'Making Creativity Bloom'

Monday, 14 January 2013

Organisation & looking back..

Celebrating 2012 - Jubilee Celebrations - The Queen, the flame..

Preparing flowers pots, ready form decorating and planting herbs
It has been a long time since I  last posted, so it's a long post, with so many projects and changes to Poppies. 
Poppies started almost 7 years ago, it was time for Poppies new organisation plan to be put into practise.
In fact, an ankle injury at the end of November really did knock me off my feet; ohh how I missed the mad Christmas crafting sessions but not trying to clear up glitter.
(I only managed one art session at Poole Hospital Children's ward with volunteers running around for me!)I think maybe I did need this time to recharge, read, plan and prepare for the mass organisation of Poppies.

Over the last 7 years, with every session being especially tailored for the client, the hundreds of drawings, samples and equipment has been simply Eminence.
Each workshop/ client paperwork has been neatly filed and then archived at the year's end; storage of equipment divided down into big neat plastic boxes with labels such as paper craft,fabric painting etc. not to mention the thousands upon thousands of mosaic tiles filling floor to ceiling professional racking of a garage, 3 sheds, an office and a studio.
So we decided ( with the agreement of the board  of the directors) to cull, create space and organise every aspect of Poppies at grass roots level.

It went something like this:

O hh, when to start?!
R eally, do we need this & this & this?!
G oal of finishing within 2 days - dashed!
A nd so it goes on...and on..
N eeding lashing of tea...
I nspired by children's drawings & the many thank you cards
S orting out, space for new materials..
A chieving & seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or the garage in this case
T ons of art equipment donated to great causes
I personally got emotional remembering certain kids, projects - happy tears!
O nward and upwards..
N ew space, beautifully organised and streamlined.

We decided to donate tons of equipment with a high value to various charities, schools, individuals that we simply knew would really enjoy the arty activities and it felt really, really good. At the heart of Poppies we create the right environment for kids and adults to have that special moment.
The one where we see the person enjoying being creative and forgetting everything else; that joy of painting, cutting, sticking, drawing, choosing colours normally with a hint of their tongue sticking out due to total concentration of the task in hand.

Looking back, here are a handful of memories of our workshops..
We have grouted a mosaic with a full gospel choir singing to us; we have run workshops in a wide range of places including fields, festivals, cleaning cupboards, churches,random rooms in schools,playgrounds, gardens, hotels, offices, hospitals, hospices, daycentres, shopping centres, in the middle of Mothercare stores, mask making workshops in the Co-op in the Shetland Isles, libraries, dining huts, pubs, homes, halls, galleries, tents...
Not to mention some of the themes and what we have mosaiced or decorated in different forms:

Bugs, superheroes, ants, airoplanes, animals, badges, spices, trees, fish, sheep, chickens, crowns, cushions, mugs, clouds, children,crosses, flowers, herbs, birds, mobiles, sun, grass, beachhuts, mini towns, ark, houses, lions, elephants, frogs,trains, butterflies, seahorses, crabs, sea, sky, stars, logos, swings, flags, the Queen and her golden carriage, sayings, mirrors, picture frames, pirates, cards, pop art xmas trees, fairies, tractors, magic wands, reideer hats, snowflakes, bunnies...
Christmas card winner..

The Golden Carriage with the Queen

Young school girl with flag..

Team building mosaic butterflies..

Superhero glasses...

Parents painting Boscombe Cafe

'Finn' giving you a wink!

I never would have imagined some of the things we been asked to and have created, heard or seen all those years ago, when I decided to start up my own company sitting on a bench with Nigel Wood in front of the Tate Modern. I decided to start this company to be able to connect people and creativity - we really have made 'Creativity Bloom!' i am very proud and thankfull for being able to be able to do it! Thanks to everyone and a wonderful team and clients.

I attended my first after school art class at the age of 5, since then i have been able to find art rooms and just made myself at home..so it's come full circle huh?!!

Poppies will continue with its primary aim of bringing creativity to people of all ages and abilities tailormaking each and every workshop.   We will also focus our attention on our other company Natalie Guy Mosaics.   I hope we will meet again soon! 

