11 September 2010

Little Boo!

A quick post to show you Little Boo. Just painted him for fun, but he's going into my Halloween Section on etsy. I just really wanted a lovely cute ghost painting for my shop. (Did you notice his toes sticking out from under his costume?) Click on the image for his link to my shop.

Don't forget, I also have my collection of Zombie Bunny brooch pins in my shop for Halloween. Zombies need hugs too!

You can click on the images for links to their location in my shop :)

Aoife x

10 September 2010

My Big, Giant, Massively Exciting News!!!!

What's my big news you ask? Well let me tell you ....


Vancouver City to be exact. Yep, I'm packing up all my (remaining) items and I'm shipping off to this wonderful, wonderful city.
Today, I received confirmation about my work permits and I booked my flights for the 20th of January 2011. I can't begin to tell you how happy and excited I am!!!

I had planned to move to Galway but unfortunate family circumstances forced me to remain in Clonmel. I was very, very upset about this and my wonderful, kind and caring Mother generously offered to help me get out of this town.
This was around the time Elsie from A Beautiful Mess started her blog project of 4 Simple Goals. I kept the fourth goal a secret just incase things didn't work out or I didn't get accepted into the country. I blogged about them here and the secret goal is posted below:

4. Is a Secret
Unfortunately, my fourth goal is currently a secret. Only a handful of people know what I'm up to. Recently, due to unavoidable personal reasons, I've had to cut my plans to move to Galway short which was very upsetting as I had to leave a very good friend of mine hanging. My Mother, seeing how upset I was, decided to help me with something I've been talking about for a while now. I am currently taking small steps everyday towards this, with alot of help from my family and the few friends I've told. I will share more when I know for sure that this can definitely happen.
From this I am hoping to have something to look forward to everyday when I wake up. It's something that's making me want to achieve the first three goals even more. Also, the small steps in this goal might eventually lead to a dream of mine.

Obviously, the goal wasn't 'Move to Canada', it started out very simple...

'Find one piece of information everyday about how to apply for Canada. This will help me research ways to go about the process and not let myself get overwhelmed by too much information all at once. The reward; knowledge about the process and a possibility of moving forward to bigger steps.' 

With this simple goal I researched a little everyday (my Mother started finding out most of the information for me before I did) and this led to myself, my Mum and my Sister all taking a day trip to Dublin to the Canadian Embassy (my family use any excuse to hang out together. How lovely is that? A day trip to the embassy, I love my family!). From there I received all the information I needed to apply. So apply I did.

My third goal, to de-clutter, paid for a good chunk of my Visa. I've been selling items at carboot sales and alot of it on ebay. I wanted to de-clutter anyway but now I need to get rid of almost everything. Basically anything that won't fit on the plane needs to go. 

So my 'secret' goal has been completed. I found out all my correct information which in turn led to applying and being accepted into the country. Now that the flights are booked it's pretty much a definite, disregarding any force majeure.

All of this could not have happened without my amazing Mother. I can't even begin to tell you the extent of her support. Often, I wake up to find printed out information about Canada waiting for me on my bedroom door. The rest of my family, my three sisters, have also been fantastic. I've been receiving 'good luck' texts on days when I was just mailing my forms. Makes me laugh. They're sweethearts.

A thank you also needs to go to Elsie for her project which helped me take the small steps which led to the bigger steps to making this a reality. I think her project is amazing and anything that pumps positivity and productivity into peoples lives deserves gratitude. I would strongly encourage anybody to participate in this with her and many others who's lives will clearly have a little bit extra in it thanks to this great idea. I mean, I'm moving to Vancouver because of baby steps encouraged by 4 simple goals. How awesome is that?

And also thanks to my friend, Liz. She mentioned she was moving to Vancouver for a year last autumn and popped the idea into my head. I had been thinking about moving abroad for a while and she started telling me about Vancouver ... how it's on the coast with the rockies behind it. It has beaches to one side and snowy mountains to the other side so it has a great mix of sunny bikini-ness and snowboarding. Naturally, I became intrigued. She put up a wonderful post about what to do and not to do when you first arrive, you can view it here. She has been wonderful help and has been very kind to pass on her wisdom to me.

