Here, there, everywhere, then home.

Awards, Colour, Exhibitions, Galleries, Public Art, Soul searching

It was October when I last wrote an entry here, ironically it isn’t because I haven’t been writing. Actually, I have been writing more than ever with good old fashioned pen and paper in a spiral binder from school days. Daily journaling which I am finding fulfilment and satisfaction in and a kind of cleansing as we enter into a new decade. I started to wonder as I go into the tenth year of this blog whether I should continue with it or branch out into something new but I remind myself that my intention for this was to record my husband’s journey into the art world and a little outlet for me whilst the boys were growing. With my eldest almost at my height, they are not so little anymore.

So 2019 ended well with the sculptor having two exhibitions at The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh part of The Annual Exhibition and the Open SSA+VAS exhibition. The sculptor is off to Edinburg on Saturday (tomorrow) to collect them. Some stunning photos were taken of his work in exhibition, thanks to Chris Watt (photographer) & Naomi McClure ( fellow artist in the exhibition).

Image from The Times

We were completely surprised to find out at the start of the year that he won the W Gordon Smith and Mrs Jay Gordon Smith Award for work of merit at the SSA | VAS Open 2019. So this feels like huge recognition.

In the autumn, the sculptor went to Italy to receive the first steel cut for the Cunard. This year he will set to creating and making a sculpture for the ship, the first meeting yesterday so he is just back from London, re-inspired for this huge project. He also collected work from Belgium, took some down to Oxfordshire, had a meeting in Cambridge, is getting work back from Manchester later this week and preparing for a debut back in Egypt in the spring. It is non-stop and either up and down on trains or in a hired van depending on whether sculptures are with him or not. So he is literally here, there and everywhere.

Photo by Christ Watt

I mentioned in a previous post that my own journey appears to mirror the sculptural journey. I have not ventured physically far, although my running distance and length are gradually extending and I am forever ferrying my football son to training and matches but my here, there and everywhere is more of a journey inward. As I finish up my 30 day yoga journey with Adriene YWA I am learning that I need to trust my own path. Let go of what is prescribed or following others and steer my own course. In todays yoga practice I couldn’t quite let go of the need to keep looking and watching her lead. Sometimes it can feel hard to venture off on your own path.

“Awareness returning home is awareness being enfolded by what it knows”

John De Rutter.

I also started 30 day, daily writing journal, at the beginning of the year which I think I need to try and continue the habit of, let go of the guide and listen to my inner voice. Meditations and hypnosis, reading and listening to podcasts I would also recommend to return home to yourself, for I do love winter as a time of hibernation and self development. We all take our own journey through life, we may go off in every direction, opposite and parallel. We wiggle and weave, take twists and turns but ultimately we are all heading in the same direction. The question is, what do we learn along the way?

“We are all just walking each other home.”

Ram Dass

Projects are brewing here and overseas- those twists and turns and I am positive that 2020 will bring more exciting opportunities and hopefully I will keep this little blog up to date monthly. All part of the journey.

Words flow, Words come, Words go, So I dedicate time to grow, Whilst my husband creates, Eldest plays bass, and the youngest kicks a ball at a fair pace.

Words appear, Words stick, Words release, I learn to find inner peace, Whilst my husband is prolific, Eldest plays video games-take your pick, and the youngest kicks a ball with another new trick.

Words flow, Words come, Words go. This regular morning journalling is developing a skill you know.

Liverpool Plinth Winner 2019

Awards, Colour, Connections, Exhibitions, History, Public Art
Split Decision outside the church

Today is summer solstice, the longest day of the year which gives me extra time to get this written. Well, obviously not really but I am trying to use the daylight and sunshine to my advantage.

Another year which is speeding by with its struggles but also with success. This time last week ‘Split Decision’ was unveiled as the winner of the Liverpool Plinth competition, positioned on a plinth outside the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas. The sculptor entered three pieces into the competition made possible by Dot-art and Liverpool BID company. It wasn’t a commission. This piece was made 2 years ago and fortuitously hadn’t been exhibited anywhere before. We assumed he hadn’t won the competition or even been shortlisted because, back in May we still hadn’t heard anything . However, there had been a little delay in the announcement and so we were double thrilled to find out that he had won it. 

Last Friday, the rain just about held off and the sculptor enjoyed a fantastic day in Liverpool with important people and press. He kept phoning me with updates. I love the photo below where he is being interviewed and is beaming from ear to ear.

