22 Feb

#shoutoutrevolution – Cara Lou Paper Cuts

This week I am introducing Emma from Cara Lou Paper Cuts, a multi-award winning business and artist who hand cuts the most incredible designs out of paper.

Who are you and what do you do? 

I’m Emma, a self-confessed rainbow addict, mandala loving, typography techie. I’m a Paper Artist.  From my home studio, I design and hand cut a range of art, mostly centred around the beauty and symmetry of the Mandala, but also incorporating my love of typography.

I also offer a range of printed designs to enable everyone, of every budget, to enjoy a Cara-Lou piece. After all, I believe everyone should get to experience art.

What inspired you to create your form of art?

My Children, I know it sounds cliche, but 5 years back I found myself in a pickle with my health, and not very much to look forward to, when my children described me as “oh Mummy doesn’t work, she sleeps” I knew it was time to do something drastic, ever the craft lover I discovered Paper Art 2 years later and the rest is history.

Is your artwork physically tough to create?  Do you obtain injuries from all that paper/blade action?

This is a tough one, it can take its toll, I have to schedule in regular rest breaks to prevent me getting pains etc in my rusty old body. But overall I would say no, something I consider to be physically tough is something that’s physically demanding like farming. Touch wood I have been extremely lucky regarding injuries, with the odd minor cut from lack of concentration, other than that I’ve been pretty lucky. I have had a few paper mishaps when the blade slices off an important part of the design, then its time to start all over again, even if its a 20 hour piece and I was 19 hours in, its the luck (or not so luck) of the draw.

Where can I find you on the web?

I’m like a bad penny! I’m everywhere you turn! but if you want to seek me out I’m at the following links:

Website:  http://www.caraloucuts.co.uk/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/caraloucuts
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/caraloupapercuts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cara_loucuts
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CaraLouPaperCutsGB (I use Etsy to sell my designs to other Artists)
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD35V5rAY__oMmA-DBbyyTw (I dabble in YouTube occasionally)
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cara-lou-paper-cuts-552493141/

What do you like to do when you are not creating?

When I’m not designing or cutting, which, might I add, is rarely, you can find me snuggling my sausage, Frankenstein, the dog or helping to run my Husbands Martial Arts Business! I live in Greater Manchester with my Husband, Craig, aka Chief Brew Maker and My 2 daughters, Katie aka Little Cara-Lou and Kiera aka Littlest Cara-Lou.

Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have a gorgeous little Pug called Frankenstein, He’s only 10 months old, and is like the little boy I never had. I also own the most beautiful black cat known to mankind, He’s almost 5 and he’s called Fluffy, he’s extremely cuddly and was feral, he lost his mum when he was born on a farm because he doesn’t know how to miaow!

What are your reading at the moment?

I am currently re reading 19 minutes by Jodi Picoult, I have 95% of her books so far and this particular one got me into reading as an adult. It’s a phenomenal book if you can handle her style of writing.

22 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Phantom Art Drop

Phantom Art Drop is a beautiful project akin to the Random Acts of Kindness movement.  Rather than dropping notes and acts of kindness, Phantom goes a whole leap further and drops her/his beautiful artwork in a public place with an accompanying handwritten note attached.

The project tickles my soul, and as soon as it stops raining so damned much I am going to join in.  Part of my fear of involvement is a fear that someone will trash my hard work, either binning it or otherwise vandalising it.  It takes a brave soul and a leap of faith to transcend this.

The Phantom Artist’s concept is beautiful, spiritual and heart blossoming.

So, I asked a few questions:

Who are you?  I’m a hopeless idealist. An anonymous artist who believes that through art we can learn to care for each other more. Strengthen the bonds of community and recognize the need for kindness without the want of fanfare.

Where can I find you?  I’m found in the Caribbean. I live a life of sand, sea and sun. In a way it influences my art. The people and the island life, it’s all apart of me and who I am.

On the web:

https://www.instagram.com/phantomartdrop/

https://www.facebook.com/fantomuartdrop/

What made you come up with your unique idea?  I can’t attest to the novelty of the idea but the reason behind it stems from the need to truly make a connection with someone. To reach out and provide both solace and inspiration.

