Thursday, 30 October 2008

Place making lines,words pictures and sound

Interesting lecture on at art collage
Thurs 7th Nov time 6-6.30
admission £5

Does the convergence of architecture and communication media create a new genre? What is the role of a narritive in creating environments that work?
Its part of design week.

also 50 rings at Space craft, fountain centre, fountain street belfast-preview 30th Oct-tonight 6.30-8.30

50 different ring designs from around the UK

Last night in belfast

Last night in Belfast there were a few people in fancy dress they looked a wee bit cold. Looking for hyperthermia. I remember reading somewhere that there has been an increase in young people getting hyperthermia because they keep going out with no coats on and they are too used to central heating . I was in the spegiel tent last night listening to a fantastic band called the crooked jades. There were not to many people in the audience but the band were fantastic. the loos were outside and one lady sitting at out table was complaining about it. I kinda liked getting the night air. I mean have we all become a bit weak?? I grew up in a house with no central heating just the fire and a good hot water bottle. When we moved to a house with coal fired central heating we thought it was heaven but claustraphobic.

I still feel that way about central heating, I like it feeling a bit fresh and putting on a jumper. But have you noticed there are not many jumpers around ? Nothing like a good wooly jumper. I have a degree in textiles and fashion, I specialised in knit and have always know the benifit of a good wooly jumper. I felt that I needed a new one and went out in the shops to have a look but there are very few around. They are all wee thin things in one shop I even heard a women asking the same question , I'm looking for a jumper ? what do you have and there just was not what she wanted and has'nt it got cold? is'nt heating expensive. I wonder if there has been an increase in the sale of hot water bottles???? Bring back hot water bottles.

The plantes must have aligned because I got a good nights sleep

quote of the day

To be upset over what you dont have... is to waste what you do have.
Ken keyes Jr
handbook to a higher conciousness

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Who invented it and what is it for?? a kind of release valve. I recieved all my frames this morning then they got picked up and are heading to Clotworthy as we speak, nearly all of them. There is always a missing link, I can see what someone said to be about being around artists when an exhibition is coming up.

Its a wee bit stressful to say the least, however my invites finally got sent out and I've been getting some interesting relpys. Such as I never knew you did Art - what does that mean exactly?? do art?? What is creativity anyway??? explanation required, answers on a postcard please.

Speaking of postcards all the ones at the Naughton gallery got sold off at the weekend and now they are onto Community Alphabets. The queens festival is still on somewhere?? anyone been to anything? What I have noticed is that there are very few people out having lunch at the moment, there has been a tightening of belts for a bit, Please are starting to rationalise their spending habits.

But there has never been a better time to spend on Art, honest. Everything else is going down in value but at least we still have that warm fuzzy feeling you get when buying art................honestly and it's not just because I have an exhibition coming up.

So onward with the list of things to do before the weekend. I'm making a folder for my Chinese prints and it needs to be beautiful so it has a bit to go yet but I have all the elements.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

China and Strangford lough what's the connection?

When I was getting my paintings and prints together I was trying to get what the connection is among them, I've some on Strangford lough,Barcelona,France,Belfast and China. I kept looking and trying to think what is the connection? But then I realised I'm the connection. they are all parts of my life. I grew up admiring Strangford lough and so I feel a deep connection with the place. I go to France very year to visit my in laws, Barcelona was the first city I went to as an Adult when at Art Collage and go back every year and then Belfast is where I live and work.

But they are all connected in other ways, it's globalisation and as I opened my window this morning and watched the unseasonal of the snow that was falling I could not help but think that maybe its started again. What do I mean? Well we insist of cheap goods, so labour costs have to go to countries with little labour control and cheap labour . Like China as a result they build factories, forget about pollution as an issue and ship goods over to the West resulting in more pollution that increases green house gases changing the weather patterns . Like Snow in October in Belfast , but its ok because you bought your £1.50 television bag so that's what is important and you can pile up the cheap gadgets in your house because you like status and that's what these gadgets mean to you.

So if this all continues what will happen to Strangford Lough? It's very low lying. The sea level changed before there but it dropped. What if it increases? Will there is anything left? but a few islands? Just as well a lot of people still know how to sail as it might be the only way out.

I remember an Americian Comedian in the Blame game TV show recording, I'm sure what he said never got on TV. But he was making a joke about Donald Trump who was in the news at the time about wanting to buy land around Ballymena to build a golf course. The comedian said the real reason he wanted the land was that with sea levels rising the golf course was going to turn into prime waterside real estate because it would be the only place left in Northern Ireland. I remember my husband and I laughing and everyone else was really quiet. It was like they had never thought about climate change before.

If you have'nt try watching Al Gores DVD on what will happen if the gulf stream stops flowing it's warm water past Ireland - it all freezes over. Quite scary really ands would we be able to still plant potatoes???????

So do you still think there is no connection between Strangford Lough and China.?

Monday, 27 October 2008

Did you sleep alright last night?

