What’s On Your Workdesk? ALL The Things!

It's been so hot here that I haven't ventured out to the stu-studio  much other than to use it as a dumping ground/cupboard. A slightly cooler day meant I had no excuse so I did a little tidying. This shelf unit has been done. (Really!) ... The rest of it.... wellllll....Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings: What's on your Workdesk Wednesday. Studio space.
Let's just say we are at the "it had to get worse before it gets better" phase.  That table under the window is hopefully going to be clear apart from my X-Cut Xpress which I use as a printing press.

That second table by the green shelves is not even my table - it's where my friend Andi works when she is over but I have kind of over spilled onto that too. Thank goodness she has been a bit busy and I have some time before she is back and using it.  
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings: What's on your Workdesk Wednesday. Studio space.
Yikes. I need to get organised. I am working on my Summer Project which is research towards my dissertation (don't ask, I'm still figuring it out!) and it's made me realise I want to lean more towards print and textiles so I kind of need some space to do that. But I really realllllly hate tidying. Ugh. 
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings: What's on your Workdesk Wednesday. Studio space.

If you'd like to see more creative desks and work spaces head on over to Stamping Ground for a full list of places to stop off at. 

Thanks for stopping by my messy place today.

Uni Year Two Round Up

(TL;DR: Year two was a blast, learnt so much about my work, influences, inspirations. Loving print, textiles and the uni in general. Don't want to leave! Waaah!)


Hello everyone, excuse me whilst I once again dust the cobwebs off of my little blog.

I am in my Summer break after finishing year 2 of my uni course. Illustration & Animation - just in case you are a new reader - though I laugh even typing the animation bit. I consider it an Illustration degree personally, I try with the animation but my God - the software and I just really don't get on. It was the closest course to home at my time of looking. Had I been young, childless and carefree I would have looked further afield. But you know what? I love my uni, the facilities available and I love my experience so far, having spoken to other people at other uni's I'm so glad that I ended up where I am.

I get asked what I'm doing a lot and when I say illustration people instantly ask if I'm illustrating books. I don't always know how to answer as I don't like the art labels and consider myself, like a lot of us, cross over into all the sectors. A pinch of Fine Art, a dash of  Illustration and Design - put it all together and you have a really freeing experimental approach to this brilliant past time... if I have to call myself anything then I prefer "Maker."

So, am I doing books? No. Not yet - maybe one day in the distant future that would be brilliant but right now it's not on my radar. This whole experience has been quite the revelation to me. I thought I was going to take advantage of the uni's facilities, get a better skill set, hopefully learn a good work ethic to start selling at the end. Having started to have babies very young I've never had a career and it's something I'm jealous of in other people of my age if I'm honest. The bubbies are growing fast and starting out on their own paths and I also wanted to show them that it's never to late. I've wanted to do this since I was at school myself.
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings Blog: Hand Cut Paper Cut Graveyard Shadow Box (with added zombie!)
Hand Cut (Oh, the blisters!) Paper Graveyard Shadow Box
It's not been like I thought it would be at all - for a start, I thought I would flit from project to project doing something different each time. In fact - apart from a blip in year one when I had a kind of break down I have actually been on more or less the same subjects. I have really focused in on what my inspirations are. Death and nature and all the sub topics that they throw up - I know that wont be a surprise to a lot of you but strangely it was to me. Nearly every project I've done in the past can be traced back to those origins. Once I realised that then all my projects just seemed to feed into each other. Last year I was really interested in alternative burial methods, starting off because of over crowding but then looking at more natural, eco-friendly options. Then the Summer Project last year  and the first unit of this year had us looking at sustainability which made me realise how my own practice was quite sustainable already but could be more so. Also - so many of my favourite artists reuse, recycle and use sustainable methods which again, I didn't realise until I started putting them together in a journal. Must be some sub-conscious thing.

I held onto this theme through the rest of the year, I think it has had the biggest influence on my thinking. That and my tutor making me realise that you don't have to get really skilled in that one thing. That it is perfectly OK for your style to be experimental in ALL the things. Once I realised that it kind of  felt like I had finally found what I do - even though so many of you had told me over the years that you liked to see me chucking stuff at the paper it didn't click that that was something you could be known for if that makes sense?

