Saturday, December 29, 2012

Playing with not photoshop

For a while now I have been capturing and manipulating images on some iPhone photo apps:
Considered the best camera app for the iphone sees me leaving my camera battery uncharged and preferring my iPhone for shots and passing images I decide to capture.
I prefer to instagram, I think it gives you a wider range of manipulation and filters. I use it as a photo manipulation app and straight up I love using it!
Paper camera
(as recommended by Suz @vibrantIreland) is a great app and appears initially as a playful photo editor but it can punch its own weight, besides being fun I love it's ease of use favouring comic boom, gothic noir, sketch up and pastel perfect filters. Not as controlled as photoshop but a great place to start. I often combine it with snapshot flicking between the two to push and pull graphic filters.
I looked for a long time for an app I could add my name, text, subtle layers of words to images and eventually settled on this one. Basic unsophisticated but adds text.
I seldom use recently I've used it for showing several images from an event or the progression of creative digital editing.
My point is play with apps. Find inspiration from the original image, apps and what's going on in your head get creative, explore your self expression.
Create images beyond photography.

Monday, December 24, 2012

All who wander are not lost. J.R.R. Tolkien

All who wander are not lost. Roisin Markham 
I came across this quote during my internet wandering a few weeks ago. I liked it so much I wrote it on a beach stone and it now sits on my desk.
What does it mean to you? let me know in the comments or tweet me
I keep bumping into it... For me it resonates deep into my need for exploration, pottering about, being in nature and nurturing my soul.
Last week as work projects came together and milestones were meet the Christmas season rolled into town. Everyone in our house has been sick and in and out of school/work... so preparations have been less then on target. Ah it will be all fine on Monday midnight and if its not it will be what it is and we shall have a 5am start anyway.
Unusually for me (being self employed) I had a Christmas party to go to - I have a small group of twitterbloggerFBratti that have become good friends, we try to meet up every month or so and keep tabs on each others blogs, work and lives. Suz @VibrantIreland suggested that we should go to #Winterville and in October it seemed like a good plan. It turned out be be a great plan,I'd trust her implacably to plan a tour and event anywhere. About two weeks ago I suggested we make it an over night plan which developed into complimentary rooms at Dooley's Hotel on the Quays in Waterford, it was wonderful to be looked after so well. Catherine @Foxglovelane and Dee @Greensideup are part of the posse and this time out we were joined by Susanna @ZwartablesIE.
We had excellent lunch and drinks at Bodega. We had such a laugh sitting in the window, enjoying good food and great company. As with social media mavens they were photographing their food and tweeting it - I still find that funny! Then there was chat about devices, apps and the best of! As we tweeted and chatted @Bodega joined in and as Lunchtime became well 4pm Colm came over and introduced himself. I enjoyed that.
As we left to go and enjoy the festival on the street of Waterford it was dark and felt very festive. While they flew down Helterskelters and went on merry go rounds I enjoyed the bright lights and laughed along side them.
Light show at Winterville, Waterford.
When people are together hanging out cameras, phones capture laughter fun and the scene around them. But what we experience is just ours. Even in a group our experiences are collective and individual. There photos were joyful and playful as were some of mine but... my favourite shot is the one of shadows...
showing the development of the top image
Even in a city of bright lights with lots of people about I find a moment to capture a shadow of nature and the illusion of a person reflected on to a very different streetscape. Sometimes it suits me to wander...
Have a lovely Christmas I hope it is full of all those things you love.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rain, rain...