Erratic sleep was had by lots of people last night, particularly women. I thought it was just me but then they were talking about it on the radio and lots of people were phoning up saying they got no sleep.

There must be some serious planetary activity going on. Anyway on to the quote of the day :

" people who feel they have to do things usually forfeit many available options and alternatives and lose control of their lives in the process."

Denis Waitley

Sunday, 26 October 2008

What's in a hug?

I come from a family of huggers, we have always hugged on meeting each other it's a way to make a connection with another human being. You should get at least 3 hugs a day or give them. Because it's important to make contact with people.Humans were not meant to be on their own hugless. It does'nt mean you want anything other than a hug. It's just there to make a connection for comfort.

On Friday evening I went to the launch of NIWC archive at the Linenhall Libary. Yes that's the Northern Ireland Womens Co-alition . Did you know they wrote the good Friday agreement?? I'm not sure if you realise that I stood for election in the Peace talks? Google it and you will see. I stood in Down with 2 other candidates. How did it come about? Well I was working in Townend enterprise centre at the time and a wonderful women called Shiela Fairon who was working on a project the time came into my office and said. Come with me there is something interesting happening. We went down to the Ulster people Collage and met with Bronagh Hinds- currently head of policy at Queens ,then she worked for UPS. She said how they had sat down and tried to work out if any women would be at the Peace talks and realised there would not be so they figured out if a women only party was started it might make the other partys take women candidates more seriously. I remember thinking these women are amazing I have to join in as they seem like they are going to be interesting.

I have to say it was, me and the other 2 candidates got 400 odd votes and the system was such all votes were collected across NI and NIWC got their top 2 women into the Peace talks and they were the only women there. At the launch they talked about how each night they would sit down to their homework and bring in ideas the next day. They were the only party that did.The only women only party in the world at the time.

What really struck me at the launch was that here were all these amazing women who were now doing amazing things in different parts of NI society , the Human Rights Commission, the childrens commissioner was a NIWC idea etc ,etc, etc. What the whole NIWC experience taught me was it's important to participate, don't be afraid of politicians they are human, they need to know your ideas as how else will they find out what people really want.

So you can see the collection at the Linen Hall Libary political collection.No matter what people think about politics in NI it is important to participate. In no matter what shape or form because without participating it just the s*** old s***. If in doubt have a look at and see what is going on ? are you happy about it? did you vote??

Contemporary dance in Belfast info

The Crescent Arts Centre presents
A Gala Evening of Contemporary Dance and Classical Ballet
Waterfront Studio
at 8 pm Monday 17 November 2008
Tickets: £15 from Crescent Arts Centre Box Office 028 9024 2338 and Waterfront Box Office 028 9033 4455
Due to relocation during refurbishment the Crescent Arts Centre’s 14th annual dance festival, CityDance08, has this year moved from midsummer at Lower Crescent Park to autumn at the Waterfront Studio. We are delighted to present audiences with this opportunity to enjoy a gala evening of specially choreographed contemporary dance and classical ballet performances. Performances will include Crescent Second Chance Ballet, Crescent Contemporary Dance, Belfast Ballet Club, Maiden Voyage Dance Company, Company Maine, Orbit Dance Company, Craic Theatre, Crescent Urban Classicism, Belfast Met Modern Dance and our famous Grand Dancing Dame Jennifer Jordan and family.
This is a fundraising event for the Crescent refurbishment project. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards dance facilities in the newly refurbished Centre.

Funny and interesting comments afterwards.

Art media and contested spaces

Interesting things happening in Belfast 4 November 5.30-7 pm art media and contested spaces at the old museum art centre 7 colleage square North Belfast.

e mail or phone 02890267323 to reserve a space.

other info on about the large scale public art project situated across 36 Belfast City Centre locations and on

28 October there are Community Alphabets a collaboration with artists and community groups in association with the Equality Commission for NI at Naughton gallery opening

Tuesday 28th October 6-8pm.

I was thinking you would not half know it was Autumn as I think its the most blogg inputs I have every had in a month.

quote of the day

You will have wonderful surges forward. Then there must be a time of consolidating before the next forward surge.

Accept this as part of the process and never become downhearted.

Eileen Caddy

I thought that it was about time we had some quotes for women. I get my quotes from a book called begin it now, a guide for the advanced soul by Susan Hayward. Soul, now there is a word I'm not going to discuss it now but there are things I found that I need to do that make me feel good inside. I often do a wee check in wth myself and score myself out of 10. The check in is how do you feel in Mind? in Body and in Spirit? then depending on my score I would work on the lowest number first, just to try and get some sort of balance. That way you can stop actions that are making you unbalanced before they get out of hand.

So mind I'm feeling about 6 today, I'm tired and a bit erratic, Body feels 8- just need more sleep. Spirit feels around 8 as well. I did a bit of gardening and that always helps reconnect back to yourself.

