Why You Should Join The Dundee Sustainability Jam

What does a weekend normally consist of?

  • Do you normally hike up a mountain?
  • Do you often cycle for miles and miles?
  • Do you drink until your head hurts?
  • Do you practice the art of doing absolutely nothing?
  • Do you shop until your purse is empty?
  • Do you eat until you feel sleepy?

Whatever the main activities in your one hundred odd weekends in a year may be is not really my concern… but what activity you are doing on the weekend of the 22nd to the 24th November is…

On that weekend, on those two short days in the 365 days that exist in a year. These are the days you should dedicate to a sustainable design adventure. That is the weekend you should make sure you are in Dundee. That is the weekend you should learn how to jam. That is the weekend you should join hundreds of people in over 26 countries who will be trying to save the world. It is quite a challenge for one weekend. It is something that would be difficult to do on your own in one weekend (although that shouldn’t stop you trying). However, most things are better with other people. So if you would like to join other people, who would also like to try to save the world through design, then you should join the Dundee Sustainability Jam.

Picture 52

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One Day I Jumped…

quick writing + quick drawing = fun

Last week I spotted that Rosie aka Illustration, etc was looking for a little drawing inspiration and I thought it would be fun to have some words suggested by me brought to life in pictures. Rosie was preparing to act as a live illustrator at a poetry and storytelling event – a challenge that required speed sketching, rapid thinking and sharp pencils skills; so Rosie challenged people to suggest something she could draw in 30 minutes to help her practice.

Illustration etc, rosemary cunningham, hazleR_06, illustration, speed drawing

I decided to set myself the same challenge – so set a limit of 30 minutes to write something. I thought it would be fun to feature something slightly whimsical. Rosie had just done a quick sketch about her time spent in Cologne (where I happened to be at the same time as her), so this got me thinking back to past days and the results ended up as a short collection of words called One Day I Jumped…
Jump, illustration etc, illustration, rosemary cunningham, glasgow

I really love the way Rosie brought my words to life. It definitely made me smile at the end of last week.

+ Rosemary Cunningham

Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson

Circle Time – Work in Progress

Last week I wrote about finding the loveliest invite to join Circle Time. Yesterday I took part in Circle Time. It was a brilliantly creative day that got me quickly working on creative projects, discussing ideas and really thinking about how you can manipulate the creative process through exciting collaborations.

I wrote the words below about Circle Time during the Final Round of the day – during which we had 5 minutes to create a final piece. I think it sums the day up perfectly.

Circle Time Make1

Circle Time was the concept of Rosie Barthram and Becca Clark – aka Rbbc Projects. It took place in the Art Hub by the Sea in Kirkcaldy, which is essentially an empty shop that has been taken over for creative community use. The day started somewhat haphazardly. I found my car battery dead, so I had to rouse my sister and her boyfriend to help push the car out the drive and jump-start it in the rain. After a quick blast of energy it came to life and I dashed through the rain to Kirkcaldy to join the circle… Continue reading “Circle Time – Work in Progress”

There Will Be New Rules Next Week

Upon entering There Will Be New Rules Next Week I was greeted with a powerful ten-point compendium of advice titled The Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules.

sister corita, dca, rules, creativity, art, immaculate heart art college rules, 2013, dundee

This set the tone for this print exhibition which brought colour and text to walls of Dundee Contemporary Arts during the inaugural Print Festival Scotland. The rules were developed by the lead artist of the exhibition, Sister Corita Kent (1918 – 1986), an activist nun who ran the art department at the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles for over 20 years.

Sister Corita Kent, DCA, Dundee Contemporary Arts, There will be new rules next week, 2013, ruth ewan, print festival scotland, dundee, art

I found these rules woven into the exhibition in a myriad of forms. Strands were found printed blatantly on cardboard boxes that built a wall of words, I watched a classroom discussion that featured the rules in the short film ‘We Have No Art’ and I discovered elements of the rules present in the work of the five contemporary artists chosen to display alongside Sister Corita Kent in this exhibition.

Sister Corita Kent, DCA, Dundee Contemporary Arts, There will be new rules next week, 2013, ruth ewan, print festival scotland, dundee, art

Ruth Ewan’s direct print Nae Rules at first seems to be in direct juxtaposition to Kent’s teaching, but on reflection it also manages to resonate with Kent’s message that the rules are in constant flux and there will be new rules next week.