How I’ve chosen to do it simply happened as a result of my skill set. Honestly the ‘what’ and ‘how’ could have been anything so long as the ‘why’ was satisfied.

So the art and the handwritten letters were my means of doing that. And that’s really the point. For each to take what they have as a gift or talent and give that freely to another in an effort to touch their life positively.

How can I join in?  I encourage any and everyone to take up this cause for kindness. I think we live in a time where it’s desperately needed. Love has become so conditional. Favor and kindness are typically only served if reciprocated with attention and adulation.

This is why I remain anonymous. It’s not about who does it but rather; simply; that it’s done for its sake and nothing more. So to join, do a kind thing for someone for no other reason than to see them smile. Using whatever God has given you. The Phantom Art Drop project is a notion of selflessness and giving… One that I hope we all can embody in our own way.

Note- creatives try leaving a random gift out in the open for anyone to receive. I promise it’ll give you a fresh perspective on life. ?

Can you recommend and amazing art book?  Oh wow hmmm, I quite like ‘ The Story of ArtThe story of art‘ by E. H Gombrich*. It outlines how art developed alongside the people it was made for and how it helps shape and transforms civilizations. It forces one to consider just how influential and important art is or can be.

I love the style of the Phantom Artist, what do you think?

*Amazon associates link

07 Mar

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

by Melanie Joy

love dogs eat pigs wear cows book coverPicture is from Amazon bookshop

I’ve experimented with various “isms” for several decades now and decided to complete this year’s Veganuary.  I’ve been Vegan before, several decades ago and was edging towards that way of life anyway so at the beginning of the year I ditched the last of my food of animal origin and climbed aboard the Vegan ship, sailing to the brave new world of Cruelty-free.

I digress, and will do some more vegan-ish posts in the future no doubt but this vegan lass called @vegangangsta79 somehow came on to my radar and she was singing the praises of this book (the one in the title).  I flippin love Audible because I can listen and paint at the same time, or, walk and listen, it’s an amazing invention even though you have to buy it through the less than ethical Amazon which grates a little on my sensibilities.

So when she mentioned it, it caught my eye and I’ve just finished listening to it.  A lot of the stuff I knew, or kind of knew but it spelled out the meat, fish and dairy industry in graphic detail.  It was pretty disturbing to me in my current shell shocked and depressed state to have such heart-wrenching violent imagery beamed straight into my brain, but I persevered.

It’s an accurate book about the topic, but it is a little subjective.   If you have an inkling of doubt about the meat you eat or the dairy you consume then it’s a good read, if you have a strong stomach.  It’s the holes in much of this Vegan media that I think will put off the more analytical amongst us.  She uses examples of people who have had second thoughts about their consumption of meat after being presented with the realities of animal death and rearing.  I know carnists who have happily reared their own animals, gotten to know them and then went off to hand kill them and eat them.  Most people might feel squeamish about this, but a lot of people won’t.  I think it would benefit from more scientific evidence that animals are sentient beings.  Having been called a conspiracy theorist myself, I analyse everything I read for hints of propaganda and sadly this book is full of it.

The mere mention of “The matrix” will allow some people to relate to the carnist world we live in but it would definitely black-mark this book as conspiracy theorist propaganda, though it may make the book more relatable to others.  I’d love to see a genuine work that presents solid facts that Veganism is better for our animals and the planet, with counter arguments from the meat producers that can be slammed down by good science.  I have yet to find such a work, but the nearest I found was Cowspiracy.

FYI – I brought my son up to be Pescatarian and I was one too until recently.  The factual book that I listened to that immediately horrified me and made me stop eating fish was Unatural History of the Sea by Callum Roberts.  I was shocked and horrified and genuinely embarrassed to be a human after reading that.  It’s factual, written by a fisherman and really opened my eyes – I genuinely did not know about the destruction of the oceans until last year.  Seaspiracy summarises key points of the book very well.

In summary, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows is a harrowing but interesting read but may alert your “conspiracy” neurons.  The way animals are treated is accurately reflected in the book but it’s obvious that the people mentioned in it were cherry picked for their sympathy with the animals.  There are plenty more who simply do not give a flying fuck where their food comes from, as long as it tastes good. But, this is the age of Aquarius man, the world is a-changing.