Sunday, 29 December 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Claimin' my Bloglovin'.

You can now follow this blog with Bloglovin (a blog reader).

I am *slightly* addicted (I read it like a newspaper every morning over breakfast on my iPad) and thought I should practice what I preach.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

'Silent Signal' - new work with animate projects

There is more information about the new project here on the Silent Signal website created by Animate Projects, the site will be filling up in the next few weeks as more work about the individual projects is uploaded.

Zebrafish larvae in a petri dish

There are 6 collaborative projects between scientists and artists being developed, and the work is incredibly diverse and interesting, so I can't wait to see what everyone else has done!

Monday, 9 December 2013

New project

I'm working on a fascinating new project with a research scientist, Dr Serge Mostowy, at Imperial College London. It involves zebra fish, the larvae of which are transparent, so ideal for the study of molecular biology. I have had a wonderful couple of days at Imperial College peering down microscopes and drawing fish larvae at different stages of development as well as  reading lots of cutting edge molecular biology papers (and trying to get my head around them). 

It's a wonderful relief after so many months of writing up my PhD (now almost complete, I'm doing the 'final' - hmm - revisions at the moment) to be making creative work with my hands. I can't wait to start animating...

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

delayed reaction

Apologies for my protracted absence from this blog, I went into the last 6 months of my PhD writing up and a black hole of academic writing. I either couldn't find the time, or face writing that wasn't directly PhD related.

Luckily I am nearing the end now and have an (almost) final draft handed in so I'm now waiting to hear about my rehearsal and then final viva. Hooray!

I've been up to some other stuff too, here's a snapshot, in no particular order...

teaching a week long animated documentary workshop at the Tricky Women animation summer school, St Pölten University, Austria
attending an unexpectedly sunny Green Man festival, Brecon Beacons, Wales
visiting North Norfolk

Seeing the stunning Kaffe Fasset exhibition at the fashion & textile museum, London

Being on the jury (and posing for silly photos) for the inaugural Animadoc award at the Leipzig Dokfestival, Germany
Seeing the astounding Ron Mueck exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery with our new first year animation students (slightly freaked out faces there)

teaching my favourite Innovative Animation module to second years at Wolverhampton University

attending Bradford Animation Festival for the first time in years: this is the brilliant Dave McKean with professor Paul Wells doing some dynamic pointing
The element that I have been missing desperately is actual animation practice; its absence has been quite painful at times. Luckily I am now back at work on a new project, more of which later (but there's a clue in my latest header image...).

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

César Manrique's studio

OK, now THIS is a studio. At La Fundación César Manrique over the Easter holidays. So gorgeous and inspirational, I wanted to move in. 

Just what my studio is missing, a pool...

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Part of my PhD work is about prosopagnosia, also known as face-blindness. It can be acquired (after brain damage through stroke or head trauma for example) or developmental (from birth).

The ability to recognise faces is something that most of us take for granted, in fact it seems as if we are hard-wired to see faces everywhere (if I see one more car with 'eyelashes' on the head lights...). It's almost incredible that there is actually one tiny part of our brain that is JUST for recognising human faces. 

I'm really lucky to be working with Dr Ashok Jansari and his team at the University of East London, who is doing work about prosopagnosia, and I'll be putting some of my work in progress here as it develops over the next few months.


I'm writing up my dissertation and thinking about past films, trying to put them in some kind of order and belatedly work out the motivation for making them. Today I've been looking at my 2004 film doubled up, which was produced by animation legend Dick Arnall.

I don't claim to have known Dick extremely well but I had huge respect and admiration for him - he was incredibly supportive and kind, and often very patiently walked me through aspects of film making he would have had every right to assume I should probably know already (like when I thought that  TIFF was a typo of GIFF and brought all my files to show him in the wrong format...).

Sketchbook image of Dick (right) with Run Wrake by Joanna Quinn

Checking some dates I found an obituary of him which brought back to me how much I miss his lovely generous spirit, but also feel so lucky to have known him. The wonderful thing about independent animation is that everyone who does it loves it, and is passionate about it, and Dick exemplified those qualities.

The brilliant Guardian obituary is here.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Into my new studio

From this...

Through this...

Via this ...

To this!

Storage. Sweet, sweet storage.

