Artist Support Pledge

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the period we’re in at the moment more of a challenge than when we were in full lockdown; normality is returning, but not necessarily the good aspects (traffic levels springs to mind), and other things are still a very long way off (cultural hubs re-opening etc)…I think I accepted and adjusted to lockdown in the knowledge that it was a temporary situation, and in a few months we would return to our old lives and move on. Of course it’s not proving to be that straightforward, and the ‘new normal’ is a pale imitation of our old lives – another way of living which we have to accept and adjust to all over again. Thousands of people have no jobs to return to and thousands more are facing the same prospect in the coming months; tourism and culture (both a hugely vital part of the Uk economy) will struggle to recover from the effects of COVID-19 for years to come.  I actually feel more anxious and pessimistic than I did 4 months ago. So, to try and gee myself up a bit I’ve decided to take part in the Artist Support Pledge.

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Artist Support Pledge is “a culture and economy in support of artists and makers established and led by artist Matthew Burrows on 16th March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now a global movement of connected communities committed to an equitable and sustainable economy for artist and makers of all countries, media and ethnicities”. The concept is a simple one – when an artist/maker sells £1000 worth of their work, they pledge to spend £200 on other artists’ work. It is mostly focused around Instagram but I’ll also be posting about it on my Facebook page.

As we approach the tail-end of summer (!!!!) I would normally be starting to plan ahead for the autumn and winter’s markets and fairs, but these are very much up in the air at the moment, which is a huge concern. So I’m hoping the Artist Support Pledge will generate some sales and of course enable me to spend money on lovely things (I’ve already compiled a want list)!

Thanks for reading x

What’s in the Box?

There’s always a bit of a post-festive lull here at Hooperhart Headquarters; stock has been depleted to the point of non-existence, I don’t have any trade fairs to prep for, and if I’m honest, I use January as an excuse to take things a little easy. It’s a time to contemplate the year ahead and consider how I want to develop and avenues I fancy exploring…to mix things up a bit I’ve signed up for a weekend course using a material which couldn’t be more different to wood, but more on that at a later date!

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about making more boxed dioramas and developing the storytelling aspect of them in a visual way. I started making them in 2017, initially using domino boxes and wooden cubes:

I’m always on the lookout for interesting boxes which will be suitable for housing little worlds – towards the end of last year I found some with lovely little clasps and lids:

They’ve gradually become more elaborate, and I’ve started using transfers alongside screenprinting and painting as a way to get fine detail and text onto the boxes and their interiors:

So far the boxes have all been fairly small but I’ve recently acquired some larger boxes which I want to use but I’m concerned the little scenes I have in mind might lose their charm the bigger they get…I could certainly fit plenty of detail in though. I’ve even been considering designing some around a character from literature – and I usually steer well clear from actual humans in my work! Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone, we’ll see…I’ll continue to mull this one over – first step is to sit down with the sketchbook and put pencil to paper…

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

The Fox in Winter

So it’s January, and it’s cold. No surprise there then! We haven’t had any snow yet here at Hooperhart Headquarters but I’ve got a feeling February might oblige… Myself and Mr Biscuits are snuggled up on the sofa under a variety of blankets this afternoon, watching the birds in the garden fluttering around the feeder, reflecting on the past few months and ruminating on plans for the weeks to come.

The festive season seems like a distant memory now – it’s amazing to me how events which happened three weeks ago can seem like months ago just because they happened ‘last year’. But it was a successful few months, a nice way to end the year. It’s great to finish the year with hardly any stock left, and a huge relief, as nothing is ever guaranteed.

2018 was definitely the year of the fox – I only began making works featuring foxes last summer and they have been far and away my bestsellers. I love foxes but I wasn’t aware so many other people did too! There are families of foxes living in the woods at the end of our road, and we quite often come across each other on the dog walk. I think it’s such a privilege to live in close proximity to wildlife and it lifts my spirits to know they are there, quietly going about their business.

The fox is such a symbolic animal and has been used countless times in art and storytelling to convey intelligence, elusiveness, trickery, transformation, wildness, freedom, magic powers, and so on. A forest setting adds to the sense of a story to be told…

I recently read a lovely description by Unit Twelve from their upcoming exhibition Into the Woods: ” The forest acts as a potent symbol of adventure and discovery, a place where the barrier between reality and fantasy begins to thin…the wonder and whimsy of these magical places, a whimsy that is subtly shaded by with undertones of the sinister and the macabre”. I think this actually sums up what I aim to capture in my work in general – the creation of a little window into another world, an imaginary place just a little bit more magical and intriguing than our own…