Doors Open Day: The ultimate destination for a curious mind

Compassion emerges from imagining the world alive.

These are the words of Alexandra Horowitz, in a book called On Looking: Eleven Walks with Eleven Experts. Horowitz explores the way in which we can become more present in the daily quotidian, by stepping a familiar route alongside the footsteps of eleven different people, some experts like geologists, but also her toddler and her dog. With these fresh eyes alongside her, it is possible for previously unseen elements to emerge. As they share what excites them – from the cracks on a pavement, to the font selected for a sign.

butterfliesmix

Earlier this year I was also lucky enough to follow in some different footsteps, although whilst on a tour of some unfamiliar grounds – the National Museums Scotland Collection Centre. I came away with my mind afresh with new perspectives and new things to try to see when looking around me. It’s Doors Open Day at the Collection Centre this weekend, our tours were fully booked and so we have now welcomed many more feet to explore the collection further. Read more about what I discovered here! 

Dundee Print Collective: Silk Road

In September 2015 I had a print on display at the Silk Road exhibition, part of Impact 9 International Printmaking Conference, Hangzhou-China. September 2015. This was an exhibition by Dundee Print Collective and was displayed again in Dundee on it’s return at WASPS Meadow Mills.

The title and text relating to this print are below:

Freedom is found in the places in between

In specific places rules exist. Expectations of actions and thoughts exist. When a journey starts from somewhere known, to somewhere unknown, perhaps during that journey true freedom is found. The road, the route, the space of flux. The space where people move, ideas are traded, cultures are crossed and a new form of freedom is found.

One of the editions from this print now sits proudly on my living room wall, it’s my favourite of all that I have created so far.

 

 

Dundee Print Collective – Edition 1

Sometimes it is nice to slow down. I think this is what I have enjoyed most about my recent foray into printmaking. I like the process. It slows me down. It slows the printing process down. This gives me time to think and a chance to figure out how I would like the ink to dry on the paper. Going through this printing process makes me appreciate and value my prints more.

I spent a few weekends last year in the print studio at Dundee Contemporary Arts, as I was experimenting with developing some print designs for the new Dundee Print Collective. The print collective set no theme, but there was a set format. So the print had to be specific dimensions, with one black layer and one optional further colour. It was busy in the studio, with a number of people in the newly formed collective working away – at various stages of the printing process. I developed two prints over a two different weekends and I have discussed them a little more below.

lovesunnydaysprocess
Love Sunny Days
With my Love Sunny Days print I started a quick brainstorm around this idea on the Friday and on Sunday I started printing… In some ways it is quite simple in concept and is a development of the first screen print I ever made in a basics class, where I chose to cut out the words ‘Love Sunny Days’. It was done very quickly and quite childlike in its aesthetic. However, at the time I was super happy with it! A year on, I still love sunny days and so decided these words needed a refresh and that was the base for developing this print. Simple really. However, there is definitely more to read into it if you want to.

Continue reading “Dundee Print Collective – Edition 1”

Fun a Day 2015

I started the year of with the usual sunshine energy that organising & taking part in fun a day tends to have. Fun a Day is a community based art project which I think really strengthens your creative muscles and sets you up well for the year. When I first took part in the project, the encouragement if the first organiser Morgan Cahn gave me a real confidence boost. It made me feel it was ok to make something and call it art. I hadn’t really felt confident in doing that in a long time and it was a brilliant boost. Art is made with an intention. If you are creating something with the intention for it to be art, then it is art. It sounds simple, but I think it takes a lot of confidence in yourself to call something art.

Making Marks in the Sand

Love sunny days 🙂 last of my sand writing for today #words #sand #beach #writing

A photo posted by Hazel (@hazler_06) on

Sometimes the most simple actions are the most rewarding.

Sometimes the most natural views are the most satisfying.

Reflections of the clouds in the water #sea #beach #water #reflections #photo

A photo posted by Hazel (@hazler_06) on

Sometimes it is nice to know that the mark you make is not permanent.

I recently spent a good few hours wandering around St Andrews beach and I was looking for excuses not to leave. So I made a small H in the sand. Marking my spot gave me an excuse to stay a little longer. There is something wonderful about making marks in sand. It is a flexible and responsive surface that allows you to play, build and write without any pressure. With the knowledge that your marks in the sand will be somewhat fleeting.

Sometimes it is nice to do the obvious.

The first mark made me want to write more… So I decided to write a few basic beach instructions, with the vague hope that someone might find them and follow them. They are not groundbreaking requests. They are probably the most obvious thing you can do on a beach. However, sometimes it is easy to forget to do the obvious and it can be nice to get a reminder.