Have you ever read the book Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore? he was a Catholic monk for twelve years and later became a psychotherapist, with degrees in theology, musicology and religion. He now lectures extensively throughout the world. There is a great bit in his book about something that he calls modernist syndrome which urges people to buy the latest electronic gear and to plugged in to news, entertainment, and up to the minute weather reports. But still feel disconnected to ourselves. A sickness called soul malady, just not looking after what is going on inside. So what helps? quiet, reflection,starting a diary and keep writing in it every day. Tracking you inner life

Thursday, 23 October 2008

It's a bit windy today

The gales are apon us, the unsettled season is here. Time to sit in front of the fire and have a wiskey. If you can afford the fire never mind the wiskey

It's a time to get a cold a cough and splutter. Someone told me it was important to do this as all the toxins in your body have to get out somehow. About 5 years ago I switched to eating only organic veg and fruit . If meat is eaten Its organic and very few additives. I do have the odd splurge every now and then say at Christmas but generally I've kept to it. The immediate result I found was that I have less colds. I used to get one every winter and every Spring for about a week lying in bed . Now it catches me the odd time and only for a few days and I'm never bed ridden.

I remember reading about corpses, that an undertaker noticed that over the last 10-15 years the corpses are lasting longer because of all the additives in the food that people eat. So I'm aiming to be an organic corpse;-) But not for quite some time yet.

As for the selection of veg Helens bay Organic deliver a bag every week. You never know what you are getting but it's seasonal so you eat seasonally. Sometimes you just dread when its turnip time again but its amazing what you can do with a turnip.Honest, it makes you get the cook books out. It also makes you concious of all the tasteless fruit on sale flown in from wherever . How's that improving your carbon foot print???whats it all going to the earth? how will NI suffer because of it?

quote of the day

The truth is that all of us attain the greatest success and happiness possible in this life whenever we use our native capacities to their greatest extent.

Dr Smiley Blanton

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


Today I was doing some workshops up in North Belfast , it was exhausting but a lot of fun. In one room where I was working there was a sign that said "Making change is not easy , ...........................................otherwise everyone would do it" and that sort of summed it up for me really we all want things to change for the better in NI but it's not easy.

Particularly when people slag you off because they do not understand what you are trying to do. Ho hum. Life goes on.The wheels keep turning.

Thursday night it's revisioning Australia down at BPW the artist in residence from Australia will be giving a talk................should be interesting

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

quote of the day

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

Walter Bagehot

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Naughton gallery sale

Last week I went to the opening of the naughton gallery secret sale. Next weekend is the beginning of the sale. you can take a look at participating artists on their website. I have some in it and recognise quite a few of the artists work it's interesting to take a look. I like what Ivan Frew is doing and Veronica Wallis. Change always brings about different artistic expression, which always makes life interesting...........dont you think?

There is also a postcard about Terry Bradley about him not by him. Interesting.

quote of the day

Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then throwing them back merely that they might earn wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.

Henry d Thoreau

Sounds a wee bit like some jobs in the civil service to me ?????????????????????? ho hum notice how he says men ......the women dont get a look in.

quote of the day

I found this again it refers to a previous blog ranting.

When people say to me: how do you do so many things? I often anwser them without meaning to be cruel: : how do you do so little?

It seems to me that people have vast potential.Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people dont. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.

Philip Adams

Friday, 17 October 2008

BELLY telly

What a newspaper. Its the Queens festival starting and I can bet you that in the 24 seven part of the belly telly on the front page there will be a film advertised. WISE UP. Last year they started a campaign to save the festival, yet during the festival itself the coverage was extremely poor and it was filled with advertisements for holywood films.
A friend of mine over in London a who works in media. When he saw the Belly telly he asked if it was a free newspaper because there was so much advertising in it and so little coverage of anything really. The answer is no, we still pay for it in dear old NI because we are used to be taken advantage of by the banks by the newspapers by everyone. They just suck out the money from our pockets and feed us cr**.

Ho hum is the world still turning?

Duslexia, dyslexia, dis oh what ever

I've never been tested for it but I know I have it. As you can see from my last title. In my head when I wrote it, it said something completely different. Oh hum. Some people see it as a disadvantage but I see it as an advantage. Dyslexic people see things differently -we make good architects and entrepreneurs simply because we see things differently and don't you think that in dear old NI what might be required is thinking a little differently?? Never mind the world on a global scale I mean what is going on ?? It's a global melt down of capitalism as we know it??

Nationalising the Banks ?? wow now there is a good old socialist concept that is actually happening now . Wow. Is NI going to be saved because of the billions of pounds the Strategic Investment Board are putting in place as infrastructure projects.There there is the good old civil service keeping everyone afloat. I do feel there is great change in the air you can smell it, touch it feel it.It's all around so are you going to be part of it??

