I am often asked how I came up with ‘spikey mouse photography‘ for my business, I have to admit that it is all thanks to a boy called Ben who wanted to buy his mum a birthday present. Ben is my eldest son and one day when he was out with his grandmother he decided that he was going to buy me a present for my birthday, I think he was around 3 or 4 years old at the time. They finally came up with a ceramic ‘Hedgie’ hedgehog and Ben has been buying me 2 or 3 of them a year ever since. It is an understatement to say that I now have quite a collection and when I was naming my new business adventure everyone suggested using ‘Hedgehog’ but I wanted something a little different and found that in Bengali Hedgehog was spikey mouse and a business was born! Strange how things happen, I have a great and memorable company name and am reminded every business day of my little boy Ben and my lovely Mum who has sadly passed away now. Ben is now a grown man and a father himself and is really happy I chose to use him as my muse, thank you Ben. x
Everyone is being told that during this lock down 3.0, we need to really look after our mental health, in fact for the past 12 months we have heard a lot about making sure we cater to our mental health needs. Exercise, fresh air, doing things you love to do but what happens when its travel that is your love? Nobody can go anywhere! Literally, we are stuck at home, so what can we do about it?
For me and i admit to suffering from depression, i read, i walk the dogs for my hours exercise every day, i try to be creative but there is a block there, spend time with my family, watch television, the usual stuff. I’ve been working on some portraits that i took last year, i cant publish them on social media yet as they were for a film that hasn’t been released yet and i have been contemplating.
With limited resources i have to be careful what i use my Polaroid film for, so i have been waiting for the right photograph to come around so i can transfer it to Polaroid film via my Polaroid Lab. Over Christmas i caught two images of light traces and decided to create an image with my Polaroid Lab. As soon as it was developed i opened the film and on the very back you could still faintly see the image left from the developing paste so i decided to frame both sides of the print in a deep black frame and im really pleased with the results! As soon as lock down is over im going to get them into Chemist and Co. this is the shop that stocks my Polaroid photography and hopefully they will get lots of attention.
Struggling with ways to boost my creativity i look through social media every day, read about what is going on in the world, watch documentaries, look at what my fellow artist friends are doing but for me the one big boost will be to travel again, nothing epic, just around England, even the mere thought of being able to travel whenever i want could be enough, i think it is the thought of freedom that excites. What do you do, how do you manage your mental health, do you have a creative block? Leave me a comment letting me know how your doing, we could start a dialogue and help each other, i think at this time kindness to each other is an essential dont you?
Is it Hockus Pocus?
Turns out no it’s real and my Nikon D7000 suffers from it. I’ve had my camera for years and have always found it to be reliable though i did wonder if i had a focusing problem because no matter how hard i tried, well, i did get shots where the focus wasn’t where i wanted it to be.
I haven’t used my Nikon for roughly 12 months, nothing like the previous few years. Depression and my carers roll stopped my creativity dead, I’ve dabbled a bit with Polaroid cameras but nothing has got my juices flowing enough for me to grab my camera and go. Until January 2021 and its full moon. I decided i wanted to photograph Liverpool waterfront with the moon rising overhead, so off i went, waited 2 hours in the freezing cold, took my shots, around 45 in total and when i looked at them in Adobe Lightroom they were ALL out of focus. Yes i used a tripod (Benro), yes i used a remote shutter button, yes i set my focus point, which is how i have come to the conclusion that i have a backfocus problem.
There are plenty of videos and tutorials on how to attempt the fix so i wont go into it, i hope i have fixed the problem having re-calibrated all of my lenses, which when i finally figured it out was quite easy, now all i have to do is go and attempt another night shoot. Hello creativity and enthusiasm, where are you, im over hear! I can tell you with all seriousness that i was – – this close to selling all of my equipment and buying something else. Lets see what happens next time, maybe i will be selling it after all!
Well, i ran out of Gold Foil and on my shopping trip i bought, 100 sheets of Gold Foil, photographic spray mount, a pack of A3 foam board and half a dozen frames. Nice shopping list but what is it to do with you? Nothing, just making conversation. The project i have been not really giving my attention to keeps calling to me and every so often i will go and attempt to draw something from my stagnant creative heart. An exposure here an exposure there, maybe a deconstruction of some Polaroid film but im not really feeling it.
Anyway, i have a Polaroid Lab (on SALE now) and I’ve been taking photos on my phone whenever I’ve walked the dog, so throughout the Autumn (Fall) i have collected some really nice photos. This day i exposed a film on my Lab of a beautifully coloured leaf, the Lab is so easy to use, you have an app on your phone which allows you to do single images or up to nine images creating a beautiful collage, you open the app, select how many film you want to make up your collage, pop your phone image down on the Lab and press the big red button.
