What Became of Me

I read or heard or saw somewhere that nine lovers maketh the woman. Needless to say that’s a load of old toilet wash, although at the time I was convinced that, by number nine, I would be fine.

This is what happened after number nine, absolutely nothing.

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One Bare Foot Square

 

‘ONE BARE FOOT SQUARE’
Exhibition Dates: 30 July – 13 August 2016
Opening Event: Saturday 30 July 2016, 3 – 5pm.
Curator: Chutima Kerdpitak (NOK)
Outsider Art Gallery in The Hermitage museum Amsterdam
Address: Outsider Art Ateliers in de Hermitage,
Neerlandia Plein 1, 1018 DR, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Hermitage: http://www.hermitage.nl
Outsider Art Gallery Amsterdam: http://www.amsterdam-outsider-art.nl

That thing, above, is three panels of illustrated calico. I’ve done this piece of work for a travelling exhibition, One Bare Foot Square, the creation of Nok, and Uncooked Culture.

First stop for the panels is Amsterdam Outsider Art Gallery, at the Hermitage Museum, The Netherlands. All three pieces are for sale. After the stop-off in Amsterdam, comes London. That will be in November. I’ll update you nearer the time.


‘Re-entry’
© 2016, Marie-Louise Plum


‘Journey’
© 2016, Marie-Louise Plum


‘The Approach’
© 2016, Marie-Louise Plum

Birthday Letters, Illustrated

Along with approximately 250 thousand other firm intentions and ideas, a promise to illustrate all the female characters from Ted Hughes prose poem, Gaudete, using clothes-off life models only, to exhibit at the Ted Hughes Festival, alongside a ballet performance, has toppled into the ‘Haven’t Done It Because Life’ chamber.

In the ‘Putting Off Because Insecurity and Need for Reassurance’ corner, my paid-for commissions and responsibilities languish, while I distract myself with another Ted Hughes side project, using the excuse of potentially career-furthering, future book illustration employment as reason.

I’ve started illustrating poems from Birthday Letters, Hughes’s parting salvo – released a few months before his death in 1998, after 35 years of silence on the subject – a softener and/or fan flamer to the ‘Ted or Sylvia?’ lead teamsters, lifting the rocks from his chest.

About Sylvia, about Ted, of Sylvia, of Ted, addressed to Sylvia, from Ted.

Here are the first two illustrations, more will follow, sporadically, no doubt. The poems, below each image.

Black Coat

I remember going out there,
The tide far out, the North Shore ice-wind
Cutting me back
To the quick of the blood – that outer-edge nostalgia,
The good feeling. My sole memory
Of my black overcoat. Padding the wet sandspit.
I was staring at the sea, I suppose.
Trying to feel thoroughly alone,
Simply myself, with sharp edges –
Me and the sea one big tubula rasa,
As if my returning footprints
Out of that scrim of gleam, that horizon-wide wipe,
Might be a whole new start.

My shoe-sole shapes
My only sign.
My minimal but satisfying discussion
With the sea.
Putting my remarks down, for the thin tongue
Of the sea to interpret. Inaudibly.
A therapy,
Instructions too complicated for me
A the moment, but stowed in my black box for later.
Like feeding a wild deer
With potato crisps
As you do in that snapshot where you exclaim
Back towards me and my camera.

So I had no idea I had stepped
Into the telescopic sights
Of the paparazzo sniper
Nested in your brown iris.
Perhaps you had no idea either,
So far off, half a mile maybe,
Looking towards me. Watching me
Pin the sea’s edge down.
No idea
How that double image,
Your eye’s inbuilt double exposure
Which was the projection
Of your two-way heart’s diplopic error,
The body of the ghost and me the blurred see-through
Came into single focus,
Sharp-edged, stark as a target,
Set up like a decoy
Against that freezing sea
From which your dead father had just crawled.

I did not feel
How, as your lenses tightened,
He slid into me.

© Ted Hughes. All Rights Reserved.

Red

Red was your colour.
If not red, then white. But red
Was what you wrapped around you.
Blood-red. Was it blood?
Was it red-ochre, for warming the dead?
Haematite to make immortal
The precious heirloom bones, the family bones.

When you had your way finally
Our room was red. A judgement chamber.
Shut casket for gems. The carpet of blood
Patterned with darkenings, congealments.
The curtains — ruby corduroy blood,
Sheer blood-falls from ceiling to floor.
The cushions the same. The same
Raw carmine along the window-seat.
A throbbing cell. Aztec altar — temple.

Only the bookshelves escaped into whiteness.

And outside the window
Poppies thin and wrinkle-frail
As the skin on blood,
Salvias, that your father named you after,
Like blood lobbing from the gash,
And roses, the heart’s last gouts,
Catastrophic, arterial, doomed.

Your velvet long full skirt, a swathe of blood,
A lavish burgandy.
Your lips a dipped, deep crimson.

You revelled in red.
I felt it raw — like crisp gauze edges
Of a stiffening wound. I could touch
The open vein in it, the crusted gleam.

Everything you painted you painted white
Then splashed it with roses, defeated it,
Leaned over it, dripping roses,
Weeping roses, and more roses,
Then sometimes, among them, a little blue
bird.

Blue was better for you. Blue was wings.
Kingfisher blue silks from San Francisco
Folded your pregnancy
In crucible caresses.
Blue was your kindly spirit — not a ghoul
But electrified, a guardian, thoughtful.

In the pit of red
You hid from the bone-clinic whiteness.

But the jewel you lost was blue.

© Ted Hughes. All Rights Reserved.

Making & Drawing Workshop 2/11/13

I’m running a making and drawing workshop, as part of The Big Draw, on Saturday 2nd November at 38 Hoe St, London E17, with artists Anja Borowicz (recently graduated from her Masters degree at The Slade – well done Anja!) and Vanessa Maurice-Williams. We’re making soft chalk and oil pastels from scratch, then working on a large scale collaborative drawing together.

The workshop takes place at pop-up shop, 38 Hoe Street, the base for exciting new regeneration plans currently underway in Walthamstow, London. It’s a free workshop, drop in at any point, all ages welcome.

For more information please see the flyer below, also available to download here.

Running With Wolves at Cardiff Design Festival

If you live among wolves you have to act like a wolf – Nikita Khrushchev

On Saturday the 5 October 2013 we invite you to join us and come running* with the Pack of Wolves.

In a manner akin to a Flash-Mob we invite you to design your own wolf mask and join us in Bute Park from which point we will proceed through the streets of Cardiff to our Den where there will be some refreshments and possibly some light entertainment.

If you wish to join us ensure you locate the Pack at Bute Park by 6.00pm. You won’t be able to miss the Alpha wolf waving the Pack of Wolves’ flag!

In order to get you started we have provided some free mask templates that you can download (below) and print out for yourself. If you would like a little help in designing your mask why not sign up to one of our mask making workshops on Saturday afternoon. These are being led by our wolf cubs – Illustration students from Cardiff School of Art & Design. You can book a place at one of these workshops below.

Of course if you wish to design your own mask from scratch then feel free. Why not check out our blog for some inspiration?

You don’t have to be a creative wizard to take part in Running with Wolves but you do have to turn up in a wolf mask!

GUIDELINES & ETIQUETTE

  • Follow the Pack of wolves flag bearer
  • We will be proceeding through public spaces. Please be mindful of this and respectful towards members of the public in these spaces.
  • The processions should be entertaining and fun events so please do not engage in any acts of adverse lunacy
  • If you’re joining us please wear sensible shoes
  • If it’s raining please ensure you’re dressed appropriately. Eg. Wear a pac-a-mac or wolfskin
  • Prowl like a wolf
  • Howl like a wolf

*when we say ‘running’ what we really mean is a light jog**
**When we say ‘light jog’ we probably mean a brisk walk

Mask_IMG-FayeMask_IMG-LaylaMarie's Wolf MaskMask_IMG-Spike

These mask templates can be printed at a variety of sizes. We would recommend A4 size masks for children and small adults but they will fit all faces. If you have access to an A3 printer though we would recommend using that to print adult masks. 160-200gsm paper works a treat!

Keep an eye on this page or follow us on Twitter for further information and updates.

BOOK A PLACE AT OUR FREE MASK MAKING WORKSHOP

Televisual Advertisement

I’m not quite sure what came over him, but the consistently prolific Mr Spike Dennis took it upon himself to make me a 21st Century Televisual Advertisement.

It’s totally normal, and this is in fact what my actual face looks like under the mask I wear on a daily basis.

Thanks very much to Spike. Check out more of his work here. Spike and Layla are the gruesome twosome who set up the art collective I am part of, The Pack of Wolves, so make sure you take a peep at our work on the wolfsite too.

Running with Wolves at Stockholm Fringe Festival.

I had meant to write this post before I went to Stockholm. Minor error. I went, I’m back, here’s what happened…

I went to Sweden with the rest of the Wolves at the end of August to bring an exciting series of workshops and participatory performances to the annual Stockholm Fringe Festival. We ran wolf mask-making workshops and encouraged members of the public to join us with their own masks in a ‘flash-mob’ style performance ‘Running with Wolves’, which culminated in a procession around the Kulterhuset venue and into the streets of Stockholm. We made masks downloadable from our Pack of Wolves site. These are still available online to download, so if you’d like to do a wolfie mask of your very own, for whatever you choose, sitting in a deckchair the garden on perhaps unholy games of a deviant sexual nature, you can do so HERE.

Housed at the Kulterhuset, the Southbank Centre of Stockholm, the words being said about the fringe festival are thus: “the Stockholm Fringe Fest mission is to shape a creative platform hosting artists from all over the world. Stoff welcomes the young, the old and everyone in between. The Festival is for those who want to explore, criticise, exchange, question, enjoy, be surprised and for those who simply want to be a part of a thrilling atmosphere where anything is possible.” The press release goes on to say “What slightly differentiates STOFF from a traditional Fringe Festival is that our current primary focus is on promoting performance theatre and installation art; the new, the innovative and the cutting edge. As STOFF grows we hope to be able to diversify further and become a fringe festival open for all forms of artistic expression.”

And that was true. There was lots going on. Some great, some, erm, a little too EdFringe Royal Mile woo-woo for my liking.  If you have any idea what I am trying to describe, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Despite not wandering round in our pants throwing flour in each others faces, we did okay. Quite a few people came to make masks with us, not going to lie, it was a slow start, but by the end of the weekend we had loads of participants decorating their pre-designed masks. We had taken over the basement lobby with a group of artists sprawled across the floor doing their drawing and colouring in.

The procession was less en-masse than we had predicted, but we soldiered on with it nonetheless. All in all, we were delighted to have had our “Running with Wolves” project selected for inclusion in this year’s Stockholm Fringe Festival programme, sitting alongside some fantastic performances by artists, actors and provocateurs, as well as a one-night only performance by John Malkovich. Yes, that was a name drop. Watch it fly.

For your eyeballs, here’s more pictures of things we saw: