Monthly Archives: June 2011

Jump to August and the low down at Craft House Concept

like stained glass

Although I have yet to pack my bags for the states, I am needing to tie up some plans for when I return to Edinburgh.  This will be a ‘hit the ground’ running scenario that I need to prepare for.

Part of the artwork will be displayed at Craft House Concept, Minto Street, Edinburgh from the 4th of August to the 4th of September.  There will be a preview show on the 4th of August, 5pm – 9pm.  At around 6:30 I will give a quick little talk about the project, the work and the travels so far.  Don’t worry, the talk with be short and hopefully pain-free for us all.  What you can expect is my face turning a shocking shade of red the minute I open my mouth (this has plagued me since I was wee) as well as wine, wine and wine.  I know there are lots of things to see and do during the festival.  Why not start your evening with a brisk walk down the road to Craft House Concept, take in some wine, gossip and art ogling, then leisurely stagger back into town just in time for the first comedy event of the evening, whatever that may be.

There will also be Edinburgh Skyline artworks on sale at CHC as well as Hannah Zakari.  I’ve created a new linear skyline print and have been pleased with the results.

Workshop:  Sunday, 14th of Aug, 3 – 5pm.  Ever wanted to try your hand at the thrilling experience that is Gocco printing?  Well, here’s your chance.  We will be making Gocco prints based on the themes of Edinburgh architecture.  You will get a chance to create your own screen (don’t worry, images will already be sourced) and you will also take part in creating a collaborative artwork to be won by one lucky person in the group.  And what’s more, you will leave the workshop with a framed artwork of your very own creation.  All of that fun and an artwork to keep for just £18.  There are only 8 spaces available and pre-booking is a MUST.  To book yourself a space, please email


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Greens Reunited, William is Perfection, A Wedding, and The Strange Case of the Disappearing Lake

Constance, Matt and William Green

This is my brother, sister-in-law and my delightful little nephew, William.  In a few weeks time, I will be able to wrap my arms around William and I must say that the very thought of it makes me grin and grin and grin.

I fly out to Nebraska in a couple of days.  Oh there is such a lot to do between posting this post and flying off into the bright blue sky.  The lists and works to complete and things to pack and other stuff to prepare fills me with a certain amount of anxiety.  I am trying to get a grip, to keep it calm and just look at completing one thing at a time instead of thinking “Holy Mother!!!  How am I going to get through all of this?!?!”  Deep. Breath.  Deep.  Breath.  (Too many of these and I shall pass out).

Instead, I shall think of all the people I will get to see soon.  Mother, Father, Sister to be sure.  Three lovely aunts, one from California, one from Kansas and one from down the road a bit will be there  as well a troupe of cousins.  I am hoping to see friends from high school, catch up on their stories and feel those years from graduation to the present become smaller and easier to cross.  Mid-month my brother will arrive with his family in tow.  This is when I shall get my fill of William hugs.  I do find them rather life affirming.

At the end of July, my sister Nicole will be getting married.  My little sister, 13 years my junior, how is it that she is old enough to be getting married.  I mean, wasn’t it just the other day when I picked her up from Kindergarten and she confided in me as we sat in my car.

“I don’t want to EVER get married.”

“Oh Nicole! Why is that?”

“Because you have to have SEX!”

Er.  Uhm.  Er.  Thinking…she’s five and what the heck do kids these days talk about in the school playground.

“You know, Nicole, I think this is something you need to talk to Mom about.”

On July 29th, she will be walking down the aisle to a new future.  I am both excited and sad for her.

So, last night I had a good chat with dad.  I hope that I have talked him out of putting permanent posts into the front yard.  No, Dad, no.  Stringing clothesline rope between the trees and the posts on the house will be fine.  Please, just get the idea out of your head…the one that says it is necessary to put cement into the ground.  No, no, no.

Something a bit funny did happen during our conversation.  He told me an incredible tale, one that I still do not believe.

“I’m sure you heard that the lake is drained.”