So that's my big news. The next few months I will probably be Vancouver obsessed, so be prepared!

Aoife x

08 September 2010

Halloween Photography

Ok so obviously Halloween is fast approaching. I can't frickin wait! My birthday is 3 days before Halloween so I nearly always celebrate my day o'birth in a costume.
The one thing I've noticed about Etsy is how everyone is getting into the Halloween spirit and not over shadowing it by Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but it frustrates me a little when it takes all the attention away from Halloween. Christmas should be left 'till after Halloween has had it's say. It's only fair.

I adore Halloween. The decorations, the food, the costumes, the fireworks, the bonfires, the history behind it and I love learning about where the modern traditions came from. Everything, right down to The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Halloween specials.

So I've decided to put a halloween section up on etsy. So far I only have photos, but I plan to have more handmade items soon.

Click on the photos for a direct link to their location in my Esty Store.

The first photo above was taken in an Irish graveyard close to where I live. The town is behind this graveyard so the sodium hue from the street lamps cast a glow on the sky. Pumpkin orange and blood red ... could you get any more perfect Halloween colours than those? 
Irish graveyards have alot of Celtic crosses for gravestones or monuments, so I think this will be an unusual silhouette for international viewers.

Above is a photo of a grave monument covered in ivy. I'm not exactly sure what's underneath but I'm guessing it's a praying saint. I used some homemade 'trickery' to make the statue stand out against the orange sky.

This photo is of an abandoned house behind where I live. It's a very mysterious and creepy house and has lots of haunted stories. As I've said on the listing it 'has a very sad history, but I feel it would be disrespectful to the memory of the owners to publicly use their sad story in a description.'
Myself and Dawn have explored this house loads and taken some very eerie photos where certain 'things' have shown up in the shots (all very explainable, but it's fun to scare yourself a little). I wanted to be able to see the inside but Bill wouldn't explore this with me, he's very ... urm ... iffy, I suppose, when it comes to things like graveyards and such. Silly. I need to find someone who can help me inside as all the downstairs windows are bordered up and there is no access from the roof.

I adore taking photos of religious statues. I've no idea why? I'm not religious in the slightest, but there's something about the marble sculptured cloth and body positions that I love photographing. These statues are everywhere in Ireland, they aren't just located in graveyards. I must really get my bum in gear and photograph more of them and not take for granted the easy accessibility I have to them right now. 
The photo above is of a female statue. I can't exactly remember who she was supposed to be or what she's doing, but I think her eerily peaceful expression is amazing.

This statue was located close to the one above. This is of a man praying and I had to lie down on the frosty ground (these shots were taken last winter) to capture this angle, but I  love how it turned out. 
I had to use my 'trickery' on these shots also which brought out some hidden colours. I had planned to turn these black and white but decided to leave the subtle colours in the final photograph. But if you prefer black and white I have left that option open in the purchase. You can view the black and white versions on Etsy. Just click on the above photos for the link.

So that's my Halloween photography for now. Hope it gets you in a spooky mood!

Aoife x

06 September 2010

New Items for KimDot ....

I have some new items in my Esty Store and I thought that seeing as it's such an awful grey and rainy day that I would blog about them.

I found loads of old vintage Irish coins in my Mothers sewing tin the other week. I swear, the treasures you find in her sewing tins! She's had them since the 70's so you can imagine what it's like to rummage through them. So I decided to make rings out of them. The old Irish coins were beautiful, I absolutely loved them and I have to admit I was a little sad when the Euro came in.

The first ring above is a Pound Coin, or Punt in Irish. It has an amazing design of a stag on the front. I absolutely love this coin and it brings back childhood memories of thinking you were rich when you had more than 3 pound coins.

