16th of May

16th of May. 5am. How can I sleep?

This week has seen the attainment of my honours degree in Fine Art and an acceptance from Edinburgh College of Art to study Contemporary Art Theory with them. And its Degree Show tomorrow. “eek”.

I am looking forward to the event and appreciate the effort my friends and family have made with travelling up to Dundee. I have no idea what the night will have in store for me and ‘nervous’ doesn’t seem to cover what I’m feeling. It’s 5am. I can’t sleep.

Here’s a sneak preview of what to expect from me tomorrow, I hope to see you all there.




All That Glistens

Solid bronze cast of collected 1970’s baking tray







Yeah, that’s a thing now.

I’ve had this blog since I was 17, I was never going to ditch it. I’ve just expanded.

So last week was website building, its all still in process, my brother has been a great help in setting it up. Today I’m making business cards. Look at me all grown up…

Business       busi

A Problem I’ve Been Having

I’ve become so intertwined with my work.

I guess this is good. The stuff is just me. The problem is its so me that I’m protective of it. I don’t want anyone to know.

Perhaps, however, if they did know the stories of the work, it would help them to appreciate said work. A title provides context, but is it enough? Do my titles need to be more revealing? Do my descriptions need to be more in-depth?

Or can I provide a hint and a little bit of context and rely on you to enjoy it anyway?



Everything I Know About Him


spent matches, collected circles, text on trace, war used binoculars, rusted soap dish.


Do I have to tell you who ‘him’ is and what it is I know?

This is what I’m struggling with right now.


Betrayal of a Typewriter


Technology is making a strong argument against my manual Imperial typewriter at the moment.

I’ve had the idea in my head for a while to make a shirt out of typed text. The problem with this is that with a typewriter having set margins, I’ve been having to make the pattern in panels. This obstructs the look of the piece a little.

Yesterday I had a crit. My tutor suggested, “why don’t you just print out multiples?”.

“Well because… because I want to stay true to my materials… and well… because… oh that sounds difficult… and because…”

the dream‘the dream’

I muttered nothings for a few moments and then realised as lovely as the idea of me hand typing the whole shirt is, I’d be so much more productive if i sped up the process with more advanced technology. And technically I’ve still typed the original text that got copied. That counts, right? …Right?

It counts. I’ve come to terms with it now. By scanning in one printed panel and multiplying it on photoshop then printing it on the large scale art school printers, I can do 3 weeks worth of typing in an hour. So I can make more art. I believe this is what they call a ‘win-win situation’.

the reality‘the reality’


Liverpool Biennial

It was Reading Week last week. I didn’t read. I went to Liverpool though. The Liverpool Biennial is currently on, basically a huge art festival including the works of 242 artists spanning over 27 locations. It was packed. As well as the vast selection of art I was able to view, I also found time to visit the Cavern Club, do a bit of vintage shopping, drink questionable cocktails, and generally have a nice break with some good people.

It was very refreshing seeing artworks from lesser-known artists that I’d never seen before, while still getting to visit the Tate and be impressed by works I’d only previously seen pictures of in books. There was a lot of good art. Vague statement I know… Art that makes you think, that provokes a reaction, in a variety of mediums too. I want to do this sort of thing more often. Getting out of Dundee for a couple of days was bliss, sometimes the studio can just get a bit stifling. Again, this has just reinforced that I need to get going somewhere, keep seeing things.

My Goal For Today

Today I will figure out how to work my new camera.

Can it be called ‘new’ if its 30+ years old?

I found this in my loft last week while having a good scavenge through piles of old newspapers, boxes of lego and bin bags full of my beanie baby collection. What a treasure. It belonged to my Grandad and then my Dad. Anyone who knows me will understand my excitement, I’m a sucker for old remnants with a history.

I’ve always had a vague desire for an SLR, it kind of suits me perfectly that my first one would be a film camera as opposed to a digital. Considering my nostalgic personality and fascination with old things, this is kind of perfect.

But I’m not a photographer. I take photos. I love photos. But ordinarily I can never be bothered finding out the in-depth workings of a camera. So this is a challenge.

I bought a spool of film in Edinburgh last week. Its so weird that £3.99 buys you 36 photos and then you have to go get them developed, whereas an SD card for a digital camera allows unlimited storage and removal for like a tenner. I’m going to have to be very precious with my shots. I’m thinking a photo a day is a good system.

…If I ever get it up and running.


There is nothing like the freedom of having a week to explore a new city with two of your best friends. Berlin provided the perfect balance for us. A fun holiday with quirky snaps and whirlwind adventures along with the opportunity to see lots of art, learn some history and experience a completely different culture.

We never stopped. Berlin is constantly changing and there is always something happening. Upon our first visit to Brandenburg gate we mistakenly stumbled upon EUFA quarter final crowds and ended up joining in celebrations until we passed out next morning. A very blurry night. A few days later we somehow ended up in the colourful midst of a huge Pride parade. Setting out each day with a vague idea of what we wanted to see and do, Berlin is so unpredictable and spontaneous that we definitely got more than we bargained for.


Our visit to the concentration Camp Sachsenhausen was understandably a very poignant day. To say the place ‘makes you think’ is an understatement.  It’s important to keep these places open to the public, allowing people to remember and learn from the past. This remnant of an important part of history is definitely worth seeing. The same can be said for such landmarks as Checkpoint Charlie, The Memorial for Murdered Jews and of course, the Berlin Wall.