 

It feels a pinnacle of the journey so far, to be on a public plinth for a year, gaining publicity and exposure. It has been fascinating reading the initial public reaction, my first response was of anger at some of the comments but the sculptor is at a point in his career where he understands that art will provoke both positive and negative feedback, both are valid. The fact that it is creating conversation, for him, is the benefit and what he is looking for.

 

content of plaque on the wall below

I am so proud and can’t wait to take the boys to see it over the summer holidays. It felt very serendipitous to me that this first very public event was in Liverpool. My father was born there and as a family we have supported Liverpool’s football team for decades. There felt a strong link and connection.

So if you are in the north of England and passing by Liverpool, take a trip round the one way system that almost made my husband late for his own event!

The sculpture is facing out towards the famous water front. You can’t miss it.

Photos taken by Andy Garrett

Gratitude

Awards, Colour, Public Art, Soul searching

I have written about being thankful and having appreciation a little but I had a bit of an AHAA moment last week when I realised that it wasn’t patience I was lacking, although that is an ongoing struggle but what I needed to develop a better sense of is one of being grateful. We can be grateful for what we have but when we live in a society that encourages bigger, better and  more it gives us little time to focus about what we already have. Not only in terms of possessions but the miraculous facts that we wake up in the morning, that we can see, smell, taste, walk, smile. That we can be healthy, we have loved ones around us. Psychological studies have been done showing that gratitude is a key factor in happiness and that if you start to increase you levels of gratitude your base line level of happiness will rise. Nothing is permanent in this world, everything has an end. So it is important to be grateful for what we have when we have it.

“The Branch represents man with a deathly oily hue, pillaging the earth’s precious resources. A bird perches precariously on top of a woman’s outstretched toe creating a symbol of new life.” This piece, ‘The Branch’ has just returned from the solo exhibition at The Royal British Society of Sculptors, it is in some respects about what we take for granted from the earth’s resources.

Branch 4

‘The Branch’

Over the last few weeks my time spent at our business has made me appreciate the work my husband does. It’s very easy in the role of being at home with the children to bemoan the tasks involved and at not having a break but being in a different role makes me grateful for the time I have had at home with my children and also thankful that I haven’t had the stresses of work alongside it and the weight of running your own business. Although, I do have them indirectly. I am now a little more aware of why and how it affects my husband. Also increasingly impressed with how he manages both the business and the art world. I read recently that it often the way with highly creative people that they work very hard and intensely. I think that is definitely true. When we go through difficulties we can in some way relate our situation to something that may be more difficult and then be grateful. However, to be grateful in times when things aren’t as testing, when we are at ease. When you are  locked up in your own personal pleasures and enjoyment it is easy to forget the realities and fail to remember to be grateful.

Branch 3

‘The Branch’

The Review

Awards, Public Art

Wednesday 30th October saw the opening of the FIRST@108 public art award , the commission for the external piece for 108 Brompton Road and exhibition. The evening was crisp cold but dry, perfect for viewing the outside sculpture in the forecourt of the Royal British Sculptor Society. The lighting illuminated ‘Evolution’ gloriously, the stripes of the central piece mirroring the external pillars and the minimalistic shapes appearing like a city skyline. The vibrant sculpture intrigued the passer-by along with our large group congregating unintentionally outside as we waited for the doors to officially open and enter into the colourful land of the Shendi sculptures inside.

illuminated

‘Evolution’ at night

night evolve

Illuminated outside RBS

As we entered drinks and brochures were laid out before entering into the exhibition room. The pieces, so bright and cheerful gave an energy to the inside space, ‘Souls’ perfectly positioned in front of each of the leaded glass windows.

souls in windows

‘Souls’ in the windows

‘The Branch’ stood with the bird perched on foot with high quality shine and the elegant neck of the horse held a gracious curve glancing down at the floor to which we could find the piece entitled ‘Cruelty’ nestled in the fireplace. With sad eyes but strong sentiments and chained to its heavy load, almost floating above which hung the original sketch with figurative notations. On the wall opposite the entrance also hung three framed sketches adding another dimension to the work. As the room gradually filled so that the work only peeped out between the people, there was then an eloquent speech by the president of the society followed by a witty and intelligent introduction to the award by Isabel Vasseur who in the brochure had written;

 “The choice of Sam Shendi this year, an artist constantly interested in placing work in the public domain, is timely, working as he does with the idea of engaging in a tangible dialogue with the onlooker. His sculpture ‘Evolution’ imparts a notion that each elemental figure has its own concerns which it wants to convey to others. a joyfully coloured abstraction of human figures which, with the subtlest of indicators, hints at the complexity of human interactions. Today’s passers-by are likely to respond to the many layers of this work in the same wa as their forbears recognised the multiplicity of meanings in the Price Albert memorial only a moment’s walk away from Shendi’s brave work.”

people in space

‘The Branch’ and ‘The Ride’

speeches

The speeches

The success of the opening marks the start of hopefully good things to come. With an impending visits and intriguing activities for children from local schools. Discussions with other venues for a second home for ‘Evolution’ after it’s three-month stint in south Kensington, potential sales and a step into the public art world.

