Boomtown Festival 2014 OLD TOWN

OLD TOWN!!!

old town!

old town!

I was so stoked to be applying for a shop window display at Boomtown fair! The year before I had been fly pitching ceramics round the campsites and this year I was a legitimate part of the decor crew.

suitcase sales

suitcase sales

It was by chance one of the shop window displays themes was to be shrunken heads the story has it that the pirates had set sail and caught a tropical illness which turned them into babies. I worked with Vito (Window Art Curator) to create an interesting design for the window.

initial ideas for window display

initial ideas for window display

My window was the old infirmary shop which meant I had some investigating to do into these era of time.

old style infirmary

old style infirmary

I wanted to explore the anatomy of my sculptures as they look a lot like Siamese twins. I done some research in to old scientific illustrations to get some inspiration.

conjoined sculpture

conjoined sculpture

Siamese anatomy

Siamese anatomy

conjoined sculpture

conjoined sculpture

Siamese illustrations

Siamese illustrations

I was keen to expand on my mosaic making and wanted to create a prop for the shop window using ceramic transfers. I experimented with some DIY ceramics transfer paper which made the process much cheaper and faster.

ceramic transfer DIY

ceramic transfer DIY

ceramic transfer DIY

ceramic transfer DIY

ceramic transfer DIY

ceramic transfer DIY

ceramic transfer DIY

ceramic transfer DIY

Some other props came up last minute such as glass jars which I could use for potions and put ceramic limbs in to them to give that old style doctor surgery feel.

ceramic limbs in jars

ceramic limbs in jars

I decided to go up early to help with the Old Town set build and décor as I had not had experience in this before I thought it would be a good opportunity to get stuck in.

The fish monger

The fish monger

Plague doctor

Plague doctor

After lugging a huge suitcase, rucksack and portfolio filled with ceramics and mosaics I finally arrived in Winchester where I was greeted by Dan Borg (Creative Design Manager). The Old Town set was well on the way and I got to work the next morning.

I enjoyed being part of the process and seeing the set flourish to completion. I especially enjoyed challenging myself and picking up old skills I thought were lost. I made last minute signs and props to bring my window up to standard.

medicine sign

medicine sign

brain leek

brain leek

After some long days of grafting the Old Town set and my window display was ready to go LIVE.

front on view

front on view

medicine list

medicine list

window view

window view

I even managed to do a bit of fly pitching around the festival again which meant I could get a bit of cash and some good trading when all my booze supply ran out!

campsite jokers

campsite jokers

necklace sale

necklace sale

All round was a great experience and I would be keen to do some more window art at Boomtown Festival again.. I met some wicked people and was very inspired by the determination and creativity of a team of mainly volunteers!

Starfish Festival – Lewes

starfish sign

starfish sign

The Skatehouse was approached to be involved in a local festival last July 2014 called ‘Starfish’ it was organised by the local youth group called ‘starfish’ which engages young people in making music and supplying sound and recording studios on the Phoenix Estate which is neighboring to us. See http://www.starfishlewes.co.uk/ for more info on what they are about.

starfish-in-the-park

starfish-in-the-park

We were advised to apply for a pot of funding from a local funder called ‘Chalk Cliff’, see – http://chalkclifftrust.org/. We were able to obtain £5000 to provide a portable mini ramp for the starfish festival as well as merchandise and promotional materials. Although the original plan for a mini ramp to be taken did not happen the the skatehouse team were able to take some smaller ramps to teach. A larger size mini ramp was built and taken to Boomtown Fair 2014 so the money ‘Chalk Cliff’ funding money ended up being well spent. I wanted to do a clay workshop at starfish festival so I decided to do a clay starfish making session keeping in theme.

portable mini ramp

portable mini ramp

portable mini ramp

portable mini ramp

portable mini ramp

portable mini ramp

It was a successful day for both The Skatehouse and my clay workshop! This was my first workshop in Lewes and I enjoyed to feel part of the local community.

hand painted sign

hand painted sign

clay workshop

clay workshop

clay starfish

clay starfish

clay workshop

clay workshop

I managed to make a bit of cash to pay for the cost of the kiln and pay my friend who helped out for the day. Sadly I lost my notebook which had the names, emails and phone numbers of all the kids and parents which participated in the workshop so it was impossible to contact anyone when their clay creations were ready to collect!! The workshop was cheap enough so I can only hope everyone felt like the experience on the whole was worth the £1.50 fee. My plan is to make a mosaic out of the leftover pieces and donate it to ‘Starfish’ so they can display it at their premises. We would love to be involved again this year creatively and physically with the skate ramps. Watch this space…..

klined pieces ready for mosaic

klined pieces ready for mosaic

SKATE HOUSE

 

Front of Skatehouse

Front of Skatehouse

After leaving my home town of Southampton in January I thought a blog was due to describe the new life I have entered in Lewes SKATE HOUSE. I was aware of a free workshop space coming up in the SKATE HOUSE and after spending some time with friends around Phoenix place and sleeping on the floor of a van and in a caravan for a bit I saw how much potential there was to working here and being part of the community which exists already.

Salute to the van!

Captain Tarren

My cosey caravan

My cosey caravan

Friends and artists of URBAN SHAMAN TRIBE Tarren and Becky were drawn to the place after visiting Lewes on bonfire night, this is a nation wide famous event in Lewes the local go ALL out!…. The workshop space available was a corner of a room already inhibited by Tarren and Becky. They are festival installation artists and general hippy folk travelling the lands and hitting up most of the UK festivals and some European festivals too.

Bonfire night and burning of the effigies

Bonfire night and burning of the effigies

Tarren n Becky 'Urban Shaman'

Tarren n Becky ‘Urban Shaman’

urban shaman

Zu studios attracts many artistic types and houses an array of talented and magical beings with skills in alchemy see Mark Gouldings Mandala Art on HEALING MAGIC, gold leafing see Rachael Linton at SOUND VISION STUDIO, poetry, sculpture by Helen Hockney, and a clown collective called the AUTONYMOUS CIRCUS COLLECTIVE. This is situated nest door to The SKATEHOUSE which is a nice opportunity for me to wonder inside and see what’s new or if there are any lectures, workshops or activities which interest me. I took an exciting adventure to the booth museum with HELEN HOCKIN who makes amazing doll mix media sculptures using wax.

 

Mermaid from booth mueum brighton

Mermaid from booth mueum brighton

Pickled bats from booth museum

Pickled bats from booth museum

                  

mark goulding

acc

Weebles' set design

Weebles’ set design

zu studios

This project, to build an indoor concrete skatepark for skateboarders, came to life when the Don (Ricardo Atxukarro) identified a national competition with the chance to win a pot of funding. He told local skateboarder Ollie Swayne about the opportunity, who then wrote in and pitched his idea for an indoor skatepark in Lewes. One month and 930 votes later Ollie was announced the grand winner of £20,000 in competition funding. Since that point SKATEHOUSE has had many volunteers come in and help build the place this is a community interest company ran entirely by volunteers. With the do it your self nature it makes it totally unique and a really special place to work in.

Before shot of pre skate park build session

Before shot of pre skate park build session

Recent Skate jam and photo of mini ramp

Recent Skate jam and photo of mini ramp

The concrete bowl, first thing to be built!

The concrete bowl, first thing to be built!

I shifted my ceramic studio from Southampton ARCHES STUDIOS in to SKATEHOUSE excited about what the future holds. After un packing and making myself at home in my new workshop I have been getting to know the area and taking in all the views and architecture of Lewes. Situated in East Sussex and surrounded by hills and old castle walls this was a big change to Southampton and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Although Southampton is picking up in the Art scene with the XWWX boys art shop and the HAHA gallery opening up!