How? I've been thinking and trying to act on instincts for quite a while now. The way we live is not sustainable everything we buy or do has an impact on someone somewhere in another part of the world. The next generation after us is going to have to deal with huge issues, climate change, food shortages,lack of pension provision. Thousands of difficult issues are going to effect the next generation.What are we leaving them behind?? I do not have any children but I have enough nieces and nephews to be concerned and on a wider scale to be concerned about humanity as a whole. Mary Robinson is speaking today to talk about a bill of rights for NI. I met her once down in the Odyssey. I cant remember what it was about . Inez McCormick lined every one up to shake her hand. I do remember she had a very cold hand. You could really feel her skeleton when you shoke her hand. She said she was recovering from a cold. Amazing women and it's amazing what she has achieved in her lifetime.

What are you going to achieve in yours?? the average age women live to is around 86 at the moment for men it's less. But interestingly as women take on more "tradationally male" roles they are getting the same types of diseases. Dis-ease something not to feel ease about.

Personally I think its because society has been set up not to take into consideration humanity as a living organism. I went to a lecture once by an economist called Tony Weaks or maybe weeks. A very inspiring economist. He was bemoning the fact that economics traditionally does not take into consideration green issues or the issue of how certain jobs do not take into consideration different individuals natural talents and how if you put a fine artist in a call centre.It may not be the best use of their talent and there would be a great lose to the overall economy by forcing them down this route. Which makes me think about what is it about art collage ( a good art collage) what does it do to individuals?? Is it any use??

Why do people do it? should more or less do it? are they just trying to make up the numbers?? are less people going through them now that you have to pay your way? Does the bank of mum and dad stretch that far? What if you do not have a bank of mum and dad?

Oh the ramblings a creative mind. For me personally what art collage did for me was it gave me time and encouragement for me to become myself just a little bit more. It made me question everything and helped me absorb so many diferent influences . Helped me a little longer along the way to finding my creative self . Some of the beauty of it was that it did this is a gentle way in that you almost felt that it was'nt being at art college that did it. But it really set another foundation stone to me becoming my personal self.

The difficulty in this day and age is that does society really want "personal self" people. It needs them but does it want them? Especially in dear old NI .Put your head above the crowd and someone will come to chop it off and push you down to size? How dare you get ideas above your station? Lets all wallow in the mud together . I'm in charge how dare you actually improve your position in society. You can hear them say...............................................who ever them is.

The first time this happened to me I was wary. Then one day someone said to me " if the establishment is not happy with what your doing it's because your on to something" Keep it up.

So the next time you want to drag someone down or tell them it will never work. Why not encourage them instead. Watch them soar.

Anyway enough of this rant. I've got a bit of a cold in my throat and staying low in order to get rid of it. I got my first framed pictures back last night and they look fantastic. Even if i SAY SO MYSELF. I went to the naughton gallery opening and remember there is the secret sale of at work from 5 tonight. It's quite easy to spot the artists work. I see quite a bit of BPW artist work in there. and dont forget about the art tour bus tomorrow and what about the Maze. You will be amazed.

Bye for now................remember the world is still turning but for how long.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Autumn is apon up

Here we are in Autumn the leave are turning the crispness is in the air as you reach for that extra layer , dust off your jumpers and think about Christmas. Ah got you there it is going to get Christmas but not yet. Not nearly yet.

So how do you feel today? I'm feeling good my last Chinese print is taking shape although I have to see if it has further to go. I think perhaps it has a bit more work to be done on it. I was going to call it The future belongs to Asia, but what with yesterdays stock market crash. I'm not so sure. Still we shall see whats going on . Seasons are important they remind us of the different cycles of life and cycles of the earth. We are only here for a short time really we have to make the best out of it and why not help others do the same because after all we are all in this together.

Funny how stock market crashes go I was reading in the paper on Monday that Sinn Fein have lost alot of money on the NY stock exchange . It's all swings and round abouts really.

So what are you doing tonight? don't forget about deconstructing the Maze it's another step in "the process of normalisation in NI".

Bye for now.

Thursday quote

Set your sights high, the higher the better.
Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future but right now.

Realise that nothing is too good.
Allow absolutely nothing to hamper you or hold you up in any way.

Eileen Caddy
Footprints on the Path

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

what are you doing on Thursday this week??

As usual there are many things on but two of the most interesting is are having the opening of their exhibition, Postcard from an unknown artist a secret sale of donated artworks to fund a future exhibition by an emerging artist. You cannot buy any works until Friday 24 Oct at 5-9pm all work £50 then on Saturday they are £25 and Sunday £10.
sale of artwork on a strictly first come first served basis. Cash or cheque only.

Then with an amazing next stage in NI there is a site specific multi-media and photographic exhibition the Former maze/long kesh Prison.

deconstructing the maze


If your driving from Sprucefield roundabout,turn back into Lisburn, turn left under motorway bridge, down the Blaris road to the bog road junction.
Prison entrance gates are diagonally left.

