Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Interim exhibition

interim show
Last week at university we have had our first exhibition of the year on display.

"The Book in Context is an exhibition of bookworks created by the third year London College of Communication undergraduates on the BA (Hons) Book Arts & Design programme.

These bookworks are a demonstration of how our traditional preconceptions of the Book can be challenged through exploration and interrogation of the Book’s form.

As Book Arts & Design is an interdisciplinary subject, the student’s work on display incorporates fine art, graphic design and independent publishing, together with a drawing of inspiration from historical and contextual sources. Consequently, the bookworks are self-authored projects, a communicating and packaging of ideas tailored to the student’s chosen theme - a demonstration of books as verbal and narrative exploration, as documents, as a visual form and books as conceptual spaces.

As a result, The Book in Context exhibition challenges how we, the audience, are being encouraged to think about the way information is consumed, how reading patterns and styles are evolving and how the Book is responding to the digital age.

However, the Book as a printed artefact is still one to behold and this exhibition is recognition of the wonderful fluidity and possibilities within the Book; how it stretches our imagination and continues to adapt to our ever-changing world.

‘A book is a highly complex organisation of material and conceptual elements’ (Drucker, J. 2004. The Century of Artists’ Books)"
interim showinterim showinterim show
Text from the interim show blog.
All photos from my phone. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Moo luxe cards

new moo cards
 I decided to try out the new luxe moo cards. They are nice, the packaging is nice. But there are a few little things that bother me about them, First of all the quality is okay, but the detail in the printed image is not as sharp as the cheaper ones. Second, the thickness of the cards is fantastic, but I find with the colour band and the fact the cards are 600gsm, every one I have showed them too tried to pry them apart, to which I had to quickly stand in and say that it is one card, not two. I dont think I will buy anymore of these. I think they would be nicer as miniature prints rather than business cards.
new moo cardsnew moo cardsnew moo cards

Friday, February 24, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On, a #specialsaturday post

What poems or mantras inspire me to keep going in the rollercoaster world of special needs?  That is the question for this week's #specialsaturday, the online campaign that aims to raise awareness of children with special needs.

I can think of two, both short enough to remember, and useful enough to repeat during times of stress.

The Serenity Prayer has got me through many overwhelming situations - and you don't have to be a believer...

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

And if you replace 'ring' with special needs, this quote from The Lord of the Rings also comforts me:

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me.  I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

If you would like to learn more about Special Saturday then you can do so though the following ways:

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SpecialSaturdayTwitter – follow @Specialsat and use the hashtag #specialsaturday
The Blog – http://specialsaturday.org/
Wendy at the Savette Gazette –http://www.savette.com/category/special-saturday/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Young, stupid and full of paracetamol #dosomethingyummy

Her name was Alice.  She was 22.  She'd done all the right things.  Studied hard, done well in her exams and got a 'great' job.   Bought into the big dream that was sold to young girls in the 1980s: study hard and you'll live happily ever after.  So why was she in despair?  Why did everything seem so hopeless?  Looking back from the perspective of her late 40s it all seemed rather pathetic and stupid, but at the time she was very young, very immature and completely overwhelmed.  

The dream was just that.  A dream.   

The great job turned out to involve little more than adding numbers, faxing and photocopying.

The thoughts of 40 more years doing the same thing were terrifying.  Then other little things went wrong.  Alice had been wearing contact lenses for a couple of years, they had transformed her life.  Not only could she see clearly at last, but there was a huge improvement in her confidence, no more stupid bullies.  But then one night her eyes started itching.  And then they began ooozing.

Her 23rd birthday was a week away and the future looked bleak.

So she went upstairs with a bottle of vodka and a jumbo sized bottle of paracetamol.

About an hour later she had second thoughts and started to feel a bit stupid.  She rang the Samaritans.  She wasn't even sure why.  On the other end of the phone someone asked what she'd taken, and said 'hang on'.  Time stretched infinitely until that person came back and told Alice that the dose she had taken was not lethal (wrong).  Alice hung up.

