Sunday, 24 November 2013

Ignacio Torres

Check out this photographer, Ignacio Torres, (be sure to search for the photographer, as there is a body builder of the same name!). His project 'Stellar' is fantastic, and takes the idea that when you get down to it we are all made up of star dust :) Cosmic creativeness here.

http://ignacio-torres.com/projects/stellar/




Saturday, 12 October 2013

Getting Arty





  I come from a family of artists and so growing up I was constantly covered in colours from paints and dyes and I've been rediscovering these crafts this week due to my new job at as an art teaching assistant and a friend's African themed dinner party. It's been great and I will be sure to be doing more similar projects in the foreseeable future along with my usual crafts. Here's the goodies from this week!


Tie Dye

A good friend of mine held an African dinner party this week as she had recently got back from staying there a while. The food was brilliant, but my favourite part was the main feature of the night; Tie Dying! I'd come prepared with a double bed set, 4 t-shirts (one for me, two for Matt and one for my youngest brother), plus enough socks to go around the guests.
 We'd also done tie dye with the kids at work this week during our fashion and textiles class which went down really well and they made some great stuff. I love how with a project like this it's not just the items changing colour, but the whole event seems to make everyone feel good.
 At the dinner party it got extremely messy, we had leakages, confusion, and some mild nudity. On reflection I would advice to leave the drinking until after the tie dye.




Marbling

 Another one that we did at work with the kids this week. This is another project good for getting a small group of people involved, and also great for experimenting with colours.
 We used marbling dye and blotting paper but it would be great to try using different papers or adding glitter.
 One thing we tried was drawing simple shapes with sticky tape, then peeling it off once the dye had dried as you can see here with the crucifix.
 I'm really loving combinations of blue, pink, purple and green at the moment.









Stickers

I found a cool D.I.Y sticker idea on Rookie and thought I'd give it a go myself, as I might do this with the kids at work. It's so easy and really addictive!

1. Cut out pictures from a magazine or posters that you want as a sticker.

2. Get sticky tape and cut it into strips to cover the image, run your finger or something blunt over it to make sure the ink from the picture sticks, being careful not to let the tape stick to anything too much.

3. Run this under a warm tap until you feel the paper absorbing the water.


4. Rub the damp paper so that it peels away, leaving the ink from the image on the tape.

5. The tape will regain its stickiness as it begins to dry. Cut around the image on the tape, but leaving about half a centimetre of tape without ink on around it, as this is the stickier part.

6. Decorate your life with stickers of the things you love!









Thursday, 10 October 2013

Featured Artist: Matt Burns

With the release of his first solo album, I took the opportunity to interview Matt, (musician, filmmaker and also happens to be my boyfriend), to find out a little more about his music.




Tell me a bit about yourself.

I am a singer/song writer from Belfast. I have been writing music and lyrics since I was a teenager, some of them become songs, some get thrown away. When I was a bit younger I played in a three piece rock band known as Vague Dazy. Some of the songs on my first album came from the days of jamming with that band. I think with music I get the most enjoyment from trying out and experimenting with stuff in a collaborative situation. I have also recently started up as a free lance filmmaker. I directed my first short film earlier this year.

How would you describe your music?

I find it hard to put a label on the music I do. It's been described in the past as Psychedelic Folk which I am happy to stick with. I like to think my music is dream-like and thought provoking. Most importantly I think its relaxing to listen to.

How long have you been a musician?

I've been a musician for ten years, but I've only really seen myself as a solo musician for two years.

What or who inspires your music?

I'm inspired by music, and often by things that I read when trying to think up lyrics. I take inspiration from Elliott Smith in the way that I record vocals, double tracking the vocals to build up layers of harmony. I love listening to reggae, folk, rock and hip hop.



Tell me a bit about Vague Dazy.

Vague Dazy had quite an aggressive sound; it was very firey but at the same time was quite melodic. Whenever we played a gig the songs came out noisy and violent, but when we recorded them they were soft and gentle. It was a really cheap source of fun.

What has been your favourite moment as a musician?

Playing in the Rotterdam bar in Belfast. It was the sort of place where a lot of like minded people would go. People went to listen to good rock music, and were all friends. It was a really fun time to be in a band.

What is your most recent project?

My debut solo album which was released 7 October 2013. I've got some friends that I want to work with in taking a new musical direction which is what I will hopefully work on next.

Where do you hope to go with your music?

When I first started making music I thought it would be great if someone liked one of my songs. Just to make an audience feel good or feel happy is my aim. So it is has been really rewarding to get a warm response from people who have listened to my recent work. I want to always make time for making music, it makes me happy.



For more information or to purchase the album please follow the links below;

Kiss the World Album:
http://mattburns.bandcamp.com/album/kiss-the-world

Find Matt Burns Music Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/mattburnsmusic?fref=ts




Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Featured Artist: Potato Mou.se



Tell me a bit about yourself.

