Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 draws in

my own work... what I have n't got near any of my own work
that altered book project
the stitch story
painting, writing, making
lino cutting and print making...
I've been too busy working on Create Better Space and seeing clients 1:1.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


back in the studio painting, processing... dross to get through before the good stuff flows.
Did I say I was painting anything good?
There is also some cutting up of paintings going on reminds me of when painting is too flat and also of this

little piece which I bloged about here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What is this a picture of?

Roisin Markham 2011
Just for fun I thought I would post this picture and ask you - what is it a picture of?
When I took the photograph which element was I really looking at? But which element do you see?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Of word and stitch Exhibition open

Of word
and stitch
Roisin Markham, Artist
An exhibition of handmade textiles,
writing and mixed media
part of the Wexford Fringe
at the Irish National Heritage Park
till 6 November 2011.

by what do you set your compass? Roisin Markham 2011
I'll be there the next two Sundays 12 - 4pm. Plus other artist dialogue days to be announced. Looking forward to meeting you there.
Location: The Irish national Heritage Park is situated approximately 3 miles from Wexford Town off the Dublin (N11) Rosslare Road (N25).  Eleven miles from Rosslare Europort.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Driving through Lismore

On the way to Cork last week I stopped in the village of Lismore. I was fascinated to hear Irish being spoken in the cafe. It is something rarely heard in Gorey. The other chat was about them wining a Tidy towns award.
 I could not resist taking a few quick shots of this pub. I have many pictures like this of old pubs around Ireland. Looks like something from the last century.
Pub, Lismore, Ireland. 2011
left hand pub window display, Lismore 2011
Guinness Toucan lampshade, Lismore Pub, 2011

On the right hand-side of the pub the window display was simplier with a framed version of the song 'The maid of Lismore' taken from an old book. Notice the old whiskey jar to the left has Lismore engraved into it, love to know the story of its journey.
The maid of Lismore

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Studio space clearing & clarity

Bags of shells and bits of stick.
Well I've ended up there again clearing out my over cluttered studio. It starts with wanting to change furniture around, not being happy with how my space is being used and what portion is being used more. My desk for 1:1's coaching and creative exploration, my easel, my drawing board, the PC, the Mac has finally moved out given up that I will ever use Adobe suite again.
But the biggest issue is materials. They are really important in my work.
The boxes of paint, glues, fleece, fabric, wool, mark making tools of all shapes and sizes they get pulled out and shared, used, discarded made into something by someone else or by me.
After a while I just wanted it all organised easier to access.
Simpler I am working on that.
Are you a collector?
Are you an artist?
Do you have boxes of things? how do you keep it all tidy? how do you keep it organised and under control? or do you and how do you square with that? How do the people who share your space square with that or do they?
I found a box of old camera negatives from college under my shelving system, do I keep them?
Okay so I’ve the studio half emptied and half tidied. I am woe-be-tied if I will reposition, sort, shelve anything that is not useful. I feel like I am editing my life which is no bad thing.
But I have found the oddest and cutest things here in my work space:
Book of 100 wishes, Roisin Markham. 2005.
A set of silver cutlery in a wooden box.
Dead flowers, feathers and skeins of yarn.
And still things to move around, books to find places and things space for things... and space for my work.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Footprints in my heart"

This was the title of a solo show I made in 2007. It was a pivotal moment for me as an artist
"the exhibition became a dynamic fulcrum that caused me to change how I approached my arts practice" from this blog posted SATURDAY, JUNE 27, 2009.
Detail of felt used on exhibition invitations. 2007
I refer to it seldom now but the quote that the title of the show came from sits near my desk still, a fridge magnet delivered to me via M.I.L.K. products,
"Many people walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart." Eleanor Roosevelt 
It resonates deeply with me and continues to link my work from past to present.
I mentioned the quote during a conversation with Rose Hughes, she loved it so I decided I'd write about it here. Actually that conversation generated lots of connections and links, clarity and ideas, see my facebook page for more about that.
Threaded stories commission. Roisin Markham 2011
The reason I mentioned the exhibition and quote was that the handmade felt used in "a stitch in time" I made in 2007 for that solo show. Amazingly I made that felt around themes of community, friendship and kinship and they were a last minute inclusion in a bag of material I was taking to the stitch workshop with St. Brigid's community group at the Family resource centre. Nearly everyone choose to work with the felt... and I love that layer of meaning is within the finished piece of work that now hangs in Waterford.
The reason I decided to blog about this is that the product is by a company called M.I.L.K. they have excellent photo and make great cards. If I see there cards I buy them. But trying to find them online has been difficult I wanted to post Rose a link because I really like their products.
But this is what I discovered and it's great M.I.L.K. means
Moments of Intimacy, Laughter and Kinship - (M.I.L.K.)

