Categories
Blueprint100 Musings News

Speeding Backwards: An update from Kyna Hodges 

As part of the ‘Speeding Backwards’ project there was to be a woman’s build weekend. The weekend was to help plan and construct a bicycle trailer that will house a dark room and equipment for taking photographs using the wet plate collodion process (for more information click here). The build up to the weekend was nerve racking, still the questions of ‘Can we? Can’t we?’ floating aground with the restrictions seeming to change daily.  

But the day finally arrived, food planned and workshop laid out! On the first day Emily Tough, Beck Tucker and Myself all got to know each other and then went into the workshop to get to know the tools. One of the most empowering things as a woman learning construction can be understanding the use of tools and what they can do. It gives you an idea of what is possible and how. We applied the tools to the task of creating a box that we designed and began to execute. I took portraits of the interns using the wet plate collodian process that the trailer is destined to house.  On the second day our female builder Alice Francis arrived and we set to work looking at how to construct the trailer, it was so inspiring being around all these different creative and problem solving minds. When having meals together it helped to cement us as a group and come at a problem with the same energy. After lunch we set about looking into the interns individual projects that they had been asked to prepare. The weekend ended on a high of everyone getting a start and insight into their own projects and the mass giveaway of tools!  

The next phases of the project are to complete the build and begin to contact primary schools about seeing them in the spring. This is when the other intern Faye McKellar will be joining to deliver educational workshops and create a slow moving wonderment down the coastline of Dumfries and Galloway.  

  

Kyna Hodges 

 

Email: kynahodges@hotmail.co.uk 

Website: https://kyna-hodges.com 

 

Categories
News

Speeding Backwards: Kyna Hodges

by Kyna Hodges

As part of the ‘Speeding Backwards’ project there was to be a woman’s build weekend. The weekend was to help plan and construct a bicycle trailer that will house a dark room and equipment for taking photographs using the wet plate collodion process (you can learn more about this here) The build up to the weekend was nerve racking, still the questions of ‘Can we? Can’t we?’ floating aground with the restrictions seeming to change daily.  

But the day finally arrived, food planned and workshop laid out! On the first day Emily Tough, Beck Tucker and Myself all got to know each other and then went into the workshop to get to know the tools. One of the most empowering things as a woman learning construction can be understanding the use of tools and what they can do. It gives you an idea of what is possible and how. We applied the tools to the task of creating a box that we designed and began to execute. I took portraits of the interns using the wet plate collodian process that the trailer is destined to house.  

 On the second day our female builder Alice Francis arrived and we set to work looking at how to construct the trailer, it was so inspiring being around all these different creative and problem solving minds. When having meals together it helped to cement us as a group and come at a problem with the same energy. After lunch we set about looking into the interns individual projects that they had been asked to prepare. The weekend ended on a high of everyone getting a start and insight into their own projects and the mass giveaway of tools!  

The next phases of the project are to complete the build and begin to contact primary schools about seeing them in the spring. This is when the other intern Faye McKellar will be joining to deliver educational workshops and create a slow moving wonderment down the coastline of Dumfries and Galloway. 

To learn more about Kyna Hodges’ practice, you can email her at kynahodges@hotmail.co.uk or visit her website https://kyna-hodges.com

Categories
Blueprint100 Music Research

Looking Forward / Looking Backward

By Hayley Watson.

It’s September already, and I’m still trying to pare away the feeling that this month is a fresh start – a miniature new year, though distinguished by routine, structure and peeled-from-the-packet stationery rather than Big Ben’s chimes, Auld Lang Syne and kisses. The thing is though, a year and a half out of education I’ve still ended up synchronising my ‘fresh starts’ with the end of summer. I’m not sure if this is by accident or coincidence (or, if you want to get philosophical, whether or not there’s even a difference). This time last year I’d just moved to Italy, and this year I’m in the process of moving back to Glasgow, which is a phrase I think I’ve said about a thousand times since I came back to Annan.

