Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Apologies for the interruption in our regular blog updating. We will resume our regular 12 entries per month in July. Thank you for your patience whilst I was off getting married in Canada.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I couldn't think of a decent title for this entry

'Pixie King' Work in Progress

For all the new skills I've been developing with my design work, I still really do love the simplicity of paper, pencil and pen when it comes to creating an image. I think it's because nothing ever really beats the feeling of potential I get when I look at a blank sheet of paper and hold a freshly sharpened pencil in hand. It's a mindful process, in which I can focus not on what I'm drawing, but on how the actually act of drawing feels. The soft scratch of the lead catching the minute contours of the paper's surface, the smell of the rubber when I erase little bits, the smoothness of the ink as I outline the pencil - all of it gives me a sense of calm and well-being, much the same as when I do Metta meditation.

This is just a little something I started today, for no particular rhyme or reason, other than I wanted to do it for the pure joy of it.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

London Journal - Urban Physic Garden

The first thing I noticed about London when I came here was the general lack of greenery. In Calgary we have boulevards on most streets and almost every house has a back and front yard, most of which are twice the size of anything you would encounter in London.

This lack of greenery was a bit jarring for me, having been born and raised in a city which lay at the foothills of the Rockies and grown up in a community nestled between the river, a wild lands reserve and the city bird sanctuary.

But I've made it a point to find what greenery can be found in this incredibly concreted land I currently reside in, so when a friend invited me to investigate a new Urban Physic Garden near Southwark underground I happily went along.
It was a bit damp but not too chilly and getting there was easy enough. Just a brief five minute walk from Southwark station and we'd found it nestled at the base of the railway tracks.

Laid out like a hospital, the plants are divided according to 'ward', each corresponding with the part of the body they are most beneficial to. Certain plants pop up in more than one ward (rosemary, for example) and a few appear to be unassigned, growing in neat rows in a boxed off area on the ground.

The entire space has been decorated in clever and creative ways, from tin pots welded onto odd twisted sculptured legs to a mish-mash of two by fours nailed along a wall to make a jaunty shelving unit. I quite enjoyed the creative lettuce wall and medical cross made of moss.
It was a lovely little pocket to find and yet another reason why I find London so fascinating. There seem to be these incredible pockets of ideas, inspiration and positive energy all over the city. It's definitely inspired me. Thought I'm by no means a gardener (I simply can't commit to it) I am now eager to learn more about identifying certain plants and am considering some things to add to my own little herb garden, not to mention the ideas it has given me for lovely sculptured garden decorations.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Give it up for change! The most constant thing in the universe.

I think there is a myth that we will experience a single monumental life changing event in our life. As if a cataclysmic change will only happen once and can be very easily pinpointed to an exact moment in time.

I believe that life is a constant series of events spurring on change and there are those who will fight it and those who will embrace it and probably a lot of other people who fall in between because there are billions of people on this planet and for each of us there is a different experience. We are given a life and the point of it is to do the best we can with what we have.

Since I was three I've known I want to be a writer and it's taken until the past for years for me to realise that I've always been one and always will be. Just like it's taken the past few years for me to realise I've always been an artist. Whether I make a lot of money doing either does not define how successful I am in life. My success comes from recognising the things which matter to me and living my life fully by embracing and feeding them.

So as I move forward, sharing my art and writing with the world, it is the joy of creation which ensures my success more than the ability to live off of an income generated by what I've made. But I believe that it's also very important to be happy in what you do to make a living in life, which is why I've been exploring options for employment that tap into my creativity and natural skills without me having to sell a painting for $10,000 or get a book deal signed on with a publisher.

I've spent a lot of time working on improving my design skills, working with CS5 and producing marketing material for the charity which currently employs me. I've also gotten to play around with some web design and try my hand at a bit of t-shirt designing, which is still in the works. But the life of a designer is not the life for me. I enjoy it, certainly, but sitting in front of a computer screen is taxing and can be very isolating. Besides, it doesn't quite capture me. What I mean by that is, it doesn't fit into my everyday thoughts and meditations.