Once i had my film exposed i had to wait around 10 minutes for it to develop full then i took it into the kitchen and deconstructed it. You slice the edges off with a sharp blade, cut the black strips that hold the film together and peel the backing off carefully. The developer is toxic so dont put your hands near your face and dont let it come into contact with anything edible.
You then pop the image into a dish of hot water and watch as the emulsion floats off the plastic front, this jelly like thing is the image you will then transfer into cold water and place onto a piece of watercolour paper. However, i didn’t do that this time, i left the image on the plastic front and played around putting Gold Leaf on to the back. (This is the bit where i ran out of Gold Leaf). So now i have this piece of film covered in gold and for the life of me i just dont know what to do with it next. Inspiration has left the building.
I feel such envy for those artists/photographers who are creating at the moment, the only thing i am doing is arguing over the rights to the photographs i took for someone as a favor. If you think you can help drop me a message in the comments. I feel conflicted, torn in different directions, do i have a go at hand making a photo book of my Polaroids, do i have a go at filming, just with my phone, do i spend the night over in Liverpool doing night photography, or forget my camera and just wallow in social media, go and learn something new on the internet? Its just push me pull me.
I’m sure im not the only person in a funk, 2020 has been the worst year ever which is an understatement. My mum passed away at the end of 2019 and we are coming up to the anniversary of her passing so that doesn’t help but i am grateful that i have not got troubles as bad as some. Lockdown eases on the 2nd December and the shops will open again, hopefully that will help with sales of my work, there are actual physical markets happening again, yippee, i miss talking to people about my work, oh yeah, Christmas is just around the corner. Turkey, mince pies, family, gifts, love and time together, maybe its time to forget about work and time to concentrate on family and myself, have a drink or three and just have a bit of fun!
You never know if its any good until you try. Quite a good mantra to live by. The craft fairs i would normally sell my work at have been cancelled due to covid 19, this is the time i would have been able to sell to the public so i have had to find a different way of selling.
Not so long ago several people had the great idea of using their instagram following to host on line craft fairs, wish i’d thought of that! Bringing together creatives, charging a small sum for the privilege and banging out post after post with the most amazing crafts! I’ve found the amazing Bronte’s Gnomes , she makes the most delicious gnomes from Harris Tweed and i want to buy them all they are so cute!
So i have joined in with the selling and have posted and shared and liked and followed those who have intrigued me, now its YOUR turn, show some love, shop small and join me on instagram Look out for me on the Maker Bee on-line fair on the 28th and 29th of November, the @Handmadehour on-line fair on the 19th November and the Winter Arkade, Regents St, Liverpool on 13th December which is a physical market.
Shop small businesses this Christmas and support local artists and artisans during this very trying time, thank you.
I had very vivid dreams last night, of being young and being introduced to a world i hadn’t been admitted into yet, one where you held power if everyone knew your name, you held power if you were associated with that name. I know what it means and this morning i have woken up feeling pretty powerless over my future.
I am trying pretty hard to create a new future for myself and my family, i am studying social media, watching webinar’s and reading up on best practice, finding representation in shops to sell my art but it is all so frustrating. I wish Covid would just fuck off, why now when now is the time i am finally free to do what i want, go where i want, any time i want, why now?
My creativity is coming in fits and starts and i seem to be relying on older work to get me through this, i just find the frustration levels so hard to deal with. I could sit in the corner and do nothing all day and feel bad if i let it get too much but im made of stronger stuff than that and the corner can just go and do one! I have money to make, bills to pay just like everyone else so why do i feel as if i am standing still in one place?
Deep down i know what i want to do! I want to have my own shop/gallery and i want to help other struggling artists to grab the attention of collectors, shoppers and anyone else just passing but it feels like its just out of my reach. I know what i need, a shop, money, artists, money, stock, money and oh yeah money and a shop. It just goes around and around and makes me feel like im failing, it is the perfect time now, christmas is around the corner, people are buying gifts etc and i feel like i am missing the biggest opportunity of my life.
If you have any useful ideas drop them in a comment please, i think one of the real reasons why im struggling is because i no longer have my sounding board, my back up, the person who believed in me no matter what…. my Mum and i need her. This time last year she became so poorly, her cancer so aggressive and hospital admission was just around the corner, ultimately her passing away early December. I miss her and feel like im floundering around in life at the moment, free but not quite free because of covid holding things back. I suppose i could use that as an excuse for a long time but ultimately it stops at me and i am the only one who can make this happen. I need to pull on my big girl knickers ( pants ) and just do it, so i will!