It's been raining a lot. Which is typical for this time of year...
The rain as I watch it from inside the house or inside the car - I notice it filters out certain colours and accentuates others. I've started to photograph it the landscape through the glass the rain a textured filter it's pattern on the glass, particular.
At the moment client projects and community based work mixed with family stuff keeps me out of the studio. I crave a few days creating freely but until then I take photos and draw in my notebooks. Dreaming work into reality before I make it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

evolving work

I've been quiet about new work because I wanted it to get somewhere before I could share it. Its not the only reason. But its a big part of it...
I've decided to make a series of images for print - I imagine them printed on to aluminum almost like tiles or notelets... they are made with iphone apps and are layered photography and writing.
sample of new work layered photography, text and colours
Roisin Markham © 2012
I wonder does this give enough of a flavour? I have three completed and want six or eight. They start as photos of plants and then I write and journal over them, layering colour, filtering until I get the complexity I'm looking for.
Here is another process example
experimental iphone app art
Roisin Markham © 2012 
I like the tonal range in this and the result of laying in different typefaces and size of lettering. years ago you could only do this with Photoshop in fact it ties back to the Marlay Park Series 2007. Where I developed a photographic digital editing to give semblance to my work in the vain of screen printing and photographic etching, which I learned in college. My skin & earth friendly no chemical version of screen printing and etching.
I may push these images to traditional print yet...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

SOLD and a great story

Where do you start telling a great story? I'm smiling as I write I've been very busy with client work and its taken me a few days to get to blog and share this great story that happened Saturday night.
Our local Tidy Towns organised an art exhibition in the local pub, the Schooner. A cheese and wine reception as a fund raiser with "9 local artists in one venue. Many well renowned artists such as Eithne Ryan, Roisin Markham,Myra O' Loughlin Sarah Horgan and Lucy Lawlor as well as first time exhibitors Aileen Ryan,Clare Martin,Amy Roche and Cait McCarthy. This promises to be a great social occasion, Please give these artist your support and raise funds for the Tidy Towns."
Bernie had called me I think as far back as August to ask me would I put something in, although knowing my own exhibition would be on in The National Irish Heritage Park as part of the Wexford Fringe. I readily agreed thinking it would be a great opportunity to put up some local work and the possibilities of getting some photography printed and framed.
The time went by very quickly and low and behold I'd to drop pieces up to the pub Saturday afternoon and hang the work. I had some debate about what to bring I had not hung everything in Wexford by choice. No photographs printed or framed but some work of old. I had decided to bring the largest piece I had and some smaller pieces to demonstrate affordability and scope of my work. The big piece was just nice to show locally not many have seen it a 96 x 70 cm framed piece of work first exhibited two years ago at the Wexford Fringe in an exhibition titled 'Of Earth and Soul', slide 2.
I choose to hang 2 other medium size pieces they looked better on the pub walls. I let go of the idea of selling anything it was morae about showing work and being social. Most other artists had small work. Eithne Ryan's pastel local landscapes were impeccable as always, terrible news that she had to cancel her Fringe Solo Show due to an injury and I hope she makes a speedy recovery. 
Saturday night came and I felt a little awkward standing in the pub until some friends arrived. But before they did I struck up conversations with strangers asking them what work they liked, had they spoken to the artist and told them, encouraging them to give feedback. I don't know if they knew I was one of the artists it was as much about getting general feedback and encouraging engagement with the creator of a piece of work.
It was interesting as a few weeks ago on twitter I had some discussions with people asking them how they responded to art and the artist at exhibitions. Most implied they never think to speak with the artist... 
I've learned at my exhibitions to listen to how people respond to my work. My general experience is that the audience is not interested in hearing or understanding how or why a piece was made they want to tell me what it reminded them of or how they connected emotionally to it, some feeling, memory or emotion. Hey, I think its great people make an emotional connection to my work after all I make work to sell and I love to hear how people connect to my art work no matter if they buy it or not. Once a piece of work is hung on a wall and people are invited to view it I want to engage, listen and connect. It is one of the ways I communicate and my desperate attempt to self express what I can't share in words.
The pub is small and it was great to see the local faces that came to support the fundraiser and see the art. Thanks to Paulette for coming out from Gorey and great to catch up with Suzanne too.
As I was chatting and getting into my social stride a man tipped me on the back and asked me 'did you make that?' looking at largest piece on the walls...
 'The only thing certain is this...' Roisin Markham
Mixed Media
I smiled at this quiet spoken gent with a glass of wine in his hand "Yes, I did". He seemed utterly fascinated by it. The conversation dims in memory but he mentioned he'd 'never seen any thing like it before' and he started to ask me about the piece of work. 
My philosophy on people is treat everyone with respect, you never know who you are talking too.
The conversation continued he knew something of art. He spoke about two artists work he owned one an international name I recognised. His questions were different some how he was interested to know how I made it and what it meant to me. Very unusual. As I spoke about how I painted the background with water colour, layered up hand made paper, painted and worked oil pastel over the work and used silver metalic crayon to pick out textures and layers - he listened intently. It did me the world of good to talk about this piece of work and it reminded me I make original art. I know how I could I have forgotten?
 He mentioned the title and that on the exhibition listed it read
Roisin Markham
The only thing certain is this...          €1,000
He mentioned there had been some comments about the price from another local whom I did not know. This lead to conversations about where we lived and I established he was a local farmer from Kilmuckridge just south about 5km.
"I would n't pay €1,000 for it I'd pay €500"
"I'll make you a smaller one" instantly imagining one half the size
"No, that one would look good in my hall. It would look good in anyones hall"
He looked at the piece of work constantly as we had our sideways conversation. I had no idea we were in a negotiation I just thought we were chatting. I spoke about how I used to make a living from selling work and how the market had changed. He spoke about taking some animals to the mart and having to take them home again after them not selling. I compared it to exhibiting work for sale - put em up take them down acknowledging that they were not technically the same but similar.
I said to him 'You know if someone handed me €700 for that painting right now I'd be happy with that'
he looked at me as if he'd been hit by lightening "I'll give you that". Now it was my turn to be hit by lightening "really?" I know the look of surprise radiated through my face, I could have been knocked down by a feather.
"Will you drop it over to me in the morning?"
"Will you have cash to pay me?"
"Not cash but a cheque"
"Will it bounce?" it was out of mouth before I could stop it!
"It may but you'll know where I live" he smiled
"If it does we can swap it for a cow" I laughed "shall we shake on it"
I agreed to drop it over to him the following morning as I was on my way to Wexford.
The following morning as we stood in his hall I could see that he loved the painting he held the top of the frame and stared into the layers of colour and he was lost in his own thoughts. He asked me about other work, I mentioned my exhibition as part of the Wexford Fringe on till November the 4th. He also showed me his small but impeccable collection of works. He breeds horses too. A patron with money!
It does look good in his hall, he was right.
I'm delighted. Without this local opportunity to put up work in the pub I would have never meet this art loving farmer, my newest patron and fan of my work. Amazing I have exhibited that piece of work in Mallow and Wexford and here we are a mile and half up the road in the local pub and its sold!
I was delighted to be able to tell the Tidy Town crew and of course the news spread about the pub like wild fire, don't think anyone could believe it!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Daily doodle