People do. People always have. I've always been amazed by the capacity we have as human beings to survive, grow, change and create. We are remarkable creatures and most of us have a lot of difficulty seeing it in ourselves. I've always found it extremely easy, however, to see the potential in another human being, sometimes to my very detriment.

I have also always enjoyed the art of conversation. I love to explore the way someone thinks and how their experiences shape and motivate them.

So I've decided to embrace this insatiable curiosity with which I was born and use it to help people realise their unending and brilliant potential. My Life Coaching training course begins in September, the longest 'school' commitment I've made since graduating high school (Even if it is mostly working on modules from home.) and with hard work and dedication I'll be a fully certified Life Coach by April 2012.

Looking back I can't say that there has been a single event which has led to this decision. I can easily credit my parents for always encouraging my brother and I to explore the world around us and never telling us that we had to choose a single career and stick to it until we die. I can offer thanks to a long list of incredibly talented teachers who allowed me to express my creativity and taught me how important the individual is. I am grateful for incredibly self aware friends who've been supportive and taught me the importance of being genuine. I can definitely give my thanks to the troublemakers who have taught me how to let go and shown me where I still have work to do. I have the inspiration given me by a brilliant psychologist, my highest paid friend and an incredibly talented therapist. And I have the constantly amazing support of a partner who appreciates everything about me.

In the mean time I'm gonna keep dancing, painting, writing, drawing and exploring because all of it is leading to the next change and the next, constantly, beautifully.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dance you fools, Dance! - Instalment IIII

At the base of St. Paul's, on the most perfect little patch of grass, surrounded by lavender and bees, I did dance in the glorious afternoon sun.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

London Journal - Textiles!!!

I've not been to many museums lately. When I first arrived in London I had what seemed like a ridiculously long list of museums to visit and I spent most of last year ticking off as many museums from that list as I could. Since becoming full-time employed and completing my tarot paintings I've been really busy with improving my design skills and plotting out my Art Gallery Showing (August 19th and 20th at the Rag Factory off of Brick Lane) and visiting museums has moved down on my list of priorities.

However, I had one museum which I'd reserved for when a fellow artist from Calgary came to visit. As a specialist in textile art I figured he'd be the best companion for the Fashion and Textiles Museum located on Bermondsey Street, near London Bridge Tube Station.

Set amongst red brick buildings, this colourful museum should stand out but the sign for it is actually quite subtle. 'FTM' in large, looping letters(I'm supposing they're meant to look like thread) sit to one side of the main entrance, above a little tea shop advertising that it's '@ The FTM'.

Unlike most museums I attend, this one had an entrance fee, but I'm happy to announce that international student IDs are accepted so my fellow artist was able to get in for only £4. I paid my £7 and we took the ticket and accompanying book about the currently featured exhibit, which just happened to by Tommy Nutter, inventor of the Bespoke Suit and contributor to one of the coolest looks in the world: 70s Fashion.

The exhibition featured clothing on loan from the likes of Elton John and Ringo Star. Fabulous lapels, gorgeous material like velvet and silk and rich, wonderfully patterned wool, all set to a seventies soundtrack.

The information itself on most of the displays fell a little flat for my taste. Snippets about Nutter Taylors and Tommy's influence on the fashion world made boring by simple language and a lack of elaboration. The most obvious being the timeline which shows Tommy's death at the age of 49 in 1992. Tommy Nutter - The Later Years simply states: 'By the beginning of the 1990s Tommy's health had begun to decline.'

My fellow artist and I speculated as to what this meant, coming to the conclusion that he was a fashion designer in the seventies and eighties for the likes of Mick Jagger, Twiggy, Elton John and the Beatles. It was either drugs or AIDS and we agreed that AIDS seemed to be the most obvious choice, given the language used. A quick Google search later and it was confirmed that this was, indeed, what had claimed the life of such an incredibly influential taylor.

