The Water Replies – Estuary Festival 2021

Back in March 2020 I signed up to ‘The Water Replies’ journal project, led by Metal Southend and Cement Fields, as part of the second Estuary Festival. The festival takes place along 107 miles of the South Essex and Kent coastline with artists, events and workshops responding to contemporary issues surrounding the estuary.

The project began just before the pandemic hit and the UK was put into lockdown. During lockdown, when everyone was confined to their homes, we were allowed to go outside once a day for solitary exercise. For me this meant a long walk along the seafront. I’m so thankfully to have the estuary and beach a few minutes walk away from my home.

As contact with the outside world was reduced, I found that during my daily walks or runs along the estuary, I became more focused and mindful on what I saw and what captured my attention. The tidal times change daily. The mud flats appear and disappear. Sunlight glistens on the water. Big skies. Bold silhouettes of the pier and groynes…etc

For my journal I wanted to record my impressions of the coastline beginning at Southend Pier and travelling along the coast towards the QE2 bridge. I chose landmarks and areas of interest along the way: the pier, Gypsy bridge, incoming tide patterns, barnacles, silhouettes, sea birds, beach textures, seaweed, shells, Two Tree Island, views across to Kent, Coryton oil refinery, QE2 bridge…

This is a selection of pages from my journal:

Journal cover – The Water Replies
Silhouette of the groynes
Abstract map of the estuary
Gypsy bridge
Beach textures
Vintage postcard of Southend-on-sea

You can view a short turn-the-page video of all the journals entered into the exhibition at: www.estuaryfestival.com/water-replies-films.html

If you are in the area, find out more about the Estuary Festival, which runs from 22 May – 13 June 2021. Enjoy!

#the100dayproject completed

I started the 100 day project on 31 January 2021 and completed it on 10 May 2021. Wow 100 days! It sounded like a long time when I started, and May seemed like such a long way off. And yet, here I am, and the project is finished. In reality the time flew by and I had a lot of fun along the way.

At the start of the project I made the decision to break down the 100 days into 10 mini-projects. And having decided I would print something everyday, I chose a different print method to explore every 10 days. I think this really helped to keep me motivated and to keep the project interesting.

Here is a selection of the prints I made:

Days 1-10: Lino printing
Days 11-20: Drypoint etching on a mini 3d-printed printing press
Days 21-30: Monoprinting
Days 31-40: Collagraph printed with a gelli plate
Days 41-50: Gelli printing
Days 51-60: Printing with found objects
Days 61-70: Screen-printing
Days 71-80: Cyanotype
Days 81-90: Image transfer
Days 91-100: Xcut Xpress printing press

You can view the full project on Instagram at #100daysofmarkmakingwithprint and read more about the 100 day project in my earlier blog post.

I really enjoyed something about each printing process and would find it difficult to choose a favourite. I plan to take some time to reflect on what I have learned in this process and to notice what I enjoyed the most (or didn’t enjoy!) as I decide the next steps in my printmaking journey. Do you have a favourite printing method?

#52weeksartjournal

Another online creative challenge that I have taken up this year is the 52 Weeks Art Journal, hosted by Raspberry Blue Sky. Throughout 2021, she will be providing a weekly word prompt that I will use to inspire a page in my journal. The work is intended to go into an altered book or a handmade book.

Which book am I using?

I am also using the British Library Desk Diary from 2019. 

Does the diary format work?

The format is perfect as there is a double page spread for each week, with the number of the week at the top. The theme of the diary is maps. I decided to use the purpose of maps (i.e. to plan routes and stay on course) as a way of giving myself creative direction, guided by the weekly prompts. The paper is also a good weight and is really suitable for collaging onto.

How have I found the prompts?

I was initially unsure that word prompts would inspire me. However, I have been pleasantly surprised. The prompt comes out on Monday, I usually take a few days to mull it over, then spend a couple of days playing with ideas before there is a ta dah! moment at the end of the week.

Here are a few journal pages I’ve completed so far:

Prompt: New beginnings
Prompt: First signs of spring
Prompt: My art journal is…

I’ve really been enjoying the art challenges I’m working on this year. You can read about #the100dayproject in a previous post.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve found any inspiring creative challenges that you’ve enjoyed…

#the100dayproject

One Sunday afternoon I was listening to an episode of Art Juice. They had an interview with Lindsay Jean Thomson, and they were talking about the 100 day project. I hadn’t heard of this before but it grabbed my attention.

The date was 31 January 2021 and the UK was in the middle of lockdown #3 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. During this past year I’ve completed a few art courses and art projects and they have really kept me focussed. But I was in need of a new challenge, perhaps this could be it?