My daily doodle tradition continues and provides me with insights and reflections on whats going on:
Roisin Markham Daily doodle 21 September 2012
This week twice I was reminded about who I am, sometimes I forget and get a little bit dejected. They were both strangers talking to me for the first time, hearing about my work and experience. So thank you for that universe. I'm impatient but learning to walk and skip rather then run...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Exhibitions do you go to them?

this blog post was written mostly while I was away drafted on my phone under notes and in the blogger app...
In Cork recently The Glucksman was high on my list of places to visit. I've been watching information, comments and adulation on twitter and in the Irish media for a while.
Yes an amazing building it in its own right demands observation and appreciation 'an award wining architectural gem'. It sits on the grounds of Cork University. Wonderful setting the building imposing yet yielding to giant oaks around it. I'd imagine that some might find the steps, glass, angled and pivot points of architectural genius intimidating. I just thought the entrance a lot of stairs which made me think an older generation with bad hips, knees and eyesight would find it off putting. The lift option was like a service elevator and not so obvious to use. The style cool and functional but  the corrugated metal door not so inviting or obviously the lift upstairs. Yup it also made me think of people I knew who were not physically able to move fluidly up a stairs. I thought about Mark the artist I used to mentor and how he and his Camphill community would find the entrance to navigate. These thoughts were fleeting, I did not dwell on them as the glass encased stairs gave breath to the exhibition white box space.
Right in front of you as you step off the stairs you are in the exhibition.
First impressions the exhibition looked inviting and the white cube had its edges knocked out protruding angles into the tree line.
To the right a narrow corridor leading to an open space book shop and desk behind you. As is often the case a person ensconced behind a computer screen was more attentive to it and not what I would describe as friendly or engaging.
Perhaps that is my expectation if you work for a cultural institute part of your remit is to welcome people to the space. But then again this white box has not been designed like that. You can interact with the art with out any interaction.
Motion capture was what a good contemporary art exhibitions should be - informative, challenging, thought provoking. A week later I'm still thinking about it... If you'd in or around Cork take a look.

