Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Working with Fabrics - Wall Hangings

Fabric Wall Hangings




In the video I share with you a series of wall hangings I created called Forgotten Stories.  Here is how they progressed.


At this point I had painted the fabric pieces and started to add the jewelry and the beading.


I taught myself some simple quilting techniques and ran with it.  I knew I didn't want to make a large quilt, just used some of tips that I needed as I learnt.


Very often we stop ourselves from doing things because we don't have the resources, or skills, but you can learn the techniques as you go along, don't wait until you are an expert as you might find that you get some great results from the process as you go along.  In my research I learnt about the quilts of the Underground Railroad, the messages and symbols contained in them and will share more in another post.




There were several things that I loved doing with these wall hangings, 
  •  the process of painting the pieces of fabric, 
  • using the range of colors and also 
  • creating the marks and designs that seem to come together when they were taken to the next stage and stitched
I called the series of wall hangings the Forgotten Stories.

Forgotten Stories Series

I started creating the series quite a while back and spent a lot of time selecting fabric and hand painting the fabric using a variety of acrylics, fabric paints and later on embellishments.  I never used to have so much patience to create the amount of detail that you see in these pieces, but learnt that the messages come out over time, and in different ways. 


The idea behind the series for me is the forgotten stories that  are told in communities and would traditionally be handed down as you sit around a fire, or people would gather round the village stories tellers.  I also wanted them to capture the essence of a short story that I had written where a young girl accompanies her mother to a fabric store and the owner begins to share how far the fabric has traveled and what all the signs and symbols mean.


With each pattern having a meaning. These stories tells of the kings and queens, the daily lives of a village who did what their accomplishments, the travelers of the land, the trade between the villages and the things they produced.  The carrying of spices, and precious jewels across sand dunes, forests and seas.


The symbols that tells of the strength the technology and skills that were the cornerstone of populations



Charting the journey of the different tribes, showing the gifts the abilities that resides unto this day.


Once each panel was complete I began to add the beading and embellishments to decorate.  You can see a bit of the process in the video above.

Forgotten Stories - Blue
I love the way the pieces turned out and the color mixes.

As my fabric pieces tell their story I hope they will inspire you to share yours.  Art for me is about how we use it to express our ideas, thoughts - our truth and is a tool that can bring a voice to every situation.

Let me know how you use fabric in your work and to express ideas.  If you are looking for additional ideas for using fabric then check out some of the links below for ideas, supplies and more!







Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Central Bank Visual Arts Festival Awards 2018

Celebrations are in order




Here is the video to check out


Well, it doesn't happen every day, and when it does, it is a cause for celebration.  I was blessed to have won a 'Best in Show Award and an 'Incentive Award' at the Central Bank Crop Over Visual Arts Festival.


The Visual Arts Exhibition is on every year as part of the Crop Over Celebrations in Barbados.  It show cases talent around the islands and the exhibition takes place across 2 venues - The Queens Park Gallery and 

Here I am with some of the award winners and the Minister of Culture John King (5th from the left).

Here are some of the Artists that won an award for their work
I was very proud to stand up with the artists who won an award


Check out Barbados Visual Arts Events for the latest in What's happening on the Art Scene.  A new issue comes out each month listing all the galleries and events around the island and profiling the many talented artist.  It is published by artist Corrie Scott a talented artist herself, and she does a great job in pulling together all the information.  

This mixed media piece on show at the Courtney Blackman Grand Salle is called Hunters Journey/Tale, made of clay and fabric.  This piece tells the story of life, truths, challenges, emotions, change and love that we find on our journey.  There is no final destination but the work in progress, and how we choose to tell our stories.

Best In Show Award - Hunters Journey/Tale - Amanda Trought/Springer

Art work the Queens Park Gallery include my Forgotten Stories Series

Incentive Award - Forgotten Stories Collection - Amanda Trought/Springer

Forgotten Stories Series

I started creating the series a while back and spent a lot of time selecting fabric and hand painting the fabric using a variety of acrylics, fabric paints and later on embellishments. 


The idea behind the series is the forgotten stories that would traditionally be handed down as you sit around a fire, or people would gather round the village stories tellers.  I also wanted them to capture the essence of a short story that I had written where a young girl accompanies her mother to a fabric store and the owner begins to share how far the fabric has travelled.

With each pattern having a meaning. These stories tells of the kings and queens, the travelers of the land, carrying spices, and precious jewels across sand dunes, forests and seas.