Friday, 22 April 2011

Temba the Audi crystal lion takes shape in Metropolis Art gallery in Westbourne

A new lion has come to life in a beautiful setting. I remember waking up suddenly with a rather 'wild' idea when thinking about the characteristics of Audi. When I think of the rather well formed and luxury cars that state Audi, I can't help thinking of sleek lines, German engineering, and total elegance. So I hear you cry, what was the idea?  Swarovski crystal mane with diamonds against a beautiful white body.
White lions are  very rare creatures and after speaking to the managing director David Kelly of Poole Audi, it was clear he wanted to promote their plight. He has after all been to Africa to the one place they live in the world and was simply enchanted by this majestic animal. So the idea was born. A sleek white lion encrusted with crystals and a couple of diamonds that would be hand stuck. Temba - Swahili for 'Hope' seemed perfect.
In my mind, Temba had started with a personality. He would have the right car, the perfect house, maybe a yatch, fine art hanging in his house, eat at the finest restaurants, attend the right parties, dinners and would be an interesting person to chat too.
So the next question, where would I transform this now beautifully sprayed white lion with his mane of crystals? In a Westbourne gallery called 'Metropolis Art' surrounded by famous art from Banksy, Damien Hurst and the like, in the window!
Not any old window, no this window happened to be just by a set of traffic lights and in the main part of Westbourne.
Sometimes things happen in life that are simply just great. Sticking on the crystals one by one onto Temba  in the window of the gallery was fabulous!  I simply loved every minute,creating a sparkly lion in such a great atmosphere with the public stopping to stare and lashings of tea surrounded by brilliant artwork.
The team of the gallery kept me sane, as as you can imagine sticking over 6,000 crystals could send you a little mad...
The eyes needed to be just right and 'Soap' a very talented Urban artist, who's works features in the gallery, sprayed the eyes and Temba's character came to life in his hands. Soap's care and attention of the blue eyes looks great- thanks Soap!

The beginning of Temba..

Temba looks out of the window at his new surroundings and greets the public..

Soap working on the first layer of his eyes

The sparkle of Swarovski crystals..

A finished Temba looks out and sparkles at night time

Temba daytime...

Temba's new friends -Kitty & Bebe say hello...(he also gets a kiss!)

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Lion in the library - 'African Sunset' is finished for Chinese New Year!

I'm just at the front of the library now, for you to come and visit!
Do you like my mane?
My tree has real gold don't you know!

Is this my best side?

African Sunset lion is now finished with many, many hours of loving care spent on this fine beast! Many hours, even days were spent cutting and sticking smaller and smaller mosaic tiles to create his new coat to be part of 'Pride in Bournemouth'. He has put on rather a lot of weight and needed many pairs of hands to lift him from the table to the floor...He now stands guard at the front of the library, waiting for a new name..
Over 200 people of different ages stuck on their tiles to be part of this community project including Harry Porter and Mrs. Porter, different school children and staff, little ones, older ones, council members, even a member of our government!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Visitors and new friends..

There have been comments that he has a lovely bottom..this photo also shows the colour change of the mosaic tiles..

A helper polishing the feet to make them very shiny

The Cole's Miller African Sunset mosaic lion is starting to get a personality and has now got black eyes with a very small piece of gold in the middle that should sparkle in the sunshine when outside. The lion, (still to be named) has had his photo taken by Sally the photographer of the Daily Echo and he was a showoff! Surrounded by the many different colours tiles that make up his new coat, he had his best side on show, and I was in the photo too.