Lyndz: I’m Lyndsay Hooper and I’m the designer of Potato Mou.se. I did a lot of design work at university, and spend my spare time hooping.

Josh: I’m Josh Stevens and I’m the developer at Potato Mou.se. I have a background in computer nerdery, and I write a lot of code for the websites.

What is Potato Mou.se?


Josh: We are a web design and development company and we specialise in creating responsive websites for small up and coming business. So the idea being we create the same sort of quality for businesses as you would get for a big company, so these days it’s getting more and more prominent to have a website that works on a desktop, a tablet and a phone, but we want to make it accessible to everyone to have that without any extra costs.

Why did you create the business?



Josh: I think we would fairly often come to each other for advice in our own specialist areas, I would go to Lyndz for design, she would come to me for code, it made sense to put our heads together .

Lyndz: As well, after university I sort of couldn’t see a job, if you look for design jobs now it’s difficult to find a job that seems suitable because all the applications say you need to know six or seven, sometimes even ten different creative programs and it’s quite off putting to jump straight into that environment and quite intimidating. We were getting asked quite to do websites , and I wouldn’t have been able to design and code, it just made sense to work with each other.

Josh: We’ve obviously got our specialist areas, and we can probably do 10-20% of the other person’s job, but not to the same standard.

Lyndz: It speeds the process up quite considerably.



What is it that draws you to this sort of business?

Lyndz: It’s a mix of things I think-

Josh: There’s a lot of bad design around.

Lyndz: Yes, (laughs) bad code yeah.

Josh: There’s a lot of new technology around and a lot of people don’t seem to understand the benefits of using this new technology.

Lyndz: It’s something that’s growing, I mean more and more businesses are going online, it’s a first port of call, for example with my dad, he says he’s seen a massive increase in his class because they’ve come through the website. It is
a business card. It’s not “Oh, have you got a contact number?”, it’s “have you got a website?”. As Josh said, there’s so much bad design out there, it’s infuriating. (laughs) And there’s such sloppy code on websites as well, it’s nice to have a bit of a change. The customer interaction as well is quite nice to help people realise what they want and how they want to project their business.

How did you come up with the name, ‘Potato Mou.se’?


Josh: We were trying to be quite clever, by incorporating the end part of the URL. So where you have ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’, we wanted to have something that would incorporate the business name as part of the website name. So because I was based in Sweden, we thought we could use something with either ‘.se’ or ‘.us’ or something like that, maybe a Swedish word. Originally we came up with the name of what I thought was ‘Mashed Potato’ in Swedish, which was ‘Potatis Mus’…errr which my girlfriend who is Swedish then told me meant ‘Potato Mouse’, but then we decided that that would be more of a fitting name.

Lyndz: It’s a bit more memorable as well.





What has the business brought you so far, and where has it taken you?

Lyndz: It’s a learning curve every day, so, how to use different programs, so within Photoshop I’ve taught myself a lot more, things about web design that I thought I knew, design processes.

Josh: I think that a lot of the stuff that I picked up from university, the majority of it doesn’t have much use in the real world. I mean we can apply some things. I studied computer science and there were all sorts of methodologies, ways of creating things, well that’s great but we haven’t put any of those into practice and I can’t think that we’d ever need to put those into practice. But on the flipside if I didn’t have a basic understanding of some of these tools I wouldn’t have been able to learn more about them and find why they’re good or why they’re bad.

Lyndz: I think it’s a working process as well. University has taught you to work within a set time period. At uni for us it was like 12 weeks for a project, this latest project with Potato Mouse we have to punch out in 2 or 3 weeks, which is a much shorter timescale. You sort of jump into the ‘business realm’ and it’s quite scary, like this morning we’ve been trying to sort out accounts and stuff, and how we are going to pay ourselves. It’s really
scary! But when you get to grips with it it’s like, “Oh my God, this is amazing! I’m doing it for myself.” It’s very liberating.

Josh: We sort of think that we’re doing our own specialised areas and this is going to be fantastic, then you have to think of oh, how are we going to get paid, how are we going to do tax?

Lyndz: There’s so much that you don’t think about in the beginning but it’s good, and I’m glad I’m doing it.

Are there any other projects that tie in with it?


Lyndz: Not so much, we’re trying to make this our main job really, we both do stuff on the side.

Josh: I think we’re both nerds in our own right, I mean personally for me my interest is computery and nerdy things so things I pick up from here and there come into-

Lyndz: he’s always got like a link to a new app or a program or something really cool that’s code based.

Josh: Yeah I mean, everything that is new and up and coming and I’m like “I wana use this”; but it’s waiting for the opportunity to use it.





Where do you hope to go with Potato Mou.se in the future?


Lyndz: AS BIG AS FACEBOOK. (Laughs) I said that the other day and was like “Oh God.” An office in Sweden and an office in London would be nice, with several employees.