Oh YES that's a rostrum.

My DIY office chair cover.

Print on wall by Lucy Crouch.
I'm not going to go on too much about this as I realise how obnoxious it is but just to say that I am now happily moved into my new studio and SO enjoying the light / space / storage.

Now of course though I have no more excuses not to finish my PhD dissertation, damn.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Summer school at St Polten University, Austria

Tricky Women is an animation film festival that I'm very fond of; they exclusively screen the work of female animators at an annual Spring festival in Vienna and they've screened a few of my films over the years.

Vienna in March is a chilly place but the wonderful café culture means that there are lots of cakes, coffees and whipped cream to make you quite glad it's cold/snowy outside. I couldn't make it this year unfortunately but they screened my film Shadow Stories so I was there in spirit.

Last year the organisers at Tricky Women got together with St Pölten University (outside Vienna) to run an animation summer school. This year they're doing it again and I shall be running an animated documentary workshop as part of it over 5 days, 6-10 July 2013. It costs €390/300 per course (depending on the length). The University is by a lake and according to Lizzy Hobbs (who ran a workshop there last year and will be doing so again this year) it's very pretty. And sunny!
Photo by Lizzy Hobbs
 The worshops running:
  • Animate WHAT HOW and WHY – Your short with After Effects (Barbara Musil)
  • Animated Documentary (Samantha Moore)
  • Animated Sounds – Sounding Animation (Christian Halten)
  • Bringing Objects to Life: 3D-Character-Animation with MAYA (Carla Heinzel)
  • Classical Drawing (Ida Hyllested)
  • Colliding Life and Animation – filmed movement and mark-making (Magali Charrier)
  • Dreamwords – Storytelling für Animation (Beate Ehrmann)
3 day workshops from 06.07.- 08.07.2013 (10 a.m.- 6 p.m.)
    Photo by Tricky Women
  • Cameraless Animation-Direct on 35mm film (Lizzy Hobbs)

Friday, 8 February 2013

American Synesthesia Association conference

The 10th ASA conference will be held  from May 31 – June 2, at OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It looks like it's going to be an interesting & inclusive event, and the location is stunning! I hope to be attending, especially as it is the home city of Adam Goddard - musician, composer and sound designer extraordinare - who made the sound track for An Eyeful of Sound.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Accelerate animation survey

Abigail & Gary at Animate Projects are taking the temperature of animation production in the UK via an online questionnaire, designed in collaboration with the London College of Communications, to work out what practice and development is happening and what training and expansion of opportunities need to take place for animators. It will help them to gather evidence about the state of British animation as they continue to campaign on our behalf for more investment in UK animation. It's a great opportunity to get your voice heard, particularly for those of us who don't work in the main hubs of London or Bristol.

If you are involved in animation production in the UK (in any capacity) you can take the survey here

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

New studio space

I'm very excited to have just put a deposit down on a new studio space. I have been talking to the nice people at Sanctum garden studios and after lots of debating (on my part) and patience (on theirs) we have arranged for them to come and build me a new, light, glass & cedar-clad studio space in our garden. It will look a bit like this (above) but perhaps with fewer trees and with more dead plants in pots / abandoned footballs / space hoppers / old ice lolly sticks scattered around. 

In my head, however, it will look like this inside:
... with a view like this:

... and inside it I will only produce meaningful works of great talent and gravitas.

Yes. I *am* aware that I am in denial about writing up my PhD and procrastinating by dreaming about my beautiful new studio. Shhh.

P.S. I have a studio board on Pinterest here
I know I know.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Busy year

OK so now begins the final year of my PhD study. Eek!

I can't believe it's gone so quickly, my plans for huge ambitious projects have been whittled down into manageable chunks and I've had to reassess a lot of my assumptions about the way I work, what I'm doing and what I want to do in the future.

Image from my prosopagnosia work
So now the work I've been doing with people with prosopagnosia (face blindness) and phantom limb syndrome is coming to a conclusion of sorts and it's time for me to write up the research I've been doing. 40,000 words seems like ... a lot. 

Part of my reading list...
All those books. The trouble I have is that once I have got the book I tend to think that somehow (by osmosis?) I have actually read them ... 

Anyway, from February I shall be on sabbatical from teaching and getting down to writing in earnest.