River view

River view

Head in antique market

Head in antique market

 

Unpacked studio

Unpacked studio

Organised studio :)

Organised studio :)

Working on clay mask

Working on clay mask

Donated kiln

Donated kiln

 

I have discovered that Lewes has an appreciation for art and artist and are very open and welcoming to try out new things. After some strolling around Lewes keeping an eye open for anywhere I would think may be interested in my ceramics I stumbled across a pottery café called LAPORTES. Laportes was an old pottery studio which was renowned for selling clay, making pottery and resident potters. This was later taken over by a mother and daughter and is now a café which still holds its roots of selling handmade wares and ceramics. They now have some of my work on sale there and have done for the past two month.

Laportes

Laportes

Sculptures for sale in Laportes

Sculptures for sale in Laportes

I even managed to find a place that would take my ceramic baby head pipes. I was a little unsure any where would give them a go but one sold within the first week of it being there. TIZZ’S is the only shop in Lewes with a head shop attached selling smoking paraphernalia so this was clearly going to be the place to take them if any.

Tizz's

Tizz’s

Ceramic pipes for sale at Tizz's

Ceramic pipes for sale at Tizz’s

Selection of ceramic pipes

Selection of ceramic pipes

I have helped SKATEHOUSE with its recent Skatejam where I held a clay tile workshop. Now I am awaiting to put these in the kiln and make a mosaic for reception. Myself and volunteers have been salvaging tiles from tops tiles bin across the river and using them to make recycled mosaic to decorate reception with.

Skate Jam

Skate Jam

Directions to art room

Directions to art room

View of art space

View of art space

Clay tile workshop

Clay tile workshop

Clay tile workshop

Clay tile workshop

Clay tiles

Clay tiles

Suz tile bin diving!

Suz tile bin diving!

'Never stop pushing' design by suz

‘Never stop pushing’ design by suz

Volunteers and skateboarders helping to get the mosaic made

Volunteers and skateboarders helping to get the mosaic made

Nearly there!

Nearly there!

We currently have a screen printing workshop, Graphics Designers, 3D Model Maker, Carpentry, BMX and Motercross racers, Skateboarders, Skate coaches Ceramicist and Mosaic Artist. With an array of talent, artist and hard workers on board the project I think its going to be a fun and productive summer!

 

Hunch Workshops

Hunch Workshops

Ben Peters Screen printer

Ben Peters Screen printer

Skateboard fixing

Skateboard fixing

Weardoe' girl night session

Weardoe’ girl night session

Grant painting up the front

Grant painting up the front

 

‘Riot here, Riot now’ Exhibtion in W3 Gallery, Acton, London.

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Back in late October I was contacted by Lucy Sparrow aka sew your soul she is a felt artist who makes beautiful felt creations replicating day to day items such as a can of beans to more controversial war grenades and weapons of mass destruction hanging from a large periodic table. You can see her current show in Camden, London, Camden High street 159 along with street artists DRB and ATM who were also in the ‘Riot here, Riot now’ group exhibition. Check out Test Space Collective to find out more about Lucy Sparrow, DRB, ATM and other current art in Camden town.

baked beans -- lucy sparrow

baked beans — lucy sparrow

periodic table of mass destruction

DRB

DRB

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DRB

ATM

ATM

Lucy had seen my ‘This is England’ mosaic on facebook via our mutual friend and artist Carrie Reichardt. Carrie is a mosaic, ceramic, renegade potter and political activist based in a mind blowing mosaic house in Acton, London. Carrie has been an inspiration to me for some years now and offers wisdom and support to artists and the community which is appreciated by many. To follow Carrie and her artist movements catch up on her adventures on her blog . she is currently in Chile with her apprentice and artist Sian Wonnish Smith showing Chile how British anarchist mosaic artists roll!! I was asked to participate in the show ‘Riot here, Riot now’ which was set to be a political craft group show in W3 Gallery, Acton, London. I of course said yes as this is exactly where I wanted my new mosaic to be displayed along side lots of other strong minded artists who wish to speak out about political issues through their art.

Sian creating new work in Chile

Sian creating new work in Chile

Carries new mosaic in Chile

Carries new mosaic in Chile

Carrie mosaics home in London

Carrie mosaics home in London

I was excited to have been contacted for my mosaic piece being it I am very new to using mosaics as a median to express. I had recently been part of a group show within my studio The Arches where we had the theme of flags to follow. I saw this as an opportunity to try out mosaics as I had always been curious and thought I could add more of a clear message in my art.