Today was one of those rare days when i had the house pretty much to myself, husband off on a film shoot, kids on half term but hiding in their bedrooms playing computer games, so i decided that i was going to take this as a sign that it was ok to make art. I had been looking at some of my Polaroid images and decided that i could sacrifice two in the name of art. I wanted to experiment!
I can safely say that the first experiment was a complete and utter disaster! I put one of the Polaroids into the microwave and turned it on, within seconds it had burst into flames and i couldn’t turn it off in time to save it. I ended up with a small plastic lump, no way was that going to become a photographic image. In the bin it went.
Experiment two was better, i didn’t put it in the microwave this time, i held it over a flame on my cooker top, just enough to heat the back up, then i cut down the sides and peeled the back off leaving the developing chemical residue on the back of the film. This meant i could then do a ‘Lift’ of the emulsion and put it onto paper.
I decided to use gold foil on the paper so applied that first, then i placed the film into a bowl of boiling water and waited for the emulsion to bubble and lift from the film. I then used the clean film to place the emulsion into cold water and slipped the paper with the gold foil under the emulsion and removed it from the water. After a little maneuvering i had the image on the foil in the place i wanted it, i then dried it off with kitchen towel and after it has dried and been flattened i will mount and frame it in a simple black gallery style frame.
Maybe tomorrow i will get enough time to use my Polaroid Lab and print off some of the images i have on my phone!
Good morning everyone, my FLASH SALE is now LIVE! I am offering an amazing 10 x 8 print of ANY image on my website for the outstanding price of ONLY £15.00. This offer is too good to miss and closes at midnight TONIGHT. GRAB A BARGAIN WHILE YOU CAN. Screenshot the image you want, DM me on instagram or email me firstname.lastname@example.org and i will send you a paypal invoice and then your photo, easy as pie! Free postage to the UK ONLY.
(¯´•._.• 𝔽ｌα𝕤𝐇 Ŝ𝔸𝐋Ｅ •._.•´¯)
After a severe knock to the head which has led to a massive purse injury I have decided to sell 10 x 8 prints of A͎N͎Y͎T͎H͎I͎N͎G͎ from my website https://karen-lawrence.pixels.com/ for O̲n̲e̲ ̲d̲a̲y̲ ̲o̲n̲l̲y̲!!!! On Wednesday 21st October!!!
For the amazing price of ❤ ONLY ❤ ☆£15.00☆❤
I will 𝑵𝑬𝑽𝑬𝑹 sell them at this price again!
If you are interested send me a DM screen shot of your choice on Instagram with your email address and I will send you a PayPal invoice followed by your print. Easy as…. banging my head I suppose.
Stay safe out there!
¸„.-•~¹°”ˆ˜¨ X Karen ¨˜ˆ”°¹~•-.„¸
Make sure you are following me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/spikeymousephotography/ As im having a 1 Day only Flash Sale.
Step up your Christmas shopping with my 1 Day Super Flash Sale on instagram https://www.instagram.com/spikeymousephotography/ Treat yourself to some beautiful new Landscape Fine Art Photography or just go for a nosey. Follow me, like, comment and share to your stories! Thank you.
No one can say that their lives are not influenced by their parents, it is guaranteed that your Dad will influence you in a different way than your Mum will. I am lucky to have had a very close relationship with my parents, we have understood each other the majority of the time. Yes there were times we argued, i was a teenager once. Somehow I became the daughter who was nominated as the caring daughter, I was the one who was left to look after my parents, I didn’t really mind , you don’t do you they’re your parents after all. When my Dad died my husband, son and I moved into the family home to look after Mum and over 20+ years we lived together through arguments, peaceful times, births, deaths and cancer. I was there for Mum 24/7 and when she was diagnosed with cancer, Multiple Myaloma, i became her carer. We were able to laugh through much of her battle, she was lucky with her Chemo she didn’t loose her hair or suffer sickness, we had the same sense of humour but at the end she did suffer terribly and when she finally passed away peacefully early one December morning my sister and I were able to say a peaceful and loving goodbye. I held her hand and told her how much I loved her and she was gone. Her funeral was a family affair, we were all able to catch up with each other, to talk and reminisce and wonder about the strong woman she was. After Dad died she restarted her education and ultimately gained a Ba hons in the History of Art and Irish Studies, a 2:2 no less! Last night with my loving family and my sister and her girls, we said the final goodbye when we scattered Mums ashes along the beach where we used to go in the summer, near to where Dad worked so he could pick us up in the late afternoon. We said goodbye just as the sun set in a riot of glorious colours and walking back from the beach i felt the weight of caring lift from my shoulders, when we went into our home i could no longer feel Mums presence, finally I am free to start living my life for myself, with the closing of the door a new stage of my life has begun and I hope i finally get to live it how I want not around others needs. Goodbye Mum, hello me.