This year I have been really drawn into eco-printing and cyanotype and am loving textiles. I have been investigating my local area and looking at using where I live as inspiration, using the land as my medium or canvas and just generally digging in to what interests me. I have become very aware that I need alone time for my own mental health and that being in nature for that alone time is the best medicine. And also the best food for inspiration. Really - how could you know you would get all this from an art course? I certainly didn't. I am starting to have a self confidence in myself and I am starting to not listen to that monster on my shoulder that likes to compare what I do with everyone else on my course (and find me wanting.) I am learning to flick that monster away more and more - we are all there for different reasons, at different stages in our life and we all have different aims, dreams and ambitions. I'm starting to see mine could be a reality now if I just keep working hard.
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings Blog: Hand ewing, Free Motion Embroidery on Eco Print & Tea Toned Cyanotype.
Hand Sewing & Free Motion Embroidery on Eco Print & Tea Toned Cyanotype
Revelations so far from this Summer? I love print. So although I am still going to be experimental it's in that area that I am going to focus in on - all the different ways to print and use on textiles and to make soft sculptures... Oh and I've bought a Dremel! Wood carving baby! Oh YEAH!
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings blog: Wood Carving & Pyrography Monster - Blue October Lyrics
Carved wood (On big uni saw) and pyrography monster - Blue October lyrics
I've said this before but I mean it this time - I'm getting organised and I'm going to blog more - time blocking is my friend. Hopefully, year three will see me update more regularly... dissertation here I come!

I would just like to say, as a mature student, if this is something you've considered doing... I wholeheartedly recommend it. I love my course, I love my uni - use the tutors, use the facilities. Not going to lie - The workload is HARD, there is a huge push for you to "take charge of your own education" which, once you realise what that means is actually quite freeing. I've been teaching myself the textiles, eco-printing and cyanotype (after an initial cyanotype workshop last year) but you are encouraged to use the tutors, technicians and facilities - go in on the non studio days, attend talks and workshops - just really make the most of what you are paying for. I swear my two tutors must have got so sick of my constant emails and the photography technician has been an absolute star for what must seem like really obvious questions. One of the TA's even gave up her own time to give myself and a couple of others a rundown on a workshop we'd missed due to train delays. (Sinead - UCA needs to hire you full time!)  But they do it and it's all part of you working out what information you need for what you want to get out of the course.

The house will just go to pot even more than it already did. You will disappear off the radar to nearly everybody. BUT... Surround yourself in support. I really, really couldn't have done this without my family first and foremost - Craig and Phoebe in particular for working out between them when they could cover me so I could stay for full days this year and that has made such a difference - my grades went up from C's last year to A's this year. My lovely friends who, when I come online and whinge what a fraud I am for being there have given me the virtual slaps I've needed to get back on track. I have never been so stressed, tired, inspired and happy all at the same time. I'm so, so sad that this is going to be my final year. I've made good friends and learnt so much - not just about art. Yes - I recommend it.
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings Blog: Cyanotype Accordion Book
Cyanotype Accordion Book
If you made it this far - thanks so much for sticking around. What have you been up to this year?

Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings Blog: Eco Printed Business Cards
Eco Printed Business Cards


WOYWW - What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday 496

TL;DR: Short version if you just want to scroll the piccies - Cyanotype experiments at home on a cloudy day & also using my lightbox. Oh, and a bath full of beachy treasure.

Hello everyone - I'm late posting but decided to play anyway. I've been experimenting with cyanotype at home - not the best results because ever since I took delivery of the solutions it's been nothing but cloudy days!

All the tutorials I watched talked about contact printing frames - I googled them. They are really expensive. So in this first picture I have compromised with just a normal photo frame and some craft foam in the back to cushion everything then just laid it on my shed roof.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Experiments with Cyanotype on a Cloudy Day
This next one wouldn't fit in my frame and I'm glad I took that second picture because when I washed all the chemicals off it washed the image away too! Totally white page! That's what I was left with! Couldn't believe it! 
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Experiments with Cyanotype on a Cloudy Day
Next is my set up in the living room, using my light box on it's highest setting and weighting everything down with whatever was to hand - so professional! Did work - had to leave stuff in there for a couple of hours but did work.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Experiments with Cyanotype Using a Light Box
So at the moment I am having most success at uni - with their ginormous light box that has a suction lid to hold everything to the light. I think when the sun comes back I will have much more success at home. I love cyanotype and wanted to make sure I could do it at home - I didn't want to fall in love with a technique and then not be able to do it when I leave uni. So I shall keep experimenting.

These next ones are what I did at uni - I'm doing a project about swamp monsters/mermaids. Trying to get an underwater feel. 
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Experiments with Cyanotype
These ones are experimenting with cyanotyping over acrylic paint - I really like the effect. - Julia do you recognise the base of the first two? It's one of the calendar pages from that years ago workshop cut in half. How's that for hoarding and recycling?
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Experiments with Cyanotype and Acrylic Paint
And here is the view of my bath. I've been beach combing to find treasures my swampie might have collected. The kids have given up asking what is going on now :)
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Beach Combed Treasures in the Bath Tub
So that's what's going on in my work areas at home this week - if you'd like to see other work spaces in action why not follow me over to Julia's where you'll find a list to nosy through - maybe even join in yourself.
Thanks for stopping by today :)

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW 493

Late post but I remembered! I mean to play along every week and then it's Friday and I realise it's whizzed past. Today I took a picture and am determined to post it.