This is England = Claire Heath ART

This is England = Claire Heath ART

I was working as a support worker for victims of human trafficking in a charity called The Medaille Trust. I had been here for nearly two years and felt quite knowledgeable and over whelmed with the stories I had listened to and comforted victims for hours with. I wanted to be able to express these emotions I had developed over this time in a piece of art that holds a strong meaning for me and that I can put out into society to feel too. I decided to make the English flag to show how trafficked illegal immigrants come to England and what can often be in store for them on the other side. We pride ourselves as a strong and rich country and this is what other countries believe to be true also however the truth of it is very different for certain individuals who are tricked into coming to the UK for a better way of life and to earn more money. They will arrive and are instantly in debt and trapped with their traffickers they are mentally and a lot of the time physical enslaved. ‘This is England’ for those people.

I started by salvaging plates from the safe house I was working in which the women would eat from as I knew I could use those in making mosaics. I wanted to get some ceramic transfers printed of some ‘tart cards’ these are sex cards found in phone boxes. Mike Emberson head of Medaille Trust and an ambassador of anti-human trafficking had given me thousands of these phone cards so I finally realised a higher use for them. I smashed up all the plates in a material bag with a hammer and began the puzzle of laying the broken pieces into a St George English flag I had drawn out onto a piece of wood. It was a lengthy process and the uneven plates made it very tricky to get an even and tidy finish but over all I was satisfied with what I had created. I had created a piece which carried depth, political value and emotion. I could even use my ceramic baby heads in there to provoke the idea of what some of these women who are forced into prostituting themselves happens to them i.e pregnancy, abortions and rape. If you look closely you will see some love hearts these were created by some of the women in the house when I would hold clay workshops with them and take them to the local pottery shop (which you can read a published article on page 7 here). I think its amazing and inspiring that these women who have been through so much have the strength to move on and appreciate and put their trust in charities like Medaille to create and push for a better life for themselves away from harm and cruelty.

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I created another mosaic to accompany the flag piece, I found a coffee table in the skip and used it as a surface for a mosaic. One of the most common ways of women being trafficked into the UK is through ‘Lover boys’. A lover boy is someone who will pretend to be their boyfriend in their home country for sometime before they move to the UK. The women fall in love with this man and the man will make a point of meeting her family and any one else who is important them. The women is encouraged to move to the UK. On arrival into the UK the women are still under the illusion that the boyfriend is in love with them even when the boyfriend tells the women that she must prostitute herself to be able to pay back the money it costs to travel to the UK. Sometimes the women will put up a fight but this doesn’t last long, they are scared into thinking if they run away then the police will put them in jail for being in the country illegally and on top of that the boyfriend (trafficker) will threaten to kill their families back home. Sometimes the ‘Lover boy’ will have numerous women in love with him in as they are brainwashed to believe he loves them and is looking after them as they have nothing or know one else in the UK. I decided this coffee table piece should be titled ‘Ill give you my heart on a plate’ hence how the women give their fragile hearts away, I think this is represented in the fragility of the ceramics and the use of plates within the piece. When women come into the care of anti-trafficking charities either pregnant or with babies born through rape they are supported in their process of recovery its is a slow recovery but with the right support they can learn to be independent again and cope with becoming a parent.

'Ill give you my heart on a plate'

‘Ill give you my heart on a plate’

'Ill give you my heart on a plate'

‘Ill give you my heart on a plate’

Claire Heath

Claire Heath

A fellow artist and sculptor from The Arches studio Chris Cudlip was interested in the show I had been invited to exhibit in. He had a carved wooden badger holding a gun which happened to fit perfectly into the theme of political craft so it was good news for both us artist to make our way to London together for the show. Look into anti-culling to see what exactly is happening to badgers at the moment, its pretty horrific.

