Taking a chance on a flyer – CHAMP

Art, Arts, Bristol, Events, Inspirational, Launch, Meditation, Music, Nature

Last night (20th June 2015) I was coaxed into attending an event by a very curious piece of advertising. Picked up at The Island, Bristol, this flyer, with its sparseness and contrast, was too intriguing to ignore.

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What I found, in a small, active industrial yard, was a gathering of people brought together for a performance and a barbecue, on the eve of the solstice.

Sam, the main man of the occasion, put the event together prior to the beginning of what he described to me as an adventurous wander of survival without money, a phone or a map. The idea, to leave of without worrying about how much money you have, who you’re in contact with and where you are, is greatly inspiring as a thing to do, and the fact that there was no pretention in the attitude of the friendly, jovial crowd bolstered the moment.

The event itself is tied to a group of artists in Bristol, CHAMP, whose newly renovated garage studio is as I awkwardly put it at one point, ‘nice’. Which is what it is, a well as more valuable adjectives.

It’s the second time I’ve joined the outskirts of a group shepherded by some leader figure called Sam. The first time being the night of my secondary school prom, in the face of rejection I’d gone off to a gig instead, and while there lied to a group of guys about my age so I could feel less insecure. Sam bought me a drink but I’d had to politely decline.

This time around it was homemade wine that I was avoiding for medical reasons and the barbecue, (from which I had a grilled pepper bun) was a happy addition to the performance. A good move. The details of the performance itself is really only for the performance. That it effectively involved a morning ritual with a much heightened intensity, is enough description to honour intentions I figure.

All of that which Sam took on his sojourn of indefinite length today was lain out on the floor until by the end of the performance it was packed away into his bag. In generosity Sam also provided me and others with a free shirt for our engagement, which was a fine thing to do.

Sam, and the rest of those more of the inner circle, were at the allotment mentioned on the flyer this morning at sunrise, to wave Sam away I guess.

It’s a shame I couldn’t be there, but I was more committed to getting to my bed than hanging around for somewhere to couch/floorsurf with the group. So on this, the longest day of the year, I wish Sam the vey best of luck, and am glad that things like this happen, because, if they didn’t, then just how boring would life be?

‘If I see a tree that looks like it should be climbed, then I’m going to climb it’ : Weak Anarchy with Tom Pope.

Arnolfini, Artist, Arts, Events, Performance, Photography, Workshop

As Part of our Young Artist Series, this month we were fortunate enough to take part in a workshop hosted by the eternally playful Tom Pope.

Oranges

First he shares with us some of his incredible work along with a handful of peculiar stories that paint him out to be a neighbourhood terror in a comic or something.

Tom Pope’s shirt is the colour of lemons and by his feet is a bag of oranges. These oranges will be thrown with reckless abandon into the path of cameras that are hungry to catch the oranges before they collide with walls and floors, splitting their skins in a shower of orange juice.

If the camera is successful in ‘catching’ the orange the photograph is essentially spoiled by an obscure orange blur.

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The next act in the workshop has us locked in photographic combat, our fingers poised on each other’s triggers. Maeve’s lens is pointed at me and mine at her, ready to shoot. But we don’t want to shoot each other, we want to shoot ourselves. I want to capture a thousand of my own images with Maeve’s camera but I don’t want her to snap herself on mine. So now we’re dancing, everyone in the room is dancing! Like a group of couples in the ballroom of a cruise ship that’s hit choppy waters and scattered us about. And all the time we’re going in circles, trying to move our camera away from their faces whilst drawing theirs towards us.

I’m almost as tragic at writing about this as I was in actually doing it. My chaotic brain can’t handle the two actions at once and I unknowingly let Maeve photograph her laughing face over and over and over while I fail to capture my own.

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And now (with our cameras still citrus-scented) we are temporarily blinded and guided through the gallery; shakily up and down stairs, awkwardly into lifts, clinging on to walls and sometimes each other, led under chairs and tables  until something in our sightless minds tell us the moment is right to take the photograph and open two sets of eyes at once.

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My photograph is a white-out because I had my camera on the wrong setting. The camera was as blind as I was and the image is a total nothingness. The outcome isn’t always as important as the process.


