Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Inspired Image

You can find out why this photograph inspires me at Things We Make. Thanks Amy for asking me to take part.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

I Learned ... I am going to be published in Japan

I just learned that my first book 'DIY: The Rise of Lo-Fi Culture' is going to be published in Japan by Blues Interaction. I am very excited about this. I can't wait to see my words translated into Japanese, a language I can't speak.

Monday, 19 April 2010



I am such a big fan of do-it-yourself culture. I love it when people create something on their own terms just because they can't find what they are looking for anywhere else. I get giddy about zines, independently released music and blogs and all that good stuff. I admire people who write, make art and play music just because they want to, without worrying whether it is perfect and polished or how much money it will make them.

I have always had a strong sense of community. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who take action just because they want to see things get done. My friends can do anything and they do. They play music, curate art shows, start clubs, run cafes, take photographs, draw, sew and write. They build, make and do and inspire me to try and do the same.

A few years ago, I wrote a book about do-it-yourself culture. It was a wonderful experience to research and write about how people find new ways to create and distribute, away from traditionally commercial routes.

Recently, I was asked to write a piece for a Canadian art journal about how I felt about Do-It-Yourself culture. I wrote that, instead of just doing-it-ourselves, we should do-it-together. Together we are tougher, stronger, braver and infinitely more creative. I believe in that.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Thank You

The first Handmade Writer e-course started today. It  has been so wonderful welcoming all the students to the course. I have a feeling that we will have a fantastic six weeks together.

I want to thank everyone who has helped during the process of launching the course. I especially want to thank my buddy Michal. He is the brilliant graphic designer behind Bring Yourself. He has listened to all my garbled attempts at explaining my ideas and tolerated my last minute design changes. If you want a graphic designer who cares more than anything about finding the perfect font and tells you that all your ideas are possible then you can find him at Semi Square. 


Your writing won't suffer if you take a day off. Especially if you are invited to visit an old disused church tucked away on a backstreet of the city.

And you climb a staircase barely as wide as you are, up and up, to the roof.

And look at out over the city from a place you have never been before.

You will remember how important it is to explore and learn that a day off from writing might not  be a day off after all.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Sunny Days

I have just come back from a beautiful few days in Dorset. I ate Easter eggs, played on the beach and went on long walks. It was glorious.I can't wait for the summer to come. I am going to enjoy every minute of it.

Now, it's back to work, head down and jump straight in. The Handmade Writer E-Course starts on Monday and there are plenty of last minute preparations to be done. I am so excited about this course that I can't tell you.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Handmade Writer - One Week to Go

There is only one week to go until the Handmade Writer E-Course starts on Monday 12th April. This is exciting. I am thrilled that so many people have engaged with the idea of Handmade Writer. Thank you to everyone who has supported the course so far by writing about it on their blog, tweeting about it and signing up. I really looking forward to meeting the first class of Handmade Writers on Monday.
There are a few last-minute places available so you’ll need to register now if you want to be a part of Handmade Writer.

I have received many questions about the e-course so I thought I’d share a quick selection of my replies with you.

Will I get individual feedback on my writing from you?

Yes, definitely. I will be available during the course to give individual feedback. I am looking forward to reading everyone’s writing. One of the aims of the course is to build a supportive community of writers where you will be encouraged to offer feedback on your fellow writer's work.
How can I sure that I won't get too many writing assignments during the course or too few?

Everyone is different and I know that some of you will have more time to devote to the course than others. I believe in an individual approach to teaching so will try my best to match everyone's needs. So, if you feel overwhelmed by the assignments you can let me know and I’ll tailor them to suit you. If you feel you want more creative stimulus then let me know and I will supply it. I will do my best to make this a fulfilling experience for everyone.

What kind of writing will we do?

The aim of the course if to get you looking at yourself, your life and all the things around you in a new way. We won’t focus on one particular kind of writing. You will experiment and play with words. You will examine and explore all the details of your world. The focus will be on finding new inspiration, re-visiting old ideas and creating pieces of writing to be proud of in a supportive environment.

Maybe I’ll meet you on the 12th April?

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Anatomy of my Study

I love seeing photographs of the places where writers write. Amazing creative things can happen in scruffy attics, corners of kitchen tables and sheds at the bottom of the gardens. Everywhere there are writers sitting alone somewhere working away. There are some fantastic photographs of these places here.

I thought I'd share some photographs of my study with you.  

There is a comfortable chair where I do most of writing. Alfalfa, my littlest dog, usually snuggles up next to me to keep me company but sometimes she wriggles so much that she gets the chair all to herself. I have a pink metal fold-up desk. I bought it years ago to use in the garden but now it makes the perfect desk. There's a little bookshelf overflowing with books that I am currently reading and a cabinet where I keep odds and ends. Outside is the garden. Alfalfa keeps a look out for cats and I watch the flowers grow. It suits us both perfectly.

The walls are bright yellow. I think the landlord painted them years ago and I have grown to love them.

The room is full of books. I also use the bookshelves to keep the little things I love - artwork and things people have made for me. I like having them close by but it gets a bit cluttered sometimes.

This cabinet is called 'Big B'. I can't remember exactly why. I do have a tendency to name things. It's from the 1950s and was once used as a sort of pantry to keep food cold. It even has a cute egg rack inside. It stores all my craft materials and pens and paper too. The front pulls down and you can use it as a table. 

So that's it. My study. I never thought I'd be so lucky to have a room all to myself for writing. I plan to enjoy it for as long as a I can. 
Where do you write? I'd love to see some photographs (add a link to some in the comments if you want to share.)

Happy Easter

I hope you are all having a lovely day full of chocolate and relaxing. So far I have been on an Easter egg hunt in the woods, eaten a few chocolate bunnies (and a chocolate duck), given a dog a crazy hair cut and am about to eat a feast. A perfect kind of day all in all.

Friday, 2 April 2010

I Learned How to Crochet


17. I Learned How to Crochet

I have tried to learn to crochet before, many times, but I can never get the hang of it. I get stuck at the stage where it feels like I'm wrapping fiddly knots around funny hooks. I suppose that's that it is really. 

So, today I tried again. It still feels like a mess of little knots but it's getting easier. I am progressing. Slowly.

Is there anything that you'd like to learn that you've been putting off?