Exhibition runs from 17-26 October 2008 daily from 12 noon to 4pm. (excluding Sunday 19 October)

So you see it's much better than watching television. There is lots of change going on in NI you just have to be part of it. Cant get a babysitter, then bring the kids they need to see things as well.

quote of the day

We are injured and hurt emotionally- not so much by other people or what they say or don't say- but by our own attitude and our own response.

Maxwell Maltz Psycho-cybernetics

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Quote of the day

Let there be more joy and laughter in your living.

Eileen Caddy

Monday, 13 October 2008

remember, remember the 5th of November

Print DetailOk not for any spooky reason but it's the official opening of Flowing waters, Hidden Dragon

Flowing water, hidden dragon. Paintings and limited edition prints inspired by the artists emotional response to the changing tides of Strangford lough and the enchanted experience of a first trip to China.

my opening is on 5th November 2008 7.30- 9.30

Clotworthy Arts Centre
Antrim Castle Gardens
Randalstown Road
BT41 4LH (MAP)
County Antrim
028 94428000
028 94460360

For directions head to Antrim, in Antrim follow signs to Randalstown there is a large sign on the right for Clotworthy Art Centre. Parking is onsite.

Almost everything is getting framed at the moment, I say almost because there is always room for something extra.


Info from Belfast Exposed:
Sat 18th October 2008 10am and 6pmOn Saturday 18th October 2008 a guided open top bus will stop at the various art studios within the city allowing the public a rare opportunity to visit Over 100 artists within their creative spacesinvites you to take a free tour of the artist studios and arts organisations of Belfast. The bus will also stop at several artist run galleries where exhibitions of work from local, national & international artists will be on display. (art)TOURist Is a citywide collaboration between 17 different arts organisations aiming to create open access and increase awareness of the visual arts in Belfast.The (art)TOURbus is a free hop-on hop-off service operating between10am and 6pm. Stopping at: Queen Street Studios, Flaxart Studios, Array Studios, Orchid Studios, Lawrence Street Workshops, Catalyst Arts Gallery, Belfast Exposed Gallery, RUA (Titanic Drawing Offices), Blick Studios, Golden Thread gallery, Belfast Print Workshop, Studio C, PS2 – Paragon Studios, King Street Arts, Gerard Dillon Gallery, Naughton Gallery, Engine Room Gallery, and PLACE. For more information contact:Brendan O’NeillQSS AdministratorQueen Street Studios37-39 Queen StreetBelfastBT1 6EATel: 00 44 (0)28 90 24 31 45E-mail: brendan@queenstreetstudios.netBelfast Exposed PhotographyThe Exchange Place 23 Donegall Street BELFAST BT1 2FFT: 028 9023 0965 W: E:

2 nd quote today

There are no real successes without rejection.
The more rejection you get,
the better you are,
the more you've learned,
the closer you are to your outcome.

Anthony Robbins.

Tide and time.

I think I remember writing about Thunderbay before?? My trip to Confederation collage. At the weekend I was at home. (Home, home where is home? I shall leave that for another time) sitting in the Portaferry Hotel having a quiet drink when who should drop buy but one of my fellow Thunderbay people. We used to call him the song master as he would burst into song at every opportunity, and was quite good on the spoons.

Anyway no one ever knew what had happened to him and we had time to catch up. He said what with big Ian and Gerry shaking hands, he had always felt home sick, had the opportunity to move back home and thought now was the time.

It's good to see more people who have lived away coming home to get on with Northern Ireland , dear old Northern Ireland. He originally trained as a glass designer.........and like many other designers in dear old NI there was not many prospects here.

I was recently at a creative choices event and the women there said how every creative person at some time has to decide if they are good enough to be world class or if they are going to go into another role.

I have to say it made me laugh because I know many world class artists and designers and creators in NI it is not that they are not good enough that has stopped them progressing it's the system on top of them. The crust of relationship and inter connective c*** that chokes them when they try. Why is that crust there? Because we are all part of it dragging people down jumping on top of their ideas. Laughing at them when they try and do something different . Voting the same people in again and again and again. It's that good old begrudging . Belfast begrudging that we use to try and keep people in their " perceived place"

I didn't really understand it until I was in the US. The land of the free??? Well lets not go there . But there was a can do attitude. Your a person , I'm a person you have an idea well lets try it.

Not, who are you? what did your parents do? that will never work? and on and on it goes. Lets all drag each other down ,so we can all feel bad together. Drag, drag, drag.

When is the last time you heard someone say, that's great? delighted that worked? well done for working hard and getting that opportunity? it's just a different state of mind a more positive state of mind. A less begrudging state of mind.

Is that possible in Northern Ireland ? to have a less begrudging state of mind? Imagine all the head time, the little brains thinking over time that it would release. Imagine that head space moved over into positive thinking and good thoughts. Would it creative a positive consciousness?

Lift the cloud of begrudging?? Who knows.