In the last part of our first workshop we do what Tom Pope does best: we play a game. Here are the seven rules to live by if you want to get involved and play the YA Game of Photography:

1. Offside rule.
2. No zoom.
3. If someone shouts ‘You!’ And points, everyone must photograph them.
4. Eye contact with the lens makes the picture invalid.
5. Cannot have two feet on the floor when taking a picture.
6. After taking a picture you have to turn 180 degrees
7. Must shout ‘Yes!’ when taking a picture

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You can go and peep at Tom Pope’s work here: http://www.tompope.co.uk/

Wanderings – Exhibition Video

Arnolfini, Art, Bristol, Events, Exhibition
From the 15th to the 29th of October 2014 Young Arnolfini’s Wanderings was on at Be-in Bristol, and for those of you who want to know what that looked like click here…

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…That’s a video link don’t you know, take a look, I love it! I did make it, but that’s not the point…

“Exchange” – A review

Art, Artist, Arts, Bristol, Events, Exhibition, Inspirational, Launch

What do Spike Island’s volunteers do when they aren’t volunteering?

They create an exhibition of course.

So the other night, I headed up to Spike Island’s test space to check out the exhibition run by and created by some of Spike Island’s volunteers.

Spike

There was activity in the air as soon as I entered, and as I turned to walk into the Test Space, I was greeted by a wall of people. Wading through the unfamiliar and familiar faces, I began my experience at “Exchange”.

The exhibition aimed to “explore the exchange between volunteers, art institutions and the public” by demonstrating the “breadth and depth of talent and the variety of artistic interests that come together within the group”; and I feel it managed to do just that.

The work exhibited was varying and showcased a wide variety of talent. It included a range of pieces from photography to sculpture to performance artwork, and even more.

003One of the best features of the exhibition had to be its interaction with its visitors. One of the ideas that the curators had was to create a physical “exchange” of ideas there. There was a corner dedicated to this idea where visitors were encouraged to create drawings and pin them to the wall, then to take another in exchange.

I feel this worked really well and you could see that the wall was busy with people pinning their own drawings up. By the end of the evening, the contents of the wall had completely changed from when it had started. I have to admit, once I got started, it was hard to stop. I can’t resist a bit of drawing!

What was remarkably simple worked incredibly well as it got people involved with the exhibition in a way that they normally wouldn’t consider.

I was able to interview Fiona Clabon – Young Arnolfini member who was also one of the artists there.

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She told me how she was fascinated by textures and she was always “stopping every five minutes on a day trip for a photo”. When I asked her why she wanted to present these images, she told me how she wanted to capture the beautiful details of things that we normally miss.

These images certainly do capture that. Each one of them was incredibly interesting and different. I found myself studying them intently. Perhaps her best photo shows the miniscule ice crystals forming on a wooden post – a detail I would have never stopped to admire.

“Exchange” was a really enjoyable exhibition and it was great to meet the volunteers at spike and check out their work.

For my full review, including another interview, check out my post on the Bristol Art Collective website.

For more of her work, check out Fiona’s Website or Facebook page.

Thanks for reading!
Cai

Ode to a Poem

Art, Arts, Poetry, Reflection

looking

(Man walks, in poetic fashion, down a hill)

I’m new to this group, I like poetry.

Poetry, the people’s game, the art of words arranged nicely and a lot of other things, why bring it up, why in this day and age bring up poetry? Of all things, poetry? Who even reads poems anyway? Many people. Good, that’s that one out of the way. I am a poet amongst other things, those things being a general artist, film blogger and a wizard, Harry, and I feel poetry is still and will ever be one of art’s backbones. This is because of its nature as words, as language, a poem doesn’t lose value in any form if its words remain, only in translation and global languages are variations which keep it new and exciting to unravel. I may be wrong, and tell me if I am, but until then, this…

A nonsense poem:

(The Man With No Nose – Joshua K) –

Humphrey Barnaby-Rose,

was born two feet taller than most.

His nose never grew, not at all, not like you,

and his armpit hair curled from his toes.

Bizarrely, still nobody knows,

why the man was missing his nose.

Or why he lived in a box, at the end of a shoe,

on the beach at the start of his road.

He’d seventeen eyebrows, in a line down his back,

and a pet parakeet named ‘Sir Archibald Slack’.

Two doves in a glove, three worms on a rose

and none of these knew why he had not a nose.