Chris Cudlip Badger

Chris Cudlip Badger

I was exhibiting along side some incredibly talented street artists, sculptors, ceramicists, felt artists, permaculture artists, mosaic artists, painters I was truly flattered and appreciative to be surrounded by such inspirational people. I am on the look out for space to be able to tour this show as I think the work in it has some incredibly important messages which all classes of society needs to see and feel. Below is some photography from the show I hope you can get an understanding of some of the messages within the art.

Webbo orc activist jars

Webbo orc activist jars

Webbo orc activist scene

Webbo orc activist scene

Lady Muck glass from London RIOT badge

Lady Muck glass from London RIOT badge

Lady Muck recycled keyrings

Lady Muck recycled keyrings

Tony Blair - Carrie Reaichardt

Tony Blair – Carrie Reaichardt

Mad in England - Carrie Reichardt

Mad in England – Carrie Reichardt

lizard queen - Carrie

lizard queen – Carrie

 
Cyber women - Spunky

Cyber women – Spunky

Another artist talks out about the closures of traditional workshops in Portmouth University

Bouke de Vries 'War and pieces'

Bouke de Vries ‘War and pieces’

Ceramic artist Bouke de Vries held a lecture in Porstmouth Aspex gallery where he said it was very short sight of the University to close down the ceramics workshop. I strongly agree with this and being that I hadn’t written anything on this blog to do with my experiences on the matter I thought now would be a good time to document a few things.

I studied at Portsmouth University. I done my foundation year there and then follwed on to do the BA Fine Art degree. I found myself working with clay half way through my second year and really taking advantage of the ceramic workshop. Without this facility I feel I would have been loosing out and potentially not having the passion for art I do now. When I graduated I continued on to do a voluntary internship within the ceramics workshop along side the head technician. Within this time I got wind of plans to cut the ceramics workshop, small metals/ jewelry workshop, BA 3d design degree, Foundation year alongside all the job losses which would accompany this. Obviously I was very upset by this and felt it only right that people should know this secretive and destructive information.

Me with my degree show piece 'ceramic totem pole, brand baby nation'

Me with my degree show piece ‘ceramic totem pole, brand baby nation’

front of eldon

Front of Eldon building, Portsmouth University

I began by informing the students within the University of these planned closures and cuts. To my surprise not many people had a clue about the closures which seemed very sneaky to me. The meetings I held among students began to make some impact so it was agreed a peaceful protest would be held outside of Eldon building on Wednesday 26th October 2011. We held banner making workshops, students designed anti cuts prints and stickers the whole thing was very peaceful and pleasant. A few days before the protest I was told I was to loose my voluntary internship due to a facebook group I had created to invite and inform people of the cuts within the uni apparently it was a conflict of interest to my internship. This was quite a distressing time for myself and many of the lecturers within the uni, everyone was on edge of loosing their jobs and I think after seeing how easily I was dismissed this made people even more nervous. I had much support from the lecturers union and outside support from socialist workers and other union members. My past tutor John Molynuex supported myself and lecturers through out this period who I am very grateful with his kind words and efforts to attempt tp prevail these closures.

John Molynuex mask I wore to speak out his statement out one of the demo’s

Made by Rachal Victoria Wisniak student on the Fine Art degree

save tradit

Follow the links to some articles written by local newspapers and student newspapers.

Below taken from Portsmouth student newspaper. A photography student writes in complaining of cuts and closures.

http://www.galleonnews.com/2011/10/no-eldon-cuts/

eldon-protest-1

Below taken from Portsmouth student newspaper. An article to inform people of the protest to take place over the cuts and closures to the arts..

http://www.galleonnews.com/2011/10/students-plan-arts-cuts-protest/

eldon-protest-3

Below taken from Portsmouth student newspaper ‘The Galleon’. Describing the protest and also the sacking of me from my internship.

http://www.galleonnews.com/2011/11/staff-and-students-fight-arts-cuts-in-series-of-protests/

Below taken from Portsmouth local newspaper covering our first peaceful protest outside of Eldon building.

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/education/protest-against-cuts-to-arts-at-university-1-3185170

speaking out about the cuts!

speaking out about the cuts!