The symbols tells of the strength the technology and skills that were the cornerstone of populations



Charting the journey of the different tribes, showing the gifts the abilities that resides unto this day.


Once each panel was complete I began to add the beading and embellishments to decorate.  I will be sharing a video of the making and a bit more information in the next few days.
Forgotten Stories - Blue
I love the way the pieces turned out and the color mixes.

My pieces tell their story and will inspire you to share yours.  Art for me is about how we use it to express our ideas, thoughts - our truth and is a tool that can bring a voice to every situation.


I hope that you are able to see all the Art work at the Central Bank Crop Over Visual Arts Exhibition at the Courtney Blackman Grand Salle and the Queens Park Gallery, and the work inspires you to own a piece of art and do something creative yourself.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Food and Nurturing - The Emotional Impact




Listen to the Podcast



Food and nurturing - The Emotional impact

I have always had an emotional attachment to food, which started in childhood and continued into adulthood.

As a child I didn’t think about the costs or how long and how hard our parents had to work we just saw things appear in the cupboard we didn’t see the hours/stresses or worry that our parents went through in order to provide us with the standard of living they never had.

The memories of the associations to food came upper most in my mind as mum decided she wasn't going to eat while I was feeding her at the home. This was something that began to be a regular occurrence when I was looking after her full time.  I associated this with failure and worried that she would be hungry – but the main thing was how inadequate I felt that I couldn’t get her to eat.

We grew up being told that we had to eat all the food on our plate otherwise we:

  • Wouldn’t be able to leave the table

  • Have dessert 

Both of which filled you with dread because the pudding was usually something we looked forward to after the dinner.  My mother’s homemade apple pies, cakes, crumbles were so tasty that made your toes curled when you ate them. You felt you had no choice but to eat all that we were given and it never occurred to me or anyone else that we all had the same sized plates as my dad!  As my brother got older as he was always the last to finish he learned that falling asleep at the table would get him out of eating the rest of his dinner - as the youngest we always felt that he was spoilt (smile).

Every meal was therefore set up. It is unlikely that as a child you can eat an adult sized meal and  you end up feeling full just looking at the plate.  The combination of eating all or having to stay behind when everyone else has gone makes you associate certain patterns of behavior with food.

Your Eyes too Big for your Belly! 


Digital Art - Amanda Trought


Don’t get me wrong, my mother’s food was always delicious, but when your full your full.  The saying that “your eyes are too big for your belly” was one I heard often, I would ask for more without thinking about whether I could eat it and invariably ended up eating it because I thought that if I stuffed it down it would be an achievement and they would be proud of me and I am not sure where I got that from. I remember my dad’s face the first time I overate.  He had this look on his face and seem to be beaming, but I took it to mean that he was proud of me and so would always over eat wanting to recreate that feeling. It is funny what a 10 year old thinks they see, compare to what is actually the case.

Activities


Whilst on one hand I was over eating, we didn’t lead a sedentary childhood, we were always out on our bikes or scooters. Going up to Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill Fields to have our adventures and play.

When you think of how you grew up, what associations do you have, or have you had with food?

Take away the stress


I always thought that my son when he was little would want to eat everything that I made and when he didn’t the feelings that I was either a bad mother or couldn’t nurture started to rear its head and also appeared when I was looking after my mother. I didn’t realize at the time that my son wouldn’t starve he just didn’t want to eat at the time, mum wouldn’t starve herself, she just either didn’t want what I cooked or wasn’t ready to eat. One of the most important things that my health visitor said to me was to give my son a small plate of food, and when he ate it would not associate food with failure and I also did this with my mother and made sure I had fruits available so that they could have them if they got hungry. This made eating less stressful for all of us.

The Food Industry 

Digital Art - Amanda Trought

Food is used in an emotional way by the food industry and advertisers, making you think you are hungry, associating foods with lifestyles and for most of us we can remember times where an advert has played and we immediately want the food or the drink they have just shown. Food is used in celebration – take cake, we also use cake for consoling ourselves, and in the films you see people using ice cream to console a broken heart. In the UK the placement of food is worth millions of pounds. Food is strategically placed for maximum effect encouraging us to browse a little longer – things are moved around on a regular basis – so you can never find what you want and just nip in and out of the store. The bread and cake aisles at the back of the store wafting freshly baked produce throughout this encourages you to linger as you contemplate buying a cake to celebrate a day in the week.

