Posts Tagged ‘activity’

Scratching It Up

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Every week at the Manchester Art Gallery there is an event called Thursday Late where the art gallery stays open until 9pm and there are activities, workshops, talks, tours, etc. This week the theme was “Walk the Line” and focused on printing and knitting and the role art and craft play in keeping humans happy and sane. This is a subject close to my heart, although my desire to get into craft has moved me away from sanity on occasion. But nothing will hold me away from FREE CRAFT!! So along I went.

I arrived at 5.30pm for Craft Bites – a short discussion session run by a member of the art gallery staff where visitors are encouraged to have their say about a piece of work within the gallery. At first I was the only person there, but soon another participant arrived and so the two of us went with the lovely events co-ordinator to look at and discuss dresses. We were eventually joined by some other people who heard our discussion and decided to join in. It was a fun, although slightly off-topic, discussion session that ended up being mostly a whinge about the lack of arts jobs in England. A positive spin was that I came away with a new friend, and she and I went and joined an etching session downstairs.

This was fantastic! We were given a piece of cardboard, one side of which was shiny silver, plus a sharp pencil. We were then told to draw a portrait of ourselves or someone we knew, creating an indent into the silver. We then applied a oil-based ink (although this was brilliant stuff as it also washed off with water and soap!) which we pushed deep into the grooves we had created, wiped off the excess ink and then placed our blocks into a press with a wet sheet of paper. The result was as follows:



Considering I started and completed this in around 15 minutes, I think it is fantastic and I am pleased to have been able to try an etching technique. It was much easier than I expected and I think that will some fiddling I could do more with it. I am currently trying to work out how I can recreate the bricks of Manchester. I am completely in love with the dark red bricks that have been used to build all of the industrial buildings. Perhaps etching is my answer… we shall wait and see.

Searching for Inspiration

Friday, January 13th, 2012

With all of the unknowns currently looming in my life, I have been feeling a bit flat and pointless lately. So to counteract this, I have been trying to find inspiration in other people who have been there/done that or who are undertaking creative developments that are of a similar nature to what I would like to be doing. This morning I stumbled across a guy called Noah Scalin who has developed a website called Make Something 365, which encourages you to do something creative every day. He has showcased lots of people who have decided to make or do something every day of the year in order to develop and explore their creativity. I am keen to get involved and to take on my own 365 day project – I just need to work out what it is. I am also a bit hesitant to start before I leave Paris, although really this shouldn’t hinder my ability to create. I need a project that I can do anywhere in the world. While my first thoughts are to do some writing, it isn’t what really excites me. I want something that requires me to use my hands and that will physically produce something. Perhaps 365 sock creatures? It’s tricky to always have a sewing machine around. Maybe the daily requirement shouldn’t be so important but by the end of the year I need to have 365 things. I guess 366 this year considering we get an extra day. Any suggestions are welcome.

Anyone For Table Tennis?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Autumn has arrived in Paris with the trees shedding their leaves at rapid speed. However, the past week has also seen beautiful warm weather – perfect conditions for spending the day outside. A recent visit to GoSport (an awful store selling all your sporting needs) saw Tom and I investing in a table tennis set. We didn’t just choose the cheapest option either – we went for the ultimate in table tennis brands, Dunlop.

There are lots of table tennis tables spread throughout the city in local parks and along the canal, and they are in high demand on a sunny Sunday afternoon. But if you’re lucky enough to score one then much fun can be had. Ben, Tom and I took our new set out for a spin the other Sunday at a table situated next to a lock on the canal and underneath some beautiful chestnut trees. We encountered a few potential dangers – the table wasn’t in the greatest condition and appears to also be used as a beer table, drug exchange hangout and a homeless-person’s bed; the canal/lock was right next to us and any mishit balls would end up in the water (this happened twice); and the chestnut seeds are currently in the habit of bursting open and dropping large cannonball chestnuts onto our heads. They hurt! Trust me.

Table tennis

Table tennis by the canal

We struggled on despite these dangers and discovered a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. This last Saturday, Tom and I headed back out to have a hit and had to walk up and down the canal for over half an hour in order to find a table. There are clearly dedicated table-tennis-ers who concentrate on their game play, as well as families out enjoying themselves, and groups of friends drinking beer and having a friendly game. I think as the weather cools down there will be less competition for the tables but we will also freeze to death playing next to open water. That’s the life of a pro table tennis player.

That’s Not a Beach

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I don’t wish to disappoint the French, but they have been severely misinformed about what a beach is. From 21 July until 21 August, the Mairie de Paris has installed, on both the Seine and Canal Saint Martin, the Paris Plages. On Monday Tom and I walked down to the Seine to see what all of the fuss was about and to experience the Parisian tides. It was… well… interesting.