Below taken from the second protest rallied outside Eldon. Written by Portsmouth local newspaper.

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/education/portsmouth-students-keep-up-protests-over-arts-cuts-1-3208725

Breaking new

Below is taken from the supposed to be ‘glam’ photo shoot of Sheila Hancock,Vice Councillor John Craven and Dean of Eldon building Simon Claridge breaking the ground outside of the university to show the beginning of the new build but no mention of loss of jobs and closures of workshop in order to make this new build. Myself and a group of other activists sabotaged the shoot with a great interview from student and comrade Sam Bogg.

sheila

Sheila Hancock ‘breaking ground’

http://www.galleonnews.com/2012/02/ground-broken-at-new-eldon-building-site/

Also a video was recorded on the day of the shoot putting the vice Councillor John Craven and Dean Simon Claridge on the spot to ask some questions over the cuts, job losses and my unfair dismissal. Thanks again to Sam Bogg.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylo5UoEstg0

Continuing the no cuts to eldon campaign 

Myself and some friends from the university including Johnny Haymer organised a music and art evening to get people together to discuss tactics on keeping the workshops from being axed. We walked along side 3000 people in Portsmouth on the 30th November 2011 for a national day of action in protest against government plans to change public sector pensions where I stood up and expressed my concern with Portsmouth Universities politics and how it treats its staff and students.

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/striking-workers-stage-guildhall-square-rally-1-3293804

3000 strong in Portsmouth guildhall

3000 strong in Portsmouth guildhall

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music and awareness night

music and awareness night

me and mo the best ceramic technician EVER

me and mo the best ceramic technician EVER

Bouke_mask1 copy 2

bouke de vries

Bouke de Vries Speaking out along side Grayson Perry

I find it quite ironic that a University who has dismissed its ceramics is then to invite a ceramic artist to talk to its students. I took the below quote from the ticket purchasing site https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/artsouth-talk-bouke-de-vries-tickets-8348991057?utm_campaign=event_reminder&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eb_email&utm_term=event_title

‘Commissioned as part of artSOUTH : collaborations by the University of Portsmouth Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries in collaboration with Portsmouth City Museums, Archives and Visitor Services and aspex, Bouke de Vries has selected a single 19th century glass from the collection to create a ‘ghost’ vessel on exhibition ataspex.’

See the artist Bouke de Vries here http://www.boukedevries.com/

Grayson Perry with one of his pots

Grayson Perry with one of his pots

After artist Bouke de Vries had finished the lecture I had a friend ask his opinion of the workshop closures to which he replied ‘I think it was very short sighted of the university to close the workshops as ceramics is becoming popular again’. This was a similar response to what his friend Grayson Perry replied when doing an interview with ‘The times higher education’. As Grayson Perry attended Portsmouth University when it was a polytechnic receiving his BA in Fine Art saying “To make good objects you need to have a relationship with the material. When I was a student we were allowed to use any department – woodwork, ceramics, painting”. Read here the article with Grayson Perry –

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/disquiet-over-plans-for-portsmouths-school-of-art/418114.article

Another article by Artlyst and Grayson Perry speaking out about the cuts.

http://www.artlyst.com/articles/grayson-perry-decries-portsmouth-plans-to-cut-crafts

Article by Portsmouth News over Grayson Perry talking out about the cuts.

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/education/turner-prize-winning-artist-hits-out-at-cut-to-university-of-portsmouth-arts-courses-1-3235656

Time to let go

Although the ‘no cuts to eldon campaign’ was becoming strong, I was becoming weak. I had moved back to my hometown of Southampton where I found myself a nice spot in a pottery studio. I had begun making art again which I loved and I was loosing my fight. The decision to close the workshops had been made and the motions were going forward. It was sad to let go of the campaign but it was starting to bring me down, I had been treated very badly by certain staff at Portsmouth University and for that I will always remember. I am unsure of how the University is now and what progress has been made I only feel bad for the students within it who have not the luxury of these great workshops which once were. As student fees go up it seems the quality of the education is coming down, what a backwards thing that is.