The second ring is a 20p coin. This coin was made from brass so it has a very unusual yellow tint to it. The design on this one is a horse and it was because of this design that the 20p coin was my favourite.

The last coin I have listed (so far) is a copper 2p coin. The Irish copper coins had amazing Celtic bird designs on them and were based on manuscript designs of ornamental birds in Celtic knotwork style.

The next new item I have listed is my Moss from The IT Crowd brooch. I made one before which sold before I could list it and it got a good bit of attention so I decided to make another one. I still haven't made the rest of the cast (shame on me) but Moss is my favourite anyway. I blogged about his item before here.

Next up is a photo of a carousel merry-go-round in motion. I decided to use this image as my avatar on etsy because it's got the 'what the hell is that thing?' look and I reckon alot of people will click on it just to see what it is. I blogged about this image, and the still version of the carousel below, here.

All these items can be found in my Esty Store or you can click on the images for a direct link to their location in my shop :)

Aoife x

Oh no, my art offended someone! Part 2

Recently I offended someone with one of my photos. I blogged about it here. The person has put up a blog post regarding my photo and I would like to share it with you as I only think it's fair to show why she felt my photos were offensive. She is obviously a woman with strong opinions and I really respect that. You can find the link to her post here along with my comment explaining some of the reasons behind the choices for my photos (also shown below) and her response.

I’m the Artist behind these photos. Once again, I apologize for offending you and also would like to apologize for not explaining my intent correctly from the beginning.
The reason I didn’t explain my Mothers’ disability in the description is because I thought it would be unfair to ‘use’ her disability to gain attention for the shots. It’s for the same reason I didn’t put my Mother herself, or her disability into the photos … it’s very easy for a non-disabled person to gain attention for their work this way and it’s not something I wanted, I didn’t feel right ‘using’ my Mother in my art, should she herself want to take photos of her disability I would position myself proudly beside her work, but I didn’t feel right doing this for ME.
My legs are very similar to my Mothers’ legs before her amputation and I think maybe this is the reason we decided to use my own legs. My Mother felt very strongly about this.
The sexuality within the legs was something I struggled to remove. Legs are stereotypically seen as sexual, I tried so many ways of removing sexuality from these shots (sexuality has no place in this photo) and my college tutors tried to help in every which way they could but it’s like taking photos of breasts, bum cheeks or even lips, no matter what your intent is sexuality still lingers. I eventually gave up and just used what I had taken and decided to let people insert or remove what they themselves saw in the photos as sexual or non-sexual. The reason this position was selected is because of the angle of the knees in regards to the wheelchair.
I studied Artists like Nancy Fried and Alison Lapper (her own work, not Marc Quinns’ work) and I agree, I don’t have the knowledge of a disabled person. Only the knowledge of the daughter of an amputee, and in no way to I believe this to be qualified as a full understanding … but I used what I could.
I do need to explain my work better in my description and from now on I will. I have to take responsibility for the fact that my photos, without proper explanation, can be taken the wrong way and that’s nobodies fault but my own.

I would also like to thank the people who sent me very kind comments, etsy conversations and e-mails about my photos. I really do appreciate it and it is amazing to see how people will take time to show support and kindness. The woman I offended also said that nobody else she queried about the photo felt the same way she did. Which I must admit is a relief.

Just thought I would share with you quickly where the image actually came from. In a nut shell, the image below is a research photo myself and my Mother ended up taking in the living room one day. From this photo developed the one above.

Aoife x

03 September 2010

AN Original Jewelery

Ok, I'm supposed to be out on an adventure at the moment but I just thought I'd share it with you: ANOriginalJewelery and it's on Etsy. Of course.

Here are some of her items.

The two I really need to have are the camera and dinosaur pendants below. The camera, for obvious photographer reasons and the dinosaur because I used to want to be a Paleontologist when I was younger (I know an unhealthy amount about dinosaurs).