The next day she had a dreadful hangover, but that was all.  Two days later she still felt ill.  So she went to the GP and just happened to mention the events of Saturday night.  She doesn't remember what the GP said but she will never forget the way his face changed as he listened to her story.

Hospital.  Alice had gone through the Looking Glass alright.  And shattered it.

The ward was full of people who had attempted suicide.  Some had been here before.  Some were regulars.  

Alice was in shock.  She wasn't really sure why she was there.  Even when the hospital doctor gently explained, it took a while to realise that he was actually telling her that she had taken a fatal dose of paracetamol, and because she hadn't sought help earlier it was too late to flush out her system.  She would live or she would die.  There was nothing anyone could do but watch and wait.

It didn't seem real.  It couldn't be.  She spent her days chatting to the other patients and trying to cheer them up.  

And the days went by and nothing happened.  Alice was one of the lucky ones.  She got better, she survived, and she never forgot that she'd been given a second chance.  She got out.  In time for her birthday party on Saturday... 

Some names and details have been changed.

This post, on the theme of survival, is part of a linky over at  Typecast, and has been written in support of CLIC Sargent, the children's cancer charity. For the last six years mums have been raising money by taking part in Yummy Mummy Week which will take place this year from 10th - 18th March 2012.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Fairy visits NICU

I'm currently trying to write part 3 of Smiley's Story and, as I hunted through old files, I found this polaroid of her big sister visiting the neonatal intensive care unit in her fairy outfit.  I had thought it lost long ago...

Parts 1 and 2 of Smiley's story are Born too Soon and Failure to Thrive.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Some more cool news, my tshirt design made the shortlist on The Double Negative's Tee Comp, you can vote for it and 2 others. The three final designs will be screenprinted by The Room Print Co. Voting is open till until Monday 27th February at 5pm.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Now I know she's all grown up

Last night I sat on a bar stool next to my 19 year old daughter.  We were both sipping vodka and coke.  Another first, and a strange moment of calm during a very busy evening.  

You see on top of the usual mid term madness with the two littlies, there was a knot in the pit of my stomach about Saturday night.  Part of a whole tangle of knotted feelings which all relate to Angel's BIG PLAN for the summer.  Together with three of her friends, she will be going to Tanzania to volunteer in an orphanage for a month.  The trip is organised by a charity, and the girls have to pay to take part.  A major fundraising drive would be needed.

I didn't believe her when she first said it.  Then I started to panic: my baby girl going to Africa! Somewhere I've never been and I don't know much about it.  All kinds of unwelcome thoughts began to set up home in my head: the chances of catching obscure tropical diseases, flying on dodgy airlines, and plenty of other half-formed fears I dare not even put into words.

But once the girls signed up and paid the deposit, I had no choice but to be supportive and - as I found out - to button my lip.  You see my girl knows her own mind.  So I've had to wait to be asked for advice.  Which has happened occasionally.  And I've also been asked for spot prizes, lifts and other Mammy stuff.  But with months to go, the girls are already half-way to their target.  They're raised thousands of euros through church gate collections, a ferocious amount of bag packing - something I hate doing - and last night, a pub quiz.

I was worried about this too.  How would it go?  Would anyone turn up?  Would they raise enough money?  I so wanted it to be a success for her and I was far more nervous than she was.  

But I should have had more confidence in her abilities, and those of her friends.  It was held in the upstairs room of a lovely old city pub - with its own bar.  A friendly drama student was persuaded to do MC, and he was so good that he had two more gig offers before the evening finished.  The questions were varied and none of the tables found them too hard or too easy.  Oh and one of my teams came third and the other won a pile of raffle prizes - so my friends went home happy :D At the time of writing the quiz organisers are still fast asleep, but I'm pretty sure that last night's efforts made another big contribution to their fund-raising campaign.

Sitting on the bar stool with her took me back,  a long way back.  To those carefree days before Smiley was born, when I used to take her to the pub for Sunday lunch, when her Dad was working.  Just the two of us, sitting and chatting.  Last night it was the same, but different.  I realised it.  Angel really is grown up.  She's clever, she's well organised, she's competent and she's professional.  She also has a great bunch of friends, and she's going to be just fine, no matter where she goes.