Hello fellow desk hoppers - here's my desk out in the workshop today. I had actually made a halfhearted attempt to tidy it a bit before the piccy but - it was a futile exercise! If you could see my house. I'm shaking my head as I type this - the desk pretty much represents it.
Whoopidodooings: Carmen Wing - WOYWW What's On My Workdesk Wednesday
I dusted off the meltpot this week - I don't think I have used it in years. I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace in October (which was AMAZING!) and one of the artists, Jenny O'Leary, had loads of gorgeous tissue paper examples in her sketchbook that had involved bleach with wax resists so I just had to have a play. Don't think I did it quite right but had fun trying and my attempts have filled a few pages in my uni journal - I am going to have a go at finding images within those images later.

I am going to keep this short so I can hop around a few of the desks over at Stamping Ground. A quick question though. I know I have a few very loyal people that still keep up with my very sporadic posts (thank you, thank you, thank you) and I have a question. I have started blogging my uni work over at the other blog. The tutors said we could blog our reflections which was a godsend for me as I am awful at the writing part of my journal - I just stick in the pictures and expect them to read my mind. Apparently they can't do that. So to up my marks on that side of things I am waffling away over there but don't want them to have to sift through everything else and that's why it's separated from here.  My question is - I get people asking what I'm up to so would people like me to double post here or would you like a link to there or just post here as and when I have time? If you are interested its: Carmenwing.blogspot.co.uk  The writing is a bit (not much) more formal than I do here. My latest project is to write, illustrate and publish a book in 9 weeks. Arg.

Thanks for stopping by today :)

Authorial Narrative - Week Two Thoughts

Week two has probably been one of my most enjoyed weeks at uni so far. I have come home exhausted every day but feeling like I have done so much work and taken in so much.

The week started with two animation lessons on Monday - the first in the morning with a Tim Webb workshop that made us think about our narrative. I was really worried about this as don't really have my narrative yet but we were encouraged to work with whatever was in our heads at the time. 

We then wrote that narrative from a variety of different perspectives and this was really helpful actually in making me think a bit deeper about what I want to do. the narratives all got handed in and shuffled and handed out again so that we had someone elses and then we had to storyboard what we thought it was about. This was a really interesting way in seeing how other people interpret what you write and also how you work with other peoples work. 

I was quite surprised to get my interpretation back - it was Katy G. who did mine and after asking if I was OK, which was really funny and sweet (my narrative, surprise, surprise was about death - a children's book on that subject still at the front of my mind) she talked me through her storyboard. It was an eye opener to see that she had interpreted my words into being about a teenager who was plugged in to their gadget and felt very alone and isolated from the world. She could almost have been describing my daughter who is never without her music. I was quite taken aback but loved what she described - the teenager all grey while the world around her was all colourful. A really helpful exercise in seeing things from different viewpoints.

In the afternoon session with Andy we did more story boards and spoke about how they are an essential tool for not only animators but illustrators too. We story boarded the Pixar short 'The Birds' and again, it makes you look more closely at the film. How shots are set up to describe location, size, perspective, narrative, emotion - even in a non-speaking film. 

On Thursday - I just knew it was going to be a good day when John started the day by talking about two of my favourite illustrators - Dave McKean and Oliver Jeffers. We watched the Oliver Jeffers short video. 
I've actually just had his new art book arrive - oh it's beautiful. Hefty - you could do some damage with it! I might do a review on it at some point.

We then analysed a couple of animations and were told this is how we should be analysing art works - so I know now that I haven't been doing it properly - not nearly in depth enough. I will try and do the future ones using the template questions from that exercise.

We then got into groups and took head shots  of each other doing different expressions or actions to build ourselves a reference library. Then came back to the studio and spent some time doing portraits using these head shots. First an exercise in charcoal and then more loosely in ink.

I Usually Hate Charcoal

I can never get it to do what I want and then I never now how to properly seal it without wrecking it. But using the jumping off point tips that John demoed, dare I say it, I'm really pleased with how this turned out. I rarely try and draw realistic but Sophie M. - who I was drawing, knew straight away that this was her. I'm going to practice some more with this - blocking in and pushing back, erasing to get the right shades and tones - really enjoyed it and am really pleased with the outcome too.
Carmen Wing: Charcoal portrait

We all put our portraits up on the wall and they looked so good together as a group. It was really good seeing everyone's work all together. This is also a milestone moment as it is the first time I haven't been embarrassed to have my work on the wall with everyone else. I don't know if that means I am getting better or just a little more confident maybe.
Carmen Wing - Uni Studio - Everyones Charcoal portraits on display
Carmen Wing - Uni Studio - Everyones Charcoal portraits on display
I really love how the image I did and the image next to it seem to be sharing a knowing look!
Carmen Wing - Uni Studio - Everyones Charcoal portraits on display

This post has got really long so I am going to do a separate one for Friday when we did the one-to-one tutorials. But just this couple of days has felt really good. It's given me a jump start on this project and my mind is all over the place with ideas at the moment - I just need to remember to document them. I keep forgetting the tutors can't see in my head!