Josh: I don’t think it’d be good to be a huge business, we’re obviously developing for quite a small market aren’t we, people with small businesses multi-medium, it’s not quite the same as developing software that’s used day to day; but we would like to be a name that is recognised, at least in some areas.

Lyndz: I’d like to be able to live off it, I’d like to go to work everyday and do this.

How did you meet and come up with the idea together?


Lyndz: We met on Facebook a long time ago, because there was an argument going on about Mac and PCs; and I think we both agreed that Mac was the superior machine. (Laughs) I’ve constantly badgered you on advice for coding, because I was trying to make my own websites. People locally were asking me to make websites and I was like “No.” because it took me like 6 months to code one website. Josh was like “Where are all these people coming from?!” (Laughs) So we decided to work together, and after Blockbusters went under it made sense and I had time.

Any unusual facts about yourselves?

Lyndz: I can touch my elbows together…party trick.

Josh: I’ve lived in three countries in the last two years and speak three languages.




And of course Potato Mou.se have their own brilliant website at the following address:

http://www.potatomou.se/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/PotatoMouseFlynn?fref=ts

Friday, 30 August 2013

Last Four: August

 So this was supposed to be a Last Four Post...but it is actually more like a Last Lot, as I have somewhat treated myself a little more this month. This is due to two reasons; 1. It's my birthday next month and I have asked my mom for money so that I could buy what I want  for myself, (e.g. clothes that I love for cheap on eBay), and 2. I've lost some weight; which means I'm feeling much better about myself, and I wouldn't mind wearing some new clothes to emphasise that :)
 Usually I get all my stuff as cheap as I can find them, off eBay or charity shops, but a couple of these things were from shops. So here they all are;


1. Smiley necklace; from Fresh Garbage in Belfast. This was £2 or £3. I used to have one identical to it years ago, which disappeared. It's weird how much stuff that I used to have that I seem to be buying again!
2. Sun necklace; from eBay. I think this was about £1 or £2, I just love the colours in the glass in the middle, and anything celestial I love.
3. Pressed flowers necklace and ring; from eBay. I think it was £3.20 or so for them together, which for pressed flower jewellery is dirt cheap. I've wanted a necklace and ring like this for ages. (The ring looks black here, but it is more like the necklace when there is more light on it).


4. Topshop Ladybird Short Onesie; from eBay. This is probably the best thing I have bought all year. I've wanted one for ages, as when I first saw one they'd actually just gone out of stock in all the stores, so I had a saved search for this product on my eBay app, (so worth having). It finally came up in a medium and I bagged this delight for £9. It's super comfy, cute and my boyfriend loves it too :)


5. The Perfect Leather Jacket; from H&M. This was £29.99, but I have been after the perfect leather jacket for ages, and this one really fits the bill, so totally justified. I also got this in Belfast.


6. Black Velvet Top; from a car boot sale. 50p! 50 bloody p! Who could say no? And it looks adorable with dungarees. Bargain. Will definitely be returning to this car boot more often.


7. Black Leather Boots; from eBay. £4. The more I look at these and wear them, the more I love them. I know they are such a typical and commonly found boot type, particularly in the 90s and early 2000s, but I can see why now- they are so comfy! For heels especially, it's nice to have that extra lift to my height and not have to complain.


8. Atmosphere Daisy Playsuit; from eBay. I got this for about £7; again, it was another one of those things I'd wanted for ages. I had seen a girl at Godiva rocking one, and as a daisy fanatic I had to find one for myself. As you can see in the picture it needs a good iron, but it's because I've already worn it so much :)


9. Topshop Maisie Burgundy Velvet T-Bar Shoes; from Topshop. Another one of those incidents where I only noticed them after they'd gone out of stock, but I kept checking back on the website now and again, and hey presto; they got them back in my size, so I made sure I snapped them up. These were a modest £28, which I don't think is bad at all for shoes from Topshop.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Moon Garden Jewellery


 Jewellery making has always been a hobby of mine, I love having something to wear that no one else will have, and being able to tailor a piece to suit my own personal style. I recently dove into my little drawers of beads, trinkets and chains and began putting together necklaces, badges and earrings. I just love to sit in the middle of a beautiful mess.

 A lot of the jewellery I make uses old toys and pendants, I really enjoy nostalgia, especially nostalgia of the 90s as this was the era that I grew up in, which luckily is very popular at the moment anyway, as I'm beginning to sell some of the jewellery. You can find what's currently for sale in my Etsy shop; Moon Garden Jewellery (click on the following link);

http://www.etsy.com/shop/MoonGardenJewellery

 I'm throwing myself headfirst into this jewellery making business, as it's something I love and want to produce more and more, and there will be a lot of different styles and pieces. I'm looking out for old toys I can use at car boot sales and charity shops, so if anyone has anything they are happy donate, get in touch!

 I've also began trying my hand at resin jewellery, I've only made one batch so far, which I will post about later. They turned out fairly well for a first go, but I'd be happy to hear any advice anyone has :)