13 Bad Pennies

I’ve been asked to make some ‘bad pennies’. The figurative and historical meanings of the phrase could be considered but instead I wondered about what would it mean for a penny to have a bad personality all of its own.

These grotesque clay faces are more akin to gargoyles. Each Bad Penny is based on the largest British coin in common use – the £2 coin, so are no more than 3cm diameter. On the reverse of each Bad Penny is imprinted a reversed reverse side of the £2 coin. This continuous reversal of fortunes means each Bad Penny is destined to constantly return to its own miserable fate.

Three Bad Pennies have been selected at random for showing with CollectConnect  in London for some time in 2019. More on this will be announced soon. The fate of the remaining ten Bad Pennies remains to be determined. Some may encounter damage, be lost, or find themselves showing at other exhibitions. Either way, as these freaks of misfortune vacate the studio they will not be missed. For these 13 Bad Pennies there is no welcome return.

 

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Next Stop: Leeds!

I’m really pleased to share the news that some of my work will be featured as part of the Venice Vending Machine 8 at Art Hostel in Leeds tomorrow and Friday. This new exhibition is curated by Marina Moreno in conjunction with Seeding Art Currency curated by Janine Sykes, and supported by East Street Arts.

Although this is a new exhibition it’s not something I’ve had to submit work for. The unique nature of the Venice Vending Machine Exhibition means that the vending machine contains some artworks previously available at the Tate in Liverpool in July. Some of my artworks shown there went to new owners but I have no idea how many; that’s the beauty of the vending machine concept.

It’s like a lucky dip of arts and artists. It seeks to present and promote emerging and already established artists during prestigious art events, whilst reflecting and opening a dialogue with the audience about the value of art in our society.  It’s essentially a conceptual live-art installation cleverly conceived and created by Venetian artist Marina Moreno back in the summer of 2010.

My whole collection Do Snails Believe in Reincarnation? was available in Liverpool and some is now available at Leeds. The Venice Vending Machine is a project that travels to prominent artistic sites worldwide responding each time to a different theme, determined by the place where it exhibits whilst growing as an international union of artists and reputation. Who knows where it will end up next? Being part of such an exciting adventure is about embracing chance as my art steps out into the unknown.

These snails started, and ended, their lives in my garden. As artworks they first travelled to Workers Gallery in Ynyshir for a brief showing, before now travelling the world. It tickles me to think that my reincarnated snails are living a life as art far beyond their original geographical locations.

Thinking of the Workers Gallery. Don’t forget to join me on Friday for my next residency. Read all about that HERE.

 

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Finders Keepers 7

Goodbye Melanie Ezra, Hello Melanie Honebone

A little while ago I got married and yes, I have decided to change my name to that of my husband.* So as you can imagine, I’m changing a few things in my life in order to move forward. I might always be Melanie Ezra to you but I am very definitely Melanie Honebone to me.

Naturally I have a few outstanding engagements as Melanie Ezra which I’m more than happy to embrace. The final outing that I will have under my old name will be with The Workers Gallery in the Rhondda. I’ll be in residence at the end of this month creating some new work under my old name. I’ll also be delivering some new work under my new name… I think! Let’s face it, I’m still me doing me-type things regardless.

The paradox of identity is not the topic I’ll be discussing in my work at the gallery, although I’m more than willing to make you a cuppa and have a chat with you about what it could mean. As my own narrative is changing, I’m developing my agenda for the day around Ten Little Stories. 

Stories are always with us. From when we are small we tell ourselves tales and write narratives for others to make sense of our lives. The best stories are from memories, shared experiences imagined as pictures in our minds. They are told as anecdotes to friends who ‘should have been there’ and shared with smiles socially amongst those who were.

On November 30th in the Worker’s Gallery will be Ten Little Stories told through repurposed photographs in tiny book form. My story here is in making these tiny tales. Your story might be finding them in the gallery, hidden amongst the art of others. What tales do they tell? Can you find them all?

Tell me a story, your story, any story – in pictures or in words. Join me. and say goodbye to Melanie Ezra and hello to Melanie Honebone. I’ll be at the gallery 11am til 4:30pm

The Workers Gallery
99 Ynyshir Road
Ynyshir
CF39 0EN

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*Because together we’re a really strong team, a strong brand, and what would make you assume that Ezra was my maiden name anyway?

NAWR in Narberth

Today we were in sunny Pembrokeshire at Oriel Q Gallery, Narberth delivering Photography and PS Express on the iPad for NAWR Arts and Education Network. This workshop was for teachers who wanted to learn more about photography on their iPads and how to get to grips with PSExpress.

