Author: Jo Cheung

Hi all, I hope you’ve all been okay and that you’re taking care of yourselves in whatever form that may look like. A lot has happened since my last post in terms of what’s happening in the US and here in the UK. I’m sure that everyone has been following the Black Lives Matter movement what with the murder of George Floyd and now Rayshard Brooks. I’m feeling a lot of emotions right now: just utter sadness, grief, anger and it comes in waves. I find it very difficult to express how I’m feeling at the moment, it’s easy verbally, but writing it’s hard for me to string words and sentences together about my thoughts on this.

The Black Lives Matter movement has never been so important especially what is currently happening right now. I have shared my thoughts on this over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and what gets me is that still there are people out there saying that the UK for instance is not a racist country and not to make those kinds of generalisations. You know, part of the issue is that people aren’t owning up to it and choose to live blissfully in ignorance. Racism is embedded in our society- fact.  Our whole history was and is built on racist ideologies and to exert violence and power over people of colour. I don’t know what it is but if you cannot see if for yourself then I recommend taking some time to educate yourselves and really take the blinkers off your eyes. Even casual racism, like racial slurs, some people say that ‘it’s of it times’ so therefore some words to dehumanise some ethnic minority groups are ok? That’s BS. Excusing racism is like saying, ‘Ooops, sorry that won’t ever happen again’ and putting a fake plaster over it. Then it just becomes this evil and vicious cycle of hate and normalisation of attitudes.

Myself and Ivy Mei, a good friend of mine, are raising money for two organisations which supports children and young people; Kids of Colour and The Literacy Pirates. We feel at this moment in time children and young people are the future of our society and by enabling them to have equal opportunities in life, they will succeed to reach their potential. I think these organisations are the lifeline not only for the young people using these services, but they also serve as a positive benefit to the wider community and beyond.

If you are an artist maker and would like to contribute something please get in touch with us and we’ll send you some more information about the raffle. The deadline is at the end of this month, so that gives us time to organise it. Once we have more people on board we’ll then roll out the fundraising page for people to buy the raffle tickets, which will be in July. The money that we raise from the raffle will be 50/50 split between the two organisations.

 

Please feel free to share this post and if you know someone who’d be interesting in making a small donation, please share this post with them.

I’m going to leave it there and wishing you all a wonderful Monday wherever you are in the world.

Happy Saturday everyone! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week. It’s been almost two months since we’ve been in lockdown and they’re now talking about easing the lockdown (STAY ALERT, WATCH OUT FOR THAT PESKY VIRUS). Like, don’t get me start with the Tories and the whole situation. Bloody clowns in disguise. The more I talk about it the more frustrated and angry I get. It’s become extremely political for me and I applaud those who voted for the Tories because we’ve now ended up in this dire situation whereby thousands have lost their lives to it. It’s absolutely appalling.

To overcome my anxiety about life in general, I’ve been really creative over the past couple of weeks and it’s been nice to have time to do my own thing. Apart from weaving (I do want to get my hands on punch needle at some point too) I have started taking up online life drawing. I want to improve my drawing and painting skills as I feel that it’s an area I’d like to get better at, so what better time to do it right? I’ve been using Line of Action which is a free online life drawing website where you can draw figures, portraits, hands/feet and animals. The cool thing about it is that you can adjust the time too so you can almost recreate a life drawing session.

The one thing I have always struggled with is adding colour. It’s totally different when I’m making art using Photoshop as I’m using a lot of different brush tools and most of my work is flat. I found a really good video on Love Life Drawing’s YouTube channel how to use colour (don’t need to be a colour expert, it’s more about looking at the subject and breaking it down). Once I watched it I began painting again, this time breaking down parts of what I could see and using yellows/greens for the skin. The more you pay attention to whats in front of you the easier I found it when it came to adding colour. The next step for me is to give drawing figures ago and I think I’ll buy some pastels and charcoal for this online.

Overall, I’m quite happy with the paintings as they’re more looser than what I’m used to. If you’d have seen my sketches from this week you’ll notice a significant difference to the way I approach colour, tones and mark making (see my Instagram for the sketches). Also, I feel far more comfortable with using watercolours than crayons. I’ll give crayons ago again but I’m getting pretty confident with using watercolour.

I’m going to carry on with practising drawing figures. Has there been anything you’ve picked up? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks again for reading and have a grand weekend!

 

Hello everyone, hope you’re all keeping safe and taking care of yourselves. The last couple of weeks since my last post has been, well, sort of strange. Since the lockdown has extended, I have been trying to stick to some sort of routine as I’m finding myself getting a bit worked up not being able to go out. We’ve got a garden and I’ve spent a lot of my time gardening and hanging outside now that the weather has been proper beaut. I do want to buy some flowers and large planters so that I can get started with making the garden looking prettier for the summer time. 🌼🌸🌳 We’ve also been talking about getting another barbecue as a our current one is looking slightly sad and rusty! You can also get mini pizza ovens that go on top of your barbecue… I know, a game changer right?!

