The final chapter of the summer… The brilliant thing about Bestival!

8 Feb

The most fantastic thing about Bestival (apart from the killer line up) was the fabulous and fantastic people I had the pleasure of spending it with, for this festival I was absolutely spoilt by not only getting to work alongside my always awesome Aespia crew, but also having the pleasure of the festival moving to my home ends meant I got to catch up with some of the nearest and dearest palls from home, which was just delightful!

As the closing festival to what can only be descirbed as the most sensational festival season of my life, this was an opporunity to really test my skills. As well as proving FeelFree Company dreamcatcher decor for the Aespia take over of the woods, I also ran 3 day workshops so that everyone (no matter what their age or ability) could have a go at creating their own mini dreamcatchers to take home with them.

I met every kind of character imaginable over this weekend, from the eco-warriors picking up recycled crafts wherever possible, to the mums who were just happy to have some free, light entertainment for their children so they could put their feet up and enjoy a quick bevvy before getting back to parent duty. This was a fun-filled weekend where people really did go home with a new craft and something handmade and created with love (see I’m all about making mem’s :P).

I would like to just take a quick second to thank Aespia Scool of Art for taking me with them on their festival journey of voyage and discovery, its been a breathtaking, showstopping season and being a tutor for you is one of my highlights… So thank you!

Anywho, back to the Bestival chat! So despite the horrendous weather (ALL WEEKEND) there were lots of laughs shared by all, it was a brilliant opportunity to catch up with old friends, and even see some of my beloved Goa crew who I thought would have already disappeared back to paradise. I enjoyed a plethora of music, from the main stage headliners to the intimate sets Haai and Lone treated us to!

Here are a few snaps of the crazy fun times… Don’t be jell!

So this is finally it, The FeelFree Company is signing out of summer antics, thank you all for following, reading and getting involved in my tales of adventure. Watch this space to see what future projects I have in store.

The final thing I wanna say is: ROLL ON SUMMER 2018!

See you soon,

Love The FeelFree Company x

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Field life continues… With the fantastic Field Maneuvers!

29 Jan

Field Maneuvers although small in size, is mighty in what it aims to achieve, with always an unimaginably good line up this is a festival that isn’t trying to pretend to be something it’s not! The pioneers of throwing shapes and 3 stages of constant foot tapping goodness, if you think you know festivals and love the field life, this really is something you need to experience.

What it really is, is a tight-knit family of dirty little ravers, who all have one thing in common, their love for dance music and their need to escape the shackles of the city. FM offers you a haven away from the hustle and bustle, it is simple yet at the same time, there is something so exciting about it. It prides itself on not having the noise a lot of other sites surround themselves with, without excessive production value, this doesn’t try to distract you, it simply leaves you with a subtle sense of the sublime… FM’s noise, is just that of the sound systems releasing banger after banger into the field.

For me, FM was exactly what I needed after a very long season of festivals, space to relax, good friends, and a small and easily navigatable site to rest my wiry legs on.

If you are looking for something to show off to all your friends, the selfie paradise, then this really isn’t a festival for you. Everyone who attends FM is incredibly liberated, they are there simply to have a great time, let their hair down for a few days, sans responsibilities and surroundings themselves with friends and fantastic music. This is a small site for serious music lovers. So if you are looking for something a little bit more intimate to end your season with, then look no further.

I feel my experience was made even more special by the sensational crew I had the absolute pleasure of working alongside, so kind, so welcoming and always there to lend a hand to anyone that needs them, the FM family really is that, a family and they welcomed me with open arms!

I think RA sums it up pretty well here: RA: “In the saturated UK festival market, you have to do something different to stand out. Many go bigger, more polished, more commercial, but in its five years Field Maneuvers has remained defiantly small and anti-corporate, channelling the spirit of ’90s free parties.”

Here are a few snaps of my favourite mini weekend away this season, I am already counting down the days until I get to return… I hope you can join us in the field!