The recurring element of how my last five summers have ended, no matter what my plans have been, is suitcases I’ve stuffed my life into and usually an obligatory Ikea trip. The suitcase zippers burst a little along the edges, and anticipatory, so do I. This time around feels like it should be the same but I’m not so sure. Italy felt like an adventure, easy to romanticize. Working for shit pay and hopping from flat-to-flat takes a while to get old when there’s late summer heat and vino-tinto-tinted streets to meet you every time you finish a shift. And the last time I lived in Glasgow, I was a student – I don’t need to expand on why that combination worked.

Beginning my latest move to Glasgow comes in tandem with the end of my contract as blueprint100’s Associate Artist supporting its re-development. Working with blueprint100 this year, after my first experiences shaping its early structure and with four extra years of life behind me, has offered an opportunity to consider the continual motions of change we experience in early adulthood and how organisational support and belonging to a community can make it all feel a little bit more… easy. When I first started working with blueprint100 I was a teenager who’d just realised creative careers are possible, and now I’m an adult (I guess?) who’s a bit overwhelmed by just how many different ways there are to pursue creativity professionally.

A huge part of my role over the past few months has been consulting past blueprint100 participants on their experience and their professional and creative needs. Reflecting on how my own professional practice continues to evolve has been really interesting alongside speaking with other young adults going through the same process – I think we’re all very excited and very ready to take on creative careers, whether full-time or freelance or whatever else (the beauty of creative work is how flexible it can be). At the same time, we’re now living through a pandemic. One excited hand locks fingers with a frustrated/confused/kind of scared one. It’s been comforting for me to understand how similar our feelings and our needs are at this stage of our lives, and this has reaffirmed how important it is – at any stage of life, but especially during the ‘uncertain’ ones – to feel like you’ve got a community behind you.

Community, then, has been a core theme that needs to be considered as part of blueprint100’s identity following our re-development this year. As blueprint100 moves forward, its membership will be re-integrated into The Stove, as it was in its very early days. As part of The Stove, we’ll be centred on creative opportunities that are community-focussed – in alignment with The Stove’s own mission. I started writing this not wanting to mention the pandemic at all (I’ve already failed) but after 2020 I really do think isolation of any kind is the last thing any of us want – including in our creative practices. For a lot of the people I spoke to, myself included, it was blueprint100 & The Stove which introduced us to working creatively in a way that might just possibly make this region feel like the exciting place you want it to be. For a lot of us again, this is something that continues to direct our creative practices. It’s an approach that’s fresh and unique when you’ve previously only experienced creative opportunities which focus exclusively on yourself and the development of your skills as an individual.

Alongside community-focused practice, the future of blueprint100 is one of building an inclusive and accessible creative community. If you’ve spoken with me at all since June when I started the initial consultations, I’ll probably have mentioned ‘accessibility’ and ‘inclusivity’ so much its borderline annoying. I’m pretty sure the words are even on my CV. That’s fine though. I believe, especially where the arts are concerned, accessibility and inclusivity can’t be taken into account enough. Throwing yourself into creative spaces when you’re not even totally sure of your identity as a creative practitioner yet is hard! And there are barriers as well to even claiming this identity alone – if you’re working in a bar 5 days a week, tired when you’re not working, and the total amount of time you can dedicate to even thinking creatively amounts to like, maybe an hour here and there, it’s difficult to feel as though you’ve got any sort of creative identity at all.

By establishing a community of young creatives in the region – whether online or eventually in the real world – we can learn that actually, wherever we’re at right now is fine, and its normal. This doesn’t mean we all need to be in the same positions, but rather that we can see creative careers don’t tend to happen in a smooth, linear, get-a-degree-then-do-a-grad-scheme way. Accessibility and inclusivity within this community should go beyond just being buzzwords. It’s making sure people feel able to speak up and even interrogate its structure without possessing 4 years’ worth of art school language. It’s shaping the opportunities within it to suit its members, rather than the reverse. It’s creating access to the space and tech to get work done because maybe you can’t get a quiet space at home. It’s knowing that maybe you can’t swap shifts to get involved with something, but people get it, and other opportunities will still be there whenever you are. No judgment.