So what am I thinking about

The work presented in terms of moving image how it was curated the connection between the work the work itself.
It was great to see contemporary Irish artists exhibited along side Henry Matisse drawings. Alice Maher I would know by her reputation as a lecturer in Dun Laoghaire Art College but have never seen any of her work till now. I watched the drawing with my 10 and 14 year old and was glad my 8 year old did experience it. I felt this piece should have had an age appropriate warning for parents to consider if it was suitable for their children to watch. raised some interesting comments from both our boys. in the context of the exhibition I thought it was an good piece.
I loved Susan Morris work although hers is possibly the most controversial in my mind. Drawing that is not drawing.
There lies the crunch...

When you think of drawing what is your perception?

Pencil, paper? By hand? If drawing has been completed with technology how do we view it?
I write this standing in line at the Titanic exhibition in Belfast trying to clear one cultural experience to make room for a different one. Cork/Belfast connected on our family holiday by things related to history, heritage and culture.
Susan Morris work prompted me to question not only her method, concept but inclusion. But the bigger question of why make work like that?
Is it an intellectualisation of something more simple just for the sake of it?
Her work was visually captivating, white pristine lines almost hanging before the black background. Her method ->
Watch an old movie
Record her response which was performance based and repetitive
Translate the recording into digital information
The expression of which was a digitally transference of data into a 'drawn line'
The theme is patterns, mark making, printing, contrast of black and white. The mix gives rise to a mechanically produced line. The lines have a irregularity that are not from the hand but they are not graphically designed.
But is that not a convoluted process? I'm reminded of children scribbling repetitively to music or their own internal works of their mind, when I have worked with autistic children I have seen this type of behaviour extenuated.
But I am also reminded of Gerda Teljeur work (Surface Tension, Wexford Arts Centre 2007) where she draws by hand in ink or graphite large scale line drawings. Her work would have made an interesting contribution to the exhibition and I see a visual and cultural connection to Susan Martins work.
It would be interesting to take a group of teens to view both artist work and discuss process and outcomes, along with an arts making opportunity.
So I am still thinking of the exhibition.
I also enjoyed Ailbhe NĂ­ Bhriain piece.
There was one great drawing on a circular table with a mirrored tube looking at the drawing it was difficult to make out what it was but the reflection showed instantly this was a fly - in an instant my mind connected to the early animation device phenakistoscope, but I did not take note of who the artist was.
Interestingly the Irish Times focuses on very different aspects of the exhibition you can read the review here.
The Glucksman
Sue Morris
I see there is a Symposium on Drawing in October, that would be interesting to go to.Do you go to exhibitions? then what?

Monday, August 6, 2012


I love alliums these are from a giant sphere picked in its prime and displayed in a vase. Now it still makes an interesting study although headed for the compost heap.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Travel log

We wander our family, 3 boys, my husband & I. Not far not off the island an adventure with physical activity culture, exploring a city.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Exhibition decisions

I have up and coming exhibitions in Autumn: an option on Gorey, confirmed Newry and the Wexford Fringe at the National Heritage Park.
Contemplating how, what and budgeting for the work.
Creating new work is never an issue but presenting it framed and in a professional way needs resources.
This year I want to created another collection of fine art prints mixing photography and digital process - my version of screen printing and etching but with out the chemicals. I'm allergic to most of them anyway. So forming time lines and a realistic decision making approach - YES I want to but can I?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What I realised in London