I have to say it was one of the best exhibitions I've been to in London. I really recommend it, especially to anyone who lived through the seventies or wished they had. It gave me serious clothing envy and a desire to dress in androgynous cut suits with sharp, wide lapels and odd patchwork trousers.

Apologies for the low quality images. As with any museum that allows photography, I was not able to use flash.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Boo to Threadless!!!

So for several weeks I've been working on my designs for submitting to Threadless. I've tweaked and niggled at them, I've posted them on the critique section and spread the links far and wide. I've had tips from people on Facebook, Twitter and through the Threadless Critique itself.

The two designs I chose to submit - Mrrf? and Coo - got a lot of 'Submit This!' votes and a lot of positive feedback. I made some minor changes here and there based on the advice of designers on Twitter and through my facebook page. I also spent ages going through current Threadless designs up for the vote at the moment. I paid close attention to how they were laid out and what needed doing.

I tweaked and niggled some more. I adjusted, re-layered, changed colours and got them to a point where I felt that they were ready for submitting. Which I did this afternoon, as anyone who follows me knows.

And what happens?

I get this from a 'No Reply' Robot:

Hello Kaitlyn ,

Regarding: 'Mrrf?'

Unfortunately, your submission was declined.

The Threadless staff has provided the following reason to decline your submission:

Your submission was declined because we feel your idea could use a little more work to be up to the standard that will give it the best shot. We have a feature called "Critique" on that allows you to have your design critiqued before you submit it for approval. By using the "Critique" feature as a pre-submission tool, you can let the community help get your submission up to par. This will not guarantee your design will be accepted, but we hope this will help you improve your design!

I don't mind being told my stuff isn't good enough. I don't mind going back and working on it some more. what I do mind is the absolute uselessness of this email. I've used the critique. I've asked loads of people. I've made the designs very public and done a lot of work on them.

I would appreciate something a little more specific. How am I supposed to get it up to the standard if using the very system of critiquing that they offer obviously wasn't good enough? How am I supposed to know what needs fixing?

Anyhoo, I'm none to impressed and intend on seeking out an email to which I can send a reply and know that an actual human being will be on the other end. In the mean time, apologies to everyone who was excited to vote for my design. Thank you for RTing, forwarding emails and generally being so supportive.

If anyone has managed to get a bloody design onto Threadless, I'd really love to know what it is they want me to improve about these two. Any tips and advice are fully welcome.

7 days to vote on my designs!

I've officially submitted two of my designs for voting on Threadless!
Check them out at the links below and please vote if you'd like to see them printed!

Ta ever so much!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Novel Idea

Twitter is a great resource.

I was very hesitant to use Twitter initially because it seemed to much like a giant game of voyeurism. Certainly, a lot of people do use it for such things, but the great thing about Twitter is, you don't have to follow those ones.

I follow like-minded individuals, people who are seeking to share their creativity and passion with the world and people who support my work or whose work I'd like to support. Essentially, Twitter is a giant universal chat room so I 'listen' and 'talk' with people I'd probably connect with face to face if we lived in the same city or even the same country. It's a tool and when used properly it can open up a lot of fabulous opportunities I might not have noticed. Like when I did my tree art submission for the community show being organised by a fellow artist and Twit in Scotland. Or how just today I came across the link to Unbound, a genius community sharing project to get readers involved in helping their favourite authors published. I'm slightly miffed that the requirements to be an author on it are that you're a)already published or b)have an agent, but I'm not going to let that hinder me. This is a cool concept and one I'm quite eager to get involved in. Just like I've tackled Threadless, I will leap upon and take on this brilliant idea. I have faith in my writing, conviction of my talent and a belief that even if this doesn't get me published, at least it will give me some motivation to self publish before the year is out.