As one artist dies another one is born

Awards, Public Art

It was saddening to here the passing away of Sir Anthony Caro. One who has influenced and inspired my husband. His work made from industrial materials, bright colours and commentary of society with humour and intelligence is somewhat parallel to my husband’s work. What is sculpture for? Caro’s reply: “To please the eye&feed the soul”.

After 6 months,  ‘Evolution’ the winning sculpture for the FIRST@108 art award has been installed  in the forecourt of The Royal British Society of Sculptors  the installation went very smoothly and attracted many people passing by. Thanks to everyone at RBS and Thanks to the team for making the installation look very easy to onlookers. Thanks to everyone who has supported who voted back in March. Let’s hope that the passing of Caro doesn’t mean the end of sculpture that engages with the viewer. We need art that stirs our senses and makes us desire internal change.  Lets hope this is a stepping stone towards his career and  is an inspiration to many. What is sculpture for? Shendi’s reply has always been: “to be visually attractive & emotionally provoking”

wagon

‘The wagon’

install 3install 2installinstall 4 install good angle

 

Autumn Days when the sculptures went to London…

Awards, Exhibitions, Galleries

…and the sun was shinning in an almost cloudless sky.

Estelle White’s ‘Autumn Days’ hymn has been the soundtrack to the last few months for us and we occasionally sing it together in chorus. Our three-year old shouts out the song at every possible moment particularly in the car, much to the eldest son’s annoyance but today it is so fitting. It is a glorious autumn day. The sky is clear and I can see a silky cobweb float across the road in front of me as I sit and contemplate after a busy morning. I felt I was running internally, never mind to school, to take the car to be cleaned, to work. We mustn’t forget to be Thankful.

My husband and his friend had to get up at 3am and the alarm woke him in a sudden jerk. I heard the coffee machine and the careful movements around the house getting everything together. I couldn’t get back to sleep until I heard the front door shut and they slipped out quietly into the crisp early hours. So I too, also pushed the coffee button this morning which fuelled me to get a dozen jobs done before 9am but consequently making me very snappy with my boys and not staying calm enough to take the morning pace smoothly yet again. The winter moon calmly shining down on us which the boys spotted very visibly as they tumbled out the door and climbed on the wall whilst I shouted at them to get in the car before I counted to five! No, we mustn’t forget.

After hours, days and months of hard work  the finishing up was done and the wagon was filled last night successfully, with the sculptures fitting in like a jigsaw. Thanks to my husbands keen eye and good measurements. The rain stopped thankfully and a radiantly clear morning made for the drive to London. Last night I busily put together a stack of egg sandwiches for their journey, cupcakes for the school bake sale and the last few bits of preparation, getting the camera ready, and the last bits of paperwork  done. My husband said he knew he had got everything he needed, all the tools for any eventuality but he was still worried that there may be something he had forgotten.  What had he forgotten? Apparently they got all the sculptures in and then remembered thank goodness the bird on the windowsill. Though my immediate reaction was, at least we could take it on the train.  We mustn’t forget to be Thankful.

'polishing the platform'

‘polishing the platform’

sculptures wrapped

‘Sculptures wrapped like bodies ready to go’

getting ready

‘Wrapping up’

So whilst the ‘Evolution’ sculpture gets erected with the team helping my husband, and the pieces installed for the exhibition. I am looking after the business thankful for a few hours of quiet. Picking up the car gratefully cleaned, sparkling and smelling fresh before whatever was rotting inside gave us poisoning. Then collecting my preschooler to look after the shop together before the eldest child’s parents evening and swimming lesson. I am so thankful the sun is out giving us a dry day, for the installation of the exhibition and everything they need to do outside in London and then for their journey home.

 So as the song continues to echo in my mind, “Autumn days, when the clouds look like familiar faces…. the swallows curving in the sky, we mustn’t forget to say a big thank you.” No, we mustn’t forget.

