Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Fan Male

Yesterday I went to a Grayson Perry talk and went away with a Tobyboo doll. It's been a while since I've made a doll, which makes them all the more special and in a voodoo way I pick my victim! I got a ticket for the talk on Friday which gave me the weekend to create 'Claire', all would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that all my fabrics etc were at the studio but my machine and myself were at home; still I scraped together some paper and string (well dodgy blue fabric and stuffing) and worked my magic.
Step one done, doll finished and I was happy with it.

Step two, getting it to Grayson Perry.
I needed a bit of help, and my lovely friend Jim was there to help. During the Q&As he asked a question (no idea what it was) and then said "and my friend has made you a present can she give it to you?" at which point he said can you repeat all of that I can't hear... I'd given up at this point - she was coming on the train home with me....Except.. once Mr Perry had answered he said 'is that ok?' to which Jim said "no, Tina's got a present to give you" - meanwhile mini Grayson was crowd surfed to the front and eventually handed to him. Hoorah!

Why did I want to make a Claire/Grayson doll you may ask? well, in a slightly fan type way I just did and I think it makes for a great piece. Grayson Perry is a fantastic observer and commentator without dictating what we should think and do. He's managed the impossible - being popular, a 'TV celebrity' (even if you watch ITV) and the art types in their high up towers love him. 

His exhibition at the Serpentine - 'The Most Popular Exhibition Ever!' is beautiful, its funny, touching and sad. I came out miserable - all I kept thinking was "oh I had ideas to do with that but whats the point if I did a piece it's never going to be as good". 

At his talk, I was relieved to hear him say that he uses Google images - as odd a reveal as this is I feel like a huge cheat if I look up something, I should be finding it and sketching it, or imagining it but surely not Googling it! It was also so good to hear someone else ranting about art that may have some great message but is ultimately crap. I struggle so much thinking that I have to have some dissertation worthy sentiment behind work that most times I just don't bother doing a piece I want to. 

Thank you Mr Perry, you made me feel normal. I hope C4 carry on using you for more good work on the picture box - the country needs you.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Back on Track

Most of my work is for museums and heritage shops the rest fine art but every now and again I get something slightly different. I was contacted by Kerry a while back, she'd seen the work I did for the Museum of London and at the time was embarking on starting a practice.

Oddly the pair of us suffer from severe endometriosis and as a result made us switch careers. Kerry studied for an osteopathy degree and opened her clinic 'Back on Track Health' two years later. Based in Boston, Lincolnshire her family and practice have grown.

So lovely to see my embroideries on signage!

It was a real pleasure to create the image for their logo, I just wish I lived nearby, I'd love to see Kerry for my pain.
Back on Track Health 07900 994400

#backontrackhealth #holistichealth #massage

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Check Mate

Dad's Money Saving Tips
1) "dad why are you painting 2p coins with Tipp-Ex?"
"because I'm making a set of draughts"

2) Tempted by one of these collectable plates (see below) but just can't afford it? why not cut out the picture in the magazine and stick it on a paper plate! Imagine just how good the whole set would look on your wall?

3) Why have plugs on every kitchen appliance when you can just use the raw wires in the socket held in with just one plug. 

dad 1933-2017
we'll miss you - love Brinjal Face xx

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Califorina Dreaming

Tobyboo has had a break the last couple of weeks, the 3 of us have just come back from an amazing trip round California. We landed in L.A. and was taken on a brief tour to the Hollywood stars of fame malarky and Chinese theatre by my cousin. Most handprints meant nothing to Toby... then he found Emma Watson.

We only had 2 nights in L.A. and spent the second of it in Hogsmede - well The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. When we went to park and was told that only northern American disabled people counted as disabled (?) they really need to sort out their accessibility. 

If you do have a disability then Universal Studios really isn't the place for you - the rides are much more aggressive than somewhere like Disneyland. I was looking forward to going on 'Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey' and should have known from the seating that I wasn't exactly going to enjoy it - strapped in 'Robo-coaster' chair most of it was swung about horizontally, I was so scared my eyes were shut so I didn't see the film! I wish they had a more accessible version. 

Rides like the Minions one, that I thought would be quite general ended up in being aggressive too! (that one was fun though) 

After the L.A. heat and sun we drove to Sequoia National Park and to 5ft snow. Staying at the Wuksachi Lodge which was welcoming and as Toby says "very nice"

The following day we walked though torrential rain, Toby managed to get this shot of General Sherman - the biggest tree in the world! (in volume, says Toby) only staying one night we then moved on to the home of Apple screen savers, Yosemite National Park. 

Yosemite didn't disappoint at all - the only thing I can say is the hotel we stayed in had so much to do it was hard to leave. Tanya Lodge had lots of activities from night time hikes to archery, the hotel itself had 2 pools and in the evening a games room that showed films so if you go with kids be warned they might kick up a fuss going out!

Yes Toby did get a couple of bulleyes - no Bully Bull but a hat prize!

After a wonderful 3 night stay we were in the car again heading to San Francisco. I couldn't wait to go there and the place completely lived up to the hype. From the moment you head in you get such a feel of the place - with only 3 nights we sadly didn't get to see much of it at all but who knows maybe in 10 years time we might get to go again (our last big holiday was 10 years ago - in fact our only big holiday was 10 years ago).

View from the hotel - Hilton on Union Square

did get me sketching

and more sketching.

Waving bye bye to the bridge we were on the road again - this time heading down the coast to Carmel. A beautiful spot - again only one night here but it was enough. 

Heading south we stopped at Monterey - Kinder eggs are illegal in the States and yet sweet cigarettes aren't .... go figure.

Bubblegum Alley - yes an alley whose walls are covered in bubble gum.

