Gingerbread Workshop

This months meeting was held at Bodafon Farm, Llandudno.  The sun was shining and we worked outdoors in the park area. We made sun-catchers out of plastic lids, tissue paper and ribbon. Simple but effective.

I really enjoy working with these kids, they all seem to have their own ideas of what they want to do, such as the flamingo, dolphin and fishes.

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I had a supply of photo paper and a some developer so decided to experiment with Chemigrams,  this was a first attempt for me, so was a lot of trial and error.

But first, a bit of research on how to do the process,  The chemigram process was discovered by Pierre Cordier in 1956. It’s a  process that uses resists on photographic paper. Cordier discovered that a resist can hold back the chemical effects of developer and fixer on black and white photo paper for a time. Paper put into developer that has been exposed to normal room light for varying periods of time will turn black, except where a resist blocks the chemical reaction. The parts of the paper protected by the resist will continue to change colour from extended exposure to room light, likewise, paper put into fixer turns white, except where a resist blocks the chemical reaction.

With a back and forth from developer to fixer or fixer to developer, the resist begins to dissolve, so the next chemical bath either turns slowly exposing paper under the dissolving resist black (developer) or white (fixer)

Source Alternative Photography

I raided my cupboards for substances to use for my resist and used butter and honey.  With the honey producing the best results.

A selection of my scanned chemigrams

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Right Here Right Now @ The Lowry

I spent another Saturday in Manchester last weekend, this time my main focus was to go to The Lowry, Salford Quays. I wanted to see the digital art exhibition Right Here Right Now which I had seen advertised on their website.  The exhibition features the work of 16 international contemporary digital artists who through a range of processes have explored themes such as surveillance, artificial intelligence and social media interactions.

My favourite pieces have to be installations Darwinian Straw Mirrors by Daniel Rozin and Snowfall by Fuse* (a collective of Italian Multimedia artists)  both of which respond to and change with audience participation.  With both the viewer stands in front of a view camera and their figure is projected onto a huge screen as a series of lines or a snow silhouettes.


Daniel Rozin’s Darwinian Straw Mirror


Fuse* Snowball

With this projection Installation Fuse explored the potential of artificial viewing techniques in the artistic field for the first time. The system processes the images captured by a number of video cameras in real time

The Lowry


I really enjoyed the playful feel to this part of the exhibition, it really brought out my inner child, and introduced me to a technology which I had very little knowledge or experience of.

Some of the other installations were

  • Corruption by Thomson & Craighead, the artists discovered that by using certain software they could create bright colourful imagery using the data of corrupt digital files, hence making something beautiful from something which can potential cause viruses within computer systems.
  • Planthropy by Stephanie Rothenberg another interactive installation where the artist explores the idea behind crowd-funding and social media.
  •  Oil Fields by Mishka Henner. First impressions are that it is an abstract piece of work but are actually a series of aerial shots taken from Google earth which have been stitched together to make a very large piece of work.



Overall a great exhibition, consisting of a wide range of digital art and technology parts of which making you consider the information we that we so readily share online. The gallery flows easily from one exhibit to the next,  I really like that on the 2 occasions I have been there that there have been some exciting installations which requires audience participation, it’s an excellent way to encourage children (both big and small) to become involved and interested in contemporary art.




Can I make money out of my art?

This must be a question most art and photography students ask themselves whilst studying, I know I have. This could be as a mature student I have previously worked and am only too aware that bills need paying and children want feeding, once my degree is completed and my student finance has come to an end I will need to earn some money.

Steve McCoy and Stephanie Wynne are a collaborative partnership based in Liverpool, who make a living from their photography, and came into Uni today to talk about their business and how they achieved this. McCoy Wynne work predominately as commercial photographers, with 50% of their work coming from location photography, they also work together on personal projects which are integrated into their business.

They have worked hard on their website which is a showcase for their work, it was important to them to make it user friendly the design works as a contact sheet with ease of use a high priority for both their commercial and personal work. They have built their reputation by using a balance of photography and negotiation skills to politely prove themselves. Whilst they concede that they have had some luck, their success is predominately down to hard work, particularly in the early days when they would knock on doors and make cold calls. They sometimes take advantage of the locations of commissions to work on some of their personal projects, shooting additional images which are logged on various photo library sites such as The National Trust and Millenium, they constantly consider how they can best use their time, thinking about how they can make money from their work.

One of their personal projects which I found interesting is called Triangulation, it is an ongoing project which involves finding the location of various triangulation points in the UK and taking a 360 degrees panoramic image with the camera place on top of the point. This project has removed the need to shot something, somewhere at its best, the viewpoint is dictated by the height of the point and the weather conditions are variable. Introducing themselves as commercial photographers has brought them prejudice from some circles, this is apparent when looking for somewhere to display their personal work but they appear to stay true to themselves, acknowledging that whilst they must earn their livings they can also be actively involved in their local art scene and work on projects which they feel passionate about.

Some of the essential advice received.

* Make sure you keep your copyright, your client has 2 years unlimited personal use of the images, after that you are free to sell again

* Photo’s being stolen from online sources which are sometimes not worth pursuing due to cost implications. Use Tin Eye, backward image search

* Be realistic about your expectations

* Have a story/background to your work and keep working at it

* Photograph things for commissions in a personal way

* Look at the familiar and see how you can portray in a different way

* Does your knowledge of tradition show in your work. Use tradition as a springboard.

McCoy and Wynne were generous in sharing their knowledge and experience with the students who could potentially be their future competition. However after having another look at their website upon returning home, the quality of their work is apparent and it is understandable that they have their market cliental who appreciate the personal viewpoint offered.

The most important advice offered was to learn to justify your own work and in order to convince others that your work is worthwhile you need to be convinced of it.

ExtraORDINARY – Everyday objects and actions in contemporary art

Currently showing at The Lowry, Salford Quays, is an exhibition made up of artists, sculptors and photographers where some the works requires audience participation in the making of the art. The idea behind this sort of interactive exhibition is the exploration of the making of art rather than the finished piece of work.

A couple of the installations really stood out for me.  The first one, ADA by artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski is a helium filled kinetic drawing sculpture. The sculpture shaped like a giant ball has large sticks of charcoal protruding from it and placed in a small white room, spectators were being encouraged to enter the room to bounce the ball from walls to ceiling in order to make marks on all surfaces.  There was something almost extra-terrestrial about this sculpture as it floated around the room, it bounced from wall to wall, the light projected through its translucent body giving it an alien appearance,


The second installation, Soul City (Pyramid of Oranges) by Roelof Louw,  started life in the gallery as a pyramid, here participants are offered the opportunity to change the appearance of the artwork by taking away an orange. By the time I visited, with just one week left to run the was very little evidence of the pyramid or the majority of the 5800 oranges!

The exhibition as a whole is playful with some of the pieces of work possibly made with a sense of humour. The use of everyday objects in art is often a matter for debate, with viewers confused as to how a biscuit, Gavin Turk‘s  A Rich Tea Biscuit, or a range of different lengths of nails, and a floor display of ascending sized Cactus,both by Martin Creed, can be called art. These artists see the practice of selection and positioning of these somewhat commonplace objects as  fundamental in their creative practice.


Martin Creed Work No 701


Martin Creed – Work No. 960 (dimensions variable) 

This exhibition is an excellent way to encourage spectators, children in particular, to enjoy visiting the gallery by allowing them to touch the installations, becoming part of the process of the making of the art, thus becoming a part of the exhibition.