So, what is the 100 day project?

The 100 day project was first created by designer Michael Beirut (you can read about the original project here). The idea is a simple one:

  1. Choose a creative project
  2. Do it everyday for 100 days
  3. Share your progress online

I realised I was listening to the podcast on day #1 of the 100 day project! Oh well, if I was going to do it I had no time to overthink it, just pick something and start – TODAY.

Thankfully, an idea came to me rather quickly.

My 100 day project

I have been dabbling again with printmaking recently (having studied printed textiles at Uni, the printing seed had already been firmly planted!) And I have been collecting a variety of printmaking tools and equipment that I wanted to use one day.

For my 100 day project, my first thought was to ‘MAKE a print everyday’. But I quickly dismissed this as I could end up putting too much pressure on myself to ‘make a GOOD print everyday’. Instead, I realised, I just wanted to play and experiment and to see what marks I could make…so I decided to ‘print SOMETHING everyday’. This way if I did a potato print or a hand print I had still met my intention. No pressure.

I then thought 100 days…wow, that could feel like a long time. After reading about people who had done the challenge before, they spoke about getting bored and giving up. As I have no desire to do either I decided to break down the 100 days into 10 mini projects. This way I could choose 10 different printing methods and spend 10 days exploring each one.

It was also suggested to find a unique hashtag to use on Instagram, so all of your project could be saved in one place.

#100daysofmarkmakingwithprint is the hashtag I chose.

Days 1-10: lino printing

For the first 10 days I chose lino printing. As I had no time to prepare I found a few lino cuts that I had previously made. I had only used them to make rubbings for collage, so I’d never actually printed with them!

Also, for speed (and as they were quite small) I used an ink pad, which I use for stamping, to print with and tested one out in my sketchbook. The printed mark is so beautiful…it has its own aesthetic which I love.

These are a few of the lino prints I did:

Lino print, black and white examples
Lino print, colour examples

I’ll be sharing my thoughts and discoveries in future blog posts. In the meantime you can follow my daily progress on Instagram @jobund or via #100daysofmarkmakingwithprint

Brooklyn Sketchook Project

The Brooklyn sketchbook library began in 2006 and is a not-for-profit organisation, based in the US. Their aim is to ‘encourage creative storytelling within a global community’ and currently has over 50,000 sketchbooks from artists from around the globe.

I’ve pondered over the idea of submitting a sketchbook to the Brooklyn Sketchbook library for a few years and this year I did it!

Brooklyn Sketchbook Project arrived

Since 2016, I’ve been a member of SEVEN, a sketchbook collective. We meet up every couple of weeks (currently on Zoom but usually in person), work collaboratively or individually on sketchbook projects, run workshops and have exhibited in the Leigh Art Trail. In September 2020 we decided our next sketchbook project would be to enter the Brooklyn Sketchbook project. We duly sent off our payment and received our blank 5″x7″ sketchbooks a few weeks later.

We participated in Vol. 17, which meant our deadline was 15 February 2021. Each submission comes with a new list of suggested themes, that you can use as a starting point, and I was inspired by ‘marks and markers’, which I developed using mark-making techniques.

I chose to combine my theme with reference to Warley Place in Essex, a former Edwardian garden owned by horticulturalist Miss Willmott until 1934. After her death, the house was demolished and the gardens left unattended for several decades. It has been maintained as a nature reserve, by the Essex Wildlife Trust, since the 1970s where it still provides glimpses of its former charm.

Mark-making inspired by Warley Place

When I received my blank sketchbook, I was disappointed in the quality of the paper, which I thought was too thin and wouldn’t stand up well to being painted and collaged onto. So from the start I decided that I would rebind my book using thicker paper.

The first session SEVEN did involved mark-making with inks, which gave me a good foundation to work on. Once I had a selection of inky papers I chose a few and cut them up into long strips. I then glued these strips together to form one long piece and folded it into 18 concertina pages.

NB: If you rebind your sketchbook, the only limitations to consider are that the pages must be the same size, the overall thickness of the sketchbook must be no more than 1″, and the barcode on the backcover must remain visible.

I collaged cyanotype prints, old artwork and scraps of ephemera onto the pages, which I worked into using intuitive mark-making, drawing and painting.

These are some of the finished pages I created:

Finished pages
Finished pages
Finished pages

I thought it would be difficult to send off my sketchbook once I had finished it (you do get very attached to your work!), but I think as I knew this was the outcome all along, I was happy to let it go. Before posting it to Brooklyn I did scan all my pages, so that I have a record. I have also opted for the library to digitize the pages, so they will be available to view on their website anytime.

If you fancy a challenge, I would highly recommend taking part.