Something I’ve gained from re-evaluating blueprint100’s role in its participants creative and professional development is a better acceptance of my own. I mentioned earlier the vast means through which you can pursue a creative practice, and as much as I said this can be overwhelming it’s also been quite reassuring. Being able to work creatively full-time in the early stages of your practice is a position of privilege, or very good luck. As with many other positions of privilege, not possessing it can have some kind of weird stigma attached. I studied Fashion Design at uni, and felt guilty every summer that I chose not to try and get an unpaid London internship. In the first months after graduating I felt guilty for not applying to graduate jobs that would cover my commute costs and little else. Since then I’ve learned that honestly? I love fashion, but I love being able to eat and pay my bills even more. Van Gogh gets touted as an icon of ‘starving artist’-hood but its reductive to think his work would be any less beautiful if he didn’t have the struggles of simply surviving to deal with. Poverty is only poetic to people who’ve not experienced it.

I guess what I’m getting at with that paragraph is that actually, working full-time in a factory and part-time in a creative role has actually been pretty good. Tiring, but good. It’s totally possible to continue the trajectory of your career while earning enough to live, and day jobs really aren’t as bad as you’re led to believe when you’re still maintaining some sort of constructive creative practice. I originally wasn’t going to move back to Glasgow until I had like… my absolute dream first graduate job. I’ve since decided that it’s equally completely cool to take a 50/50 approach to building my career instead – I’m going to be working part-time in clothing manufacture again, and spend the rest of my time working creatively on a freelance basis. It’s pretty exciting, a little like dropping everything to move to the city and become an artist but with the added security of actually having a predictable income every month.

I seem to have a talent for taking these blog posts a lot further than they’re probably intended to go (blame lockdown and reduced opportunities for rambling to people in real life). If you need a tl;dr for this – blueprint100 has developed, grown, and changed in the past few months at a faster pace than it ever has before. I have too.

Categories
Blueprint100 Musings

Quarter-Life Crisis: Where was Matt Baker at 25?

By Hayley Watson.

Feeling secure in your 20s is tricky at the best of times, and our generation are lucky to have a housing crisis, yet another recession and a global pandemic punctuating our continued ‘coming-of-age’ panic. Add a desire to pursue a creative career into the mix – if you’re reading this I don’t need to tell you how unstable this can feel because you likely already know – and you’ve got a recipe for a real headf…iasco. This interview is part of a series where I ask established creative professionals, people you and I might view as ‘real adults’, what they were doing at 25. I have my suspicions that they were probably as confused then as we are now and I’m determined to prove it.

To start this series off, I chatted with OG Stovie Matt Baker. Matt is a public artist, one of the Stove’s founding members and orchestrator within the Stove’s curatorial team. In this interview, he reflects on squatting in 90’s London, learning to trapeze, drinking expensive champagne for free alongside feral cats and (most importantly) finding value in your journey just as much as your destination.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where you’re at now..

I describe myself first and foremost as an artist – I have been on a long and varied journey in my practice but have made a living from my creativity since the mid 1990’s. I started out as a sculptor (having studied Architecture at uni and then getting an apprenticeship with a sculptor) and worked mostly on commissions. Gradually I became more and more interested in the way art projects involve people and how they can be a means for people to become more active and involved in their communities. I became more and more involved in what is often called ‘socially-engaged’ or ‘participatory’ art practice and eventually this led to me being one of the founders of The Stove Network in 2011. I am very proud to have been part of the Stove from the beginning and am constantly amazed by the way it continues to develop and support the growth of many creative people and play a part in the wider community of our region.

I live in the centre of Dumfries, by the river, and have a daughter called Marly who is at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee studying Fine Art. Talking to her about her artwork and developing practice is one of the greatest joys in my life.

You were 25 in 1990. There’s a lot going on in the world in 2020, but what was happening then? What’s the biggest news event you can remember from this time?

1990 was a year of great political instability – it felt like everything was falling apart. There were Poll Tax riots, prison riots, environmental protests, pitch battles at giant outdoor raves. Mrs Thatcher finally resigned….it felt like everything had to change. But somehow it didn’t and the Tories stayed in power for another 7 years!

Where were you living? Who with?