Getting Ready

Awards, Philosophy, Soul searching

getting ready

‘Section of ‘The Branch’ to be in exhibition at The Royal British Sculptor Society’ from next week (31/10/13)

I have been busy this weekend ‘getting ready’ for my husband’s best friend arriving and staying with us. Shopping, cleaning, sorting, baking, cooking, all the things we do to prepare for visitors. It wouldn’t be a negative thing except for then nobody can do anything until guest has arrived and then everyone can relax and mess it all up again! I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but my ‘traditional English roast dinner’ was practically perfect. With no burning or breakages in sight. This was aided with a list of timings and post stick notes stuck on pans. All the scrubbing and washing and wiping and brushing is a preparation for an end result that doesn’t last. The peeling, the chopping, the stirring, for food that is eaten in less than half the time. However, when done lovingly the pleasure is in seeing happy satisfied friends and family at the end of it.

This weekend also saw the wrapping and sorting of the sculptures ‘getting ready’ for transit this week down to London. My husband remarked that they all look like dead bodies, mummified ready for their journey to another destination. There is still a bit of paper work to be done but most of the preparation has gone really well. Then wagon is set to arrive for the loading and for a band of merry men to take the ‘exhibition’ down and install it for the preview. To which we will then all go back down again the following week. Again, which we will need to ‘get ready for’.

My brother is ‘getting ready’ for leaving home for the other side of the world and my sister for a new job. So we are in the ‘getting ready’ period. Sometimes it can feel like we are permanently in that point in time, preparing for something with the end result feeling too far away or when it comes around we realise the ‘getting ready’ was the best part.

Nature is ‘getting ready’ for its period in hibernation. The Trees are shedding their leaves and the earth is in retreat. Everything in this life fades and dies. Ultimately what are we all ‘getting ready’ for and what are our preparations?

Evolved

Awards, Colour, Exhibitions, Steel

Earlier in the year, in March we found out my husband had won the Public Art Award, FIRST@108, then began the process of making the maquette a reality from a scale of 1:6. Finally right on time, the photo was taken and sent for the publicity at the end of August. This impressive piece will be installed outside The Royal British Sculptor Society in anticipation of the private view on October 30th 6.30pm. We now need to arrange a trip down to London for the event.

The piece is a reminder about how we evolve through our lifespan from infancy to ultimately death and how the energy within us changes us physically. Each minimal figure represents a time span and the colour symbolises that. The subject given for the competition was ‘Transmission’ and this large-scale now looks like a transmission wave, representing the mysterious transmission within us that we either acknowledge, abuse, neglect or take for granted. Still to be polished, transported and placed in situ, it has a journey to go but it has come along way from the start, as an idea in a sketch book long ago to a maquette on our kitchen table. Now evolved into a piece of public art.

The FIRST@108 Public Art Award 2013 Winner’s Exhibition at the Royal British Society of Sculptors runs from 31 October 2013

Evolution and maquetteEvolution7 Evolution 6
Evolution 5Evolution 4
evolution 3Evolution 1

Double Success

Awards, Mother and Child

I was throughly excited and pleased to find out last week that I have been nominated for an award The Liebster Award! My first blogging award 🙂

liebster

The nomination came from charcoalblue which is one of my most recent blog finds. Which is a beautiful blog I feel such an affinity with. The need for creativity within a world of mothering, the mix of art and thinking and literally and metaphorically drawing from art and life.Simone who writes the blog, Charcoalblue described my blog as “opening my eyes to a world that I am becoming increasingly interested in – sculpture” So it is a huge compliment receiving this nomination. However, I have failed miserably in getting this post published as it has taken me a while to sift through ideas to answer the questions, really a tough challenge for me. I also have been away for the bank holiday weekend so that is another excuse.

I wondered what the nomination meant,Liebster’ in German means – dearest, sweetest, kindest, beloved…. I’m overwhelmed , grateful beyond words and tremendously humbled. It is also a really good way to find other new blogs and I discovered to my surprise that many of the ones I was following had huge followings. Anyway better get on with it;

The First Step for the Liebster Award is to tell 11 things about yourself:

1. I am currently into knitting, I am knitting every possible minute at the moment as I have a deadline. A yarn bombing event at my eldest child’s school!

2. I love food. Eating it and baking, when I look back at old journals all I seem to have written about is what I have eaten that day.

3. I won a wrapping competition in a former life and had to go on a day time TV show and wrap a garden gnome, needless to say I made a complete ‘bodge’ of it. Fortunately this was before utube existed 🙂

4. I like exploring.

5. I love reading.

6. I am indecisive, that can be a good and a bad thing.

7. I have big eyes.

8. I am a listener.

9. I am naive, my husband says I don’t live in the real world.

10. I am a solitary person, I like to be alone. I heard an interview with a writer who said the same. I hope that means one day I will actually write and that the time to myself is a gathering of thoughts and ideas to finally one day put pen to paper.

