Friday, 30 November 2007

A message

Events in Sudan are so sad and reflect a little of what happened to Emin last weekend. Au Pairs past and present offered to take Leyla to the Mosque, Emin is a Muslim to the core but does not attend and it would difficult for him to take Leyla because of the way everyone is segregated. He had barely crossed the threshold when he was approached and berated for his ignorance of Mosque etiquette and lack of worship experience, all in front of Leyla. Later the man apologised, but this over zealous attitude and lack of tolerance is what we are seeing in the Sudan and it is what is alienating so many liberal people from all faiths. I am not suggesting for one minute that my faith is superior, there is far too much evidence of Christian intolerance littered through history, but I like to think we may have learnt something from our mistakes. As Rev Ian Paisley once said "a nation that forgets its past is committing national suicide"


Inspired by these fabulous beauties from Carnaby Street?

Then knit your own, or if your lazy buy them from along with lots of other ginky stuff!


I keep a scrap book of the jewellery pictures I like as a source of inspiration for making necklaces. Many of my pictures appeared to be sourced from a shop called Pebble This seemed strange because they had no web site (or so I thought) no franchises and appeared not to ever advertise and yet time and time again I would see something lovely only to be directed to the mysterious Pebbles. The shop did not have a London number so I gave up. Then to my surprise I found it, where? in St Ives a tiny fishing town in Cornwall, all be it a busy town with lots of jewellery shops, but even so how weird is that? Its a small shop with an eclectic selection of designer jewellery a lot of it is expensive but it is unique and and often beautiful. So how is it that most editorial recommendations appear to be directly related to corporate advertising yet this tiny little shop in the back of beyond gets so much space? I flicked through January's Vogue and saw this bracelet for £85! from you guessed it? (found it!) my one above was a bargain at£12 and is the real deal, as is the choker, my supplier of African goods is Starbeck love all things African their indigo batik textiles, wooden sculpture and especially this beaded jewellery, so looks like I will be 'on trend' this summer.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Twinkle Love the web site, love the clothes.

Not enough time

This arrived today and my happiness was tinged with an element of sadness, as its now nearly December and I failed to set up my Etsy shop. I am just too busy I still need to paint the loft, I have yet another departmental self evaluation to do as well as plan and mark various projects. I am trying to sort out next years holiday which on its own has turned into a full time occupation, trying to please various parties involved and come in on budget, Oh and be a mother. This is however all my own doing other colleagues work part time so that 2 days are set clear for their own work I have chosen to remain full time. Money and pension are the main factors. I think it must be very hard to make a living as an artist my mothers new assistant is an established painter who cannot make enough money to live on by the time she had paid for materials and gallery fees not a lot is left. When I left college I was one of 4 students who went into teaching we were sneered at,both by students and staff, but I know many more followed after years of struggling to market, sell and create work. I think to do this and have a family is a brave thing to do. I have read the despair on mlee’s blog as she struggles to juggle her new baby with being a self promoted artist. So many successful female artists either appear to not have children or they have them and then kick start their career later in life. These are choices we make but men don’t seem to have too, I never read about a man struggling to juggle a career with family, you don’t read about guilt or abandonment from them, their life choices seem so much clearer and more clinical in execution. I am not jealous, just very frustrated. I feel that I am waiting to start my life and yet at the same time I feel I am watching the best years pass by.

Diary Project I love a good idea, and this one is brilliant and appears to require a lot of discipline. I have often encouraged students to post their work post card style as I like the random way their work can be altered by elements beyond their control. Lenore Tawney has been my main inspiration for this, her book Signs on the wind: postcards collages, has been a constant source of inspiration. What makes this project slightly different is the 'Marcel Duchamp hidden content' concept which gives the whole project a different perspective so I shall continue to watch this space with interest as well as try and catch up with the 100s of previous posts

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Golden Compass
We are all looking forward to the Golden Compass opening next week, another year, another evil woman on our screens this time portrayed by Nicole Kidman who will hopefully grab the baton of evil terror and manipulation and run with it. It is strange how fairy tales are littered with these women, devious and cruel always out to get what they most want in life no matter what the cost, whilst the men stand by weak and insignificant, waiting for their conscience to be woken by the children. Just look at Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe and now The Golden Compass all of course written by men. I am sure much has been written as to why, but I shall just enjoy the film.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Autumn is over

I came to school one day and whilst my window had been left wide open all night a spider had woven its finest,( just visible) and i noticed that Autumn is over.