He’d looked for answers in France,

asked them all in Nepal.

Found none finer in China,

none more sane than in Spain.

Sat with a man in Japan,

who’d worn rice paper clothes.

Yet, none could suppose, his lack of a nose.

He’d asked

Doctors and surgeons.

Sea-parents and urchins.

Nose makers and sailors.

A deaf record retailer.

And each of his quests had been

nought but a failure.

There’d been a few in Peru,

three fleas in Torquay,

(the dog they owned too)

and a talking TV.

But, nobody knew, why his face was askew.

Why his absent most nose, was there not to see.

Poor Humphrey Barnaby Rose,

who lived in a box, on the shore of a coast.

How did he smell? Like a man in a shoe,

who’d searched the whole world for his nose.

Who is art for?

Art, Article, Arts, Uncategorized

Jon Aitken recently wrote an article for Rife magazine sharing his thoughts on artist Jake Chapman’s statement that taking children to art galleries is a “waste of time“. Young Arnolfini – in case you hadn’t guessed – is a group associated closely with Arnolfini, and one of the points in our manifesto is that we aim to bridge the gap between young people and contemporary art. Statements like Jake Chapman’s are exactly the opposite of what we are aiming to do. 

rifeWhen: Wed 18th of June 2014

Time: 5:45pm – 8pm

Where: Watershed – 1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside, BS1 5TX Bristol, United Kingdom

 

Since February I’ve been part of Talent Lab, a Bristol-based group of 23 creatives formed by the collaboration of Watershed and award-winning creative agency, Latimer. We were commissioned by Bristol Youth Links in partnership with Bristol City Council to shape an online platform for Bristol’s youth with an eagerness to create content for the youth by the youth. Thankfully this meant goodbye to all things stereotypically appeasing to us, the youth, like the horrid cliché that was the Go Places Do Things graffiti font. Bless their souls, they kind of tried.

Bristol Talent Lab

So where did we go from there? Rife, baby. Well, a nameless Rife magazine. We knew exactly what we wanted but it took much longer to finally figure out a name. How does ‘rife’ feel on your tongue? Kind of funny? It takes a few attempts getting used to it but it’s a grower. After months of hard work building up content by the core Rife team, as a digital phoenix our baby has risen out of the cliché ashes with some stories going viral and over 10,000 unique site views in less than a month …and we are not even officially launched yet!

With just over 24 hours to go before the Rife Live Launch excitement and anxiety seems to have dangerously merged.

But that’s not stopping us because Rife is yours – all you bloggers, vloggers, photographers, writers, budding journalists, aspiring editors, ranters, reviewers, tweeters, Facebook fanatics, Tumblr scrollers, filmmakers, comedians, storytellers, cartoonists, graphic designers or simply good at generating good ideas. With so much to offer on the night; from making your own gifs, telling us what Grinds Your Gears, pitching ideas for Rife to our team, networking with industry professionals (LatimerClockwise Media amongst others) and listening to acclaimed creator of The Hip Hop Shakespeare CompanyAkala; all we ask is that you RSVP to editor@rifemagazine.co.uk to confirm your place*.

AND if that’s still not exciting enough, through getting involved you can get media training, mentoring, access to equipment, industry links and profile. So even if you can’t make the 18th Rife magazine still wants you! Check out http://www.rifemagazine.co.uk/get-involved/ to find out how you can still get involved.

I hope I’ll be seeing you there – look out for the girl with the R-shaped earrings!

 

*doors open at 5:45 to those who have RSVP’d and by 5:50/55pm any unclaimed RSVP’d spaces are then opened up to the public with a first come first serve system.

Animation, Art, Article, Artist, Arts, Books/Comics, Bristol, Cinema, Drawing, Events, Fashion, Games, Illustrator, Inspirational, Launch, Literature, Music, Origami, Painting, Performace, Performance art, Photography, Poetry, Printing, Theatre, Uncategorized, Video, Watershed, Workshop

No Boundaries #2: For the Love of All Things Without Boundaries

Arts, Bristol, Events, Inspirational, York

“The cultural map is being re-drawn… by new behaviours, new technologies, new models of funding and new local, national and global thinking. On 25 and 26 February 2014, No Boundaries considers the role of culture in 21st century society, bringing together leaders and activists and connecting discussions across two venues and the web.”