I finished reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood the other night and I have to say that although the book itself was pretty gripping, I found the narrative to be quite repetitive at times. Not like I’m giving anything away, but in my opinion I really enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale more than The Testaments. I suppose I had pretty high hopes for it but unfortunately it doesn’t cut it for me. The next book on my reading list is In A Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donavan and Caren Zucker. The book looks at the history of the development of autism theories, with it comes other theorists who’ve studied autism so you read it from the pretext of the theorists for that time. Some of it is actually pretty challenging and controversial (for then and now), and I don’t mean it in a good way either e.g. everyone highly praises Leo Kanner but if you look into his later work its gets super weird and horrible. The book also examines our understanding and notions of autism, currently, we are getting better at diagnosing children (I will include adults) on the autism spectrum due to major advancements in technology as well as science. I started reading it a few years ago and then stopped so I’m going to start again and carry on with it.

Apart from talking about food all the time (when all this eventually blows over and we return to some sort of normality), I’ve also taken up weaving which I started a few weeks ago and I’ve not looked back since.

From left to right: my first weave and the second image is one I made two weaves later!

I’m planning on buying a bigger loom from Etsy as I would like to have a go at making a larger weave for our living room. There are lots of kits on Etsy (just have a search for it) and most of them include yarn so you can get cracking on it. I really enjoy being hands on and practical again, the act of making something with your hands is super rewarding. I also can’t stop buying yarn as well…. please stop me! I need help with my yarn obsession.

In between weaving I bought a lovely embroidery kit from Cotton Clara and I’m so happy with my little rainbow banner 🌈🌈. It brings me so much joy every time I see it! I also bought my mum a kit and she was overjoyed with it (will be being her another one…).

I also wanted to get my hands on clay and make some ornaments/presents for people. I bought some air-dry clay from Hobbycraft plus lots of other bits and bobs, I have to say, I’m really pleased with the results. I made some moon ornaments using two types of clay as I wanted a marble effect. You can YouTube tutorials for all these things (hurrah for this!), or ask folks on Twitter or Instagram. I varnished the ornaments using some Fimo gloss varnish, once they were dry I made a garland using some twine I already had.

 

I love working from our loft space. During the evenings when the sun is setting, the light is incredibly beautiful and our view overlooks other houses on our street. There’s this warm fuzzy glow just as the sun is about to set.

My desk space overlooking our street in the evenings.

I’m going to end my post here. Are there any other crafts/hobbies/books you’ve picked up since the lockdown? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

❤️❤️Thanks for reading as always! ❤️❤️

I’m looking out of my window and the sun is glistening away, the sky is super clear and the weather is just beautiful- spring is here saying hello to us all. It’s nice to watch the world go by through my attic window, or should I say, looking at how still my surroundings are. Despite the lockdown, I’m beginning to appreciate what it means to have our freedom restricted; I’m so used to going out that the thought of being cooped in for three weeks is getting me down. I’ve decided to use this time instead to channel it into my artwork and the first thing that popped into my head was Studio Ghibli. For ages, I’ve always wanted to do some fan art and now is the time to start it!

It’s my own mish-mash of our cats and Studio Ghibli- I think they work rather well together! I’m planning on doing some more next week as it’s been quite fun to do something to take my mind off things. Also, NTS Radio have three shows dedicated to the beautiful music of Studio Ghibli if you’re looking for some serene and gentle music to pass the time away. If that’s not enough you should definitely listen to Ghibliotheque which is a podcast dedicated to all things Ghibli. They had a talk a few weeks ago at The Moth Club in Hackney which was Z-A of Studio Ghibli (I can’t seem to find the podcast for it though). That said, Netflix have the whole catalogue online now so binge away everyone!

On that note, I’m going to end my post here with some music from Joe Hisaishi-  this has to be one of my favourite tracks. This is from My Neighbour Totoro ‘Path of the Wind’ (I walked down the aisle to this!!!).

Keep safe everyone xx

As I am writing this Boris Johnson has announced that all schools are to close on Friday onwards effectively until the foreseeable future, there’s panic shopping across the country, the NHS is already under increasing pressure from Covid-19- I feel like I’m living in some sort of horror film that’s happening right in front of my eyes.

I have stopped doing any kind of art as I’m completely obsessed with the coronavirus. Like everyone else, it’s been dominating the news over the past couple of months and as it starts to take over our lives here, we’re like sitting ducks. Just watching the catastrophe unfold at a speed so quick Boris and his friends have done an appalling job of it.

I feel right now we all need to rally together and look after one another. I know a lot of people are going to suffer financially because of this- many thanks to the Tory government for not reacting to it quickly enough- it will leave so many people out of a job, unable to financially support themselves and struggle to make ends meet. This is why it’s so important to support small independent businesses right now as it’s left them completely vulnerable to the unknown. Please use your resources to be able to help others in any way that you can as the next couple of months people are going to be really struggling. already on the news there’s been a major increase in people using food banks.

I’m not sure how to end this post as I normally end on a high. Right now, I’m thinking about those who are affected by this. The one thing I can say that in times of darkness there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. For me, I will spend more time creating art and channelling my energy into this. My Etsy shop will still be open although I cannot guarantee that orders will arrive on time as I’m not sure if the post office will be closed when Covid-19 peaks.

I hope you all keep safe and please watch out for each other. We will get through this.