However, due to one of my 4 Simple Goals (the secret goal) something is happening for me soon and I can't exactly tie myself down with lots of stuff at the moment. But ... I really do think I should treat myself to one of the above pendants. Oh, but which one? No, I'll be good. Come January I'll be able to accumulate as much stuff as I'd like. I'm going to save one of these as a celebration if everything works out :)
*Ok, I just bought the dinosaur pendant after writing this post. What? You say no to that face! I'll save the camera for January.

The video below shows how the artists creates her pieces. I love this video, great idea.

Aoife x

01 September 2010

Oh no, my art offended someone!

Oh dear, it appears that some of my photos are a little... controversial. My bodyless legs and wheelchair shots have offended someone. I often worry that people will take these photos the wrong way, but they have never gotten bad feedback or offended anyone (that I know of) before so I presumed I was just being overly cautious.

I just received an Etsy Conversation from a seller who felt that as a wheelchair user, the photos were offensive to this person and many others like them. The seller believed I was objectifying my legs and claimed that there was something seriously wrong with me.

To which I replied;

I am very sorry to hear that my photos offend you. This is absolutely not my intention at all. 
My photos were a collaboration with my Mother who is a bi-lateral above knee amputee since Christmas of 2000. She even allowed me to use her wheelchair in the shots. She does a lot of work to increase awareness for accessibility in our town and areas near us for the seeing impaired, hearing impaired and wheelchair users and has even spoken at numerous E.U. charters for disability awareness. She helped me a lot with these photos and gave great insight to them. 
My legs are not ment to be objectified in these shots, I would never objectify my legs, or take them for granted... as my Mother reminds me everyday.
They are not designed to offend, mock, or be-little wheelchair users, the disabled community, or people with special needs in anyway. As I stated in the description.
Again, I am sorry they have offended you, but not everyone in the disabled community sees them this way as many of my Mother's friends have been invited to accessible exhibitions where they received great feedback and were commissioned for awareness posters in my area.
But I thank you for bringing your feelings about these to my attention.

This is the photo in question:

I am not saying the comments are not valid or that this person doesn't have the right to express themself on something that clearly upset and angered them, I just feel that putting it across that I've offended wheelchair users as a whole and the presumption that I don't have any connection to the disabled community at all, is very unfair. I know many wheelchair users through my Mother and through my volunteer work and I have only received praise for these photos. But again, praise from people in the disabled community doesn't mean I can vouch for EVERY wheelchair user out there. It's a two way street. I have to take responsibility for the fact that my photos, without proper explanation, can be taken the wrong way and that's nobodies fault but my own.
When the seller makes it sound like I'm just an ignorant brat taking photos of wheelchairs and legs to gain shock factor, I took it a little personally because in reality these are shots inspired by, and collaborated with, my hero. But the seller has every right to presume that, I didn't explain my shots properly and let's be honest, I really should have.

I understand that these photos can be hard to grasp and I certainly cannot understand fully what it must be like to be a wheelchair user, I only have knowledge as the daughter of an amputee and in no way do I believe that qualifies a full understanding.

This seller also left a comment on a treasury that I created;

I have to tell you that the first picture is very offensive to those of us who use wheelchairs. There are some very twisted people out there who get off on disabilities. Ask yourself, "self - why is there no head, torso, arms, breasts attached to those legs?. Sure there are other photos by the same artist of legs and no wheelchair but that doesn't take away from the offending photos.

I do feel guilty that I've clearly offended this person, especially since they are a wheelchair user themselves and has more knowledge on disability than I have. All I can do is explain my work and hope that it brings some light to them, who am I to tell someone what should and shouldn't offend them?
I haven't heard a reply from the seller yet so I'm hoping that after hearing why these photos were created they might have seen them in a different light. I really, really hope so.

I will not be removing my photos from my Etsy shop (not that the seller has asked me to do that), I am proud of these, they hold something very personal for me and I don't want them tucked away where people can't see them. But I think I will include the Etsy conversation in the description so hopefully people will understand better.

I absolutely do not want to offend anybody ...but I don't want to be overly P.C. either.

Aoife x