For the last two days I’ve been working with Watershed as one of their young journalists for No Boundaries, an open symposium on the role of culture and the arts in 21st century society. I can’t wait to share all the incredible things that I’ve been able to be a part of! Day 1 done, now…

Day Two

The beauty of Dr Benjamin Barber’s talk was that he sparked and incited a passion within me about defining cities and democracy amid shining a light on how the private versus public space conflict affects both. He seamlessly lays the foundation of the ‘No Boundaries’ theme and how it does and doesn’t correspond with Session 5′s Internationalism theme.

If you were following the #NB2014 Twitter feed you may have read my tweet: “Can’t quote @BenjaminRBarber fast enough. Could I link people to his talk and be done with my opinion? Everything he says is spot on #NB2014″. And to be honest I still stand by that so as soon as the link to his talk goes up I’ll be the first to tweet about it.

No Boundaries, The Guildhall, York. Image: Matt Baker

Having never encountered democracy in the way Barber expressed in my personal life, amid growing up in a society where ‘democracy’ equivalated to politics and voting, not communities and understanding, I couldn’t agree with him more about how ‘democracy is a way of life, a way of living that takes into account our diversity and encourages our collaboration and imagination’. It has taken seventeen years for the identity of our society, ‘democracy’, to be presented to me in a way that makes a lasting connection that makes me proud to be part of it instead of the systematic impersonal association I’ve grown up with. And isn’t it sad that this intimate concept wasn’t instilled with me in the ritualistic system of academia where I could have grown up with a healthier outlook on the ‘intercity intercommunity world without boundaries’. Oh no, it was a ten minute talk in the fifth session of a two day event. The chance of me being present for Dr Benjamin Barber’s talk is so slim and against me it only makes me more grateful for this innovative way of thinking. I use innovative loosely because it’s simply too ironic: I wouldn’t be surprised if the founding fathers of democracy looked upon Barber’s definition of it ‘taking into account our diversity and encourages our collaboration and imagination’ and offered up high fives all around. It’s so obviously the original meaning and intention it’s sad how it’d now be regarded as a creative new age way of thinking.

‘The city is the human habitat and community, it’s what defines us; where we’re born and grow up and get married and are buried.”

But that’s just it, ‘cities oddly, though made up of communities, are all about private space’ and even though ‘communities can’t thrive without public spaces they are defined by private space’. It’s this insidious war on public spaces ‘over the thirty or forty years of market commercialization and privatization of public space’ that needs to be addressed. We need to acknowledge that there’s ‘not enough public space to do the public work culture needs”. After all, guess who’ll be the first ones to complain about a culture deficit? Us.

So for the love of all things without boundaries can we inspire, support, nourish, develop and maintain our public spaces and remember they are for the people by the people, not by ourselves for ourselves.

P.S. had experienced my first and only technical difficulty during Session 5: Internationalism but I love how engaged the standby punk-poet Henry Raby had me from his infectious high energy right from the get-go with his spoken word. Even with hindsight, I’m still pretty sure his slip up was staged – he pulled that one off with amazing craft. I loved his energy and I’m ashamed to say part of me was sad once I found out he was just providing mid-technical-fault entertainment for York.

P.P.S no seriously, he deserves some credit: http://www.facebook.com/HenryRabyPoetry

Emma Blake Morsi | Young Journalist

No Boundaries #1: Where We Ought To Be

Arts, Bristol, Events, Inspirational, York

“The cultural map is being re-drawn… by new behaviours, new technologies, new models of funding and new local, national and global thinking. On 25 and 26 February 2014, No Boundaries considers the role of culture in 21st century society, bringing together leaders and activists and connecting discussions across two venues and the web.”

For the last two days I’ve been working with Watershed as one of their young journalists for No Boundaries, an open symposium on the role of culture and the arts in 21st century society. I can’t wait to share all the incredible things that I’ve been able to be a part of!

Day One

11:47:

Busy, busy, busy, buzzing.

Once I had reached the very top of the stairs it had been reestablished that today wasn’t a regular day at the creative hub that is Watershed. However it was only until I had seen people in full professional attire looking important with their rather large lanyards was I made aware of how immense these two days will be. From working with people in various ways I’m naturally aware of the importance of being open-minded to whatever the day has to offer – THE FIRST TRANSITION TO YORK AND BACK IS SUCCESSFUL, HOOOORAAAY – and with that, here goes Session 1: New Potential.