I read recently that television is littered with the Lolita complex, daddy daughter combinations are everywhere. Yet we rarely see this in reverse the older wiser woman supported by the handsome young buck, it seems a little unfair. Whilst men age with grace their faces morphing into a well loved sofa last seen on an allotment, women freeze their faces into virtual rigour mortise desperate to avoid the graveyard shift. So it is just fantastic to see that over 8 million people tuned in to the new drama Cranford on BBC1 more bonnet buster than bodice ripper, strong roles with fantastic dialogue and not a ounce of botox in sight written by a women and acted by a who's who of our finest mature ladies. A rival was heard to say “and its not even written by Jane Austin” It is said that 2/3rds of the audience were over 55 well my girls love it and cannot wait for the next episode

Tim Noble & Sue Webster

First came this brilliant idea from Tim Noble and Sue Webster

(from http://www.acrstudio.%20com/)

Then came this

The Guardian gave the John Lewis Christmas campaign very short shrift but the adverts come as a refreshing change from the usual festive tripe (yes Morrison's I mean you) beautifully understated.

Sarah Morris

There are some parts of my job I love and research is one of them. I have a huge amount of autonomy, I chose the theme, the media, everything, this year I have been really been inspired by the work of Sarah Morris her work is amazingly clinical and complex, it just so happens that the new school gave me this amazing skeleton so the students can work from direct observation and Sarah Morris, brilliant, We have had some very cold crisp days as well, check out the blue sky, I got some great photos and a piece of history, this has now got concrete floors and the roof is about to go on.
There are some parts of my job I loathe and paper work is top of my list, number crunching too. This year is the worst it has ever been and some times the enjoyment is buried depressingly deep.
( for the Sarah Morris painting)


preparations , originally uploaded by anne-lauredjaballah.

Just beautiful visit her blog you wont be disappointed

Montreal artist, drawn to paint, rusty bits and pieces, boxes, very small things, and things hanging by threads.

Cinq Mars another site via Dear Ada. A wonderful site with lots of intense mixed media work. I love artists studios and much prefer seeing their work in situ that way you can get a better feel for the scale and texture of the work, like the 2 photos above.

Janis Provisor via Dear Ada. I have a number of victorian crystal necklaces this site makes me want to chop them up and restring them. Very beautiful.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Its true!

I had heard the rumour and now its official and I cant wait. This will turn the top end of Regent street into paradise. Of course I may have a bit of a "Mango experience"
(I was on holiday in Dubai and there was a branch of Mango on the corner of our street so we went in I picked up a sweater to show my sister who nodded with approval, "that would be nice in a large" she said, I said "this is a large!" we laughed and slunk out of the shop. Ever since shops that only cut for teeny tiny fashionistas get the raised eyebrow and are referred to as being a "Mango")
So I will not hold my breath, but all the same I am quite excited.


IS there anywhere chicer to be than part of the Vogue family? We think not, and today we're celebrating a new arrival with the launch of Vogue India.
I managed to sit and read this last Friday along with a load of other magazine in Boarders, I finally got to buy a copy of Lula, but one thing puzzles me. Why do we have Vogue Russia, Vogue Italy, Vogue Korea, etc but its Vogue Paris not Vogue France? what happens to the rest of France why do they not have 2 versions like Belgium? It seems a little unfair that such blatant marginalisation occurs .

A wise head

The recent turmoil that has hit the BBC over fabricating everything from a polar bear giving birth to adding a cry over news footage of new born babies should have come as no surprise really. Back in 1977 when I was pottering about in secondary school I volunteered to go on an archaeological dig that was being filmed for Look North (BBC). So one freezing cold winters day a group of us arrived at a desolate field in the back of beyond, we were briefed and we were given a small roped off square to gently probe and scrape. Meanwhile the glamorous presenter was primped and preened and joined us for a while. To my amazement I found something and diligently told the site manager, before I could so much as prepare my enthusiastic smile for the camera I was hustled to a barren patch of soil whilst the glamour puss was filmed suddenly ‘discovering' the treasure. Disappointment hung heavy in the air for the rest of the day I went home older and wise to the ways of television. why did it take the rest of Britain 20 years to catch up?

Open your eyes

Mum “Kitty what are you doing in PE tomorrow?”
Kitty “I am not sure I think it might be football”
Mum “Oh that’s nice what position do you play?
Kitty “ I am the goal keeper”
Mum “ Oh are you not a bit small too play in goal?” (She is tiny for her age)
Kitty shrugs “No its OK, I like it, the trick is to keep your eyes open. When they shot the first time I kept them shut and the ball hit my legs so hard it hurt, now I keep my eyes open and watch the ball so I can catch it”
Mum “Good for you”
So you see a 12 year old has managed to learn what all England goalkeepers have not. KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN. Obviously they kept them shut which explains why they let all those goals in, and why we will not turn into a bunch of raving xenophobic morons during Euro 2008, mores the pity

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Heart Made love the collar/necklace on the model top right I would love to track one down it makes such a change from the traditional necklace. I have always liked the work of Shaoo from France and when I get time I will post a photo.