London 2012
I was invited to attend a Digital start up camp in London a few weeks ago and I realised something quiet significant about my cultural interests at the moment.
London right an amazing smorgasbord of arts, tourism, heritage, cultural opportunities... I asked for suggestions and got some great ones on what to do in four hours. There were a few exhibitions I thought about going to see.. but I chose not to do any of that and discovered I was more interested in meeting people and finding out more about them then any other option.
 At the moment the type of culture I am interested in is people. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Soul Saturday - studio time

before the paint
...sank into my studio a Saturday afternoon a while back felt the better for it
I had hoped for a blue sky walk in the hills day
but instead was delivered the grey day from a null and void blue sky (I know its up there behind those clouds!)
found it hard to break out of my own greyness today
wanting to paint yet again but still not in that painting vein ...perhaps I shall never be again
I reached for the altered book I use for all sorts of things
I'd already written my own words this morning but felt like working with another's, kinda like blackout poetry
I tore a page out
page 101
funny it happened to be page 101
as I started my words came boldly to the surface page
demanding attention,
but I wondered what was behind those words
teasing them out this was the tonic I'd need since that Wednesday.
It felt so good to be just there with no demands, no expectations, no need other then my own being turned and tossed by printed page and two black makers. Two pages later I paused.

Reclaiming my scalpel from my husbands tool box I returned to my design desk where I like to paint, play and create I cut with a ruler one of the pages into strips - this destruction and reconstruction seems to be a thing in my process now... I took the other page and cut precise marks in the page. The scalpel its blade blunt snagged on the soft fawn brown old printed page. The paper folded in tiny mounds like an accordion of unwanted noise.
I replaced the blade wanting crisp sharp cuts in a regular pattern.
I looked at the strips of paper working in silence. Letting my absorbed attention be.
I liked the roundness of loosely woven paper 
Funny how splicing up paper, writing and using makers, cutting, folding, weaving and stitching two torn leaves from that book seems to have appeased my soul turned off my brain off and allowed me to switch gears and ungrey my humour.
after the light layers of painting, inking and printing
Last weekend it was out in the garden that's what my soul demanded then. Saturdays seem to be about nurturing and caring for my soul which has been ravaged recently by family illnesses and bad news.
But I wonder has my soul been sulking? and I also wonder is painting still too flat...

What do you do to recharge?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Painting for me is never just about painting.