11. I am wife and mother two really important jobs.

The Second Step for the Liebster Award is to answer the 11 questions asked by the nominating blogger:

1. What is a fond childhood memory?

I was in the park today (now last week) with my son and I sat on the swing and we were swinging side by side. I suddenly had a memory which flooded my mind, of swinging in my childhood garden.Bliss.

2. Your favourite movie?

That is such a hard question, Big Fish, Public Enemies, The Three colours trilogy,

3. If you could do/be anything – what would it be?

A palm tree

4. Most common item you buy that is under $10.00

Tissues

5. Something that annoys you

When I have got a plan in my head and it doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to!

6. Something that gives you pleasure

mmmmmm Chocolate.

7. Find your self daydreaming about ….

What I want to be, it changes all the time.

8. Where do you get your ideas for your posts?

My husband’s sculptures and then usual something happens in my day that connects an idea with his work.

9. Which do you enjoy most, pondering the possibilities or narrowing down the options?

I naturally narrow down the options, I am not sure I enjoy doing it, perhaps I should start practising pondering the possibilities.

10. Favourite novel

eek.that’s a tough as the film question; The Help, Remains of the Day, The Alchemist, Tiger Hills, Life of Pi……

11. Advice for a mum who will one day have 3 teenage sons – at the same time?

Be strong, Be calm, Be patient, Be yourself. It will only be for a period of time and it will pass. Enjoy having them with you and pat yourself on the back for getting them so far. In reading that back it could apply to now. Perhaps, as teenagers give them their space but be there when they need you. I don’t know one day I will have 2 teenage sons I may know more then! Good Luck.

The Third Step for the Liebster Award is to nominate 11 bloggers with relatively few (less than 200) followers:

 http://ittosjournal.wordpress.com/

This blog was my first ever blog read and gave me the courage to start blogging. Itto’s journey continues to inspire and support me. SubhanAllah!

 http://haywardhelen.wordpress.com/

 I feel she really has a strong writing style and I love reading the entries

http://stjohnstudios.wordpress.com/

An interesting family blog and it’s good to find other art blogs.

 http://free5piritphotography.wordpress.com/

A dear friend and her beautiful photos, you can see the development from the beginning until now.

 http://wharnsby.wordpress.com/about-dawud-wharnsby/

I bought a book of children’s poems by Dawud Wharnsby and last year took my children to see him perform them. This is a lovely inspirational blog.

 http://inayatscorner.wordpress.com/

An interesting and informative blog. Also spotted him on one of the ‘Big Question’ panel discussions.

http://adventuresinspiritualliving.wordpress.com/

I discovered this when suddenly having the idea about looking for blogs about rowing. What a strong spirit and powerfully moving blog.

http://sarahcrowther.co.uk/

Truly beautiful ink works. They look stunning digitally.

http://reikiroxywords.wordpress.com/

Roxy’s blog would be amazing if there was audio button that you could click and hear her voice read them to you, perhaps word press could do that? Utube or facebook her reikiroxy site to hear her or relax and read her blog yourself.

http://emmasouthlondon.wordpress.com/

Such an uplifting, inspirational blog. A good find.

http://ecolevivante.wordpress.com/

Perhaps I am cheating putting this in, if you can work out the connection. However, I really want to support this but thousands of miles a way felt this was a way I could. Motivational and fascinating to be able to see the progress of this project.

http://bethlauck.wordpress.com/

The images on here are awesome. This is a blog I need to look at more and so I am nominating it so others may do the same.

The Fourth Step for the Liebster Award is to ask your nominees 11 questions:

1. What prompted you to start a blog?

2. What inspires you?

3. If you had to choose an animal totem for yourself what would you choose?

4. If you had one country to choose to go to which one would it be?

5. What is your favourite sound?

6.What are you most passionate about?

7. What is your weakness?

8. Do you believe in fate?

9. What is your favourite poem?

10. What is your best recipe – (I am scouting for ideas!)

11. If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

Goodness, that took me ages…… but a very interesting and enjoyable process. THANK YOU again. oh yes and the double success bit was on the day I got nominated for this award that prompted all these questions, we also found out The Store Street Gallery had sold this sculpture; would have been ironic if it had been one of the eggs covered in questions!

womb3

‘Womb’

womb2

‘Womb’

I