Sometimes it feels like I am in a dyslexic fugue-shining a light – ‘Soul Restoration’

I am ‘doing’ Soul Restoration with the ‘Brave Girls University’ . my best arty friend Debbie Howard is tutoring me electronically and I have signed up for Melody Ross’ video tutorials and bought the work book….

I am shining a light on my truths, today looking at my dyslexia which is driving me mad this week. I have trouble with dates and calendars – I try so hard to compensate but sometimes I have a melt down – 4 double bookings over the next few months has me reduced to a quivering jelly with a lack of self esteem……. I drew a table last night of my cock ups to get a better idea of how much grovelling I have to do , over the next few days.

As compensation I decided to stop beating my self up and look up symptoms of adult dyslexia

I tried very hard to spell the title properly but – drawing letters sends my potty – concentration on tooooo many things at once 😂😂😂

I picked out those that apply to me the most – if you have 10 the website has a course that you can attend to help you ……

I try an compensate but when I was a teacher it was a bit tricky with report writing and timetables….

I was reading the list – which I found interesting – it has a disclaimer at the top

‘Most adult dyslexics will exhibit at least 10 of the following traits and behaviors. These characteristics are often inconsistent, and may vary depending upon the day or situation.’

My art journalling called – I sometimes see pages in my head just before I wake up properly in the morning – today a girl was drowning in a sea of dyslexia – a bit dramatic but I liked it.

In the sea it says ” the very things that held you under are going to lift you up’ there is a randomn ‘ ‘achieve’ and ‘pressure’ and watches to represent time – calendars etc

The Soul Restoration course asks you to look at your light and shade in your life

Yesterday I had a mad art day and produced quite a few pages based on the idea around shining a light on the shade/ lies that I tell my self – I am finding the ‘lies’ quite difficult to get my head around

The one below looks at how there is too little natural light in my basement flat and how it is necessary to get out and walk everyday

Below I look at how I achieve when I push my self – this is quite a hard balance to achieve with the beating myself up that goes on with my dyslexia. These pages feel raw, untidy and unfinished but the express how I was feeling and the struggle to be authentic on the page

My first spread for this course looked at 3 different senses of self – a facade that I can present to the world , a shadow self and an authentic self. I made the page after a movement medicine session. Sometimes it feels like I dance to feel the light. – the page is a fold out piece so there are several pics


Osteopathy commission idea 2

I drew a mandala using small bone shapes and tea dipped the paper, partially because the advert was printed on a paper with a finish I didn’t recognise – quite smooth and semi gloss. ( photocopy of some sort)

I cut out a circle of dancing nudes from yellow pages paper. This was very nice to use – very fine and it cut easily. However I am not sure how it will glue.

However the contrast wasn’t good enough – so I added a layer of turquoise paint through 2 stencils

The dancing ladies are not from a page that was used in an advertising campaign so I need to do her again. I may add a loose outline around her too after I try adding glue – Matt medium or glue stick …..

New commission, Osteopath -23Eyre Place, Edinburgh

We had a fab but tiring time in Sacramento visiting our son and his wife over Christmas and the New Year. I feel like I am emerging from jet lag and had a meeting today with my Osteopath who would like me to produce some art for her practice.

She has been advertising in the yellow pages since 2000. The paper version of the pages is stopping. I am to use her collection of adverts as a basis for some art work

I had fun using layout to make some patterns – though I think these are a bit too representational

We talked about ideas for 3 pieces

– I fancied making some origami from some of the adverts ( there are lots) to make up the shape of a spine which could be framed in a deep window box. I like the idea of the finished origami shapes breaking up the text through the folding. And the link with a spine/ osteopathy

Image from Pinterest no citation ref

I thought a frog might work because it could work like a vertebra

The Osteopath likes my dancing ladies that I produced for my last exhibition – she is happy with this concept in terms of the idea of movement links in with Osteopaths helping people to move.

The third idea is to do what ever I like with the papers …… watch this space.

Hospital impressions part 2

The drawing process yesterday felt like we were becoming to know pieces more intimately – we were supposed to change pieces for every drawing

I stayed with the same piece for three exercises

In the afternoon there was a panel discussion about the assemblage – here are the notes I made – my thinking is in first person

Negative spaces

Feeling the shapes awareness of if my hand fitted – some smaller a lot fitted – left handed just put them in my right hand

My hand fitted holding their hand

Rachel Whiteman house turner prize

How will my drawings be used as part of the research process ?

Another part of the projects were sheets of paper attached to the walls which were typed up with info about the people who made the impressions- what they wrote when they held and squeezed the wet clay

The impressions

Interaction with clay finger prints – how it fit in the persons hand / mood / pressure

Different types fist around porcelain – look like bones

Artifacts /teddy/ rose

Assemblage defy classification

Individual engagement

Collection components


Arrangement – straight lines of white shapes on black

Become part of a larger group

Words help the interpretation of interaction

my oil pastel and Conte crayon drawing

Potter / ceramicist

Shrinkage of clay in firing

found data set weird

Finger prints fade in firing

Porcelains moves in the kiln

Before fire/ after firing

Captured moments

Transition of time



600 pieces want to make 1,000

Images made in the morning – beginning of

What happens next

Medical background

Out patients – huge variety of people very different – people coming into the hospital wanted to know what was going on – people willing – nice thing to do – hospital staff deal with patients – totally different – broke monotony – what next ? Part of a hospital move – shapes going into the new building part of the old building moving forward


Filling out forms a few moments only writing

Connection to people who one works with – may not be relevant in 2yrs/ 10 yrs time

Guess work – how did people feel just by looking

Unsaid stuff

What don’t we know?

People behind the impressions

Array of white objects

Sameness and difference

Unique and the same

Irregular / regular

Humour random


My number

Numbers imprinted on each shape


Sense of loss / scale

Fragile and solid

Here’s me in the moment


Impression there for others

Leaving Traces of bodies stories people


More questions and answers

Qualitative research

Hugging ceramics


Do objects require any more narratives

Stands alone objects ?

What can one read from it ?

Data protection number / ties in to paper

Life / death


Numbers – numberless dead

Evoke – numbers become irrelevant

Always slippage

Ceramicist slippage

Transitional states

Disconnection between the objects


The personal

Who do they belong to?

Drawing – looking at shape form texture weight – abstracted from what they are

Removed from the human element looking at porcelaine its self how it was altered into shapes – ones that One liked or didn’t like

Saw hills mountains – fir cones landscape

Others saw Sea weed shells corals drawings made the impressions seem more real different interpretations

Experience of loss

Material change materiality – first time children touched clay – youngest one is 3 days old

Loss of the hand

What is there ? what is not there ?

May be active assemblages

What is this doing ?

Enabled passing of time



Different perspectives of people and the experience of the panel discussion

Still a folding

Still becoming


Inbetween intimacy and institution


Impact on a patient

Impression that patients leave on staff

Holding hands when some one passes away

Inbetween life and death human kind – universal

Edinburgh centric – conversation between

One building and another

Art versus illness

A Hurts + Heals project, as part of NHS Lothian’s Art & Therapeutic Design Programme.

Hospital impressions exploring porcelain ‘squeezes’ part 1

Today I went to a drawing workshop and discussion about a project called Hospital Impressions organised by Hans K. Clausen & Kjersti Slettan.

A Hurts + Heals project, as part of NHS Lothian’s Art & Therapeutic Design Programme.

Hospital Impressions involved people from 4 Edinburgh hospital sites squeezing a ball of raw porcelain , these were subsequently fired. Hans and Kherson produced a collection of over 600 unique impressions

My drawing workshop was lead by Jill Boualaxai we explored and drew a selection of the small porcelain sculptures The workshop looked at volume, shape and material quality as well as interpretation and association of objects.


