues and oranges and greens, sharp focus foreground and fingerpainted blurs in the background, leaflight and moisture. It's simple and complex and beautiful. I don't think these paintings are really trying to say anything. Apart, perhaps, from pure joy in colour and life and sunlight. They are a dance, a riot, of colour. Ever since Kristen left I have been itching to return to them, become immersed in that radiant, sensory world.

- Tomorrow, we work on heads. This will involve me giving Kristen head. I don't think I'm going to tire of this joke, EVER.

helenic: (darkside : lightside)

[livejournal.com profile] cuteevilpixie's and my exhibition is now on Facebook, which means it must be real. 21 confirmed guests so far! 27 might show up! I <3 Facebook. Thankyou so much to everyone who's planning to attend, and to [livejournal.com profile] dennyd for helping with the promotion. (This being the man who has just said to me, and I quote, "I wonder what the capacity of the venue is. Breaking that would be cool.")

Kilinrax is confirmed as being in charge of the music for the launch party on the 22nd (although due to licensing laws we can't advertise him as a DJ). This is EXCELLENT news, and he too deserves many thanks, for giving up his time to make our exhibition way cooler than it would have been otherwise. Also many drinks. He deserves to be bought lots of drinks.

I has been making FLYERS.


(click to view full size)

Now, apart from the wanky-but-sadly-necessary art blurb, I'm pretty happy with this. It's based on a combination of images including the Perfect Storm nebula, the ant nebula, and The Dryad's Dream. I love the whole burnt gold summer colour palette: sunlight through leaves; forest; flame; sunburst; clouds boiling into space.

Denny, on the other hand, thought it was too brown. "You should do a more blue-toned one for the geeks among us," he said. "Based on Polarity or something." At which point I started FLAILING, because firstly, dude, it's not BROWN. And secondly, this image PERFECTLY ENCAPSULATES the synthesis of immediate and infinite natural environment which is present in the art we've done so far, and we're going to be focussing much more on that juxtaposition of microscopic and macroscopic (molecules, nebulae, fractals, extreme close-ups of foliage and elements) as we develop this exhibition. There'll be a lot of galaxies and stars and universes, but also rainforests, the northern lights, the human form. It's going to be lush and organic and the colours will be intense. And I don't know how I could express that juxtaposition using just the Polarity image (without mentioning the fact that painting is still unfinished, and therefore I'm not keen on using it in a flyer) or just a space-based image. A fractal image would be perfect, but we don't have any fractal paintings yet, and it's a bit daft to have a flyer that doesn't include any of our art.

Anyway, I don't want people to look at our flyer and go "ICK BROWN" so I made some differently coloured versions.


(click to enlarge)

The last one is pretty, but it's kind of wintry, you know? And what we're doing is definitely summer art.

So, tell me what you think? And I'll doubtless be making more flyers as we produce more artworks. (Which will hopefully start happening TODAY, as Kristen is in town!) I mean, the whole nature of this exhibition is that the artwork is improvised and it's sort of essential that we can't entirely predict what we'll end up with. We have inspiration, but that provides a starting-point rather than a goal-post. So it's sort of inevitable that the promotional materials are going to evolve with the collection. I mean, if we could describe the entire exhibition in advance, it wouldn't be very experimental, would it?

By the way, I'm probably not going to be posting collaborative artwork online from now on. We have to give you some incentive to come to the exhibition, after all. I shall restrict myself to blurry cameraphone photos and tantalising prose descriptions. BWA HA HA.

helenic: (sappho with laptop)

For the first time in months I spent almost all of yesterday coding. My personal domain still has a lot of content needing to be sorted out (I have it, I just haven't edited it or formatted it for putting online) so it won't be up immediately, but I'm hoping to be able to release it soon. Possibly next week; it depends how disciplined I am with the MPhil reading. Once I get into webdesign I find it very difficult to stop. I've been learning lots of CSS, and at the sage advice of the Mystic Robert I even wrote a song about it.

I have also discovered that:

i) fluid columns are one of the most beautiful inventions on this earth
ii) if you use CuteHTML to do a find/replace for an html fragment on all the files in a directory, not just the html files, you will render all your images unreadable and will have to create them ALL AGAIN FROM SCRATCH. This is sufficiently frustrating that it will utterly undo a whole day's worth of coding elation, particularly if it gets to past midnight and you find yourself attempting to re-write the missing number strings of the jpeg in textpad. PARTICULARLY when you don't know anything about how images are encoded. Back stuff up online, kids.
iii) my computer at work has Adobe Photoshop 8.0 installed on it. This will more than make up for item (ii) above.

While I'm on the subject, here is a nice linkage poll for you to fill out if you want me to include a link to your site:

[Poll #570932]

helenic: (Default)

I've been indulging my pash on Mariacarla Boscono and making lots of icons to fill my new icon space. I ended up making more than I want to use, so there are icons going spare. All photos are from http://www.mariacarlaboscono.hpg.ig.com.br/. If you want to take any of these and mess around with them further, go for it, or feel free to tell me any text you want adding or anything and I can do it for you.

iconage... )

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