Paris Plage

Riverside beach

Basically a large amount of yellow sand is brought in and dumped into wooden boxes with umbrellas and lounge chairs strategically placed to allow for the best views of the dirty Seine water. There are then showers and mist-makers (I have no idea what you would call one of those things… a vapouriser? That sounds like something that would be used to kill ghosts) to ensure people can stay cool while lying in the middle of Paris in their bikinis getting a tan.

Water fountains

Cooling waters

Monday was a hot day (well, by ‘hot’ I mean it was 27 degrees and I was wearing a sleeveless top) and the sun was beating down quite strongly on that area of the Seine and the Parisians were loving it. Maybe I am half vampire because I shrivel if I stay in the direct sunlight and yet the folk of Paris will hunt out any inch of sunshine that they can, remove most of their clothes and soak up the rays. There was a lot of flesh. While most people had come prepared with their latest bikinis, lots of people were clearly there in their lunch break and underwear was passing as swimwear. Odd.

I will admit that it was an amazing set up. Walking along the Seine there huts selling ice creams and drinks intermittently all the way along the water. Once again it was an example of Europe being cool enough to sell alcoholic beverages in an area full of children. There were fußeball tables, sand sculptures, buskers, a pirate hut for kids to play in – all of this was set up for a month of enjoyment for the folk of Paris. The Mairie de Paris spends a lot of money on ensuring the lives of its residents are as fun and enjoyable as possible. It is very impressive and nice to be living in a ‘city that cares’.

sand castle

That's a big sand castle.

Since seeing an exhibition at the Hotel de Ville a few weeks ago about the history of life on the Seine and discovering that the Paris Plages have been around for quite some time, it was interesting to go and see what it was all about. I don’t think I will be spending any time there and I’m not sure I particularly enjoyed it as a place to visit, however it does bring some sort of bizarre happiness into the lives of the Parisians who don’t run away to the south of France during August. And that’s just nice.


These two cool dudes were happy to have somewhere to roll

Living Your Dreams

Friday, June 17th, 2011

So I have had a thought. I have been feeling a little bit ‘lost’ lately – the usual stuff of not knowing what I am doing with my life/what am I supposed to do next?/What am I actually good at?/Should I bother living in Paris if I’m not learning French blah blah blah etc etc. My parents leave Europe tomorrow lunch time and head back to Perth, meaning my backbone that I still rely heavily upon (despite my ever increasing age) will be miles away once again and harder to reach. This evening I reached a conclusion that I don’t really do anything on my own and rely on other people to guide me, to which Tom responded with “No one does anything on their own.” He has a point. Most things we do are responses to something someone else has done or follow guidelines set by someone previously. Original thought isn’t possible – it is merely an extension of someone else’s ideas. So this leads to my unoriginal but potentially fun idea which is this : I propose to live your Parisian dreams.

I am frequently told how lucky I am to be living in Paris enjoying the French life and how everyone wishes they could be in my shoes. Fair enough, they’re damn fine shoes. But at the moment I am feeling that I’m not doing a good enough job in this role of “Paris Enjoyer” and that I need some guidance. That’s where you come in. I want people who are unable to be in my position to tell me what they dream of doing in Paris and I will go and do it. I’ll then write about it on here so that you can then decide whether or not the dream is worth pursuing or if it is best to just stay home. It can be anything (within reason ie. no drugs, it has to be relatively affordable and I can’t die at any point) such as drinking cheap wine straight from the bottle while sitting next to the Seine, hiring a car and driving to the closest beach, or dancing the tango at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Bring it on. Maybe you just really want to know what is currently being exhibited at the Modern Art Museum – I’ll go for you and let you know! It’s that simple. I, of course, get to choose which dreams/challenges to undertake and have complete rights to veto any stupid ideas. Bring it on.

Me in a rain jacket

Prepared for battle.

Sunday Morning

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Sunday morning in Paris. 8.30am. A group of boys meet to play an early game of football on the small court at the side of the park. Their love for the game helps them look past the nose-dripping cold temperatures. At least the sun is out and the sky is a clear, almost white, blue. An hour or so later, the park’s playground is full of laughter, cries and “Maman! Regarde moi!” as children climb and play. The parents sit around the edge of the playground watching and smoking and chatting. Their toys are toxic cigarettes that they puff on one after the other.

At 11am the sound of bells resounds across the city as hundreds of churches finish their services and everyone heads home for a family lunch. Queues form outside boulangeries as people go to buy fresh baguettes and maybe something nice for dessert. Soon, all of the shops will be closed and Sunday will become the day of relaxation and family time. If the weather stays nice, this afternoon the canal will be busy with families strolling along enjoying the sunshine.