12:12:

It’s common for people to initially relate ‘diversity’ to ethnicity but Nii Sackey evolves this into the importance of creative diversity with the mindset that there’s a collapse of it. He talks about how as an arts community we gravitate to what we know because of this idea of the uncomfortable yet what’s key to success is dialogue with different people and addressing the uncomfortable. Diversity means we have to find creative ways to make things possible and reinforces that our focus should be on using what we’ve got and engage with people from that and funds will gravitate to you.

12:28:

From Nii Sackey setting the scene on his talk about the importance of a shifting focus onto diversity to then being appropriately followed up by Brian Gambles’s discussion on the immense model that is the Birmingham library and how this kind of initial diverse development should be an inspiration to further projects – whoever planned the schedule should be patting their back. With 1.5million visitors in less than six months, it seems the Library of Birmingham’s initial aim to create a visitor attraction, an ‘event space with a difference’ that ‘hands over power to the users of the library’, was a success. By ‘inviting young people to say what they want from their library’ they’ve enabled long-term partnerships and encourage the involvement of many in order to develop the community in their city. I’m also personally inspired by Gamble’s anecdote of how even the construction of it had such substantial social impact it gave someone not only employment, but a home – I am hooked, lined and sinking. To me this reinstalls how as an arts community, although trying to expand from our social position, we should never fail to remember the more minor aspects of our influence.

P.s. Brian Gambles’s sassy relationship with the PowerPoint is endearing, if you missed that I feel for you.

12:44:

Sophie Setter Jerrome rightly addresses the substantial importance of technology in our society to the point it’s now an extension of who we are. And why is this? ‘In the real world people dislike it when you monologue for ten minutes without pause’, thus a platform to ‘talk about what you’re passionate about with very few restraints’ to a ‘community of like-minded people’ has now become part of our everyday fundamentals. This doesn’t then take away from the internet being a fun hobby or a helpful tool. She discusses how it’s about utilizing the feedback you get as it’s just as important as the content itself. In this digital day and age it’s about bringing about a platform and ‘visibility to often silence groups’. Although, she states ‘we don’t see the power of online communities’, I feel, as a young person, that I do acknowledge this power, which makes me wonder: is it the older generation in our communities who currently hold the position of influence that don’t? At what point will they realize if they make their potential customers ‘so spoilt for choice they won’t have a loyalty to your brand’?

12:53:

Sorry, let’s first address how badass Lynsey Merrick’s introduction, “her weapon of choice is culture” is: Badass. Right, onwards and upwards.

Merrick discusses this idea of a Creative Revolution and how this comes from ‘understanding where we’re coming from to understand where we’re going’. Instead of inappropriately forcing ourselves into the mainstream (defined today as ‘the current common thought of the majority’) I agree with her sentimentality that we need to create substantial opportunities to enable a lifelong journey in Creativity and Culture with people from a young age, with emphasis on a ‘lifelong journey’. ‘History tells us society will respond to need’ and it’s up to us to establish a need for the arts within our communities. As soon as we address the need to branch out we also need to maintain the creative diversity that Nii Sackey discussed in order to deepen and strengthen relationships to become present at the local grassroots level – it’s our social responsibility as an arts community.

‘Every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life’.

13:06:

What struck me the most is how simply Jude Kerry put everything I’ve always been thinking but unable to articulate: the patriarchal hierarchy in culture with children at the bottom. This notion of ‘social provisions for children is at our beckon call’, where we give children specific moments, for instance school holidays, as their opportunities to explore creatively. Kerry underlines our utmost importance should be offering a form of formal education to implement into academia. Now to me that should involve taking students out from this classroom feel to developing an opinion of the arts being just as significant as anything math’s or English has to offer. This shouldn’t mean a learning curve for people with an interests in the arts to thrive and those who are more logical in their learning style to be pushed aside, as after all we’d only be creating a backward system of what we currently have, but offering a platform where even those who find creatively interacting with learning a challenge are also encouraged to develop their potential further by regarding the uncomfortable.