The complete set of instructions 🙂 I enjoyed following them #beach #words #writing #scotland

A photo posted by Hazel (@hazler_06) on

Continue reading “Making Marks in the Sand”

WALK THIS WAY

WALK THIS WAY.

I saw this sign the other day and it made me smile and think. It was not directing me to go in the direction of anything specific, but out of curiosity I decided to follow it. I walked to the left as the sign directed and I found myself with a low wall to my left and stacks of fishing nets to my right, beyond the wall was a small river and to right of the nets was the boat filled harbour. It was a pleasant little detour and enjoyed peering over the wall at the water below and photographing the twists and turns in the nets.  I walked until I reached the point at which the water that had been on either side of me met and I discovered I was at a dead end. I guess I could have jumped in the water, I do like swimming, but on this occasion I decided that the best option was to turn around and come back.

Upon returning past the sign and subsequently walking in the opposite direction to the arrow, I began to question the intentions of the original sign maker/hanger/instigator. I began to wonder whether they had hoped to encourage people to take the time to walk up this underused path at the harbour, or had simply hoped to discourage people from walking a different route. I questioned what people would do if the sign did not exist and whether it was a positive or negative addition to the space. I didn’t come to any particular conclusions, as this questioning happened in the space of a few seconds inside my head before I was distracted by the waft of fresh fish and chips.

I am constantly curious about the number of words that exist in our built environment. A number of these words come in the form of signage, but signs don’t need to be formal structures. In fact, I often wonder if people are so used to the formal qualities of official signs that they become rather blind to them, that or they subconsciously submit to them. I saw a lot of signs when I was walking around New York earlier this year and yet these words ‘NO LOITERING’ that were chalked into a stairway were the ones that stood out to me. Perhaps they stood out, as at the exact moment I spotted them I must have been loitering in some way and they caught me in the act as I turned to look directly at them. It was as if these words had preempted that the spot in front of their appartment was the one that I would take to rest for a minute after walking for hours.

I guess that is what most signs do, they run through possible scenarios for a specific place or space and then they try to guide people in what is deemed as the best way to navigate. I think most signs have good intentions, and sometimes signs in the form of identification and navigation are definitely necessary.

However, sometimes it is also nice to decide for yourself which way to walk, as it can make the simplest journeys in life seem just a little bit more like an adventure.

Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson

Damn Water

It always starts with just one drop of water upon a Scottish hillside.

This drop stumbles around until it joins many more drops and starts to create a trickle of energy, an energy that will gather momentum as it flows downhill on a quest to reach the big blue sea. As all the energetic small drops gather speed, they start to gush out of gulleys in small streams and crash against rocks. All that noise is actually the drops incessant screeching about the rumours they have heard about the big blue sea, their excited shouts about the vast mass of energy they have heard exists in the ocean.

What these drops don’t know yet is that there are some obstacles between them and the deep ocean space. There are systems and structures set up to direct the way these different drops flow through the land, pushing them this way and that along the way. The biggest obstacle is the dam. The dam ensures many drops are held in the vast resevoir basin. This basin is beautiful, surrounded by sweeping hills and lofty forests. There is a wonderful and inviting sense of calm in the basin, which many of the water drops will enjoy for a long long time. Some may find they are happy there forever.

Yet, in this calm beautiful basin there is also a struggle going on below. As below the calm surface there are drops being pulled into the generator which leads to the flowing river below. Some drops are pushing out as they want to explore beyond the basin and other drops are pulling in as they are afraid of the rumours they hear about the wild waterfall on the other side.

The drops that are pulled into the generator will momentarily experience a brilliant sense of power. As they crash down with thousands of other drops in a chaotic cloud like mass, the instant transformation from calm to chaos will give them enough momentum to carry on with their quest to reach the big blue sea.

Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson

 

Fun a Day 2014: One Word

I was one of the organisers of the art project Fun-a-Day Dundee in 2014. The Fun a Day project encouraged people in Dundee to add an element of creative fun to the 31 days in January and then packed an exhibition full of all that fun. The diverse collection of art work in the exhibition displayed the need for everyone to make more time for fun and the collective power that a series of small actions can have. Knowing that I would have a busy month, but still keen to create a personal project during the month as part of Fun a Day – I decided to experiment with video. Last year I chose a word a day and cut it into paper. This year I asked other people for a word a day and I recorded it in film. This short film is the result.

Completing the ‘One Word’ project made me question whether one word can effectively describe an element of your day and how difficult it is to pick just one word.

This was a project that sometimes surprised me with its ease and other days frustrated with its struggle. From the offset it was interesting to see how the project puzzled some of my closest friends and yet some of the strangers I asked were very open to it. Mostly they were amused (or bemused by it), they questioned the point of it and how I planned to put the short shots together, but almost everyone agreed to indulge me and offer me a word. Continue reading “Fun a Day 2014: One Word”

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