It’s always interesting when you get a mix of skills and abilities. Some participants just needed a few pointers and ideas whilst others hadn’t really explored creating with the iPad. Working together we explored a range of possible activities which can be used in the classroom. This group of education specialists were fully open to extending, developing, and adapting their skills to fit the needs of their pupils.

Throughout the day I overheard comments and conversations such as “I can see how this activity would work with this type of student, but how about we adapt it like this to work for a student with these specific needs.” Whomever said education is a ‘one size fits all’ system clearly hasn’t met these intrepid and inventive professionals. Empowering participants to improve their existing knowledge base, have the space to become more innovative, and share best practice, is what contemporary teachers in Wales are all about.

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NAWR in Pontardawe

Today I’ve been working with teachers in the Pontardawe area showing them how to use the iPad more creatively in the classroom. It’s not hard. The iPad is child’s play so why do teachers feel they need training?

Teachers have such a workload that sometimes the main thing they’re missing is thinking time. Working upwards of 50 hours a week and switching constantly between roles and responsibilities is taxing. Teachers and creative practioners need calm and quiet to develop ideas and initiatives. They need space to knit together innovations and theories with the students they encounter.

Today’s workshop has given everyone involved the time to consider how the camera on the iPad can be used to tell stories, spark debates, create enigmas, and develop visual communication skills. We looked at how the simplest of words can evolve into a full project and how to tell stories in a short sequence of images. We also looked at what can go wrong with the technology and how you can work in creative ways around this when you have a group of knowledge-hungry students in front of you.

Our participants are now itching to get back to the classroom and weave iPad magic into the curriculum.  Good luck! In a few weeks it will be the turn of teachers in Narberth, Pembrokeshire to learn all about Photoshop Express on the iPad.

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It’s been a while…

I keep telling myself to write a blog entry. There’s so much happening though that I haven’t found the time. I used to write about my art every time I made something, or conceived something. Today I have to be more select about what I share. Client confidentiality with some of my photography and video work means it can take a while before the things I create end up in the public domain. By the time that arrives my brain has moved on and I’m working on something else. For example, today I’ve been making some very small books for [censored]. I can show you the work in progress here but I can’t tell you about [censored] or [censored].

Over time it has meant that this blog has morphed into something more irregular in purpose. So what can I tell you about?

Well, next weekend I have some art showing at the Secret Art Sale in Twickenham. This is my third year in this annual exhibition. A few years ago one of my sketches found itself next to the wonderful Quentin Blake. This year my name is next to Tracey Emin in the catalogue. But the names aren’t the important thing here. Instead it’s the accessibility of the art to the general public that is key. Every artwork is exhibited anonymously and costs only £40. You don’t get to find out who the work is by until after you buy it and all proceeds go to the Environment Trust. Such excitement at picking up low cost collectible art by famous, infamous,regular, and irregular artists means there’s often a queue to get in and see what’s on show. The exhibition is only open on 15th and 16th September too so it’s a really innovative and interesting experience. I don’t know of any other exhibition in the UK where just being at the front of the admission queue, with £40 in your hand, means you get to own something that would normally cost hundreds. Of course I can’t show you what I’ve got in the exhibition.

You’ll have to look through the images in the catalogue for yourself and see if you can identify what’s mine. Click here to browse.
Or see the full list of artists here
Or alternatively, pop along to the Secret Art Sale and see for yourself at:
The Exchange, TwickenhamTW1 1BE
More information is over on the website HERE.

Back to the little books then. I reckon I can tell you that by the very end of November they’ll be completed and in the public domain. Watch this space…

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Coming next to Tate Liverpool

If you ask me what’s going on with my art at the moment my default setting is “not a lot”. I keep forgetting that my default setting is incorrect. I have a trumpet to blow… in fact I have a whole horn section at my disposal at the moment. I keep forgetting to value myself as an artist and keep forgetting my own sense of creativity is worth something. If I haven’t made anything new for a week or two, or feel I’m lacking in direction with my creativity, this doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. I need to keep perspective and look at the wider picture.

So what is happening with my art at the moment?

My art is showing next week (and available to buy) at the Tate Exchange Liverpool.

I’m just saying that again because it really won’t sink in otherwise…. Tate. Liverpool. Tate. Tate…. one of the biggest gallery names in UK art. Tate.

My art has never ever been to such a prestigious UK gallery before. I’m really excited! The whole collection Do Snails Believe in Reincarnation? is up for grabs as part of the Venice Vending Machine  exhibition and series of talks. Here we’re considering the question ‘How do you value art?’
You can read more about that here:
https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/tate-exchange/workshop/venice-vending-machine

Or visit:
Tate Liverpool
Albert Dock
Liverpool Waterfront
Liverpool L3 4BB

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Finders Keepers 8