There is an unofficial Facebook page and then I found the site it seems PQ Blackwell now owns M.I.L.K. publishing and licencing (a New Zealand-based publishing and licensing company specialising in originating illustrated books and associated licensed products worldwide.).
I think that adds something even more and I simply delight in that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Over brimmed

Over Brimmed. Roisin Markham 2005.
This morning I am laughing. The sun is shining into the studio and my brain is writing, creating solving for several community groups that have approached me to apply for the Wexford County Council funding deadline to work with community artists. The deadline is tomorrow.
Sometimes we need to say "I am empty - this is me, this is all there is" by staying with that and allowing the uncomfortable to just be so, by staying present all is as it is meant to be and we are held in all that we are or are not. Just in that moment.
By being empty we allow in flow to our lives. When we are full nothing else can be added.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

creating for oneself; process and words

Process, start somewhere. Roisin Markham
Sometimes I get in a muddle. My head gets jammed with thoughts, ideas all a clutter - aspirations, frustrations and unrealised ambition, in my mind and opinion. Then I get frustrated disillusioned and need to process. This often happens at busy times when my studio becomes a transitional space for working with others, materials go 'in and out' boxes stacked, lots of two-ing and frow-ing. It happens when things don't work out the way I thought they were going to and when that impacts on work or proposed projects.
It happens when I do not spend time making my own work and the snatched five minutes no longer satisfies. My brain, mental head space demands I make time to process and the best way I know how is creatively.
So yesterday I decided to paint. In fact what I decided was I would spend time in the studio alone, door closed, phone and computer off.
Painting did n't wash or at least not in the sophisticated ways I demand as a painter. Process woman just process if you have n't painted for weeks, months how can you expect to sit down and paint masterfully? It is like drawing you have to maintain a daily practice.
I normally start with writing as my in but the paint too long in its tubes still did not want to play or stretch across the paper or canvas.
Instead it was the words that poured out in a bile like process of anger, frustration and sadness. That was where my emotional state was yesterday afternoon. Strangely a pile of paper bags caught my eye. The words expressed onto them demanded to become a mini installation in my studio.
The photo is bad on purpose.
Mini installation in studio. Roisin Markham
By the time I had taped them all up what ever was going on was being teased out. Yes a particular experience did tip these feelings over the edge. I have often felt like an outsider and my personal experiences through life have re-enforced these feelings of never belonging.
Sometimes being a Mum to three boys & being married to a man emphasis this too - testosterone pha! But this was about where I live in rural isolation and how I work.
In saying that their is a positive edge to all this from this place of outside. I view things differently, I am unconventional being on the fringe allows me that place from which to work, invent, positively disrupt and in a bizarre turn of fate that is something I value. Yes I know contradictory and conflicted.
But on days when I feel off or the world does not sit quiet right it feels good to go with the anger and express it in health ways. Processing through creativity is a powerful form of expression. That everyone may have equal rights to access...
Today process continues... installation ii. Roisin Markham
Today the words are still there but they vie for a positive expression and meaning in my own life and work.
Words are words, expression gives meaning. Roisin Markham
not part of - part of
remain outside - join in
rural - town
isolation - inclusion
A project to explore with others around these words would be interesting and I have spoken to some groups where this would be relevant recently. But for now I continue to use them as words to process what is going on - graphite and ink and paper. Where do these word go next? Paper planes? fabric sinking in the canal or under the sea. They are but words but their expression seems the best way to process my response to these feelings that fleet and flit and yet again become submerged.
Sifting through draft emails this morning I came across this lovely apt quote
"Sometimes stepping away from something brings a clarity you never knew you were missing."
I am clear that through expression I get clarity, life is not all roses. We all have to find our own meaning.
This blog post further clarifies things for me and in the process perhaps someone else may find solace.
None of us are alone may we find the support we need and the tools to equip us to express ourselves.
I remain positive, unconventional and an outsider I just feel differently about it today.
Thanks to Barbara Greene in NY, @emoticomma for her lovely words on twitter today and through saying 'hi' prompted me to enquire "so how do you keep you spirits up?"
So let me finish by asking "How do you find clarity? how do you process?"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