Food has power, it can make us feel shame, soothed, berated, it numbs emotion, It has a way of making you feel inadequate, dependent, addicted, but it can also comfort, make us feel nourished, celebrated, and it's revered. When you have an unhealthy relationship with food brought on by layers of misunderstandings these can be the hardest associations to break. 

I will always identify some foods as comfort foods, mine are jacket potatoes, cake and custard, chocolate cake, Sunday dinners when all the family would gather and there would be laughter and fun, filling your bellies and either going out for a walk or sitting down watching a film, playing games and the washing up and going down memory lane as we laughed on into the night.


What you can do 


While I still have a connection with food I control it better now.  I make sure that I eat foods that are in as natural a state as possible, I grow my own food and I am focused on the impact of the food on my body and health. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have cake, but I am aware of the consequences of the foods that I eat, and I don’t attach any emotion to someone not eating the food I cook as anything to do with my abilities. I also look at how I can creatively express whatever emotions that I am feeling by working in my Art Journal. 


Activities

First you have to stand up and admit you have issues around food and emotion

  • Think of the reasons why this might have come about, ie something in your childhood or the way you have been brought up to view food. 

  • If you are feeling a particular emotion and want to eat something to make yourself feel better then you need to first drink some water then do some work in your art journal, just identifying what you might be feeling, how it started, and how you can use your creative tools to make you feel better rather than a slice of cake. 

  • Know that your emotional attachments can impact on your health and well-being so you need to invest in your health as there is no do over.

Check out some of my art videos and podcasts to help you spend more creative time, and remember to take some time out for you!



Check out this weeks Podcast
If you want to support me as I create Arts and Health resources, videos and tutorials for free then come over to my Patreon Page, and see how you can benefit from your support.

Stay blessed and be a blessing.


Before you go.. 

You might want to check out some of these Amazon resources if you want to look further into the emotions and food.  Click on the book to take you to Amazon




Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Looking at things with New Eyes

Looking at things with New Eyes




Sometimes you have to stop, stop what you are doing and listen.  What is it that you can hear around you in your environment.  What are the beliefs that you hold about your situation or circumstances? Check out the video below for some additional insights.

Change Your Perspective


As I listen to the sounds in my enviroment I think about what I should be grateful for, and the things that I constantly take for granted.  When I listen to the sounds one of my favorite times of year is when the spring is underway and the birds seem to be singing extra loud and it is lovely.

I also like seeing the buds, those first flowers emerging from the ground or on the trees - new life emerging with the promise of fruit.  It is in those simple moments that clarity can be found.  We stop all the chatter and take stock of who we are and what we feel.

As the dementia developed in my mother I questioned the old ways of doing things that you still see in some care homes today where people are sat in a circle in chairs they can't get out of.  I am not saying all care homes, there has been a lot of changes over the years.  But people are generally of the opinion that when a person is living with dementia they become like a cabbage! (and I have heard a person talk about their own mother in this way)  I also heard a massage therapist while she was massaging a residents foot that it didn't really help them because they couldn't respond.  I was flabbergasted on both occasions and told both parties about all the research done that would contradict their claims.  There is still a lot of stigma associated with the disease and people tend to keep it hushed behind closed doors.

Mum used to love art and still appreciates the effects of colour

What if you were suddenly unable to do anything for yourself speak, or move unaided, how would you want to be treated?  When you put the shoe on the other foot and imagine what what you have the ability to do now, to how you would feel if people treated you like you didn't exist because of their limited view of the benefits that you get from the interaction you might look differently.

We have to change our perspectives to many things, and shine some new light on old beliefs and looking with a set of new eyes. The quote that says 'you can't do what you have always done and expect to get different results', that would be madness - wouldn't it, but we sometimes act as if it were so.

The long and the short of it is this is not a rehearsal, we don't get a retake or do-over of our time wasted, so learn to appreciate those things that you have been taking for granted.  Look at how far you have come, celebrate those achievements and where you currently are at the moment, change what you can change as you step into what tomorrow will bring you.

There are a range of creative activities that you can also do whether you are caring for someone or not that help you express what you are going through.

Check out some of my art videos and podcasts to help you spend more creative time, and remember to take some time out for you!  

Check out this weeks Podcast
If you want to support me as I create Arts and Health resources, videos and tutorials for free then come over to my Patreon Page, and see how you can benefit from your support.

Stay blessed and be a blessing.
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