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Booooooooomtown fair 2013

boomtown sign

I’ve heard many things about boomtown fair and had never had the luxury of experiencing it until this year. I knew it was going to be a great audience to target my work at so I wanted to have enough stock to spread round. I began making pipes, necklaces, rings and broaches all baby head themed ofcourse!!

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So I was ready for the festival I had a briefcase full of my ceramics along side some handmade Kenyan jewelry I was selling for charity. The African jewellery was made in a workshop in Kenya which some sisters from the charity I work for The Medaille Trust (an anti-trafficking charity) had set up to give people a chance to escape brothel work. If the women don’t find work in the mornings they are forced into other ways to make money to feed their families. Below are some image taken from the workshops of the ladies working.

Group of Mama's

Mamas at work

Two Mamas

Read more about the charity and mama margarets here http://www.medaille.co.uk/ or download our article which as a spread about the mama margaret kenyan link here http://www.medaille.co.uk/MedailleNLS2013.pdf pages 8-9.

I thought a festival would be great to hit people with the issue of human trafficking and modern day slavery as well as offering them the opportunity to do their bit and buy a piece of jewelery. On my arrival security actually confiscated my briefcase full of stock from me saying I didn’t have a sellers licences…..which was true but as far as I was concerned I had a tiny amount of stock which was hardly worth paying for a sellers licence I wasn’t out to make my millions. I managed to get some stall owners on side who helped me get my stuff back by saying I worked for them, thank god for nice people!!

I found myself doing shifts I would get up and do 3-4 hours round the campsites sitting down and talking to each group of people as I went by. Some were clearly not interested so I would leave them be, but the people who were interested were amazing. I met some of the best people at this festival and they were so keen to know more about what I was saying. Made money for myself and for the charity, couldn’t have hoped for more.

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My art work went down a treat too :) I actually saw one of my ceramic faces in a place called the ‘lucky cat musements’  which my friend Zaza Faux – who makes the most beautiful puppets, was working on with a team of people. It was quite a surprise really as I wasn’t expecting it and I think the guy who was working in there thought I was high on something when I was saying ‘that is, mine that is mine’. Was super happy to see it there, it was a real treat. Zaza has also been helping with Glastonburys Unfairground area this year with the famous Sam Haggerty who you can see here http://samhaggerty.wordpress.com/. She was also just at mischief festival decorating the place with her dream like puppets. If you get the pleasure of meeting this diamond lady and her creations you are very lucky.

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Check out http://www.boomtownfair.co.uk/ for more details on the festival.

See me at boomtown fair 2014!!

The Medaille Trust

Medaille Trust Back of Tee Logo

I support work for a charity called The Medaille Trust. I have been working there for just over a year now, it keeps my finances ticking over and equally makes me feel better for putting my energy to good use and helping people who need it.

I had never had a care job before so was quite new to it but being a generally thoughtful and aware person I naturally picked it up. I can honestly say I love my job.

The charity has a number of safe houses across the UK which houses victims of human trafficking. There are numerous organisations which houses victims and we are jut one of them. Human trafficking consists of anyone working against there will or are exploited in any way the most common form of modern day slavery is sexual slavery, forced labor or the extraction of organs or tissue.

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I remember my first day I was told to comfort a women who was going over her home office additional grounds statement – this is what you can add to your statement given at your interview at the home office, if you feel it is lacking any extra info then this is your chance to add it. She was very upset and shaking lots, I held her hand and put an arm around her like you would to comfort another. She began to pour her story of rape, slavery and abuse it was easily the most horrific thing I had heard come from someone right next to me in all my life. This was a job like no other and I was up for the challenge and felt I could really help to make a difference, whether it be there to hold a hand or listen to these stories that no one should ever have to go through.