“The Lake?”

“Yes.  The Lake.”

“So, do you mean…The Lake? I mean, like, that big thing that’s north of town?  That lake?  The Lake?”

“Yes, yes.”

“You mean…The Lake.  How big is it, er, was it? That thing was huge.”

“Yes.  The Lake.  Five acres or five miles.  Not sure.”

“Dad! There’s a big difference in those measurements.  I think you mean five miles.  So, you’re telling me, that a lake that is five miles square is just gone.  Just like that.  The Lake.  You mean, like, where all those people have built their houses and where they used to sail their boats and where they used to have picnics…is gone.  So now all of those nice houses and nice boats are a bit ridiculous because now they surround NOTHING?!”

“Yup.  There was a hole the size of a van in the dam and it took half a year to drain.”

All so matter of fact, this.  Like a five mile lake draining happens every day.


I won’t believe it until I see that big empty crater with my own two eyes.


Filed under a good story, Nebraska, the process

Nebraska. Soon.

McCook in the plains

Several days ago, I completely dropped the ball on this project.  It was a mixture of  lots of things, mostly exhaustion and a need to just stop.  Full stop.  A few days were spent doing a lot of nothing.  Although those few days were needed, I couldn’t really afford that time.  So now, I am trying to scrape myself back up from the ground.  I am scrabbling around for that ball I dropped and hopefully very soon, I will be running with it once again.

Today I had a meeting with the lovely Steph, business owner, artist and craftmaker, all wrapped up in a pretty summer dress.  We’ve made plans for the August showing of my work in her fine shop, Craft House Concept.  I will post that update on Monday, once all the small details have been set.  There will be an opening night event on the 4th of August,  as well as a Gocco printing workshop to pre-book for the 14th.  There are only 8 spaces available, people.  If you’re interested do let me know.

The next show:  McCook!  Right oh.  Let’s make this happen.  I have been playing phone tag with my dad.  He is rather anxious about setting up the work in the front lawn.  Oh, Dad.  If only I could tell you now.  Every time I set out this work, it has been a completely new experience in problem solving.  I also have a meeting set up with the McCook Art Guild, arranged for the day after I arrive in McCook.  Whoever will be dealing with me will hopefully be very forgiving as I tend to suffer from jet lag for a full week after arriving in the states.

As well as all of this contacting, planning, and so on, I have been busily creating small Edinburgh Skylines, in hopes of having these ready for the festival in Edinburgh.


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Filed under Edinburgh, Nebraska, the process

Tornadoes in Nebraska

Yesterday, at Samba drumming practice, I received some worrying news.  I wasn’t playing well (which isn’t exactly news and was down to all sorts of factors), I had received a message on my phone that there had been tornados in Nebraska.  That’s not really news.  They happen frequently this time of year.  I did a quick little investigation thanks to my hand held device, and saw that one had touched down just outside of McCook.

Watch the second video here.

Poor little Bradshaw Nebraska was visited by three different tornados in one day.  If you aren’t already freaked out by tornados, then this video will surely change your mind.   Be sure to hang around for the second tornado image as what the twister does to that barn is very impressive.  It is also nice to hear that these boys are concerned about the family that may have been injured in this storm.

I have phoned home and all my family are in tact.  It is good to know.

So.  Nebraska bound me in one week’s time.  I must now shift my focus to that Husker state.

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Filed under a good story, Nebraska, the process

Conversations at the Dudley Archives

National Youth Theatre Memory Box - 1948

Now that I have returned from the second venue of my multi-venued tour, I have been able to unpack, take stock and think about the weekend I have just had.  Although I am disappointed that Friday did not happen as I had hoped it would, Saturday more than  made up for it.  Not only were the little worker bees at the Dudley Archives helpful and accommodating with smashing personalities, the guests that attended Family History Day were interesting to talk to and I did get up to a few great conversations with other exhibitors.