Sister Corita Kent, DCA, Dundee Contemporary Arts, There will be new rules next week, 2013, ruth ewan, print festival scotland, dundee, art

The fluidity of these rules is also evident in Ciara Phillips screenprint  A Lot of Things Put Together that manages to convey both a rigid, repetitive style, alongside a sense of flowing movement. Her layered cotton screen creates an strong impact in the space, yet captures a freshness in spirit akin to what remains in Kent’s work decades after creation. Continue reading “There Will Be New Rules Next Week”

Bill Thompson – How to work in a world of makers

Bill Thompson visited Dundee last week to discuss how people are working in a world of makers. Bill started his lecture by introducing us to his 3D printed mini-bill, which he later divulged had been crafted in a womb shaped scanner & 3D printing unit. This intriguing project was created by digital agency Developing Dreams and Brighton based Italian artist Emilia Telese and was recently showcased as part of The Brighton Digital Festival. Bill stated that it is exciting projects like this that make him question what will happen in a world where 3D printing is readily available. It is this type of project (that encourage the public to interact with this brilliant technology) that help to promote the idea that in this new world of makers – a very important role for the maker is also to be a sharer.

bill thompson, dundee, lecture, djcad, makers, bbc, journalist

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You Are Invited…

I have just received the most delightful item through the post. I discovered it whilst wandering round my house looking for something to inspire or motivate me to move.

Now most letters that come through my door are largely disappointing. They look colourful, but once I have read past the headlines (and deciphered whether they are inviting me to sign up for the most ‘incredible’ new service or simply reminding I am already signed up), there isn’t much substance that is of interest to me. So I often relegate it to the second drawer down in my desk and revisit it when necessary to do administration, or it gets dropped into the paper recycling.

So imagine my delight when I noticed this white envelope was not like the others. There was no postage stamp, no plastic window with my details extracted from a long database peeking through, no brand stamped on the corner, no return address – this white envelope simply said:


It had been hand delivered. It was not flat in form. It was a little bumpy. I let my mind wander for a minute and imagine a few possible sources for the mystery package. Yet, I had not let my mind wander far enough – as I had not imagined that inside I would find:


Not just a biscuit. But a hand baked cookie that had chocolate embedded into it, wrapped up preciously in brown paper. I peeled open the paper and took a quick bite. It was delicious. I thought about waiting to eat the rest later, so that perhaps I would appreciate it more. But after a quick moment of thought – I decided just to enjoy the biscuit now. I am glad I did. Behind the biscuit was an invite, one that offers me the chance to put creative ideas into action and join:


A place where a myriad of creative practices will come together, to share existing work and create new. I don’t really know what will happen in this time, I don’t really mind what happens. At this point, it is simply nice to be invited. No doubt I will report back here with the results at some point. In the mean time, I am simply going to ponder what I can bring to the circle, how nice it is to receive a surprising letter on a Sunday and how tasty the biscuit was.

Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson

N is for NILK

Are you going to Nilk? This was a question I asked a number of people this summer and on the most part the response was resoundingly YES! With just a few queries of – what is Nilk? So for the uninitiated – Nilk is a micro music festival that combines music, film and art and is held at Dundee’s Botanic Gardens.

Organisers (Paul Gault and Craig Gallacher) teamed up with the Rusty Hip Collective (an exciting new collective championing Dundee’s live music scene) and Ickle Film Festival (an independent, artist led short film festival in Dundee) to ensure 2013’s festival bounced back with a bang!

This combination meant that they welcomed a few hundred people to a truly unique event to enjoy a carefully curated selection of electronic music, live bands and fascinating films – all with the added extra that it didn’t rain a drop!


I respect the way Nilk Festival manages to maintain a unique balance with the space it inhabits. This not to be sniffed at – even if the attendee numbers are much smaller than large festivals – the atmosphere at Nilk encouraged people to explore the beautiful surrounds of the stunning botanic gardens rather than trash them.

nilk, festival, scotland, dundee, 2013, micro festival, uk

Perhaps it was the addition of this colourful (and indestructible) Pinnata by artist Camila Richardson that ensured any tension could be taken out on it! I also liked the addition of the other striking N’s that populated the site – this one below was illustrated N by Jen Collins and there was another floating structure crafted by Roy Shearer.

Nilk, Dundee, Festival, 2013, Scotland, Dundee, music, rusty hip collective, ickle film festival

I am definitely no expert when it comes to discussing the musical content…

However, the highlights for me this year were definitely Golden Teacher, their energy was infectious and I loved their eclectic mix of acoustic and electronic sounds. They also did a brilliant job of working through a minor electrical black-out with rogue phone strobe lights, their bongos and their energy to keep the crowd entertained until the boys managed to re-wire a plug fuse in the dark! They have just released their second 12” on Glasgow’s Optimo Music label and they are definitely a group I would like to see live again.

nilk, dundee, festival, scotland, uk, 2013, micro festival, nilk festival

I caught just a little of The Strangers Almanac in The Rusty Hip cabin, but I really like the sounds this duo create and I must admit that Ten Feet Tall has been featuring regularly on my playlist for over a month now… I love the part when the sound of the strings kick in.

There was also a ton of other good music being played during the day, but my memory wanes and I won’t go into detail about them all.