 

Taking time to talk about Aespia…

3 Jan

Aespia is one of those festivals that unless you have been to, it’s actually quite hard to visualise… It’s more than a festival, and I know there are many events that say that, but for Aespia it could not be truer. It is not just a party, it is not just a festival, is 24 hours of pure, otherworldly bliss and it is created especially as a get secret getaway for the lucky punters that choose the embrace the madness, throw their trust to the wind and come and explore this magical secret world.

We say leave your ego’s at the door, as well as your phones and your fancy clothes as we give you overalls to put on as soon as your journey to our magical destination begins…

We pick you up from a London based location and take you in a blacked out bus to our secret slice of heaven tucked away deep in the woods. With an overwhelming amount of things to see and do, you are invited to try new things, meet new people, learn new skills and of course dance until your legs can’t hold you up anymore.

I am lucky enough to have returned to Aespia for my second year, I create for the site large sustainable dream catchers which are hung in each of our 5 worlds, as well we teach and all day (free) dream catcher making workshop which is again created from recycled materials. My workshop can be taken by anyone, with any skill level and is designed to bring people together in a new and exciting way.

I have been almost completely overcome by the sheer kindness, warmth and welcoming nature of the whole team who have embraced me into their fantastic festival family. Having created my bespoke works for Aespia for the second time, they have adopted me into their decor team and I am excited to take on an even larger deore role for next year.

Comprised of pretty much all volunteers, it really is incredible what can be achieved with the imagination and tenacity of individuals when they act as a collective… This is a festival built with love and shared with anyone who puts their trust in our 24 secret getaway, and I promise you won’t be disappointed 😉

My favourite part of this festival is working with people who have never really created craft objects before, with a crazy busy workshop running all day, I was blown away by the almost 100 people that took my class and created their own dreamcatchers to wear and take away with them!

Here are a few snaps of my pieces from this year for you to enjoy…

So… If you want to learn new skills, hear trailblazing new talks, meet new people, and party like you have never done before, join us at Aespia 2018! (Plus with tickets this cheap I really don’t know what you are waiting for)

 

😉 see you in the woods!

 

 

Building Boomtown…

11 Nov

There really is nothing quite like Boomtown… Whether you love it or loathe it you have to admit that it is a totally unique experience, and if you are like me then you bloody love it!


For a few years now I have had my eyes set on building boomtown, I have never experienced a festival with decor and scenic work like they have, their production is second to none, and this year it was finally my chance to contribute towards the brilliance and madness that is Boomtown Fair.


I was lucky enough to be working in up town, Mayfair specifically, and especially lucky that the team I had around me were just so utterly brilliant. I learnt so much during this build, both in terms of endurance and technical skill… As without a doubt building this site was simultaneously the best and worst thing I have ever done. The unrelenting weather from pretty much the moment I arrived on site made this massive task a mammoth one. Nevertheless, what I found was the most impressive part of it all was the sheer determination of every builder/ decor team across every town and their ability to power on through despite everything the English weather had to throw at us. Apart from a few short breaks because of torrential rain and lightning storms which temporarily halted the site for fairly obvious health and safety reasons, we all worked tirelessly late into the night to get the job done.


The biggest thank you I have is to my two fantastic Mayfair bosses, not only is it totally empowering to work for two incredibly talented ladies, but I was literally blown away by your generosity, the knowledge you shared with me has improved all elements of my practice two-fold. You have made me quicker, more accurate and efficient and I will take the tips you taught me through into future projects. So thank you. Thank you so so much 🙂


Of course in classic sod’s law fashion, from the moment the festival doors opened, we had pure, blissful sunshine (not that I am complaining) which meant by the time my palls arrived none of the previous chaos was anywhere to be seen!

I am so happy to have been a part of Boomtown this year, and it really does make me proud to know I helped contribute to the sheer majestic brilliance that culminates in this unique site… Thank you Boomtown, see you next year!