I was living in a squat in East London – it was an area of housing that was to be pulled down for a new motorway and full of creative people. It felt a very hopeful place until the police moved in to evict everyone – it was quite a battle. But there was no follow on plan and everyone dispersed 🙁

I was living with my girlfriend and other friends from uni – everyone had tried coming to London to get started in creative careers, but finding enough money to live was hard.

Did you have a job? What was it?

No, not really. I was doing odd jobs like deliveries, removals and short contracts with employment agencies to make a living. What was keeping me going creatively was volunteering as part of the team that was setting up Circus Space near Kings Cross. This was a training centre for aerial circus arts (trapeze etc). We converted an old bus garage into the centre. I learned rigging and trapeze and had a trapeze act with my girlfriend (we weren’t very good!).

Is there something you did when you were 25 that no one knows about?

The thing that really springs to mind was spending months with my girlfriend building a platform bed and decorating our room in the squat – we painted the whole floor with a perspective chequerboard pattern of red and green squares, it took forever and the house was demolished straight afterwards! But we kept the wood from the bed and built an outdoor toilet at the next place we lived – but that’s another story…

What was your dream job at the time?

What me and my girlfriend dreamed of was finding someone who wanted to buy and renovate a house in Spain. We figured that they could pay us to do the work for them and live in the house while the work was going on and I was going to make sculpture in between working on the house. Still sounds kinda nice!

If you had to choose one memory from your 25th year, what would it be?

We felt like we were a wee gang of eccentrics – an oasis of civilisation and creativity in a cruel and broken world. One of us worked in theatres in the West End and used to get given some of the props from shows – we had a beaded curtain that Vanessa Redgrave used to walk through every night. I had a job doing deliveries for a shop selling Champagne and the guy who ran it gave me bottles from time to time. That is what I remember: eating beans on toast, while drinking insanely expensive champagne, surrounded by theatre props and the feral cats that lived everywhere…whilst putting the world to rights and helping each other build our dreams for the future.

If you could tell your 25-year-old self one thing, what would you say? And what do you think your 25-year-old self would say to you?

I would tell my 25-year-old self to be braver about approaching people to help him realise his dreams – the world felt very scary and grown-up at that time.. what I didn’t realise is that ‘grown-ups’ remember being young and helping others is something that feeds their creativity too.

I suspect my 25-year-old self would have had a lot of questions about what I do now – I suspect I would have been concerned that I was compromising the purity of my art by being involved in so many other parts of the world other than just ‘true art’. I guess that is what I have found out is that art is everywhere, it is an attitude and set of values that can be brought to bear anywhere…there is no ‘true art’, just lots of different kinds of art and each has its value. But every creative person has to find their own journey and there are no right answers (I’d like to have told my 25-year-old self that too!).

Are you where your 25-year-old self thought you’d be now?

Absolutely not – my 25 year old self wanted to carve stone every minute of every day….even if he wasn’t actually doing that then!

We sometimes focus too much on success and forget how much our failures help us grow. What were your biggest failures from back then?

I utterly failed to move to Spain and build houses. I planned a massive theatre/circus/installation show with whoever would talk to me about it. It never happened. I won an architecture prize and at the presentation ceremony there were lots of famous architects who were looking for people to work with. I was so freaked out by the whole thing that I hid – I have often wondered how life could have been different had been brave enough to talk to some of those folk. But I have no regrets at all – I have been blessed to have a wonderful creative life and have met many amazing people on the way.

Finally, do you have any ‘words of wisdom’ for the 20-somethings reading this?

I think ‘keep going’ is the biggest thing. It is a cliché to say that this is a ‘marathon, not a sprint’…but it’s true. Also, don’t be too precious about every opportunity needing be 100% ‘right’. It is easy when you have a lot of time to think, to ‘overthink’ and talk yourself out of things because they might not feel perfect. You need to look at the wider impact of opportunities, not just what you personally will be doing, but who you might meet, the new skills you might learn. Think about yourself on a journey and you are collecting skills, tools and people on the way…then see any opportunity that comes along as part of that journey, rather than a destination. I still have absolutely no idea where I am going – but I’ve loved the journey so far and am committed to continuing to explore. A creative life is just one big experiment!

