By jane2012, Feb 21 2019 06:46PM

It's been a while, I know. I'm sorry, I really will try to do better from now on :)


I've had an inspiring day and have been thinking about how I can communicate as an artist better. I downloaded Amanda Palmer's audiobook 'The Art of Asking' this morning (a little late to the party I know!) and have had it on constantly while I go about my day. She is an amazing woman and her positivity and passion for making art and building a community through art has enthused me so much. If you haven't read or listened to this book, I urge you to!


I am an artist. This is what I say (sometimes) when people ask what I do. I usually say it after I tell them my day job, as if the artist bit is just a sideline, a hobby. When actually the truth is it is what keeps me going. If I didn't have a creative outlet I would have gone under a long time ago.


I don't consider myself to be exceptionally talented, in fact sometimes I look at what I've created and just want to set it on fire and go and drown my sorrows. I second guess what I think people want and abandon projects that initially had deep meaning for me because I step back and think 'no one is going to like this.' I rarely sell anything which makes me wonder if I'm the only one that likes my stuff. Maybe it hasn't got that mysterious 'thing' that people want. Maybe people just 'like' my stuff on social media out of pity. My inner critic has a VERY loud voice.


At the start of the book, Palmer talks about the 'imposter syndrome' , the notion that we will be found out by the adults and told to do something sensible and stop messing about, stop being so pretentious. Art isn't important. Except it is. It gives us joy and hope and laughter and tears and inspiration and escape, and a life without those is no life at all. The truth is that even if I never sell anything ever again, I would continue to create anyway. It is the very act of creating that is the thing, not the thing itself. This is what makes me an artist, a creative human.


I have been keeping a visual diary recently, usually when I'm feeling low or frustrated an image will come to me, sometimes when I see something that moves me or strikes a chord I want to capture it before it dissipates. So, I will attempt to share those images on the website too alongside my finished pieces. For now I will probably share them on this blog, but if I become more prolific then I may give them their own gallery :)


I have no idea if anyone even reads this blog, but I vow to myself and to anyone who happens to stumble across these musings that I will keep it up from now on regardless. And if you do read it and want to say hi, please do! Maybe we can connect on some level. Art doesn't happen in a vacuum, it is a shared experience. It can be a lonely business being a creator; artist, writer, musician, whatever and if nothing else art should connect us to each other. Art can be our bridge. See you in the middle!


Peace and love

J xx

Hold on
Hold on
But...I ripped my heart out for you
But...I ripped my heart out for you
There is a man who walks around town with his hands pressed to his face...
There is a man who walks around town with his hands pressed to his face...

By jane2012, Jul 22 2018 10:04AM

Hello!


It's been a while, I know! I would love to be more disciplined and post more regularly here, but life has a habit of getting in the way!


It's been a busy summer here at Chez Sharp and between preparing for and completing my charity walk in June and working full time on top of that, there hasn't been a lot of time for creativity. Now that the walk is done (more of that in a later post) I have been throwing myself into some creative projects and it's been so nice to come back to!


Alongside my more traditional textile batik work I have been experimenting with batik on wood and have to say, I've been really enjoying it! I started off by having a go on some cheap off cuts from our local Scraps Store here in MK. They take discs of wood discarded in the making of speaker boxes at Marshall's in Bletchley and sell them on to artists and makers to do with what they will. The wood is only cheap ply so the finish was not brilliant but I was pleased with the overall result and it has definitely spurred me on!


The principle is the same as for textiles; you map out your design and apply wax to the areas you don't wish to colour. It is a lot more immediate than with textile though, which is quite satisfying, and when done on a nice piece of wood, the dye can really bring out the grain. This is definitely something I will be developing, so watch this space!


I've added the images here and as you can see I've also upcycled a star light purchased from Mrs B's Emporium in Wolverton, and an old Ikea mirror I bought years ago. My next project is another purchase from Mrs B's; a small ornamental dresser. Can't wait to post the pics of that when it's finished!

By jane2012, Nov 3 2017 10:39AM

'Rudbeckia' came back from the framers this week and has already sold! This is great news as all profits from the sale of all my batiks, prints and cards will go towards raising the £800 I have pledged, to participate in the Mind Hike 2018 in June next year in Cornwall.


If you would like to own a unique piece of textile art then have a look in my shop or commission me to produce a batik especially for you. If you can't afford the marked prices then #makemeanoffer, you never know unless you ask!

By jane2012, Oct 29 2017 01:29PM

Hello!


I have made the (somewhat rash) decision to do the Mind Hike Eden Project trek in June 2018. This will be a 24 hour trek around the beautiful county of Cornwall to raise money for Mind, an amazing mental health charity I have worked with over the past few years.


At the start of 2017 I decided to challenge myself more, to force myself out of my comfort zone and do things that would hopefully lead to change in my own life. So, I began by signing up to another charity called My Peak Challenge which is based around the concept of helping others whilst helping yourself. It has been an amazing experience, providing me with a monthly, weekly and daily training plan as well as nutritional guidance. The idea is that you set yourself a challenge (which can be physical or not) at the beginning and use the programme to work towards it. For some it has been to climb a mountain, for others to learn to knit, for me initially it was to just stick to the programme and increase my fitness and strength. So far I have done that and have seen a massive difference in my fitness levels and body shape.

Now I feel the need to do something more and feeling more capable of doing that has led me to this next challenge. I have had my own struggles with mental well-being over the years; when my son was young and I was feeling isolated and alone I'm not ashamed to say I used the Samaritans at a time when I felt so desperate and like a ghost walking through my own life. I have known friends and family too who have been through immense difficulties, and some who are no longer with us as a result. Ultimately we all have mental health, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not but it's the one thing that we all have in common. I have learned over this past year that achieving incrementally small goals eventually builds into forward momentum until you have a whacking great snowball and that helping others is the key to helping yourself.


I have set up a fundraising page for donations but I get that there are a lot of people doing this so I totally understand if compassion fatigue sets in! Rather than just asking people to donate (although I hope you do!) I have decided to donate any money I receive from selling my batiks, prints and cards to this fund. I will also be offering some batik workshops for a small fee over the next few months and all the money received from these will also go to the fund. I'll release more information on all this as soon as I have worked it all out but for now, thanks for taking the time to read this.


If you would like to follow my progress over the next few months I will be attempting to set up a blog/vlog shortly so check back here for details soon!


That's all for now,

Namaste!

Jane x


By jane2012, Jun 10 2017 12:28PM

We had a great Private View last night at the Cornerstone Gallery in CMK to open our Mixed Stitch and Friends Bucks Open Studios Exhibition. There were lots of familiar faces there to support us as well as not so familiar faces, which is really encouraging.


Now that the Prosecco has been quaffed and the nibbles nibbled the exhibition will be up from today (10th June) to Sunday 25th June. It will be accessible during the church opening hours and manned on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesday afternoons. Can't wait for you to see it!


Venue:

Cornerstone Gallery

Church of Christ the Cornerstone

Saxon Gate

Central Milton Keynes

MK9 2ES


Dates:

Saturday 10th June to Sunday 25th June 2017


Times:

accessible during church opening hours and manned on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesday afternoons.