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My first 6 months went from being employed to running a house full of women and children, I was made house supervisor and thrown in right at the deep end. I had never been put in the situation of looking after the lives of so many people. It was a challenge and at times I felt like a personal assistant making sure appointments were attended, house meetings took place and everyone’s needs were being met. These women and children were my priority in life for that 6 months, sometimes I would go home and cry that I just couldn’t do everything and make things right. The most important part is to remain positive and leave your own worries and stress at the door, these people need you on form and if your sad they’re scared. Over time more people were employed and things got easier in the house, the responsibilities between staff evened out and I could trust that other staff members were going to put as much passion and heart into their jobs as I was.

We have a great team now and the charity has gone from strength to strength we have helped many women, men and children find suitable accommodation and are still doing so. Im not saying its easy because it is far from it. We are contracted to a 45 day rest and reflective period for the victims which is not enough time to help someone turn there life around especially when they come to us traumatised and unable to talk about their stories for weeks to begin with. We are really pushing for the 45 days to be extended to 90 day so we can really help and make sure these people are ready to leave our care. Our goal is to have these people set up in their own home, learning English at a local college and just getting on with a normal life of being independent and free. Some times they may want to go back to their home country so we can help them to do so. More often than not the ordeal which they have been through to get to the UK is so distressing for them and to return to their countries can even mean they are returning to their own death at times especially in African countries. Below is an image of the way some people are brutally murdered by putting a tire round them and burning them alive, this is very real in certain parts of Africa and the lady I spoke of earlier had a very real chance of this happening to her if she returned home due to her village believing she was a witch who murdered her own husband. Thankfully this women and her child have the legal right to remain in the UK and not be deported.

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I would like people to do their own research on just how horrific this evil trade is. This is a issue in our country that needs to be addressed. It is disgusting that we call ourselves a country which prides its human rights and there are people being locked in bedrooms forced to have sex with countless men a day. The government should be focusing its attention to the traffickers and prosecuting them with serious jail time. There should be more raids on houses suspected of human trafficking and traffickers should be so scared of going to jail for life that this crime just does not happen anymore. There should not be a market for any of this in the UK.

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Ive been wanting to do some fundraise/ awareness events for the charity for some time now so this year it started. I like the idea of giving a little something back to the charity and also getting more of the general public aware of whats happening in their country. I started to come up with ways and ideas to go around this and thinking of the best possible ways to get attention. I wanted to design a t-shirt we could all where on the day a sort of uniform to make us stand out a bit. The design came from a staff meeting we had and my manager and old friend Jess Gealer raised the idea of having a price tag but instead of having a price it would be ‘not for sale’ meaning that human beings are NOT for sale. I liked this idea of not for sale slogan so I came up with a design and got some tees printed.

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My friend Luke Allan founded a student society in Winchester University called Urban inventors which was set up for people on the street art degree to be able to come and perform in the aid of helping charity and evolving in their own practice at the same time. He approached me to see if The Medaille Trust would like to collaborate and proposed the idea of doing an event in Winchester. Unfortunately when the event came around in July there were no students around to help with the event although one very lovely women and co founder of the society Juliana Teuchert did come and help for the day with her stilts and clown face at the ready which helped a lot with gaining attention to us.

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We had our event at Winchesters st Maurice Covert which is a great spot just on the high street, it was a beautiful sunny day and we got lots of attention. We all learnt a lot from our first charity event and know it will develop in future ones. We raised money for the charity and also for another charity we have linked with in Kenya. The kenyan charity is called Mamma Margerets and they have a workshop set up to keep the women out of brothel work as it is something many people are forced to do if they can’t find work and want to provide for the families. They make jewelery and other items in the workshop using mainly beads, wire, wood and seeds. This is our job to sell and in return the workshop remains sustainable if the stock sells. Its lovely stuff and so far its been very popular so I have good feelings about it and am motivated to make it work for them. All proceeds go to charity.

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If you would like to read more about our Kenyan charity link Mamma Margarets then follow this link http://www.medaille.co.uk/MedailleNLS2013.pdf pages 8-9.

You can also buy Mamma Margarets stock in a shop which is currently stocking some in London, Bethnal green street called Cult Mountain http://www.cultmountain.com/.

You can also find out more about the charity on http://www.medaille.co.uk/