The above photo is just a small section of the National Youth Theatre display.  Their space mostly focused on the 1948 Olympics of Austerity.  Volunteers working  at the booth were flitting around, speaking to the public about their memories of that time.  Obviously, they were targeting people of a certain age.  I had to take a snap of the “I danced with a Yank!” comment as it made me laugh, the oddness or newsworthiness of dancing with someone of my country.  A Yank!  Love it.

I put Dudley and Nebraska in a corner

Meet Lauren!

Meet James!

My assistants, Lauren and James, were completely delightful and not only helped to set up and take down the work (thanks Lauren) but were wonderful to talk to.  Oh, to be young, with all those plans and ideas and all of life laid out before you.  I am sometimes a bit envious of the youth, looking at all the possibilities and the different roads to take and not yet marred by some of the bumps and turns that can surprise you as you navigate your way through the lows and highs.  I hope they keep in touch as I am interested to see where life takes them, or more accurately, how they decide where to etch their paths.

During my conversations, some very interesting ancestor stories cropped up.  One lady talked about her family’s move to New Zealand over a hundred years ago.  Another lady talked about how she felt when she found proof that there was a murderer in her family.  The man had murdered his wife in the 1860s and was consequently hung for his crime.  She found his death certificate which confirms all of this.  How incredible would that feel to hold that certificate and see those words.  Amazing.

I did meet a very interesting individual, Graham Fisher MBE, don’t ya know.  It was such a treat to be able to sit and chat with him for quite some time.  He had received his MBE for the work he had done on the canals, a passion that he acquired as a lad living in this heavily canalled area of the world.  He is also a presenter on the local radio station – The Bridge. He had a call in interview that morning and said some very kind words about my exhibition at the Dudley Archives Family History Day event.  It was a few sentences that were really lovely to hear.  I must admit, the resemblance him and my step dad share is very unsettling.  I wasn’t at all surprised to see the tattoos and hear about his Harley.  I had to deliver the unfortunate news that my step dad no longer has his Harley, however, he does have an impressive collection of guitars.

So.  That was my day at the Dudley Archives.  I just want to thank them very much for having me and my rather huge display.  Thank you everyone for a great day.

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Filed under a good story, Dudley

Ok. So. As you can see these are videos of Dudley

My videos are starting to make me cringe.  They all begin with me saying “Okay, so, as you can see…” which is grating.  I think we know that perhaps I am not one for public speaking.

The first video is of part of the artwork hanging in the Dudley Archives for their Family History Day.  My assistant and I had to leave out a sheet and some pillowcases, but hopefully there was enough work there to tell enough of the story.  The second video as of the family’s home, where they lived in 1868.

These links will take you across time and space, or possibly across to YouTube:

This is the one in the Archives.

And this is the one on Wolverhampton Street.


Filed under Dudley, videos

An exercise in problem solving


The A702 was its usual beautiful self and then the heavens opened and I didn’t see more than 5 metres in any direction for over an hour. Yes. The much anticipated rain. I felt right and just for having cancelled the outdoor exhibit today.

Several hours later, too much coffee and two Krispy Kreme donuts later, I finally began my approach to Dudley. And Hark! What was this before my very eyes?! Not the puddles I had been expecting, but instead dry roads, light, high and completely unthreatening clouds. When I arrived in Dudley at 3pm, it was declared that hardly a drop had fallen. The sagging of my shoulders was visible I am sure.
So, here I now sit with my cold pint and a burger being prepared especially for me. The hours my lovely assistant Lauren and I spent problem solving at the Dudley Archives resulted in something rather good for the space given. I have finally met Mr Bytheway and Diane and Gillian, my wonderful contacts at the archives. I see on the agenda for tomorrow that Ned Williams will be speaking about local history. Of course. I cannot wait to meet him and darn it if I have forgotten to bring my books for him to sign.
Overall, I am pleased about today. And to top it off, some old guy at the bar said “Good bye, Love” as he made his way outside for a fag.
Nice one.

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Filed under Dudley, the process