Father Day 2012 – Science Festival (by )

Alaric sharing his fathers day breakfast with the girls

Jean woke me up at 8 o'clock to make Daddy breakfast in bed for Fathers Day. I was already awake thanks to creative insomnia. We made him breakfast and presented it too him (not entirely sure he was initially chuffed to be awoken early on a Sunday!).

Breakfast in bed

The baby instantly stole his yogurt (it's an alpro one so she can actually eat it and she did!).

Jean presenting daddy with planet cup cakes Cake! Fathers Day Planet and Rocket Cup Cakes Fathers day cakes

We had also made some planet/space cupcakes for him which Jean gave him 🙂 I bet you can guess which two the baby decorated!

Jean and Mummy learning about Sunspots with the Cotswould Astronomical Society Staring at the Sun

The we were off to the Cheltenham Science Festival for the day. Above is me and Jean pestering the guy from the Cotswold Astronomical Society.

Jean with a microscope

Jean again spent an age looking through microscopes and prodding things. The main phrase I heard through out the day was, 'I see you have a budding scientist there!'

Alaric found electronics at the Cheltenham Science Festival

Alaric found electronics and was happy 🙂 He also found a picture of Alan Turin and thus told a very interested (and I mean it) Jean about the origins of computing.

Baby reading at the Cheltenham Science Festival Mary seriously considering what we should go and see at the Cheltenham Science Festival

Mary entertained herself for a huge chunk of time with reading the science festival programme 🙂

Pretty ceiling decorations The ceiling of the town hall Cheltenham Fantastic lighting at the Cheltenham Science Festival Techno lighting at the Cheltenham Science Festival Ceiling Star at the Cheltenham Science Festival

I found pretty lighting to take photos of!

Jean's heart rate being measured Jean's Keji Bounce

Jean found an entity called Keji. She got to generate her own little creature who's bounciness was based on her heart rate. Meaning she got to bounce on a trampoline 🙂

Coloured foam teaching chemistry Jean the mad scientist helping the Sustainably Chemistry people at the Cheltenham Science Festival

She then helped the Sustainable Chemists with their experiments 🙂 Though she did inform one Chemist that she didn't want to make a rubber ball because she wanted to explode more things!

Oh yes! She also wanted to start a fire with the telescope once I explained we mustn't look directly at the sun.

Princess Pirate and Captan Sunshine Hippy Al Jean and Daddy in the Aviator

We then went to The Aviator at Staverton airport for dinner which everyone loved 🙂

Jean and Mary seriously writing Jean and Mary in the Aviator for Fathers Day Sister Snug

Please Touch Gallery at Center Arts (by )

Center Arts Please Touch Exhibition

Today has been hectic with far to much crammed in but we are very glad we managed it all. One of the highlights was going to the Please Touch exhibit at Center Arts in Cheltenham.

Sweet a textural representation of Sucrose including knitted molecule and actual table sugar

This contains two pieces of my own science art - the Life Coral which has been displayed before and Sweet a textural visualisation of sugar specifically sucrose (though only as I ran out of time to knit more molecules!).

Life Coral by Sarah Snell-Pym at Please Touch Center Arts Cheltenham

The concept of this exhibition is to allow those who are visually impaired to enjoy the art, to raise awareness and to experience art primarily through the sense of touch rather than sight.

Pod Sculpture at Please Touch Center Arts Cheltenham bronze horse and rider Zombie hand at Center Arts Sculptures for touching at Center Arts Paint Swerl Wire Man at Center Arts

I really liked this fabric piece

Fabric Tassels Please Touch Exhibition Cheltenham Fleece tubes Please Touch Cheltenham yarn twists and beads Fabric Polyp Tubes! Fabric tassels with flash Feely textiles

This history of art in smiley faces done by Zaphira was Mary's favorite piece 🙂

The history of art in Smiley Faces Center Arts Cheltenham Baby Mary contemplating the history of art in smiley faces at Center Arts Cheltenham

The children especially loved the art, Jean and Mary both go much happiness out of the gallery. Mary just because she could interact with the art work and Jean as she could explore it and no one shouted at her for touching it! (though she did get into trouble for trying to convert one of them into an archeological dig).

Baby Mary Building with Art, Center Arts Please Touch, Cheltenham Mary after Art Determined this baby gets the art! Mary steels my hat Baby Mary running away with art I found art Mummy! Jean exploring the piece known as Ten Green Bottles at the Please Touch Center Arts

Jean loved the glass sculptures especially - there was a magnifier with a light for those who have some vision but not much.

Jean exploring the glass pebbles Jean's favourite Glass nugget

My favourite was this landscape and it piece as a whole along with the science festival has led me and Alaric to want to resurrect a resin casting project we have.

Landscape in Glass at Center Arts

Make Good Art or Get Creative (by )

This speech by the writer Neil Gaimon I found extremely powerful especially for someone like me who has to do creative things to survive.

But also the fact that I have not done things the normal way and that I keep hitting barriers such as I don't have an art degree so therefore do not count as an artist for some people. I am in a space inbetween. When I hear or read that others have not done it the normal way either it gives me hope.