Other fun highlights included the awesome motion graphics by Duncan Barton.

nilk, dundee, festival, scotland, 2013, micro festival, nilkfestival

Infusing balloons with LEDs and hanging them from the trees in the afternoon…

nilk, dundee, festival, scotland, 2013, micro festival, nilkfestival

nilk, dundee, festival, scotland, 2013, micro festival, nilkfestival

and subsequently watching their glow emerge from the darkness as the evening progressed!

N is for Nilk

What a lovely way to spend a Saturday in September. I hope they do it again next year!

+ Nilk Festival

+ Rusty Hip Collective

+ Ickle Film Festival

Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson

Modern Masters Printmaking Masterclass

I learned a little more about printmaking at a brilliant free class ‘Modern Masters Printmaking Masterclass’ at The McManus last weekend. Local artist and printmaker Scott Hudson started by discussing the process of etching – both traditional and current. Then gave us a demonstration of drypoint etching on card – a technique that is similar to etching on metal or engraving – but much more simple and more direct.

printmaking, etching, mcmanus, modern masters in print, dundee, art, creative learning, museums

We then went to explore The Modern Masters in Print exhibition. This exhibition is touring from The Victoria and Albert Museum, London and showcases the work of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol. I did some of the marketing for this exhibition and had previously visited it on a number of occasions. I knew I liked the diverse nature of work explored in the 50 prints on display, I liked that it gave insights into the way printmaking influenced these great artists during their long careers (which collectively spanned a 75 year period) and I loved the detail that was captured in some of the prints.

However, on this quick specialised tour – as we walked round Scott encouraged us to ask questions about the printmaking techniques. Something I had not considered in such detail on my previous visits. Therefore, this visit was spent exploring the techniques each artist had employed – with detailed explanations of the process of these techniques. I gained a new understanding of how Picasso may have etched such impressive detail into prints such as ‘Le Repas Frugal’, a new appreciation of the soft quality and texture in Picasso’s ‘Le Cirque’ and Matisse’s ‘Nu assis de dos’ prints that would have originally been grinded into limestone using the lithography technique and I marvelled at the multiple colours in Dali’s ‘Paris’ and ‘Normandie’ prints that as a traditional offset Lithograph I imagined must have been created using a taxing series of layers.

modern masters in print, printmaking, mcmanus, dundee, art, etching

It was definitely an inspiration, and whilst I had no aspirations of reaching their level of ability when we headed back into the creative learning to suite to get crafting, I certainly did feel inspired. I was keen to get my hands dirty and test something, so I started with a very simple print where I was mostly interested in testing how the different marks I made in the card would come out in ink. So I cross hatched, I cut squares, I scribbled, I applied Chine-collé and I scratched with sand paper to make a vague representation of buildings. Then it was time to ink up, so I applied ink (perhaps slightly generously) then proceeded to wipe away most of it, before sticking it in the printing press and turning the magic lever. Then voila – my first etched print was born.

made a vague representation of buildings by cuttingFor my second print I dashed round the museum quickly for inspiration – sketching the curved roof in the Victoria Gallery, the straight lines of the spiral staircase and a model aeroplane. I decided to create something abstract with these shapes and just merged them all into one a4 page that was ultimately a further exploration of how the ink would show up different textures. A success.

I think it is important not to forget the value of creative learning classes like these. I know learning and education have been embedded in museum and gallery settings for a long time. However, it is important to remember how they offer visitors a brilliant chance to engage with the exhibitions, and local artists in a dynamic and exciting way. It is always great to learn more about the history and context of work, but this additional understanding of the process of creation is of equal importance and means that the simple words on a museum label (etching, lithography, screenprint, woodcut, linocut) gain a new relevance when looking at pieces of art. Particularly useful if you don’t have a background in printmaking or an art education.

The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson

Taking A Chance In Dundee

I was walking down the street on my way to work the other morning when I spotted this simple a4 sheet stuck on a lamp post. It was typed in a really simple font, just black on white, but it was the words that jumped out at me – they said:

Please take at least one

Then there was a number of tear-off slips that said:

A chance

I have to admit that my first reaction was to take a photograph, but on realising that I didn’t have my camera – I pulled off a chance slip, took a mental photograph of it and subsequently sketched this out quickly later. I was pleased to see that when I walked home that evening that I discovered the posters were actually up on three or four lamposts, yet in fact all the chances had been taken that day!

I will add that this was situated outside an art school, so it could have been a simple experiment, part of a larger art or design project or just a bit of fun. However, I was impressed that it managed to capture my attention whilst rushing to work on a route that I rush down everyday – so it shows the value of choosing clever words that capture both people’s attention, but also their imagination. Secondly, I enjoyed that people had obviously reacted to it and torn the scraps of paper off so quickly – which made me wonder if the people of Dundee took any more chances than usual that day. I like to think that they did and I wonder what they may have been.

Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson