Monday, 31 January 2011

The importance of becoming an artist....

I recently became unemployed. I handed my notice in at work, without having found another job prior to this. An event that was planned yet crept upon me unknowingly. An event I am glad that happened.

Searching for jobs is one of my least favourite things, I turn into Scott Pilgrim reading an email. Scan read things, decide they are bo-or-ring! I mull over for what seems like forever, whether I should just try and get another dead end retail job as just a means of making money, or try a career change, try and work in a field that interests me more. I have tried to make money from doing the things I loved, I owned my own business, but I have to admit, I missed a steady wage, regular money coming in so I can do all the fun things I want, hang out with friends, go to places and see things, create. But with that come the pitfalls of working a full time job. My last job was a 40+ hour a week affair, which left little time to create. And if it’s one thing that has been a constant in my life, it’s a need to create.

I am one of those people who wants to create something all the time, I am one of those people whose brain never shuts off, I am one of those people that is full of ideas, sometimes so many, I cannot execute one before thinking about the other. I am also, as much as it pains me to admit, one of those people that invent a million excuses as to why such and such idea never actually came into fruition.

But now is the time.

I am unemployed, spent the first week of that creating an inviting and comfortable workspace, live at home so financial pressure is not that much of a burden (my income was the second in the house and sadly we cannot survive on one, so can’t sit around fannying about with felt all day!!!!) and no longer have the excuse of ‘my full time job leaves me no time for creativity’.

I feel like my clock is ticking.

Most people (mostly female too, sadly) reach my age and begin to feel like their clock is ticking. Their biological clock. Their life clock. The belief that at this age there are certain things you should have, certain targets you should have met. Life goals to some are meeting the one they love and starting a family. This has little or no interest to me (as something I want to spend my time actively seeking). My life goal is to make an impact. I have the right amount of arrogance needed to believe I can. But I don’t know if I have enough belief to make it happen. My clock is ticking because I could sit here for ever saying I am going to do this, going to create that, and before you know it my life has passed by and it was all talk. I’m not putting all my energies into finding the perfect man, I’m not putting all my energies into climbing the career ladder. So what am I putting them into?

With an obsessive, passionate personality, I am one prone to hero worship, especially as a teen. Banging on about how such and such inspires me and that was the best thing I ever heard/saw/was part of. What an impact it made upon me. But if [insert name of ‘hero’] ever turned round and said ‘I’m glad I inspired you to form that band’ I would have to reply with, ‘oh I never did’. What a waste! All this time I spent gushing about whomever, what did I do about it? Sit there and gush some more. Their efforts are wasted. I’m not saying I never went out and did anything, there a lots of things I have created am proud of, but I know I could create a lot more, if I didn’t sit around being inspired and talking about it.

Recently, someone who has been a huge inspiration of my adolescent life referred to me as an artist. I thought ‘
if Kathleen Hanna can call me an artist, then why can’t I call myself one?!’. I am not one to shy away from making bold statements, I’m bolshie, loud and not ashamed to proclaim any talents I have (prime example is always taking over the dance floor), but never brave enough to call myself an artist, but f@!# it, I am Seleena Daye and I’m an artist!

There I said it, which now means I have to live it. It is something I have to do for myself and something I have to find within myself, yet sometimes, you do need a little push, a little inspiration.

Recent things that have inspired me are…..

Blythe Church. I stumbled across her by researching ‘felt art’. Her work is very similar to mine in that she makes everyday objects out of felt. She makes her felt by hand (which is something In don’t do but really want to now!) The fact that her work is very similar to mine and was regarding herself as an artist, encouraged me to keep making the things I do. Sometimes I think they have no purpose, making for makings sake, but attaching the ‘art’ tag helps me to want to create.

Emily martin, creator of Black Apple, artist, illustrator stitcher and more. I have been a fan of her work for a while and when I received a book of her work in paper doll form for Christmas, it only heightened my inspiration. Creating a craft/art related book is on my huge to do list and is slowly creeping it’s way to the top!
My Chemical Romance. Go on laugh, get it out of the way. I’ll admit it, I LOVE this band, and not in a guilty pleasure way. This band when they started out were kind of my age, Gerard Way in particular already assuming his life role and career choice, but turns round and says ‘you know what I don’t have to do this’. I am a firm believer of not doing something because it’s expected, if your unhappy, don’t do it. OK so I’m not going to become a mega rockstar, but, it is nice to reaffirm that you don’t have to decide what or who you’re going to be as soon as you leave school/college/university. I think too much fear is instilled in the young if they don’t get it tight straight away they never will. Plus the new album is well good, like Bis’ lost efforts!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Let's get cooking! (red pepper hummus)

For Christmas I received a good cookbook, my mum also got me one of those recipe folders that you fill with your own recipes and clippings of tasty things to make. I put them on the shelf with all the other books I have and thought to myself '2k11 is the year I actually make things from these books'. You know how it is, you get a recipe book, cook/bake something tasty from it and then never try anything else, just do the same recipe. I made a pact with myself to try and make at least two new things I haven't made before, each month.

Also, I have this weird fear of condiments, this sometimes carries over into dips. Anything vinegar based, I'm probably not going to like. I think a reason I don't eat dips is most likely the texture, obviously not eating sauces with meals (ketchup, salad cream etc) means I'm not used to a wetness, I like my food dry! This contributes to me not eating hummus often. ANYWAY O also made a pact with myself to try and get to like hummus by making it myself, to conquer my weird fear (everyone has a stupid food fear right?). Lo and behold, the first recipe in my new cook book is for red pepper hummus. So I made it, here's how......

you will need:
  • 2 red peppers
  • 14oz/400g chickpeas
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • paprika

(You can use canned chick peas, alternatively use dried chick peas, but remember to soak them the night before)

First, deseed the peppers and cut into 4. Place under a hot grill. grill until the skin blackens, place in a plastic bag and when cool peel the skin off.

Peel the garlic, then place in a food processor with the cooled, skinless peppers, lemon juice, chick peas, olive oil and tahini paste. Blend until smooth.

Place into a bowl and sprinkle with paprika. then eat!!!!

(this recipe will feature in Sugar Paper #7, along with a few others!!)

Friday, 21 January 2011


The other week I was lucky enough to grab myself a ticket for the screening of Diego Luna's directorial debut, Abel.
The film was introduced by Diego himself and was followed by a Q&A with Diego and producer/Diego pal/partner (along with Gael Garcia Bernel they run Canana films) Pablo Cruz.

I stumbled my way to the front of the screen with Kandy (andenoviral conjunctivitis was totally hating on my eyes at this point!) where Kandy's sister Rosie had saved us some seats. I was getting nervous, (initially for seeing a proper film star in the flesh!) but mostly because Nickie and Alison were nowhere in (very restricted) sight. I'm just going to point out now that Nickie is a pure film buff, and one of her main obsessions is Mexican cinema, so obviously she was beyond excited.
They eventually arrived and Nickie's face of delight and equal measures 'on the verge of tears' hinted that their delay was for a good and valid reason. turns out it was, Nickie had just bagged a quick photo shoot.

The film itself was really good. I don't want to spoil it for anyone yet to see it, but the basic story is of a young boy who returns home after a stint on a psychiatric ward. The film unfolds to see how members of his immediate family react to his return and to him adopting the role of father figure.
The Film was touching but definitely not without a comedic sense. I didn't cry, but I did look like I'd bawled my way through the whole thing. A whole family coming of age affair.

After the film was the Q&A. I'm not the biggest fan of Q&A's (as you might have guessed form the John Waters post). It's not that I don't want whoever has created what we are discussing, to talk about it. I love that. It's all the people that ask, long drawn out questions, that end up more like statements, just to make themselves sound clever! There was a lot of that, and aside from one person who actually was Mexican, everyone seemed to start the question off with 'I lived in Mexico' (which, to me does not equate to knowing what it is to be Mexican!). I also think they took the fact a child had some sort of mental illness, out of context. Constantly referring to him as having special needs and lots of the questions addressing this. Diego pointed out it was a conscious decision not to make Abel's illness known, because he wasn't making a film about children with mental illness.
He talked about how the film was more of how the family react to Abel's return and to him playing the father figure, and how, in Mexico and most likely many other places, it is passed off as the normal way to live for a father to be absent.
he spoke about growing up with just his father (after his mother passed)and how lots of fathers in Mexico go away to work or shun the responsibility of fatherhood and child rearing falls upon the mother with nobody questioning this, and how he, having recently become a father could not understand not wanting to be part of his children's lives and sharing the responsibility. GO DIEGO!
A lot of the questions were directed at Diego, put when Pablo spoke, I could tell I liked him, with his dry wit. He often responded to the questions about Mexico and it's 'bad press' (there were lots of them) and answered honestly. The truth is, they are not poster child for Mexico and don't need to make propaganda films, something they were both aware of and seemed to get across to the audience.
All in all I really enjoyed it, the film, the Q&A, listening to two very talented and down to earth guys speak of something they are passionate about.
I will definitely be going to see Abel again when it is shown at The Cornerhouse's
Viva festival in March, and I recommend you do too!

Monday, 17 January 2011

little- Alison Erika Forde

My good pal Alison is having her first exhibition of 2011. Her third solo exhibition, 'little' at Manchester's Greenroom.

The exhibition opens on Wednesday 19th January (that's this week folks) and runs until Saturday 12th February, with a preview evening on Wednesday 6pm-9pm.

It's a chance to see some of the work in Alison's
'Smotherland' exhibition and a few you haven't seen, including a couple of new ones!!

At this rate I will be able to give up work and become her PA!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Role Models

I am currently reading John Waters - Role Models. I picked my copy up at The Southbank centre when I was at A John Waters talk!!!

Yes back in December Kandy and I went for a trip to the big smoke. It seemed everyone we knew was in London that weekend, mostly to attend the John Waters talk. We got there and saw some ace London folk and then ace Manchester folk. Once I got over the fact I was served peppermint tea instead of earl grey (milk in mint tea, WRONG!) and we eventually made our way to the correct building (missing first few minutes of the talk) I was all set.

It was ace to hear Johns voice and just a few metres in front of me. Hearing him talk about his role models and what inspires him. I particularly enjoyed when he spoke about a film he's trying to get made a children's Christmas film about a family that steal meat and sell it on. Everyone did that 'oh imagine that' laugh. My working class self didn't quite give the same laugh, it just sounds like the equivalent of your dad's mate down the pub that sells anything from meat to videos they nabbed from Asda.

A lot of what john said rang true and made me smile, but wound me up when I kept hearing that laugh from the audience. Do they love the king of trash because they like to laugh at poor people? Anyway I got over myself (shame the same couldn't be said for those asking questions, it's always the same at Q&A's, folk just trying to sound clever!) and I left smiling, purchasing the book.

We were going to get them signed but decided to stand around chatting instead, there was always the bookshop signing the next day. spoke to a whole load of awesome folk. My pal Patrick said it was weird how almost everyone he knew was there and what a huge dent in (good) society it would be if someone blew up the auditorium that nigh. Yes he is a bit of a goff!!

We said hellos and goodbyes and went to dance the night away. Had BIG fun dancing to all the best R&B and emo hits, dancing on tables and singing the live version of MCR with Holly, without discussing it first.

We made it back to our hotel safe despite the rain. But we were so tired, we didn't get to finish of the tea we made. I was even still so tired in the morning that i couldn't take advantage of the free breakfast and chomped on cereal never actually swallowing.

We got ourselves dressed and headed to Waterstones to get our books signed by JOHN himself. We got nervous as we reached the front of the queue. I tend to say stupid things when I meet the people I admire.

It turns out i didn't need to worry, I didn't say anything stupid, but John couldn't understand me anyway. I spent what felt like an hour spelling my name to him, he not understanding my northerness, me not wanting to correct him. This is what i got:
Well at least the picture turned out well: Had a great weekend in the company of all those who inspire me, and not just those who are film makers!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

CRAFTMAS part one!

Hello Sugar Paper fans. It's 2011 now. Where have we been I hear you cry?
Busy that's where!
I had every intention of making a big deal about Christmas here, well because we love Christmas and if you don't craft anything all year then Christmas is the time to do it. I had this plan to upload Christmas crafts for you to do. But before you know it it was Christmas dinner and I was making Christmas dinner!!! I'm going to blame working in retail and using any spare time to craft gifts for all my favourite folk.

It seems my friends had the same idea. So part one of craftmas is a look at the amazing homemade and personalised gifts I received:
That's a MCR all the best pictures sticker book, a Party Poison mask (you might see this feature in part 2!), a Lego Patrick Bateman, engraved I AM SEW COOL scissors and a Sex Bob-Omb scarf. THANKS GUYS!!