Paper Rebellion

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This week I’m looking forward to a couple of days in historic Worcester, running workshops at The Commandery as part of my Paper Rebellion project. Paper Rebellion is an ACE funded year-long project (thanks to fundraiser Manda Graham) which aims to to creatively engage young people and visitors with the aims of the English Civil War. Using collage and book making, I am showing groups how to make their own pamphlets, and we are making five collaborative artworks.

The group collage pieces are based on the idea of mandalas. A mandala can be a symbol, diagram or map which represents a microcosm of the whole. In various traditions and practices they are used for focusing the attention and as a form of guidance. Creating a mandala is said to promote a sense of balance and understanding. They usually are circular in form and contain some kind of symmetry and balance. The lovely team at the Commandery made these fabulous easels to display the artworks while they evolve:

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To make both the collaborative artworks and pamphlets, we are using photocopied material from the era, combined with today’s newspapers. The site once housed a printing press, and it was during the Civil War era that printed media became widely available. Political groups like the Levellers designed and printed their own pamphlets and manifestos, so in times of control and oppression it was still possible for marginalised groups to have a voice.

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The artworks each have a theme: peace, freedom, conflict, belief and power. Through these themes, and the powerful medium of collage I hope to help people connect their learning about the Civil War to their own lives today, and create something relevant to them. For example, here’s a pamphlet I’ve been making on the theme of power:

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The Commandery has a colourful history, and as well as being a significant site in the civil war it was also a Medieval hospital for travellers, and at one time a college for the blind. As both an artist and yoga teacher, I am keen to draw out ideas about health and healing. Belief is also an interesting theme, at the time of the war people were very religious and believed in things like witchcraft.

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Well, who doesn’t believe in a little bit of magic? As well as symbols like oak leaves and swords I am weaving in a few symbols of my own, which are artistically and spiritually meaningful to me. Butterflies and moths are amongst my favourite images, for their ephemeral beauty and the sense of freedom I receive from them. In life (as in war) fragility is so very often intimately entwined with strength. Look out for more Paper Rebellion updates this year, and details of public events.

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Found Poetry & Text Art Workshops

It’s been a great summer, and I’ve loved developing my Found Poetry & Text Art workshops. Working with lovely groups in Shrewsbury and Hay-on-Wye has been an absolute joy, and I’ll be repeating these classes on a regular basis.

In the class we get creative with words, making poems, stories and our own artwork out of book pages and magazines. Using drawing and collage, I demonstrate simple techniques to help you read between the lines and work with text on a new level. Here are some photos from previous sessions:

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The next workshop is on Friday 9th September in Shrewsbury, full details and booking information is on eventbrite. I hope to see you there or at a future workshop! Keep an eye on the events page for new dates.

What previous students have said:

“ I found pleasure in bringing pictures to old forgotten words “

“ Combining the words with images was very relaxing, the workshop opened my mind to new ideas and flow”

“Fun and fascinating! Emily is a very enabling tutor”

“Pleasantly destructive! Cutting up old books is rather thrilling”

“Time just flew, I really enjoyed Emily’s delivery and her fabulous ideas for starting points”

“I really enjoyed that, Im going to take my work home and frame it!” 

“Lots of fun and a kind of magic, I could do this all day!” 

AUTUMN ARTWORK SALE

It’s out with the old and in with the new here. I am looking for lovely new homes for these pieces of artwork, to make room in my cupboards (and head) to make more! If you’d like to purchase one of these for a Christmas present, or just to treat yourself, please get in touch.

THROUGH THE NIGHT (2015) / acrylic & assemblage on wood / handmade frame / 16cm square
£40 plus postage

Through the Night Through the Night (detail)

THROUGH THE DAWN (2015) / acrylic & assemblage on wood / handmade frame / 16cm square
£40 plus postage

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SOUL ADRIFT (2013) / acrylic & assemblage on wood / handmade frame / 21cm x 27cm
£65 plus postage

Soul Adrift Soul Adrift

RED SHOES (2014) / paper, stitch & acrylic / handmade frame / 25cm x 29cm (frame 6cm deep)
£80 plus postage

Red Shoes (detail) Red Shoes (detail)

BLOOM (2014) / textiles hanging / bamboo rod / 25cm x 29cm
£45 plus postage

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THIRTY (2014) / textiles hanging / bamboo rod / 25cm x 29cm
£45 plus postage

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Walk on the wild side

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It’s been almost a whole month since Wenlock Poetry Festival, and shamefully I’ve only just got round to processing my photos from Wild Wenlock. For me the weekend was a wildish crafty whirlwind, with lots of visitors to my little travelling village. The splendid chaps at the builders merchants made our month by turfing the entire Corn Exchange in real grass, which was the icing on the cake for Wild Wenlock. Here are photos from our weekend of play and poetry:

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By the way, Wild Wenlock is available for summer events and children’s parties 🙂

Anam Cara

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Anam Cara, a retreat centre outside Inverness. Anam Cara is a Gaelic word meaning “soul friend” It symbolises a spiritual friendship that is not affected by time, distance, or separation. In the old Celtic tradition, the Anam Cara was someone you could share your innermost self, mind and heart. This soul friendship was an act of recognition and belonging helping us return to the heart of our spirit. The community at Anam Cara have chosen this name as a symbol for the “circle of belonging” that inner friendship which embraces nature, divinity, spirit and human world as one.

I spent two nights there, overlooking the city lights from a wild place. There is something unique about the setting of a retreat centre so close to urban life; a relatedness, an ability to ‘be’ without shutting out the world.

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There are beautiful new seeds germinating at Anam Cara, including this space next to the healing room. This wild patch (next to a natural well) will become a healing garden devoted to the divine mother. We hope to make something together for this space, which is already touched by art in the form of glass work on the healing room walls.

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The time was slow, reflective and curious. I walked, meditated and got to know the Anam Cara family a little. We spoke of meditation, Buddhism, women, transition and community. On the theme of divine mother, the egg came up as a symbol of new life, inspired by the community’s new members; four gorgeous young ducks.

A return in the summer is on the cards, but for now a small gift made from materials found on site and a few extras from my travelling craft box.

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