He has also had many different visitors and friends come and say 'hello'. Charlie from Wild in Art, gave him a little stroke, pupils from nearby St.Michael's Primary school came to stick a couple of tiles on, whilst choosing books for their homework projects and even some of the parents stuck a couple of tiles too. Many of the 'lion' books have been checked out of the library, so their are many children learning and reading great stories about lions somewhere in Bournemouth ..
Cole's Miller are also sponsoring St.Michael's lion, so fingers crossed both lions will meet in the near future when they both have their new decorated coats.
Our lion has a new friend, a blackboard lion who he will share the Children's section with for the near future. I promise to take some photos tomorrow and post, so you can see the progress.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

stories coming alive in the library

Mosaicing the lion in the library has given me 'food for thought' today. I have met some lovely people and has reminded me why I love working with art projects in the community.
I am mosaicing this lion in the children's section of the library, with small benches and storybook galore nearby.
I had been privileged to hear some wonderful stories - parents reading storybooks to their younger children, complete with different voices of the characters, children sitting in ore waiting for the next instalment. I have had parents talking to me whilst their child has been sticking, telling of small snippets of their lives and funny ditties and waiting to stick their own tiles too.

I had also heard heartfelt stories of bravery, that I could not imagine and could never understand and totally admire their determination and personal strength and love for others. Stories of crazy fundraising events coming up and the reasons why the fundraising is just so important; having a moment to talk to someone I wouldn't normally chat too from young to old. Seeing children's' and adults faces light up simply sticking their tiles and being part of the mosaic jigsaw. A simple act making the bigger picture, or lion in this case!

This project reaches an audience that wouldn't interact in day to day situations and being able to say 'Would like like to stick a tile on my lion?' and knowing that come the summer, different 'pockets' of our Bournemouth community could walk up to this lion and say 'That's my bit, I stuck on in the library'. 'Pride in Bournemouth' ( see the link there? oh, it's here: www.prideinbournemouth.com )
I'm a lucky girl seeing this project coming alive and meeting wonderful people and hearing their mini stories, how fitting for a library! I promise to bring more photos for you to see the progress of the nameless lion soon..

Monday, 17 January 2011

There's a lion in Bournemouth library!

The start of the African baobab tree with real gold highlights! -
He's looking a little LEGO yellow at the moment, but he has his 'shoes, a couple of legs mosaiced..

Staff from a local school want to stick a 'bit' too after their students have had a go!

Mike and Dave community officers come to help too!

Families are all getting involved..

Heather was the first person to stick on a tile..

A lion in the library...!

The news of lions 'taking over' Bournemouth in the summer has started to spread! Bournemouth will host 'Pride In Bournemouth' ,a public art event with lions in our streets and in our shop windows for all to see. There will be a trail map and we'll be able to search for them all!

'So what, summer is months away!' I hear you cry..well, the lions have already started to appear in strange places..such as Bournemouth library children's section.

Yes, you read that right - the library..

Poppies Art Workshops have been commissoned by Coles Miller, solicitors to mosaic a lion with the help of the public in the library. The design is of an 'African Sunset' in rich reds, oranges, yellows and even gold. We have been working hard and have had many different visitors including Hannah Perry from Cole Miller, Mike, a community officer, schools galore, families, tourists from Japan, Canada and even Switzerland to name a few. Some children have come back a couple of times to help and see the progress.
He is starting to look like the design, but another 6 colours will be added to make sure the colours blend well together, as he looks a little 'blocky' at the moment...watch this space for more information.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Lions, the BIC and santa for one night only!

Christmas is almost apon us, with snow in the sky, the same old Christmas songs bellowing from the shops and every advert on TV connected to Christmas from the food, to glamerous dresses and the must have something or other...Poppies have been very busy with wonderful workshops making the essential decorations, gifts and using the most amount of glitter ever seen!

So keeping with the Christmas theme, every stage for the big Light Switch-on needed a 'Santa Paws' lion ( stay with me, all will be explained!) - I was up for the challenge.

'The Bournemouth Tourist Awards were being held at BIC Thursday night and it would be great for an artist to be painting a lion at the same time'. Armed with paints, brushes and a design,
Santa paws was painted during the awards with many lovely comments from the invited! (& finished off the next day as well!).

'Santa Paws' now lives on the stage in the sqaure to promote intrigue and conversation. Santa Paws proved popular with the crowd during the switch-on and even Jules from Heart FM Breakfast couldn't resist his charms.