One of the things I remember about Thunderbay was Paul coming into collage one day saying in his workplace there was a sign that said " your attitude effects your altitude" ......................we all had to think about it for a while. ..............................................................................but I can't help thinking it was right. So the next time begrudging comes your way stop and consider why you think like that??

quote of the day

Todays quote

The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvellously.

Henry Kissinger

Friday, 10 October 2008

Quote of Friday

Nothing comes from doing nothing.
William Shakespeare

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Quote of the day

It's a funny thing about life;
if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
W. Somerset Maugham.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Back to the handshake

I was thinking again about prejudices..........and the handshake. Is it prejudices or social conditioning ? Do you think it's anything to do with "the telling". Researchers have investigated people in N.I and have documented "the telling" which means we ask 2 or 3 questions and can immediately assume someones identity.

i.e. whats your name?

where did you do to school, etc, etc, etc,

They also researched that this was very useful in times of conflict as a safety device to protect individuals. We have been conditioned and socialised to assume certain things if we see or hear certain actions. Is it time to move beyond those socialised attitudes?

Can you feel change in the air?

One thing that struck me again about the RUA exhibition was a plack on the wall which said you cannot see memory, the thing is it's still hanging in peoples hearts and minds in NI and it's very understandable.Is it possible to move beyond it? Many people ask is it safe to?

I think it is, you just have to keep chipping away at it................ but I'm an optimist.

(Anyway sorry if I panicked anyone about some of the paper works at the exhibition, it was a few things on thin drawing prints that I could tell of)

RUA and decay.

Are they two terms that often come together??? RUA and decay? I went down to have a look at the exhibition it's in the pump house at the Titanic quarter . Crisp clear yellow signs guide you there.

I've only really started to go to their exhibitions over the last few years and each time I see a evolution. Edging things forward without scaring people off. The building is great with all it's faded grandeur and pealing paint, the cold conditions I think have really effected some of the paper works they seem to be shifting slightly.

You hear people say many things about the RUA. Why do they exist? You only get in if your parents are in it,mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm etc, etc. They may all be valid points but what I think you see if you go down is a snapshot of an element of the artistic practice that is going on in NI today. You do have to be warned that this is just an element, there are any other strands of practice going on.

One interesting thing that happened his year is that there was a "salon de refuse" in the best French tradition. So a number of the works that were rejected were also put on display over in West Belfast. I was told that it was a great event, I did'nt get to go and I think it was very healthy that it happened. I only wish it had happened over a longer period of time with crisp yellow signs to direct you there. because part of the reason that RUA exhibition is popular with the public is that it is marketed well.

I did see some drips and splashed but not nearly as many as I was lead to believe. There was some interesting art and some not so interesting art. A lot of muted tones. What I did notice is that I did see some work that I have seen before in exhibitions during the year and I thought that the work submitted was supposed not to be shown before. Himmmmmmmmmmmm.
Not as many prints as usual, I thought but maybe they were spread out.

So in brief it's always good to go and have a look, just do not believe that this is all the artistic practice going on in NI today and watch out for the slime running down the stairs.

You will know what I mean when you get there. It maybe the last opportunity you have to see the pump house before it gets tarted up. I believe the 6 million or so required was secured quite recently.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Drips and spills

I've been thinking about these recently. I realise that at my exhibition I am preparing I have a drip thing going on and I will be accused of copying by some.(mutter, mutter) But I had a good think about it and the first of these paintings I did in 3 and a half years ago. Quite by accident one day while pursuing the magic.Before I ever saw anything else or went near the print workshop.

Then I heard that Neil Shawcross had his drip bottles( go to the Conor cafe in Botanic if your not sure what I mean) and others were starting to find drips and I wondered if well maybe we are all tuning into something happening in NI? The collective consciousness? Am I being too deep?

Bear with me, I was reading an article about a Russian gallery owner who knew the Communist regime was coming to an end because they saw it in the work of the artists about a year before it happened . Are we seeing in the artists work the melting away of the previous Northern Ireland ? the one of bigotry and fear, finger pointing and mistrust? are we seeing them tuning into a bigger and different reality ? am I included in that ?

Who knows? ....................we shall just have to wait and see, maybe we all just are copying Neil Shawcross. Who I believe is having an exhibition in the Art Tank on Lisburn Road in November. But it is kind of wierd dont you think?

Hand shakes or kisses?

When you meet someone or say goodbye do you shake a hand, give them a hug, a quick kiss on the cheek. What is normal for you ? is it normal for others?

I suppose it's Northern Ireland so it's all about perception I was accused recently of certain political perspectives because I shook a politicians hand.(mutter, mutter, mutter) This has happened before. What I think is that it says more about the viewer than the viewed. Let me explain, many moons ago I went on some lobbying training. What they taught you is that in lobbying you take every opportunity you can. In some ways I think that the population of NI are so used to not getting access to real power in the hands of politicians, now that we have an assembly-(well sort of) some people do not realise that they need to be told what we see and think is required in the new Northern Ireland.