The city does not hide its ghosts. There are constant reminders of Germany’s troubled past, and yet the place also has such a current vibe, perhaps because it is still in a state of recovery from both war and the separation of the Wall. The city is ever-changing and with a constant buzz that gives the feeling that things are really happening here. Berlin is an art students dream. We got to see some classic works by Beuys, Rauschenberg and Kiefer, art pieces that we’d previously only read about in books. We saw work by contemporary artists we were previously unaware of and definitely felt inspired after our visit to the modern art gallery.

An aspect of art we previously hadn’t experienced much of was street art. But on a rainy day of exploration we stumbled upon Tacheles. An old department store, and one time Nazi prison, taken over by artist squatters. The energy in that place is so creative and chilled out, with its graffiti’d walls and multiple levels, it’s an artwork itself. Unfortunately Tacheles is being constantly threatened with eviction and demolition. I wish them luck.

We saw everything we wanted to see in Berlin and more. Every day we’d clamber into one of Berlin’s famous black and white photo booths and embarrass ourselves with stupid face-pulling. We got to sample finest Berlin Currywurst and found a new favourite drink in Berliner Weisse. We also experienced the most pleasant hangover I think we’ve ever had. After a heavy night on cheap Lidl wine we took a visit to Reichstag Parliament and climbed up to the domed roof. The best way to recover from a rough night is to lie beneath an open ceiling while a light shower of rain comes down. Did not want to leave.


It was such a spur of the moment decision to go to Berlin, sitting in the cold art canteen in February and daydreaming about the prospect of an arty trip away. I had an amazing time in Berlin and am very inspired to start my 4th year. The trip has made me hungry to see more of Europe. So its time to save, save, save and we’ll see what happens in a year.

It’s August again

Last year I posted a blog ‘August is for Action’. This year August is for ‘Ach stop being dramatic and get it done’.

I am very excited about my final year of university. Of course I’m scared about the future and career prospects, but I have this nice naive feeling that I have the world at my finger tips. I think travelling this summer has really opened my eyes to how big the world is and how much opportunity I have. I think I have the drive to make things happen. I expect I’m going to read this back when I’m stressing about deadlines in a few months and cringe. So perhaps I should enjoy it for now.

Four weeks til I go back to Dundee, four weeks to make a start on the bulk of my dissertation. I feel like I’ve made a good start by reorganising my room and desk. This may sound silly, but for me theres a lot of prep work before starting the actual work. I need a comfortable environment, an organised system of notes and a kettle to hand. As of today, the desk is tidy, the green tea is flowing, just need to arrange my folders and books and then we’re off.

But first a post about my holidays?


Hello ‘A’, I’ve Missed You

This is the part where I gloat. Its been another nonstop week. Monday and Tuesday saw the feedback for the semesters practical work and the written introduction to dissertation work. And I received ‘A’s on both counts.

I know its art and its never black and white or right and wrong as its often based on opinion and is very subjective. I know I shouldn’t place too much importance on the academic grade. And I know that my 3rd year grade will have nothing to do with my final degree.

But I’m HAPPY.

I’ve always been quite proud about grades and I always set high standards for myself. So its good to finally get this recognition. And such great feedback really gives me a boost to put everything into 4th year.

4th year… Theres a scary thought. After realising I’d soon have to add a 4th year link on my blog, I had a mini-freak out. Deep breaths. It was the same odd feeling as when I cleared out my 3rd year studio and looked up to see this…

‘eek’ seems to be a fitting expression.

Yet another shock to the system has come with helping in degree show preparation this past week. Each 3rd year was assigned to a 4th year as their personal helper. I spent the week painting walls, scrubbing floors, drilling holes and running errands. It was great to see what goes on in that week of the 4th year deadline, theres such an energy in the building! I wish my 4th year the best of luck and am keeping my fingers crossed I get a good wee helper next year.

So yeah… Thats it. It’s all done for now. I can look forward to an arty trip to Berlin, many a summer adventure and the occasional long lie. And then it’s 4th year.

The Changing Room

After my deadline I had a week of Professional Practice. I’d arranged some volunteer work at a contemporary art gallery in Stirling, ‘The Changing Room’. I just want to keep learning. My 2012 resolution was to keep going and get things done, and thats what I intend to do.

The experience of the work placement was so valuable and I’m happy I’ll be going back there again at the end of this month. It was the installation of a printmaking exhibition I was helping out with. They gave me a fair bit of responsibility and I got very involved in all aspects of putting on a show, from issues of insurance to measuring out where the prints were to go.

‘The Writing on Your Wall’ is a travelling exhibition of print works and is on show in Stirling until the 26th of May. Go see it at the Changing Room and compliment me on my expert ability of hanging a picture straight. 😉

Having not slept properly toward the lead up to my deadline and having walked all round Glasgow on the Monday of that week, I was pretty much exhausted after spending Tuesday – Friday installing this exhibition. But its a good feeling of adrenaline when you’re on the move so much.

Getting some real gallery experience has got me properly thinking about what I want to do after I graduate and what aspect of Fine Art I want to work in. There’s so much to consider. This will be the main issue of worry in my head this summer. Here we go.