Ahna Holder
It would cost a whopping £135 to buy my daughters one of these each, thats only £45 less than I spent on Daisy and Kittys main Christmas pressie. But they are very lovely.

Gene Meyer I really love the warm colours and patterns on these rugs.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Random Facts

I recently got tagged by 8 random facts. I did recently respond to a tagging for "8 things nobody knows about you" so I am guessing the theme has evolved somewhat. So whilst the previous post focused on my anonymity this list will focus on what my friends and family know all too well and if they were to ever read this they would nod their head with a resigned sigh and agree "yes that is the Alison we all know and love" well you get the drift of the sentiment anyway. Whats funny is I started to write a list last week and then began to theme the answers before the penny dropped that the idea was RANDOM. sometimes I despair.

No 1. If I reflect over past posts I realise that one area of my life that remains slightly under recorded is my love of food. I love food, seriously, I love eating out, eating in, just eating. I did like cooking before I met Emin I cooked from an early age and can if need be rustle up a feast. I cook a lot of food from scratch because Kitty reacts to e numbers etc so Pizza, pasta, curry, noodles are all home made. I just wish I had time to bake. I seriously can NOT say no to cake. Favourites are Lemon drizzle and coffee and walnut.

No 2. Before I had Daisy I would meet her father after Pilates and go and see a film, any film, indie. main stream, blockbuster, week in week out. I love going to the movies I still get a thrill. So it is bizarre that most of my favourites grew on me via the DVD. In no particular order my top 10 would be 1, Amadeus, 2, LemonySnickett, 3, Blade Runner, 4, Gladiator, 5, Howards End, 6, Sense & Sensibility, 7, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 8, Life of Brian, 9, Funny Face, 10, The Three Muskateers

No 3. A red top head line recently said " CHELSEY HATES LEEDS" It should also have said .."but Man Utd hate them more" I told you I liked football, but the reference is more to illustrate that I grew up in a tiny West Yorkshire village, we moved there from the south when I was 8 years old. I was bullied for my colour, teased for my accent, but I learned to adapt. The village was close to the Leeds Utd football training ground and at least 2 stars lived there, one day a man asked us directions to their houses and then told us he had the League cup in the back of his car,he was delivering it to them, would we like a picture taken with it? well yes we did but Ive lost the photo and no one would believe me now but we have held the League cup and what a fine piece of silver wear it was.

No 4, I love out sized furniture, I sleep in a super king sized bed, my dining room table measures 6 feet x 4 feet and as for my 2 sofas they are mahoosive.

No,5. My favourite word is Moose... I love the sound of it, the word not the animal. Strangely my sisters cat is called Moose, Emin's dog is called Aslan (Lion in Turkish) Lelya thought we were all mad. My favourite annunciation of the word moose comes via Woody Allen, years ago at school during lunch we would go see a friend who worked in a local bakery and on radio 1 at 1 o'clock they had a slot called "fun at 1" they once played a sketch from Woody Allen about shooting a Moose, it is THE funniest dialogue you will ever hear.

No 6. this is the best commercial EVER made. EVER.

No 7. I am obsessed with medical/pathology programmes. CSI, Criminal Minds, Bones, House you name i I love it. I wanted to be a children's physiotherapist but I was c**p at science so ended up teaching, so theese programmes represent what might have been.

No 8,I believe that you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I am not overly religious but this is my ethos for living.

It is not commonly known that I am shy well kind of, so I am unable to Tag others primarily because my favourites seem far too high up blogdoms food chain. Seriously can you imagine The Satorialist doing this? or Camilla Engman? so I will graciously accept the complement and leave it here, thank you.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Self Portrait Friday

C**p, you caught me RED handed, I didn't just visit galleries, I was lured to Selfridges by the call of the beauty hall I was very low on moisturiser and body cream. My absolute favourite body lotion is Molton Brown but (yes always a but) I don't like the pump dispenser and without it, it is a real pain to get the lotion out. So I mooched and tried Bliss, Khiels and various ones I could not afford. And the winner was? well check the red bag THAT'S how much I spent. Then on to Fenwicks, House of Fraser, John Lewis and Finally the jumble sale that is Debenhams. I'm not proud they did the biggest bundle of freebies for Lancome ever and although I loved the Decleor I am the original beauty tart and the freebies win it every time. I have blown the book budget for another month but hey, a girls needs her over priced wing and a prayer that she will turn into a beautiful princess, doesnt she?

Kate Dineen

Guess where I went today? Off to see the wonderful Ms Dineen's work and in the best guerrilla style stole a few snaps. Wish I could have stolen the work but hey ho another day. I must say EVEN better in the flesh truly wonderful rich luminous colours.


