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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Romsey Art Festival 2013: Light Up Your Dreams

This month the first ever Romsey Art Festival (rendered by Cambridge Art Salon) took place in Cambridge. The overall concept and aim of the festival was to celebrate and enhance the theme of community, through the use of art, in the area of Romsey. All types of creatives were invited to participate to showcase their work and ideas through the use of workshops, art markets, open studios, exhibitions and performances for the public to enjoy and get involved in.

You don't have to consider yourself as 'an artist' to benefit from art is a strong belief of mine. You just have to be willing to jump in, have a go, and you will sure to get something out of your efforts. People don't need to get hung up on thinking, "What if the end result is rubbish? What if I look a idiot?" Well my response to this is: Who cares? What have you got to loose by giving something a try? 

From previous experience and installations I have created I have found that people respond very well to illuminated objects. Taking the art out of the conventional gallery space, lighting and constraints and turning things around and thinking outside the box.

Previous Faith and Belief installation from earlier this year

The Romsey Art Festival kicked off on 3rd August at Hope Street Yard with an Artist Market put together by the Cambridge duo, LittleBigs, live painting, face painting, a DJ, music from Stumble Col (who make all their guitars from cigar boxes!) and artist led workshops. The workshops were free and suitable for all ages.

I held my own workshop called "Light Up Your Dreams", where everyone was invited to come along and make a simple lantern using 12 strips of patterned paper, which I had collected from various places (including wallpaper samples and some beautiful marbled off cuts courtesy of, Romsey based artist, Manuela Hübner) and cut in to strips previously.

Getting involved at the lantern making workshop
Throughout the day people from all walks of life were coming to make lanterns. I was astounded and surprised at how many people wanted to have a go and, by the end of the day, was running out of space on the supports of the umbrella, over the table, to hang them up on! Through running the workshop I learned a great deal of things which I can now apply to another one, should the opportunity present itself, and also got the chance to meet and speak to so many different and interesting people!

Each person followed the same template to make a lantern but were then invited to add their own creative twist to finish it off by personalizing their creation with a tag that they could cut themselves and attach to the bottom. The tag could be any shape and any colour, the maker then had to use the materials available to write a hope, dream or wish on to it. Some people used many colours, some cut unusual shapes and some communicated their message with an image.

Here are some lovely pictures from my magical lantern making workshop: 'Light up Your Dreams'. I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came along and made a lantern! You guys were brilliant, and I loved seeing all the different creative ideas emerging from each person's head! I would also like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped out in one way or another! Team work! 

The participants of the workshop were told that their lanterns would be used in the 'Light Up Your Dreams' installation that could be seen as part of the closing party to celebrate the end of the Festival on August 17th at a SHINDIG event at St Phillip's Church on Mill Road, Cambridge. At this event there was live music from, the extremely talented, Gaze is Ghost and Toby Peters, some interpretive dance, a few films of the events of the festival, made specifically for this event, reinforcing and highlighting the theme of the festival: community. People were welcomed in to the main hall at a little table, where they were surrounded by the flags from the 'Faith and Belief' series. The show was illuminated by the lanterns made by the people of Romsey and their hopes and dreams, which hung proudly, on either side of the church hall, on the lanterns. 

The finale was both moving and emotional. The effort put in to the festival by everyone involved was evident and, I believe, it was only possible through pure passion and belief, which was clear to see at the gig last night. What a great evening and what a great event to be a part of!

The entrance lobby

Romsey, thank you! You rock!

Monday, 5 August 2013

MAMFAMA Show, Cambridge School of Art and Life Beyond MA Printmaking...

This stage last year I was having a panic about what I was going to be doing at this point this year. I clearly remember entering the Print Room and blurting out how scared I was and how was I ever going to get a job that was anything to do with, or even vaguely related to, the Arts?! I also clearly remember being told to shut up, and that I was ruining the ambiance of the Print Room, by our Technician, John. He told me to calm down and just concentrate on what I was doing and take one step at a time, otherwise I would end up messing everything up. This advice was firm but fair and some of the best advice I have ever been given.

It didn't feel like it at the time, but he was right. Now our final hand-in has passed, I have come out the other side of Cambridge School of Art with a Masters in Printmaking and am perched on the first stepping stone to the rest of my career: A job as an Art Technician. I'm not going to lie, I am absolutely elated, I though it would never happen.

Contrary to what some may think, this job did not come easily. Throughout my time at Anglia Ruskin University, I applied for many jobs in the arts, often spending days filling out difficult and monotonous application forms for anything vaguely related to the Arts. The majority of the jobs I applied for (actually, all of them) didn't even select me for interview. Some offered a healthy salary, others, minimum wage. I felt as though I was fighting a losing battle.

I think its extremely important to keep a positive attitude and not to let rejection defeat you or else you will never get anywhere. It's difficult, but, it's life. If you didn't get the job, it wasn't meant to be, keep your head up and most importantly, stay engaged. Go to every event you can, speak to the right people, volunteer, go on holiday; research doesn't have to be boring. Enjoy yourself. From past experiences, I have learned that if you're not having a good time, you're probably in the wrong field. But take what you can from the experience and use it to get to where you want to be.

Our final MA show is due to open at Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University on 28th August until 12th September. 

The show will be open to the public from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4:30pm and is completely FREE! 

The Private View will take place on 5th September from 5-7pm so put it in your diary! Through this course I have learned so much and met some fantastic people, so come along and celebrate with us and grab yourself a glass of bubbly while you're at it! Oh, did I mention that the Master of Arts: Printmaking will be showing off a fabulous display of their artwork, in conjunction with the Masters of Fine Art class of 2013? I very much look forward to seeing you there!