So anyway back to my hand shake. This particular politician enjoyed the conversation and I asked him what he was doing about cross border equity for the artists? Not clear about what I meant I explained about the tax exemption scheme that there is in the South for artists and how it has helped the economy. He asked me to send him details which I did and now I believe there is some work going on in the background looking at the issue .

Many more moons ago I was in the NIWC and I got an Assembly economic report. I was asked to read it and make suggestions as I was working in economic development at the time. One suggestion I had was no tax for artists. It got as far as the recommendations and then the Assembly collapsed. So maybe now this is the time to have a go at it again. The ball has started to roll so why not keep it running before the heads do.

The next time you see someone shake a politicians hand do not assume that your prejudices are correct and perhaps think a little before you accuse others....................................and remember they work for you, you know. why not e mail them a request to give artist in NI tax free status???they need to be able to agree on something and this might just be it. you can e mail directly from there. What do you think its going to happen without your participation??????? of course not go on you know you want to.

I shall talk about kisses another time.....(can't say I've kissed any MP or MLA's and really do not intend to)

Apologies to Raymond

I realise this morning that I got the date wrong for Raymond' Henshaws opening so sorry. I promise to triple check everything from now on. So it's this Wednesday from 7.30 at Island Art Centre Lisburn. That's this Wednesday. So you still have time to go.

If you want to get out tonight try out the OBG . Do you remember Helen Story ?I remember she won fashion designer of the year in the eighty's. I had a pair of her jeans, black with a jet black beaded fringe along the pockets. She is now Professor Helen Story at London Collage of Fashion she has been working on dissoluble dresses with interface, the University of Ulster and the University of Sheffield the opening is tonight 7-9pm. I had a sneak preview last night at another event and it looks interesting.

It's miserable weather today Autumn is truely here. Damp .

Monday, 6 October 2008

Free Belfast 2

No is not a sequel it's refering to a previous blog posting. So something for the January blues, you know they are going to come even if it's only October. BBC are looking for audiences for Nolan live (love him or hate him) and some classical music ones in January. I have to say the classical music ones are lovely to go to.

Web address

Just fill in the details and see if the tickets come. Spread the's good to be free.

Tourists at Stormont

Apparently there has been research completed to say that tourists coming to NI do not understand why there is nothing open on a Sunday. Going for a walk in Stormont park on Sunday there were Spainish, Russia, Italian and Polish people and of course the open top bus.

But not a Kiosk or service for them anywhere, it it was any other country there would be someone around to at least sell you a postcard and a bottle of Coke.

At least I suppose the open top bus actually gets into the grounds these days, I remember going on a very bad tour of Belfast in a bus about 10 years ago when a group was over from Denmark. It was embarrassing the guy kept saying " and here are more of out lovely red brick buildings" it even went to the dump on the North foreshore. I think the route was designed by committee. When it got to Stormont gates he stopped in front of the pillar and said no one could get off because he was short on time. There was a bus rebellion and everyone got out to take photos. The journey was cut short in the middle with tea and scones in the Europa. At least that what I read but actually it was the Europa bus station. We all had a good laugh.

Anyway it good to see that Belfast is moving on. However there is a business opportunity up at Stormont park if anyone has the energy to get the proper permissions to do it. Sigh.

So what of the news credit crunch, credit crunch. I was doing a presentation this morning for the FSA so dont forget about ...........................and make some sense of your money.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Good news

I had some good news last week. I was working with a group in Rathcool trying to get them to see that there were different possibilities in life. They phoned me up to say that 3 people had set up in business from the course I was so pleased. They had never thought of it as an option before it made all the stress involved in the project worthwhile.

Sometimes all you need is to give people some hope of other possibilities.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Energy in Belfast

Do you remember the time when you could not go into Belfast City Centre at night for fear of your existence?

It was not that long ago really, however it's nice to see last night that it might be a distant memory. There were lots of people out and about in town and lots of activity in the Gallery's but we need more people to take the plunge and see what Belfast has to offer as far as the gallery's go so as we speak put November 6th in your diary and keep it safe for next month.

So as the global economic downturn effects the world about you what effect is it going to have on NI ? well no one knows really we never really went boom and bust before because we never had a boom. Oh actually we did but the "boom" was a that's just not quite the same really. So on a positive note anyone who was having difficulties getting on the property ladder will now find it easier. If they keep their job..........if they have a job. There will be a bit of a shake out of lazy businesses who did not have to work hard for their keep before and now have to learn new skills to get business.

In dear old NI the civil servants will still get paid so that will keep things going for a bit and then I was reading that because of the now official recession in the South many Southerners are now coming to NI for their shopping and it's not just Ikea. This is all keeping us afloat here up in dear old Belfast. We still have the sympathy vote with tourists so that's OK.So hope abounds.

I've still not got the the RUA exhibition, but there is hope and a positive energy in Belfast. So anyway what are you going to do today to help facilitate positive change around you?