You can find out more about Matt’s past work on his website, https://mattbaker.org.uk

Categories
Events Opportunities Projects

Opportunities: Two Festival Mentorships

The Stove is seeking two mentees to join our Nithraid team this Autumn. Two exciting opportunities have emerged for young people to get involved directly with the Stove’s project, and our festival delivery team.

Nithraid River Festival​ is an annual event celebrating Dumfries’ relationship with the River Nith. Due to the impact of COVID-19, instead of holding our festival on the Mill Green, we will be hosting an extended celebration of the River Nith across our online platforms, as well as focusing on the production of our 2021 Festival.

This year, we’re looking to work with​ a mentee in the redesign; build and installation​ of our Salty Coo launch mechanism. In consultation with local artist, Cara McNaught, we are exploring both a re-interpretation of the mechanism’s inner workings in order to launch the Salty Coo into our river Nith as well as up-cycling many of the unused materials into a musical instrument, that can be placed on site for our 2021 festival.

Alongside this, we are seeking ​a mentee interested in sound design, sound production, musical composition and instrumentation​, working with local musician and producer, Jenna Macrory, in composing, recording and producing an immersive soundscape, using the fabricated musical instrument in an innovative and exciting way.

The mentorships

These mentorships are available to young people between the ages of 18 and 25, and has been supported by The Holywood Trust to benefit young persons within this age group.

Production

Working alongside local creative producor, Cara McNaught, the mentee will help to redesign and construct our Salty Coo launch mechanism, as well as upcycling the unused materials into a musical instrument.

The mentee will learn first-hand how to construct, build, up-cycle and design the mechanism, learning and applying foundational skills in joinery, carpentry and product design as well as working to brief. This mentorship will suit a young person interested in up-cycling and repair, product design, joinery and carpentry, who enjoy a ‘hands-on’ approach to building and design.

Production Mentorship Fee: £250
Time required: 5 Days (35 hours total)

Soundscape Composition

Working alongside professional musician and composer, Jenna Macrory, the mentee will feed into the musical element of the launch mechanism’s redesign, as well as help to construct, compose, record and produce an immersive soundscape. This mentorship will suit a young person interested in musical composition, sound design and musicianship.

Soundscape Composition Mentorship: £250
Time required: 5 Days (35 hours total)

 

To Apply

To apply for one of the commissions, we ask that you submit an expression of interest. This should include:

  • A short introduction (max. 250 words) explaining why you are interested in this opportunity
  • A current CV

Please send an email to sal@thestove.org with a maximum file size of 10MB. Video files should be provided as a web link.
The deadline for submitting your expression of interest is 5pm, Thursday 13th August. 

We would like to make sure that our recruitment process is as open as possible, if you would like to discuss any accessibility requirements or have questions about this opportunity, please get in touch with
Sal Cuddihy via sal@thestove.org or phone 07497 406511 (Mon-Fri 10-4pm).

For more information on our previous Nithraid festivals, please visit www.thestove.org/nithraid.

Blueprint100 in Conversation *ONLINE*

blueprint100 online… join us to say a farewell to our current team
Our blueprint100 Curatorial Team are coming to the end of their time at The Stove as Curatorial Team members and we want to mark this as best we can given that we can’t celebrate their journey together face-to-face!
So we are following the flow and going online, please join us for an open discussion with the team hosted by blueprint100 mentor Katharine Wheeler.
We will be asking the team about their time with us here at The Stove, their practice and what they see coming next. What have they grown, what have they loved, what has challenged them, what would they do differently, what will they take away and continue or carry onto the next thing.
We would love for you to join us, bring your own thoughts, ideas and questions or if you can’t make it in person please send them ahead of time to katharine@thestve.org.
blueprint online will be hosted via Zoom, and all are welcome to join, get in touch by email to katharine@thestove.org for sign in details.
*ALSO COMING UP*
We are adapting our Open Studio to launch Online Rooms with a recorded talk by artist, and blueprint member, Kirsty Turpie on Tuesday the 14th April at 5:30pm