Crisis is too strong a word…

8 Nov

However, I am having an artistic crisis… I know what your thinking how can an artist who prolifically makes, exhibits and collaborates be in a crisis, but its all about the context you see darling.

When I was in art school and actually for about a year after graduating I knew exactly who I was, what I made and what it meant for me to be an artist. I was a political printmaking, treading a new path and trailblazing to create rich, new meaningful work, happy to stand up for the heritage of political printmakers that have come before me. Especially through woodcutting to quote my existing artists statement ‘Through establishing a revival of woodcutting; a common-place practice amongst ‘revolutionary’ artists of the past.  I am embracing the heritage of political printmaking, woodblocks were initially developed due to their accessibility both as a resource and their communicative qualities, which contextually, I continually exploit throughout my practice’.

Now though, I do still love to carve wood and in many ways, I am just trying to get myself back to this, but after reading my artist statement back to myself I realised, am I really still all those things I say I am? Does my work even look like that anymore, because it doesn’t feel like it does? I have spent the last 3 year traveling around the world and traveling through the contemporary art world. I have become a poet, I am even known for the odd performance piece or two, but my latest pieces don’t really feel that political at all. I’m not saying that that is a bad thing, but its really makes me question what I am, and what I’m doing if its not what I was doing before.

After my time in India, I started a new aspect of my practice, one which in hindsight is pretty much completely removed from politics. I started drawing again (I hadn’t drawn properly since first years mandatory drawing class on a Friday morning) and I loved it, and what did I start drawing (I hear you so eagerly asked) Mandalas. Detailed, intricate patterns that for me are completely meditative. They are good for my soul and they help me feel at peace… But, in many ways, they are so different from my previous work that I now have no idea how I got here?

I was at an opening of a print fair my work was part of a few weeks ago and I was asked by someone who hasn’t seen my old style of work before, rather disgruntledly, “why aren’t you making work like that anymore? That’s Great!” And I thought to myself god, why aren’t I making work like that anymore? In this crazy, politically unstable time, why am I not making work about politics anymore… There is SO MUCH going on that I could be making work about, why am I totally uninspired by it all? When I think about it, it is probably because I cannot think of anything worse than spending my time, making a drawing and meticulously carving out of wood anything remotely to do with Trump, nor Theresa May and especially not Brexit! All these things literally make me shudder and maybe it’s my naivety to try and run away from these terrible contemporary life concepts that have resulted in my hiding my head in the sand. I realised today after talking to a brilliant arty friend of mine that when it comes to contemporary politics I feel 50% overwhelmed and 50% dissolution, which leaves no real space for creativity.

So where do I go now?

Do I abandon all that I knew before? (Which is really really not what I want to do) hence the fact I haven’t taken it off my website yet? Do I write a new artist statement about my new work and my current practice, but that is so diffidcult when I am too afraid to shake myself of the shackles I previously and so deliberately attached to myself…

Am I copping out?

Or can I do both? Is it possible to keep my contextual rigor, but also create work that simply makes me feel good? But, when I do make this other work I then feel guilty that my work no longer makes a difference in the world, it no longer says anything. I used to say that for me a successful artwork is one that sparks conversation, but do my beautiful mandalas ask anything? Or have I just fallen into the Art for Arts sake category which I always avoided?

Is it possible to be two different kinds of artists without seeming a touch bi-polar? Or will all my mandala work completely devalue all of the political work? Does that even matter if I can’t bring myself to make anything political at the moment anyway?

So that’s pretty much where I am now. I am sorry if you were reading this and hoped I had I reached a conclusion by the end of this, but I was quite hoping by some miracle that you guys might want to give me that answer? Or at least through the process of writing this down (as my new mentor has advised) that I might figure out the answer for myself… I’m not sure that that has happened though, so if you do have any words of advice please feel free to throw them my way!

 

The last EVER Secret Garden Party…

23 Oct

THANK YOU (for having me SGP)

Being part of the last ever secret garden party is both incredibly humbling, amazing and all around epic, but also terribly heart wrenching all at the same time. I am so proud to be able to say that I helped to pull this last every one off, but it is terribly sad that it was the final hurrah.

First and foremost I want to start by saying a massive massive thank you to all the SGP team that welcomed me into their festival family, you were all so warm, kind and open, so thank you for sharing all of that with me. Also, I just wanted to thank you for your unrelenting faith, I was given such autonomy during this build, you simply told me your vision then I was given free reign to make that happen… There is something so special about being entrusted to just make things happen, to realise idea for other. Your constant encouragement and support gave me such a confidence boost and I will always be grateful to that.

My most favourite part of the build had to be the inside decor for the Love Bus, this 60s explosion of colour and life was such a pleasure to be a part of. Graffitied on the outside by simply stunning artists, I was given the inside to organise, decorate and make as hippy as possible… I really feel like this was somewhat of a forte for me! We made props, painted the ceiling and got glittery as we made everything oose summer of love.

My other favourite part of the decor dream that was SGP, was the mermaid school, we got the decorate and dress the most fabulous changing room for the underwater folk I think I have ever seen, complete with a giant glistening shell upon entry it really did have everything any budding mermaid could have wanted.

SGP is ultimately a collection of all my favourite people, working hard to create something truly special to be shared by all, I love all the attention to detail, from the VIP wristbands for every punter, to the secrets found behind closed doors and hidden facades… It is safe to say there will never be anything quite like SGP again. But boy did they go out with a bang, sometimes I think its most important to end on a high, and what a high that was! Thank you so much to every wonderful soul I had the pleasure of meeting and working alongside at this sensation festival extravaganza.

Noisily – Festival of Music & Arts

16 Oct

Noisily made me challenge myself in new ways… Being without a doubt my favourite festival of the summer, and seeing as it was such an exciting year, I think that should tell you how honestly brilliant this little festival is.

It made me realise capabilities in myself that I didn’t know I had, and ultimately gave me confidence within myself and my artistic practice, as well as in my ability to guide other artists and lead a team of volunteers.

Of course, I would be nowhere without my crew, the decor team worked tirelessly up until the very last minute to make sure everything was in order and looked as good as it possibly could. The variety of all the works included at Noisily, its sensational woodland backdrop and the diversity of all of the contributing artists gave such an intriguing and interesting approach to the creative aspects of the festival.

Although this has to be one of the toughest challenges I have faced across my festival career, it was also the most rewarding, (and all around brilliant). First and foremost I would love to thank each and every one of the art department, from the installation artists, sign painters, artists and volunteers, this festival would not have been possible without you all. Also, I need to take a second to thank all the directors and creators behind Noisily itself, thank you so much for welcoming me into your little world, for your constant support, collaboration and, for helping me to achieve things that I never thought possible. You have all made me learn so much about myself, as well as taught me so much… So thank you!

Noisily is a woodland get away, fit for any tribe, with main stages that focus on Techno, Drum & bass and psytrance there is a little bit of something for everyone. Without out of this world performances, roaming immersive actors, acrobatics, fire shows, free tequila parties and installation art at every corner, Noisily is a secret world waiting to be discovered.

My favourite aspects (apart from seeing both my favourite DJ’s live) has to be the large-scale interactive installations that are spread across the site. This year we were lucky enough to feature a mammoth video piece by Zara Hussain, tree top chandeliers and of course the iconic Noisily Stage lighting rig triangles, plus many many more dazzling works. Some pieces took you off the beaten track, more treats to be discovered for the roamers and explorers, where as other asked for interaction both in terms of lights and sounds allowing you to get fully absorbed in the piece. As well as large scale works we also had workshops, talks, demos and classes running all weekend, to get your creative juices flowing.

So if this sounds like your kind of thing be sure to join us in the woods next year, tickets are selling fast, the early birds are already gone so make sure you don’t miss you out!

Thank you for being utterly magical Noisily, bring on the prep for next year! Full steam ahead Noisily 2018!