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Archive for the ‘Lovely Things…’ Category


It’s been a faff of a job in the editing… and because I had to shorten it for facebook I stuffed up the music on Legal Man… but hey… you get the picture… if you want to see what we got up to… watch the video here!

I can’t recommend Hoi An Motorbike Adventures highly enough… best weekend in Vietnam… Fact…

…Happy Days…

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Art Wednesday folks… another thrilling installment on how my project is coming along… Okay… so I was really excited to get going on this part of the project… creating a paper upon which to print using my print blocks… Turps transfer is a pretty simple technique… you take an image… photocopy it (prererably using the crummiest old photocopier you can find), place the image face down on cartridge paper and then using an old cloth rub a small amount of turps over the back of the image… this is the clever part… the turpentine releases the ink from the photocopier and transfers it to the cartridge paper below…

Sounds easy right?

…Wrong…

So this was my idea… take a collection of images and photos from my time in Vietnam and combine them to create an interesting background in which to print over with my print blocks… I felt that the geometric print block was somewhat reminiscent of propaganda posters and then by replacing the buttons in my other print block with more Vietnamese coins it would provide an simple yet eye catching contrast…  I had it all planned out in my head… I went to a few photocopier places to test out different machines and in the end chose some images of electrical wire and propaganda posters I like… Here is the layout i thought i would start with…

Test one… the colour images… didn’t work at all… no ink released whatsoever… nada… next time must use colour photocopier and not printer… and here is the result of test number two…

After several tests of different prints… this is what comes out… interesting… but hardly going to rock the Turner Prize anytime soon… change of tack… too much blur and black means all the detail will be lost as soon as it is printed over…

Final attempt… a montage of street maps of saigon with some propaganda posters thrown in for good measure… It looks quite interesting and I think will make for a cool textured background to print onto…

To be brutally honest… it turned out okay… but I am not entirely happy with the composition so I will print onto it but keep working on the turps transfer until I find a photocopier that works – the older the better apparently – when I hit upon the magic combination of amount of turpentine and photocopier I will return to my original plan…

I still really like propaganda and cables….

As for using translucent gold acrylic for a printing ink… the less said about that the better…

Wine & Art on friday… time to get out the sketch book…

Night all xx

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Here it is folks… Just what you have been waiting with baited breath for… the first printing of my colourgraph print block that I made last week in Art Class at Out-2 Saigon … At first I wasn’t too sure how well it would turn out… but for my first attempt… pretty darn pleased with the results!

Actually… before i got to get all messy and covered in printing ink I made another print block… something that would contrast with all the circles… sort of art deco sunburst inspired… I love love love the way this print block turned out…

Finished yet? Oh no… more to come… I have 2 hours people… I can create a tonne of messy printy goodness in that time… press on dear readers… Next step… try out my first print block on a different type and colour of paper… this time a fabulous bright canary yellow tracing paper…

Now here comes the cool part… layer the yellow tracing paper print on top of the geometric print and voila…

Pretty Neato!


Next week I get to play around with my print blocks and actually create a piece… I think I would like to try out some terps transfer as a background to print onto… best get myself to a photocopiers at top speed!


***


Before I bid you all a good night… if you find yourself in Saigon on May 7th and you like art and you like wine… why not join me and the lovely folks at Out-2 Studio  for Art & Wine…

I don’t think it needs much more explanation… do you?

Happy Art Wednesday chaps!

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Print Block... before printing...

Art Wednesday… and I very nearly didn’t make it… buildings in Saigon get demolished, renovated and reconstructed on an almost daily basis and i wasn’t entirely certain the studio would still be there… however… hiding down a side street beside an abandoned cinema and tucked behind a thousand motorbikes is the Out-2 Saigon studio… actually… it isn’t that hard to find… I just missed the bloody enormous sign…

A small but lovely studio with super friendly people… projects nearing completion and stunning pieces hang on the wall, filling up the space as well as serving as inspiration… the course will run over the next 8 weeks… just long enough to get me through the last term with my sanity intact…

Printing… cut glue stamp stamp roller stamp… actually… as you can see from the photo above I got as far as the cut and glue stage… a cathartic process… selecting pieces for their texture and the negative shapes they will create… I chose circles… I wasn’t sure where I was going… to be honest I still have no idea how it will turn out… but I liked the idea of diminishing circles using everything from hessian & ridged paper to coins & buttons… I know it may not look like much yet (although i think it is a little bit pop arty and kitsch)… but when it has all dried the fun part will come next… rollering on the acrylic paint and seeing how it turns out on paper!