a sense of creativity even for 5 minutes

Templederry lane, Wexford. Roisin Markham 2011
This week I had a full on summer camp with the Cottage Autism Network. It is a great camp initially set up for siblings of children on the autism spectrum. Busy intense week both groups had mixed special needs; autism, asperger and siblings.
When I have a demanding schedule and get busy supporting others with their own creativity it can leave very little time for my own personal work and self expression. At times like this my creativity is fully engaged in helping others reach theirs and I love that kinda work. Seeing those happy faces engaged in drawing, painting, spraying and clay all week was very rewarding. Yesterday you could see their sense of achievement and self esteem swell as they showed their work to parents, aunts and other adults, fabulous to witness and be a part of. It was great.
But I need to respond daily to my personal expression and sometimes that might be just five minutes on a walk talking photos.
Last night after a great week of work I came home to check email got some not so great news, had an argument with my husband and had to go out an blow off steam. So I went down the lane we live on for a walk. The photo above was the first I took. Further on the lane I came across a group of curious cows. They restore some of my zen by just looking chewing the cud and being cows.
The meaning of life is "moo". Roisin Markham 2011
You can read more about the CAN sibling summer camp on the CreativeDynamix blog.
I'll be posting more photos on facebook too.
How do you find your moments of self expression? ...or do you?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

and so back again...

Holidays were spent without phone and internet an experience I thought would be much more difficult.
As a family we enjoyed discovering Morbihan Southern Brittany full of Gothic church spires, medieval towns we especially liked Josslin and Quimper, megalithic sites including the menhirs in carnac and its excellent Prehistoric Museum, contemporary art (see for links & comments).
Pontivy château's was interesting historically and creatively seeing it's connection with contemporary art. Josslin Château was as flamboyant in its interior as its Gothic exterior but the smell from its rose garden most sweet.
a rose as sweet, Josslin Château France 2011 
Our boys 7,9 and 13 years all enjoyed the cultural mix this was rather a surprise for locally based in-laws.
Lots of pictures keep scrolling, enjoy.
The resistance museums were both excellent but we all voted for the smaller of the two as being most impressive with the wonderful Françoise whom started the collection of artefacts and stories at 15 years her personal connection to people made the experience all the more enthralling for our three boys and their cousins. I had never realised before how strong the identity of Brittany was and how this has impacted their contemporary history.
After just being in Knowth with Bluedrum I found the presence of menhirs, tumulus and dolmens as we travelled southern Brittany to be fascinating I fully intend to start dragging my boys around Ireland so they can appreciate the context of our own culture.
Wonderful patterned door in Quimper 2011

Hydrangeas were everywhere & in amazing colour range
I noticed this cute use of crochet over looking the bridge in Auray. The crochet reminded me of Irish Crochet in its fineness and lace like quality. I did manage to pick some up in a second hand clothes shop in Pontivy which I intend to incorporate into some of my hand made felt.
Auray, France 2011
I particularly like the writing in the dust and the quality of the doorway and reflection.
Auray toward the bridge, France 2011

An interesting collection of sculpture depicting music within the Breton culture.
Guemene sur Scoff
Near where we stayed this barn had amazing textures & contrast you will see more of this.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Starting points for discovery

The threaded stories commission got me exploring ways to make letters out of stitch. No longer am I obsessed with getting text into my felt. Now I'm exploring stitching, crafting small letters in all sorts of ways crochet, needle felt, stitch and cut. I may bring this back to my felt in some way.
...not all Love ends on a blue note. Roisin Markham 2011
I was inspired to make this for a friend as I was finishing the commission she needs more love in her life and I thought these small crafted letters would help her find the texture of that in her life.
The 'L' was stitch into tuile and different threads stitched through. Then I cut the letter out leaving a ragged lacy effect around the edge. 
The 'O' is crocheted a letter too small from the commission originally part of the letter loss. Kind of fitting in some ways love and loss.
The 'V' is the netting from a basket of fruit. That plastic diamond open weave. Stitched tightly it has a fantastic texture, rich colour and fluffy quality. It does not look like stitched plastic.
The 'E' is a cut out of blue material and stitched with blue and purple.
The letters are pin mounted onto handmade paper with petals and leaves in it. There is a double depth of foam board so the pins are held in place.
It was presented in a box made of tracing paper which gave it an ethereal quality.
This seems to have captured the imagination of my children who have asked me how I did it and are working on their own versions. It is curious to see how this commission facilitated stitch and a conversation about thread even in our home.
I can see myself exploring this idea a bit more, playing with words and textures. The scale of the letters is about 2cm. Have you ever made letters? What kind, size?
I have a whole thing about 3D letters and teach typography to children including a 3D letter model. I suppose this just takes it in a new exploration. Think I'd like to try moss graffiti next...