My little quote for today

There are risks and costs to a programme of action, but they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction. John F Kennedy.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Liam de Frinse

Ok so tomorrow night is Liam de Frinse opening the gallery is based at 14-16 James Street South, you know where that is to the back of the city hall. So if you want to get a colour fix go and have a look. I did look at James Wray website and notice that there is only one women artist that the gallery has ?? mmmmmmmmmmmmm....................... any one heard of the guerilla girls??? anyway.

Don't forget that tomorrow night is first Thursday I mean really do you need to watch more TV ? why not go along and have a look see what is going on in your city. Then head down to 2Taps in the Catherdral quater afterwards. Dont forget BPW is open tomorrow night for that 3D off the page exhibition.

Or go and help save the hill of Tara at the Black Box they want to build a motorway through it ( thats the hill of TARA not the black box while there have been many non creative things built in the Catherdral quater you have to draw the line at a moterway)

If you want to see what is going on in other city's around the world why not check out it's happening in Scotland this year.

A few years ago Brendan McGoran at Belfast City Council work really hard in getting it over to Belfast and there were hardly any N.I people at it. Scotland is only a hop skip and a jump away why not go and see what the rest of the world is up to? Think you can not afford it ? they are looking for people to act as ushers and they actually pay you. Go on and bring back some good learning to help dear old Northern Ireland on it's way.

Any arty types out there looking for opportunities has them in abundance.You have no excused except apathy.

and to finish my quote for the afternoon,

You didn't think when you got up this morning that this would be the day you life would change, did you? But it's going to happen because the only thing that stands between you and grand success in living are these two things: Getting started and never quitting! You can solve your biggest problem by getting started,right here and now. Robert H Schuller.

Go on you know you want to.

I love Paris in the Autumn

If you notice this blog is called Belfast and beyond.

This weekend Paris was my Beyond. The sky was blue the streets were full and the sights and sounds were undoubtedly French. What is it that I noticed since I was last there ? Well city's have a certain kind of energy and Paris has one all of its own. It's actually the most visited city in the world. Or so the audio visual presentation said and it's so civilized to see people out sitting in cafes having a coffee.

Do you remember the first time that you saw a cafe seats outside in Belfast? I do, it was in Cafe Paul Rankin at the back of boots, I do even believe that the seats were actually there own taken from their garden. People said at the time, what a joke no one will ever sit there, now look at the city outdoor seats everywhere. Even before the smoking ban they were popping up. However you knew something was really starting to fly when one night I was driving up the Newtownards Road and there outside all of the pubs were people sitting in cafe style arrangements. That's a bit of a change. I though there had been a fire drill and they had all been evacuated. ....;-) Just spare a though for the road sweepers I belive BCC spend over £1 million on chewing gum clearing up on the streets of Belfast every year, but look at all the butts?? yuk spare a though for the road sweepers and all the money the Council could be spending on something else cleaning up your butts.

Cause and effect everything you do, has an effect on someone or something else.

Now so back to Northern Ireland what is going on ? Well if you want to get away from the TV tonight you can check out Raymond Henshaws exhibition at Island Arts Centre Lisburn.

What can you say about Raymond's work, well he has a things about colour and books at the moment. He has been hiding in the screen room for weeks now working away.I was just thinking that you know when someone in the Print Workshops has an exhibition coming up as you feel there is a bit more stress about them than usual. Ray has been running in and out of the workshop for weeks getting things prepared for his show . So why not see for yourself? Lisburn I think the opening is at seven but if your not sure call and ask. More on Raymond at

So what else is going on this week, Liam de Frinse has been filling the BPW with his positive energy for weeks now. He has been working on a set of 100 monotype's or I think he calls it artists printed prints? (Liam correct me if I'm wrong) It's always a bit strange when you come into the BPW at first as a new artist as you are trying to figure out how to work in the surroundings, and figure out where everything is. Liam has found his niche and it has been a joy to see him discover (or rediscover) the beauty of print. The colours vibrate, and the symbols sing.

I have changed the colours on my blogg in honour of his love of pink.

It's been nice to see him have fun with his creativity.Liam has his opening tomorrow night , I will check out which one and get back to you. He has been elected onto the new board of BPW along with Karen Daye Hutchinson and Maura Lynch.

Before I move from BPW I have to say Ivan Frew is working on a set of magical animals, bathed in a kind of moonlight...........................interesting to see how the creative mind works every one has there own process. Mine is experimentation and in that there is always a kind of instinctual following of a path . When other people look on at the path, it might be confusing for them, they may say for instance and you do not understand paper.( bare with me)
Maybe however you do but you want to go beyond a kind of rigidity. A path that you are not to sure of the outcome as you approach it but a path all the same.

Because in the words of Frank Zappa " Without deviation progress is not possible"

I've nearly finished the first 5 of my set of Chinese prints. Just one to complete.

I've no time to speak of the Royal Ulster Academy Exhibition but will leave that until I have time. Bye for now.