exploring the dross, process painting © 2012
Roisin Markham
...right now its about everything.
 A few years ago I used to be able to go into the studio and pick up a paint brush and paint for 20 minutes and stop. Then again at that time where I painted was in the garden shed between the washing machine and the motorbike. Around that time two people started poking and prodding at my process - is that all you paint? is that all there is? They were people I trusted an artist friend and one of my sisters. They made me question what I was doing they made me search for more but in that search have I lost my connection to the purity of just being able to paint?
My process was deep and thoughtful the painting flowed because I was in the flow. My work was selling well.
Now painting is never just about going into the studio and painting - do I meet a deadline? what about working on that project? what about cleaning the house, playing with my kids, driving them of somewhere, what about, what about ... everything else but painting! and then I had fallen out of the habit of painting yes I was still being creative making textiles, working on community based arts projects but I was n't painting.
Painting begins like a yearning deep in my soul. 
I dream about it talk about it and gather my cells together to convince myself to open the paint tubes and dip my brush in water. The brushes in my studio have been dry too long. Now as I attempt to start to reconnect with my painting I have to clear a space, my studio is full of ideas works in progress and other abandoned.
So now full committed to making the time and mental space to paint I decide on paper, what weight? what size what texture? I think about what size I want to paint. Does it matter small/big? yes it does matter so I veer away from the A4 size that surrounds me in my paper trail and I go for some wonderful Fabriano paper heavy paper a wonderful lightly textured 160gm.
journalling before I paint is typical 
Do I write - yes it is another component of starting to paint. Typically I do a type of journalling, a beginning of searching within my soul for rhythm and colours and emotion and shapes and textures, tone and pace. It is all part of the process that I describe as painting. I know the words will be lost behind the painting but I photograph them now as they too feel important.
So I start. Routing in my paint box an old wine crate that I brought back wine in during the early 1990's. I find all the colours lumped in together I separate out the greens and bring them to the table where I am exploring white paper words and colour. Even the size of the paint brush is important. I start. The leaf motif presents itself. I get cross something old and familiar I want something fresh and new. I stay with it for a while as the greens move from water colour to deep opaque and from fresh spring growth to dark winter holly. Sometime later I think that my painting starts from where the last painting left off. But in the moment it felt like the dross poured forth - I was restless...
The painting tight, tense and controlled. I start a new page. More fluid but still tight. the flow is not there. So I pick a smaller piece of paper and let go. Diving into the sense of constrained framing aspects of the painting with strong primary colours. Switching from frustration to exploration meeting that sense full on. The children drift in and out of the studio, I allow that just to be part of my space. I return to the painting process easily this time still frustrated their distractions have not pulled me off centre but given me some space to step away and return.
Then at last I find I want to use the blue tube of ultramarine - a colour I work well with and have a particular reputation for painting with. I hunt for that square textured piece of paper that I cleaned away earlier. The leaf symbol appears again an aquatic boat all in blue. I'm done getting there with reconnecting but not fast enough and not fluid enough but for now its a start...impatient woman that I am.
Light greens the darkest hues, playful shapes then circles of red, deep dark red into brown and orange. The red circle also reappears in 2005 I stopped painting for a while as no matter what paint colour I put on my palette I ended up painting a red circle... its like to start this new round of work I need to connect in with old paintings and I bring them to mind by repeating elements of them. Along the way I think of making things of how the creative process of making things and crafting textiles is different. I continue...
Only slightly frustrated I am sort of content with my progress. Each brush stroke takes me closer to better work. Each painting removes a layer of dross - it has its own pace and I must work with it. I try to find balance it's elusive.
I wrote most of this post yesterday today I added the photography and I can see more clearly the links to past work as a preparation for future work. This morning walking in the bright sunshine of this fine April day I came across something it too has added to my process.

Monday, March 19, 2012

process as just that

...yesterday was Mothers Day in Ireland and my perfect gift was time to myself in the quietness of my studio. An odd way to celebrate being a mother perhaps but after an intense week where everyone in our house was ill it was what my creative soul really needed.
I've been wanting to paint for a while but getting around to it has not been so easy.
Sitting with two hours stretched ahead of me painting was not something I could slip into.
So I started where my brain was at and a sort of continuation of a letter to a friend.
Process 1, took the letter and shredded it. Roisin Markham
This shredding is not something foreign to my process but it may or may not be connected to the paper play process from the visual theatre workshop I took recently in Waterford.
Being really open with process means that I allow my creative energies to wander undirected rather like a form of doodling. So not taking out my paint brushes to paint was a little frustrating but it did not seem right.
Process 2, looked a bit like the nest I had designed in my head
....but  obviously flat
I wanted to combine the torn letter, my thoughts from yesterday and have a different voice within it hence the choice of the sports section from an Irish news paper. I started thinking about patterns of behaviour and how we break them or make them. Patterns...

the play continued and eventually I did paint on top of the nestled text, but it was horrible no rhythm rime or symmetry. Very displeasing to the eye, muck or as I oft refer to the painting process #dross. But processing the dross has commenced which means it brings me closer to painting fluidly again. I look forward to that.
After the studio session I took the dog out for a walk it was lovely to see the blush of Spring on the trees:
Springs blush appears on the trees @ Ballygarrett finally. 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I saw this and wondered

Do you have a creative muse? What is it or whose is it? Along with a patron I think I'd like one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

the trees tell a different tale

terrible exposure it fails as a photographic exposure but... I love it!
this is more visual commentary then text, written or verbal...
further south the buds have appeared
 the relationship with camera, tree and me continues