Friday, June 10, 2011

'a stitch in time', threaded Stories Commission

The finished piece hangs in my studio this morning.
I've loved working with the community and staff around St.Brigid's Family Resource Centre their stories, memories, fragments, harsh realities and Waterford city's social history from 1984 - 2009.
woven stylised St. Brigids cross, Roisin Markham 2011
These threaded stories were collected from staff and the community that use St.Brigids it is positioned in front of a large montage of artefacts, documents, photographs, newsletters, newspaper articles, annual reports, strategic plans, etc. I ran workshops, interviews and there was an open invitation for people to send in their memories and stories. Staff were invited directly via a worksheet.
Their are two other pieces to go with this work. A poem and a future kit.
I'll be away working the weekend, it is nice to think of the work in my studio space settling over the weekend.
I'm presenting the threaded stories commission, 'a stitch in time' tonight at a Pecha Kucha in Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Centre at an event organised by Bluedrum.
Documentation of the work will be wrapped up and presented formally by the end of June.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What are you focused on?

This week has been intense. Deadline week of the Threaded Stories Commission with St. Brigid's Family resource centre in Waterford. Plus hero husband away all week, 3 boys and moi by ourselves.
This morning after a run to get petrol, domestic food shop all before the school run I decided to go for a walk in the woods.
The last time I went walking in Courtown Woods it became a photo walk this morning I needed to move. So I set myself the strict task of no lolly gagging, staring at trees, fallen over forest debris or lush early summer growth. Focused twenty minutes of walking.
As I came to end of that brisk pace squirrels started hoping around the path ahead. Their life's mission is to find nuts. They are very focused on that.
What are you focused on?
It you look around you can find teaching anywhere.
It was lovely to get heart centred in the forest and do some yoga stretching too.

Monday, May 16, 2011

An evening walk in the woods

Bluebells still in the woods. Roisin Markham 2011
After a chilled family weekend I took the time to go walk in the lower woods in Courtown. I had n't been there for a while. It is an unusual forest as you can hear the sea crash against the shoreline as you walk.
The is lots of new fern growth. After the hard week of cold windy weather a lot burn damage to young fresh growth on trees, lots of badly damaged alder leaves and some kill off. Lovely to see bluebells and ramsons still in the woods. Go quick if you want to catch them they will be gone over by next weekend.
 it was after 8pm and was interesting to see the colour spectrum drop. Love the intensity of colour in this shot.
Evening time in Courtown Woods. Roisin Markham 2011
 Nature always reclaims man made objects. In the cities and urban landscape you will find plants growing in unseeming places. Reclaiming the building and urban streets their way. I've always had an interest in how plants move. Nature is fascinating.
Is this technically more moss art? Have some good links to moss art on my facebook page.
Nature reclaims all. Roisin Markham 2011
 This is an upside down car in the woods that you could easily miss. The dragon over looks it.
Some logos never fade. Roisin Markham 2011
These images are taken as is the only editing I did was reduce them in size.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The smell of a tea rose

Between meetings and the opening of exhibition at Spiralli in Mallow Co. Cork last Friday I stole an hour for myself on some green grass amongst the ruins of Mallow castle.
Rain swept over and it seemed like it should have been warmer then it was.
What a treasure to have in Mallow town. This ruin is full of interest.

When you drive in there is a little follies that is intriguing. Completely hidden from the main house view because it is so covered in overgrown climbers. The photo does no justice to it.
To the right of the castle ruin at the back I disturbed some rabbits. Fun to watch them dart about.
I decided to walk down to where they had been playing and came across an amazing slab of rock face with this tree growing in it.
Nature is truly an amazing thing.

Although there is a massive private sign I noticed some people driving up to the main house. I asked one of the walkers was it okay to walk there I was assured it was. But I was tentative. I have been informed since that the County Council has since bought the House and castle and it is no longer private.
Just watch out for the goats that seem to be doing a terrific job of keeping the grass short. But do notice the huge horse chestnut trees they sit under magnificent species.

I walked towards the main house which is stunning and impressive. The gardens in their heyday must have been amazing. As I walked through the gate into the front courtyard I was stopped by the most amazing fragrance, a tea rose captivated me. This beautiful white flower.
the only thing stolen was this image
A wonderful white tea rose. I so wanted to steal one for my car but I could n't I felt it wrong to take a rose from this bush. So instead I stood their feeling slightly foolish lingering in the scent, wonderful.
Smell is an amazing thing it pulls us right back to particular moments in time and associations with fragrance.
I love roses.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy International Labyrinth Day.

Process labyrinth.
 Why I'm interested in labyrinths?
They are an ancient symbol, a motif of mysticism,
they represent pathways of discovery, destination, reflection.
I love their use in gardens design, heritage and monastic sites.
I love the potential of their use in land art, community art and playful engagement.
They represent journeying.
When you draw or make a labyrinth you work with negative and positive space, the walls and pathways.
When you walk a labyrinth you can use it as a mindful meditative walk.
I found labyrinths to be a powerful symbol to work with in my visual art and land based art projects.

Other posts on Labyrinths you might like to read or discover some of the imagery
Snow Labyrinth Land art

Altered book labyrinth. Roisin Markham 2010.

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