As a child my favourite Christmas treat was my fathers work Christmas party then the 3 of us would sit on the back seat noses pressed against the back window and we would gawp at the Christmas lights on Regent street. Then past Harrods windows and home.
Memo to Parents.....There is nothing worse than getting a book from the works secret Santa, seriously I have been scarred for life whilst all around me ripped off the wrapping paper to reveal a gorgeous piece of plastic tat Middle Class Mary clutched a book, oh whoopee do. Scarred for life ..Memo over

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Manon Gignoux I do often wonder if I will ever stop finding new and beautiful ways to spend my money but I may have peaked with these clothes. I am curiously drawn to the deconstructed. At college I would always prefer the toile to the finished dress. At Matthew Williamson it was the same the toile always seems to have structural integrity that gets lost with a busy patterned fabric. I love raw edges and heavily sewn detail. fabrics that fold drape and wrap with just a hint of vintage and all of it is here on one site look and dream.


Think warm , and then think of wearing these lovely clothes.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Sunday Lunch

Leyla dressed in her Sunday best...a tai kwando outfit, she had just been to a competition and won, so high jinx all round.

Grainne Morton It maybe cold and wet outside but if I had one of these I could at least walk with a little more spring in my step. My comfort zone is approx 20 degrees Celsius not the current 9 degrees Celsius. Its freezing outside yet inside the heating is cranked up so high I had to take my tights off and put on some flip flops! How do you dress for such extremes? more layers than a bloody onion that's how. Scott the Satorialist is bang on when he suggests that women dress their best at 18 degrees Celsius. Lets all move to Hawaii.


I do like to eat out and last night my sister asked me to meet her and my uncle for a Curry on Brick Lane, an area a tad outside my comfort zone, so rather than wander aimlessly I did some research and thanks to the ever wonderful Guardian I booked a table at Tayyabs.
Tayyabs, Whitechapel, London
A Pakistani restaurant on a Whitechapel back street behind the East London Mosque. The hoards of people that stand and wait outside to get a table on a daily basis are testament to the fact that this is one of the best curry houses in London. The prices are cheap, the food excellent, from grilled meats to curries and there's an excellent sweet counter for after-dinner treats.Robert English
Tayyabs, 83-89, Fieldgate St, London E1; +44 (0)207 247 9543.

This is an understatement it was just utterly fab a great night out with a bring your own policy or a couple of pints before hand at the White Hart next to Aldgate East tube. I have never seen Kitty eat so much! just brilliant. And yes the sweet counter was wonderful but I defy anyone to have space for one after the feast that they cooked.

Sol LeWitt

This is genius

This is amataur daubs

This is perfect simplicity

This is just not quite working

This is

I actually did not click at how inspired I must have been by Sol LeWitt's work, although no one artist figures very prominently as anyone who reads this blog knows I do have a bit of a thing for stripes. I tend to flit from one project to the next rarely resolving anything, these paintings are a case in point, half done, half very much undone. I wanted to buy his book Bands of Colour on Sunday but money is tight and it will languish in my Amazon basket for a couple of months before I do. I leave work unfinished because I just loose perspective and sometimes, time can open a new door and resolve what it is that just does not click. Very rarely does the click happen but I am currently pleased with my tester sized ACEOs (as they are known as on etsy). I really wanted to try and move some of my collages by opening a shop but time is short, work seems ever more time consuming, so maybe it will remain on the ever expanding to do list.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Zoe Arnold

Exquisite whimsy from

Jewellery to covet

Teiko Grgic as seen at the Tate Modern and on

Day C as seen on I have seen this work at one of the many craft fairs in London and its really lovely

Monday, 19 November 2007

No 10

I am not a big fan of Gordon Brown although he can not ever be as shamefully embarrassing as Tony Blair. But this idea of getting the wonderful children's illustrator Shirley Hughes to design a personalised Christmas card from No 10, and give lots of money to charity is brilliant. I have made my own cards for the last 16 years or more and now is the time I start to mull over an idea, since the big Emin arrived I have switched the emphasis to "Peace and Love for the New Year." so I had better get a move on as it is only 4 & a bit weeks to lift off. My most memorable card was the card that never was I spent two whole days carving a lino of some beautiful calligraphy only to realise that I had forgotten to reverse the text. The shame. I generally stick to collage now its safer. Yesterday 10 of us gathered for lunch at the Blueprint Cafe what a wonderful place to sit and eat (see previous post "whats not to love" for a photo of the view) and more to the point what a gathering 3/5 from my mothers clan including Peter who lives in Australia but works in Moscow and not seen for 7 years. Moscow is now Emin's No 1 destination were it not for the expense. I would rather Norway or Iceland so the battle is on..

Ruth Cross More sumptuous home furnishings to covet. She knits a mean tea cosy as well.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Akiko Kingsbury Another wonderful richly coloured site to warm me up on this FREEZING cold night.