Next stop - Santa Barbara. Yes, more beautiful coastline, sea otters (only saw heads bobbing and didn't have the camera handy) only one night here and then back in on the road - just not the coastal one because it was shut which meant we didn't get to do the Big Sur.

Back where we started - one last night in L.A. this time seeing what we were really after - a trip to Griffiths Park and the observatory - Toby was in his element - an observatory that was also in La La Land (the boy loves the film) which lead us to our final days visit - Warner Brothers Studio Tour.

More La La Land

He'll be there for you - on the set of Friends

This was expensive which is why only Toby and I went, but so worth it - it's a 3 hour tour on a small open tour bus. You don't know what your going to get because in small groups your guide almost tailors it to you - she got a 'yay' on the mention of Gilmore Girls and no reaction on 'The Big Bang Theory' which meant she showed us more of Stars Hollow. Being a working studio, you don't know what or who you'll see but you do get to get out of the buses and walk around - get shown on a set (not while filming is going on) and see the pre production side too.

Meeting up with Dave after we went on to see the Getty Museum - this place needs 2 days not 2 hours, just an incredible collection.

On the way back to the airport we stopped at Santa Monica, a play on the beach and then headed on the flight home.

We booked through Virgin Holidays - who did do us a great deal if we'd have booked the hotels independently there's no way we would have got the deals they got for us so I would recommend. Looking back, I wish we did San Francisco to San Francisco rather than L.A.  but I've got a feeling that it was cheaper doing that way - SF really does deserve about 4 days minimum. If you go to the National Parks with kids, make sure you do the junior ranger - in the information centres, sign up for an activity sheet when they complete it and hand it in theres a scout like ceremony and they get a badge - and yes its free.

If you have younger kids or any aches and pains I wouldn't recommend Universal at all - I came out in agony. If you are a blue badge holder, hopefully the parking might now be changed as they were shocked that the staff only counted Americans and Canadians as disabled and promised this would be corrected but do bear in minds that the rides aren't really geared up for wheelchair users. 

I'd defiantly recommend the Warner Brother Studio Tour, don't expect it to be like its sister in Leavesdon (Harry Potter Studio Tour) but they do try and milk HP and have lots of exhibits even though none of it was filmed there. Toby didn't know any of the programmes or films they were talking about but though it was fantastic just seeing a glimpse of Hollywood film making.

We had car hire throughout expect in San Fran, where we used buses, street cars and yes did queue for an hour for a cable car (and you will have to queue). 

I'd so recommend a trip like this if you've been thinking about it - yes it will take us ages to pay off (hotels, flights and car hire through Virgin Holidays approximately £4500) the credit card but in a couple of years time the boy won't be that happy about coming on a trip with us, this is a priceless memory for all 3 of us. 

Monday, 27 March 2017


Ok this is not the first time this has happened and I'm tired of it now - Debenhams under the 'Ben De Lisi' name have a new range - I genuinely thought I had done it without knowing if it had the illustrations alone thats one thing way too many people doing wonky bad line images but adding the text like that is my signature. People have thought this is my work and therefore to me it is theft.

I'm not accusing the people at the top of the chain, but they need to look at just what their in house design team does. Carola Van Dykes beautiful designs have been royally ripped off by them too - Debenhams, look at who you are paying - you are paying them to steal. I would give you - yes give you one of my designs rather than you pay some graduate with no ideas of their own little. Because as a true artist - designer I have shed loads of ideas and thoughts - I don't need to rip off ideas.

and by the way - maybe you need to check just how educated they are too - London Bridge? no its Tower Bridge Littlewoods - sorry Debenhams!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Forest Hill

So today I turned half of 90, not much you do as an adult for your birthday but alongside some Lego I got taken out for brunch by a friend to glorious underrated Forest Hill.

If its not enough that the South East London borough has the Horiman Museum it also is home to some of the capitals finest independent shops and cafes.

Canvas & Cream is not only a fantastic eatery but also is home to art in the C&C gallery, I'd be quite happy to get the train just to come here to be honest.

THE only haberdashery shop that also feels like something out of Bagpuss, Stag & Bow. This treasure trove of threads, fabric and pins also has art, gifts by local designers and runs courses. If you have a sewing machine or knitting needles you would be mad not to visit.

After getting your fill of threads from Stag & Bow I can highly recommend a coffee and cake in The Archie Parker - I didn't visit today because I was too full from early but I did pop into Sugar Mountain. This sweet treat of a place is 80's heaven I had no idea it was there until today! Ice cream sitting in a booth with an E.T. and Back to the Future posters what more could you ask for? oh yes a Metal Mickey annual to hand!

SE23 has a heck of a lot to offer, if you haven't taken a look then go! especially if you're on the orange line (you know the overground).

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Badges of Pride

Today I was working in a museum without my sewing machine! I did feel sort of naked to start with because, well thats what I do isn't it? stitch? not today, I was back to my children TV roots with 'makes' and was very lucky to be a part of the National Maritime Museums Rainbow Week for LGBT History Month (#LGBTHM17).

Kicking off with the London Gay Men's Chorus (who were just amazing), rainbow ships, mermaids, cross dressing pirate stories and I got to help children make their own version of a ships badge (ships badges took over from figure heads - showing the identity of the vessel, think of it as a boat family crest) the idea was to look at your identity and how you could sum it up in simple image and colours - its not as easy as it sounds! I took a sewing machine and made it into a penguin feeding its chick mother/sewing being pretty much me, and well I like green so that worked.

Penelope's fruit filled jelly was fantastic! (and very original!)

Dragons were popular

as were bunnies

rainbow girl did an beautiful rainbow

Thank you to everyone that joined in, I am exhausted it was so busy! Please take a look at events round the country for LGBTHM in museums as there are some fantastically fun ones about for half term.