We started drawing by feeling the ‘squeezes’ and trying to interpret the shape, texture and weight using blind lines. We drew with conte crayons, pastel and graphite on oiled paper

I participated in Jill’s workshop twice because I felt that my work was tight and small and I wanted to be more expressive

The next few exercises were blind contour drawings using carbon paper

The corresponding sculpture

we worked very quickly only ever spending a few minutes on each drawing. My second set were larger and more detailed. I swapped my B pencil for a 6B and some of the drawings were on cartridge paper

The next set of drawings used white oil pastel on black paper and we had to imagine drawing a line that hugged the contours of the shapes – I found this quite tricky after all my flat patterns and mandalas

Jill was quite strict about the exercises and the materials but I enjoyed the discipline and restrictions which just allowed me to think and just draw what I saw

The most difficult exercise was to draw the shapes with the side of a white pastel drawing as if we were starting inside the 3D shape. Then adding black conte crayon over the top in contours. I loved the feeling of drawing with the crayon on top of the oil pastel. I didn’t like my first one at all

Finally we had to draw the objects just by making shapes

Autumnal Dance and a new exhibition

Since the summer I have been layering my mandalas in response to my dance sessions. Recently Katherine led a session about autumn and trees.

I enjoyed making the paper doll cutouts and wondered if the technique would work for trees

I am still working with orange and blue. I love how the colours lift each other and the depth you can achieve with the layering some of these must have 10 or 15 layers if you include the layering on the trees to.

More simple tree on a mandala background

The repetition and circles seem to have so many possibilities. In the dance we were invited to think about roots and the earth. It’s been fun making representations of delicate shapes that have such strength.

I bought several mandala stencils and these have added another layer of pattern. I tried to cut my own. I made my index finger completely numb and the results were very clunky I need to practice to get more control with a sharp knife ( lol)

Design using Dizzy Duck stencils

I have also been using vintage crochet diollies to add structure and pattern to backgrounds

The design above shows yellow paint applied with a sponge and pink ink with a spray bottle on top of a pen and ink mandala

I have my third exhibition up in my hairdressers’Trigg’ on Dundas St in 4 years.

Slightly bashed flyer

This time it feels like I am showing work that reflects a real part of me. I am more relaxed and confident about it than I have been before (we shall have to see if it sells as well!!!)

Grid of the work in my exhibition – I tried working a bit larger so there are some A3 pieces – I will have to get a workshop if I want to do any larger than that.

Final organisation for my exhibition

Exhibition up at Trigg

I have wanted to have a picture rail in my hall since we moved into our flat in Edinburgh . We finally got around to it. Though how I am going to cope with talking to people about my art every time they come to the house ….I enjoyed looking at it , but it feels very exposing and I am not entirely sure I am comfortable with so much of it up (to be honest – it’s a relief to have it down the road ….)

My new picture rail before the exhibition

Group work and art journalling

I ran an art journalling session for group workers. They attended my initial session which introduced art journalling for self care back in May.

I started the session with a selection of journals that I have worked on collaboratively with friends from Instagram and FB. After talking to the group work facilitator we felt that collaborative work would be a key part of our art work with clients.

As a safe way of working collaboratively I got the group to work on sheets of A4 circular stickers so that they could explore the materials provided

I showed the group how to make a couple of journals using different folding techniques – a Zine format and a concertina fold. We noticed that the folding and handling the paper was relaxing in its self.

The concertina journal is made using the preliminary origami fold and glueing together 4 shapes with the top single points all facing the same way ( I do quite a lot of origami and wouldn’t recommend trying this unless you know the group quite well)

We decided that we wouldn’t work further with the concertina folding because it was quite problematic. I asked the group to work in pairs and come up with ways that they could use the Zine journals in a group work


We chose to look at making a sample journal that the participants could use as a teaching tool . We initially decided to explore how colour could be interpreted.

I provided a range of materials and equipment


Ink blocks


Colouring pencils

Paint / brushes

Glue sticks



Paper sample bag – printed matter/Photos/ coloured paper/

As we worked the group decided that they wanted to keep working on this aspect during most of the time allocated. We discussed the work in progress in pairs and as a whole group.

I am new group work so to I tried to let the group work in a self directed way as much possible. I am not sure how successful I was. I attempted to make my comments related to art techniques and encouraging members to stick to the task we had agreed upon …….