Interviewing delegates. Photo: Lauren Phillips

My first post-session conversation with Shawn Sobers, a Senior Lecturer of Photography & Media, Dr. Edson Burton and a speaker in the first session, Jude Kelly, was extremely refreshing and insightful. Our discussion was inclusive, diverging from a range of ideologies that took us onto different topics, thus following the “No Boundaries” theme of the day. As a whole the feedback was positive with a particular appreciation for the different approaches taken towards the topic of creativity. However, Burton brought up a critical point about the absence of addressing the notion of taste, where the ‘need to feel like you have to agree with common tastes and like-mindedness’ is engraved into society. With this in mind we further discussed the complex generational change of how the loss of cultural heritage and identities over time through evolving generations has resulted in society and younger generations becoming defocused and disinterested in what were cultural stimulations that sparked creativity. From this Kelly put forward the necessity that ‘if it’s a taboo in the cultural sector we should get straight into it’ and be conscious that ‘history is ran by people who have the power’. But to that I say, instead of focusing on shifting this ideology, why don’t we, the arts community, strive to be a weapon of influence? A positive force to be reckoned with in society, from diverse partnerships between organizations to academic influence, is what we need to become.

Interviewing Susanna Eastburn, the Chief Executive of Sound and Music. Photo: Lauren Phillips

I continued my search for reflection across the room before Session 2: Adaptive Resilience. The Chief Executive of Sound and Music, Susanna Eastburn discusses the ‘really important tone for the first session’ that Nii Sackey sets in his opening speech by being ‘honest and not afraid of addressing critical issues’. From being involved in the arts already she finds the No Boundaries conference to be a great occasion to develop, reconnect and create new relations to continue to be innovative in her practice as well as a particular interest in hearing from the ‘voices outside of the arts’ because of this natural concept of being ‘open in her communications’. Also, from a technology stance it was intriguing to see the initial attraction where people were ‘curious about the interconnection of technology’ and the ‘multi-connection of two different art spaces’. I’ve found this innovative way of experimenting and exploring technology further just in the format of the overall conference to be a wonderful ironic campaign of how much there is to offer and from our shear excitement of it how little we’re utilizing it. Ali Robertson, the Director of the Tobacco Factory, mentioned how beneficial the first session had been for him yet also put forward this extremely valid point of wondering and considering how much of it will actually be implemented into our art practices and organizations.

Truth be told, I’m not sure either but the fact we’ve begun dialogue like this with this flare of open-mindedness is essential stepping-stones to getting to where we ought to be.

Fiona Clabon illustration work at Paper Scissors Stone

Fiona Clabon at Paper Scissors Stone

Bristol, Drawing, Reflection

My Paper Scissors Stone Experience Next week will be the last week that my illustrations are being sold at Paper Scissors Stone, the pop-up shop in Quakers Friars. My work has been there since the beginning of October, and I really wanted to share my reflections of the experience, as it’s been so brilliant and I don’t want it to end!

Fiona Clabon illustration work at Paper Scissors Stone

As part of the ‘deal’ with having illustrations for sale at Paper Scissors Stone we as the artists in the shop also work there. It creates a really unique customer experience for the public, and it has provided me with a great bank of information to feed from as an illustrator just starting out. Each time I’ve been working in the shop I seem to work with different artists and designers, who have all been lovely to work with and who all had something new to tell me or knew something I could learn from. The range of artists within Paper Scissors Stone is also really incredible. Some have been making things for years, for some it’s purely a hobby, and for others like me it’s a new and exciting venture!

Fiona Clabon illustration

My expectations of this experience were quite non existent really. It was something so totally brand new to me that I had no idea how it would evolve and turn out. These last few weeks especially have been so unexpected and amazing! Sales have been brilliant; I never knew the lovely people of Bristol had such a thing for coasters! Knowing that someone likes your work enough to spend their own hard earned cash on it is a pretty incredible feeling – a feeling I don’t want to end any time soon!

Fiona Clabon illustration | Paper Scissors Stone

Being part of Paper Scissors Stone has also enabled with the publicity of my work, and has led to further new creative ventures to come in the New Year which I am extremely excited about! I’ve learnt so much from the whole experience! From pricing my work, the presentation of myself right through to how to print a whole page of price labels! It has made me feel more confident about making a success of myself within the arts and has also boosted my confidence in myself and my work.

If you’d like to read more I recently did an interview with Made in Bristol, the organisers of Paper Scissors Stone.