Saturday, March 10, 2012

a letter to a friend

I sat in my studio thinking about you this morning. I thought about your comment "shaking Winter off"... as I mentioned hibernation and nesting both came to mind. Preparation in different forms.
Of course there are always elements in the studio to move around, prompt, group, draw - photograph.
The nest was given to me as a gift from a dear old friend at the opening of my solo exhibition"Of Earth and Soul"  in 2010. It is a wrens nest carefully crafted with sticks, moss and sheep fleece.
The little nest half way down is needle felt it came about from a needle felted ball that I made during my show "of words and stitch" in 2011. When making the hug tokens in February this year I cut one in half and discovered it was hollow so it seemed obvious to needle felt it into a container, a little boat, a nest. It is Buchon de Cher a springy type wool. The outside has a Hebridean fleece needle felted as a sparse layer. The oak leaf is one I collected last autumn from an oak close to the studio.
As I sat in my studio this morning I thought what would we do if we had to make nests - what would we create them out of - I was thinking both in making an object de art and the concept as an analogy. I really wanted to paint but found myself dreaming of making an object. A lacy interwoven nest with sheep fleece and strips of paper - with written words a long. A sophisticated crafted wonder... But instead of making it a jewel I wondered about sitting where I was at the table in front of the windows and just making a nest out of things I could reach? Discarded paper on the floor, string, some scraps of fabric, pinku fleece, cushendale fleece... so the process started. I unwrapped the wrens nest to remind myself of what an amazing artist nature is. I keep it in that very bright pink tissue paper in a box that is the perfect size for it. I started photographing it and that always leads down a side track - a fruitful one usually.
Yes that is a bicycle wheel behind it... my studio has many curious things in it. This morning I enjoyed quiet solitude writing, shaping, making and photographing.

Friday, March 9, 2012


what's that expression
The darkest hour is just before the dawn...
I feel I am on the cusp of something  - so close.
Almost tangible yet not quiet there...

Perhaps it is a reflection of spring not quiet being full in yet - the trees are still bare with limited signs of budding.
Like the trees I am in transition...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Heart felt

Heart Felt Art
Roisin Markham © 2012
I've been busy never even got to post that I opened a shop on Facebook which sits on my CreativeDynamix page. But if you read or have been following my main blog  you will have seen the blog post about opening the shop and about what is a hug token.
In January I needed to sit and just make practical work something small to sell. Artist make work for different reasons and this year I just needed to sell my art and have that sense that yes people liked it enough to put their hand in their pockets and part with their cash. There is something very satisfying about selling an item you have made, created - constructed with intent.
The added bonus for me was also to discover and remember what making images with a camera was like. I found myself writing poems to accompany the images I was making and the images I wanted to construct or express with the little felted hearts. They became props for a further expression.
"The heart knows
that love can
not be contained

Love demands to 
be amplified and
shared, so it is
between us.
King of care
queen of kindness
you are that to me."
Heart Felt Art
Roisin Markham © 2012
Writing this blog post I'm realising that I still get surprised by my writing - it has always been a part of my painting and in the last year or so has become more obvious with my textiles and surface stitch. My exhibition last year at the Wexford Fringe really saw the words sit on top of created background surfaces 'Of word and stitch' you can look at some of the work just before it went to framing here.
Perhaps its progress? 
The words presents themselves along side my work not layered with the visuals but taking a more even role equally beside the handmade carefully crafted visual art. Neither the words or the crafted pieces are enough by themselves. As I was putting the framed pieces together the balance in the frame was important - words, visual elements, photographing it...
mixed media creations
I see the multiple images I have made they feel illustrative. Words/images - which came firsts? I celebrate that it is no longer important all I know is that I really enjoyed this creative process although small and central to my being it made me happy to express myself freely. It made me happy that people liked the hug tokens enough to buy them.
The illustrative images with the hug tokens will and I have a feeling that they may all fall into a book to be offered and celebrated for "when my heart sings".
If you did n't catch those image head over to the Facebook page and have a look through my wall photographs, leave me a comment or ask me about when the book is due out?