Blueprint100 in Conversation *ONLINE*

blueprint100 online… join us to say a farewell to our current team
Our blueprint100 Curatorial Team are coming to the end of their time at The Stove as Curatorial Team members and we want to mark this as best we can given that we can’t celebrate their journey together face-to-face!
So we are following the flow and going online, please join us for an open discussion with the team hosted by blueprint100 mentor Katharine Wheeler.
We will be asking the team about their time with us here at The Stove, their practice and what they see coming next. What have they grown, what have they loved, what has challenged them, what would they do differently, what will they take away and continue or carry onto the next thing.
We would love for you to join us, bring your own thoughts, ideas and questions or if you can’t make it in person please send them ahead of time to katharine@thestve.org.
blueprint online will be hosted via Zoom, and all are welcome to join, get in touch by email to katharine@thestove.org for sign in details.
*ALSO COMING UP*
We are adapting our Open Studio to launch Online Rooms with a recorded talk by artist, and blueprint member, Kirsty Turpie on Tuesday the 14th April at 5:30pm

Blueprint100 in Conversation *ONLINE*

blueprint100 online… join us to say a farewell to our current team
Our blueprint100 Curatorial Team are coming to the end of their time at The Stove as Curatorial Team members and we want to mark this as best we can given that we can’t celebrate their journey together face-to-face!
So we are following the flow and going online, please join us for an open discussion with the team hosted by blueprint100 mentor Katharine Wheeler.
We will be asking the team about their time with us here at The Stove, their practice and what they see coming next. What have they grown, what have they loved, what has challenged them, what would they do differently, what will they take away and continue or carry onto the next thing.
We would love for you to join us, bring your own thoughts, ideas and questions or if you can’t make it in person please send them ahead of time to katharine@thestve.org.
blueprint online will be hosted via Zoom, and all are welcome to join, get in touch by email to katharine@thestove.org for sign in details.
*ALSO COMING UP*
We are adapting our Open Studio to launch Online Rooms with a recorded talk by artist, and blueprint member, Kirsty Turpie on Tuesday the 14th April at 5:30pm

Blueprint100 in Conversation *ONLINE*

blueprint100 online… join us to say a farewell to our current team
Our blueprint100 Curatorial Team are coming to the end of their time at The Stove as Curatorial Team members and we want to mark this as best we can given that we can’t celebrate their journey together face-to-face!
So we are following the flow and going online, please join us for an open discussion with the team hosted by blueprint100 mentor Katharine Wheeler.
We will be asking the team about their time with us here at The Stove, their practice and what they see coming next. What have they grown, what have they loved, what has challenged them, what would they do differently, what will they take away and continue or carry onto the next thing.
We would love for you to join us, bring your own thoughts, ideas and questions or if you can’t make it in person please send them ahead of time to katharine@thestve.org.
blueprint online will be hosted via Zoom, and all are welcome to join, get in touch by email to katharine@thestove.org for sign in details.
*ALSO COMING UP*
We are adapting our Open Studio to launch Online Rooms with a recorded talk by artist, and blueprint member, Kirsty Turpie on Tuesday the 14th April at 5:30pm

Blueprint100 in Conversation *ONLINE*

blueprint100 online… join us to say a farewell to our current team
Our blueprint100 Curatorial Team are coming to the end of their time at The Stove as Curatorial Team members and we want to mark this as best we can given that we can’t celebrate their journey together face-to-face!
So we are following the flow and going online, please join us for an open discussion with the team hosted by blueprint100 mentor Katharine Wheeler.
We will be asking the team about their time with us here at The Stove, their practice and what they see coming next. What have they grown, what have they loved, what has challenged them, what would they do differently, what will they take away and continue or carry onto the next thing.
We would love for you to join us, bring your own thoughts, ideas and questions or if you can’t make it in person please send them ahead of time to katharine@thestve.org.
blueprint online will be hosted via Zoom, and all are welcome to join, get in touch by email to katharine@thestove.org for sign in details.
*ALSO COMING UP*
We are adapting our Open Studio to launch Online Rooms with a recorded talk by artist, and blueprint member, Kirsty Turpie on Tuesday the 14th April at 5:30pm