….Let’s hope it turns out as well as I imagine it in my head…

2 hours disappeared… but at the end I had made something… something not for work… something not for another person… and something that on Tuesday I didn’t know how to do at all… how awesome is that…

Sarah, the Out 2 Saigon chapette in charge of us budding artistes was really supportive and encouraging – exactly what you would hope for in fact – and made sense of some of my odd ideas to incorporate my print block with fabric or photographs… mission for this weekend… find a photocopy and print place… oh and learn all about terps transfer technique…

…As I suspected… Highlight of my week…

…Oh… a few pretty Hoi An lantern photographs added here

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Saigon Post Office

So often I forget just how wonderful Saigon actually is… how many strange and curious sights i overlook because they just become part of the blur of daily life here. Not today though… or yesterday for that matter… Two of my most favourite people have arrived from England… Cat & Toby… this is there first trip to Asia and it is my opportunity to share with them some of the things I love most about the city.  We started off the day with a traditional Vietnamese breakfast… a hot spicy bowl of Pho… a delicious noodly soup that you can’t perfectly describe in words… the crunch of the beansprouts, the tang of chillies and limes all combined in one delicious mouthful of this delightful meal.

With bellies full and a good caffeine zing we ventured forth into Ben Thanh market… a place I usually avoid… as much because of the tourists as the locals… wandering through the cramped aisles piled high with fabric and food, a bag of freshly prepared jack fruit in hand… stopping to marvel at the weird and wonderful produce… it is quite special… even if a white face means you have to work incredibly hard to get a bargain!

Slowly strolling along the city streets we followed Le Loi down to Dong Khoi to the Opera House and then Notre Dame and my favourite building… the post office… just as stunning outside as inside… would be the perfect backdrop for a Poirot mystery to begin…

The heat is somewhat oppressive this time of year and instead of opting for a bottle of overpriced water on the street we went to NYDC for a delicious ice cold glass of Lemon Shiver… thirst quenching and fabulous for stabilising the core temperature of parched tourists…

Thumbs up for Lemon Shiver!

Onwards… this time to China Town… aniseed… the first thing that hits you is the pungent aroma of herbs and spices… huge sacks brimming with all kinds of oddities which will eventually be pulverised, mashed or ground into some truly foul smelling Chinese medicine…. we were content just to look…

....don't eat the mushrooms...

A walk through Cho Lon and into the haberdashery market before heading to Pham Ngu Lau… backpacker district… for another icy cold beverage… ca phe sua da… people watching and street hawker avoiding…

All the delicious sights and sounds and smells absorbed it is time to head home… only to refresh… dinner at the superb Quan An Ngon… over ordered again… but you just want to try everything!

Fresh rolls with shrimp barbequed on sugar cane

I love being a tourist where I live… It makes me appreciate how wonderful Saigon truly is… it may be prettier but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side…

Daisies at Quan An Ngon

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21 months… nearly two years I have been a resident of Saigon and with only 89 days to go I discover an art class in Saigon… I have been looking… there are language courses… sports clubs… wine tasting… but no art… and now one has appeared… better late than never… you are looking at the newest student on the Expressive Mixed Media course specialising in experimental painting techniques and print making… Wow… not cheap at $255 dollars… but it will be amazing to learn from professional teachers rather than my current “botch up, trial then error” method plus it will also  get me through the remaining couple of months with something super to look forward to each week.

I can’t wait to get started… what will I do… will there be lots of lovely artsy folks… so excited!

…Here is one of my latest crafty fiddles…

Brown cord tote bag with felt lining and applique detail… commission piece for a friend… not my original design… based on an image found on a google image search… amazing what you can come up with if you type in I Heart Tea…

...Tea Bag...

As for the rest of the week… I have been breathing in toxic rainbows of acrylic spray paint… graffiti is harder than I imagined… but the finished results are kind of cool… will post a photo when completed!

Nearly the weekend chaps!

…Happy Easter all you lovely folks out there…

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It’s that time of year again… 2/3 of the way throught the academic year and the Easter break is so close I can almost touch it… Absolutely exhausted and a super crazy amount of work to do before the school year is out.. However… I have started my chuff chart… 90 days to go folks until I quit Vietnam in favour of less sunny climbs…

…I have been a googlin’ … Berlin is fabulous city… one of my favourites… there is a plethora of gorgeous things… kaffee und kuchen… Sunday flea markets, clean fresh sunny parks… snow in winter and a reason to wear all the hats and scarves I have amassed over the years… Autumn… beer festivals, wine festivals, film, art, fashion and music festivals (and sport too apparently…)… Also Etsy… yay!

I just need to get all my stuff from here to there… find an apartment… learn all about how to teach big kids… brush up on my now shockingly bad Deutsch…

…I will do that later…

Right now I want to get through the week in one piece… amongst other things it is Environment Week at school and to quote the great Kermit… “it’s not that easy being green”

The Easter holidays bring lovely things from home… Cat and Tobes… i only get to keep them for two weeks… but we have great adventures planned…

…stay tuned to this station for our Asian odyssey…

… time for a nice cup of tea now…

Goodnight World

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