Monday, January 9, 2012

handmade in Ballygarrett Art Studio

I started clearing my studio again today... as I came across things I tried to stay focused. Rubbish, recycling, books, shelves - fabric, wool ...Oh my favourite skein! + a tiny crochet hook.... ah I have to make something... one thing. So I sat and I crocheted this little sweet heart. You will find a different photo of it on Facebook.
Heart felt research. Roisin Markham 2012 ©
I love the fibre with its thin wool with loops on it and I love working with it it felts divinely too. as you can see from this image of a cowl I created in 2010.
Handmade with intent.
Roisin Markham 2010 © 
I make little hug tokens mostly out of felt but I'm exploring other materials...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

making work in 2012 personal

Semi natural habitat for a feather. Roisin Markham 2012
I've taken Christmas off did you notice the social media blackout? The only thing I've really done is doodled a bit. Did you take a good break over the festive season? How did it effect you?
When I put down the paint, the pencil, the textiles, snip the thread, turn off the computer and only pick up a camera to take happy snaps well what happens is I create some space for myself. When I give my brain stopping time from physically making work... I start to dream of work, I think about ideas in new ways, my associations are different and my musings more measured.
This holiday season I think I've had some insight around the theme of what is the texture of my map? a question I have been sitting with since the summer and meeting Con Conway. More on that in a while.
Themes of identity are an important component in my work. The elements start with oneself, to family, to community, clubs, associations and then into the landscape of geographical community and national identity, race, belief systems and before we know it themes of displaced diversity, economic migration and cultural contexts.
We are all different, we are all the same. Roisin Markham 2011
For a while now I have been wanting to make a project and arts residency around the theme of identity with people living and working in Gorey, Co. Wexford, it is the town near where I live. In the last two years I've been building relationships with people and groups in the area. I've been thinking about how to start? How and where to establish a project - where to make that space? for people to question what it means to live, work or study in Gorey.
How do we relate to the people around us, the geographical location and what exactly is our cultural context? 
Space, questions, time and people to explore, share and realise what is the texture of ourselves and cultural identity in North Wexford. I'm not necessarily talking about transformation. I think we have to have reality and acceptance and then see where that takes the conversation.
blow in, outsider. Roisin Markham 2011
My involvement with Bluedrum's think tank during the summer and the follow up in November lead me to think about a cultural compass. So in November during the session in Dublin I shared what I had been thinking about - how to bring the conversation back to a local level while maintaining a bigger cultural vista and being relevant? My thoughts of a cultural compass had pivot points around identity linked to four directions; rural, urban, national, local. This is specific primarily in an Irish context however our European context would be considered also. Research is forming around a project context and framework to explore the texture of our maps both socially, geographically and culturally.
I have a larger project in mind for this work., Gorey would be the Irish hub of the project. Initially I'd like to have two other pivotal sites in Europe and develop further research in other locations. The work may or may not be artist lead but always context lead. It would be very exciting to develop a unilaterally project working with other artists where we would pool resources research, methods and critically our work with others would inform the development of our arts practice and the further work of the project. Each of the artists would work in all three locations over a period of time. We would migrate, integrate, communicate and make space for new ways of work bringing different elements to each cultural location.
So this idea of outsider, insider that arose during the summer as a direct result of my mini installation in the studio it comes to mean more then just feeling it - I want to express it clearly.
I took a long walk on the beach New Year's day 2012; I came across all this stuff that I questioned "does this really belong on a beach?" Because the stuff is often found there, the stuff has developed a semi-natural or associated habitat with the beach. Feathers on the sand, fishing nets not in the sea, wood where no forest or trees are near by. They are blow-ins to the beach, swept up on the shore. There they remain until nature or someone changes something. It becomes the habitat, we accept it as is. It seemed very symbolic to me. So I do what I do with a camera not touching observing. Editing with the lens. The picture of the stones the reddy brown stone is from a red brick not natural to the area but shaped and curved by the sea and thrown up the beach with the rest of the stones. Notice the circular space near by. the clarity I got in the last few days Con, the texture of my map... I've known for a while the work starts with me but now I now where to start.

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