Also I feel encouraged that I am not the only person who finds that trying to do projects for money fail and end up leaving you worse off than you started but the ones you do because it's a fun idea race ahead and are successful.

He mentions the changing landscape of publishing too which for me is an emotive subject - I really think I am going to continue on my own path with my blogs and getting my own CDs printed and what have you. I have tried traditional publishing twice now and both time the company has gone bust or something similar - one still having the rights to the work I'd done so I didn't even end up with it and worse they have not done anything with it :/

My first attempt at crowd funding has been a huge success 🙂 So I am very happy with that.

He mentions throwing bottles into the sea and then they all start coming back and you have to learn to say no. And you know - this is actually happening - though I would say I have been shouting into the void and now the echos are not only coming back but are bouncing and reflecting and propagating and I am having to turn things down! (But please still ask as I may not be doing stuff that weekend etc... or like with the Stroud Water Festival - what I was supposed to be doing may have been canceled).

I do feel a bit weird though it is just like suddenly I am this person that people know of - I'm getting pounced by people who I do not know who start chatting to me about my art (ok well this has always happened quiet alot but frequency has increased!).

It is bizar but I do feel like a fake - really? Me? That thing I made in the middle of the night? That story I wrote whilst breast feeding the baby at 5 am? The knitting I did at a festival whilst listening to my favourite local bands? That really? You like it?

It is not all positive feedback mind - one of my best friends hates my songs, I was accused at the Poetry Festival of being arrogant as my business cards say Artistic Scientist and Scientific Artist. Alaric cringes at my Wiggly Pet stories and visual puns. Performance poets see me as a page poet, page poets see me as performance or worse experimental and the artists are scared or the science part and the scientists are like 'you have no PhD!' and I have people ranting at me over spelling mistakes on my blogs...


That is small compared to what is coming back to me at the moment. I keep thinking I'm so lucky how has this come about? But it is such a knife edge world really - I'm getting bookings now but 6 months down the line? And also it still isn't actually making money 🙁 And what it does make tends to be for charity.

But you know people are excited about Ballads of the Scientifica and there have been requests for a Wiggly Pet book and for t-shirts with things like my Normali Tea picture on.

If you watch/listen to Neils speech he says make good art, I would change that to Get Creative.

Creativity, Science and Art equals Future Innovation

When I tore the ligaments in my ankle and had to be flown home from a field trip in the desert I GOT CREATIVE - I made Wiggly Pets

When I had to take a year out for medical treatment to my back - I GOT CREATIVE - I began writing and designed a series of childrens' science stories.

When I found myself having nearly died, and crippled from childbirth, boiling with anger and fear - I GOT CREATIVE - I started writing a novel and so was found in a cafe by the now Cheltenham Poetry Festival Director.

When our house was flooded I GOT CREATIVE and designed childrens activities to entrain my toddler.

When I got shingles and had to rest and give up the Master degree for the second time I found the Paleo Art community and began drawing trilobites and things.

When I was devastated about miscarriage I constructed The Punk In Pink personality.

When I was petrified of going to the hospital to have little Mary I wrote poems about that fear and about having a separated pelvis.

When we were being chucked out of our home I made a poem about how the home is not the building but the people with in.

And so on. There is an even larger list of good times and being creative but that would make this post silly long! 🙂

Basically as I have struggled to build my own serendipity funnel and have just reached my perceived tipping point and this talk resonated so strongly that it made me cry (yes I know that will be the hormones).

If you haven't already listen to it 🙂 But most of all Get Creative!

Roller Bladding with Style (by )

Jean Rollar Blading in 3 festival tails and an angry bird hat

Jean picked up some rollar blades for 50p on a charity stall and could not resist trying them out when we got home. This ment that whilst I was putting away shopping and what have you, there was a CRASH, clatter, clunk and thonk from the kitchen.

I go in to find Jean a pile on the kitchen floor, she was wearing the rollar blades, three festival tails and her new angry birds hat. She was already picking herself up to continue the experiment when I reminded her that they were an outside toy.

'Oh yeah' she said and disappeared out the back door, she has since been seen chasing cats, rabbits and babies 🙂

Molecular Knitting (by )

Knitted Sucrose Molecule with out half it's hydrogens

This is my knitted sucrose molecule still missing some of it's hydrogens. It has worked out both better and worse than I expected - as a first attempt I think it's great personally. My long term plan is to knit molecular assembles so groups of molecules as say found in tea, comet tails and chocolate... you get the idea 🙂

The finished knit is part of the work I will have on display at Centre Arts Cheltenham as part of their charity Exhibition Please Touch. The idea behind my knitted molecule is to give a tactile visualisation as it were of what how a molecule fits together - it is basically a model.

They have also asked for The Tree of Life Coral to be there which makes me very excited - I would have loved to have the sound cave up and running for this but it took too long to get the basic funding so that is going to appear later in the year and at a few things next year. There is still time to fund the Sound/Sensory Cave though not much! I have reached target but the excess money will go towards a science-art exhibition next year in March.

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