Balnacra Arts & Pottery by Vicky Stonebridge

2010 Review – part 1

When it comes to New Year I like to do a wee round up of the previous year in order to help me gain focus for the year ahead- Like business planning but since my business is art and art is me, it’s a sort of life review I suppose. So forgive me the indulgence fair readers. 2010 was one heck of a year. I live very much in the present, the darkness of winter clouds my objectivity, I forget where I have been, the road ahead is indistinct in the fogs and snows of December. So I skim blogs, diary’s, calenders to remind myself… what happened?

What became immediately apparent was that yes, 2010 was an incredible year, a roller coaster, giddying life changing adventures. What however is rather strange and almost depressing is that none of these adventures were planned, predictable, inevitable or even a direct result of my actions ( or were they ? ). If stuff just happens, what can I do to make it happen? where do I go from here? I can’t just sit and wait for stuff to happen, but most of the things which drove me in 2010 didn’t actually produce any results- instead the wonderful thing happen themselves. You see my dilemma? Its all a bit too philosophical for an active, practical, driven, goal setting, realist, person like me.

I was the PR person on an arts committee, this resulted in some great friends, and a lot of anger and frustration, I resigned when the year was up. Shaking my head about committees, art cliques and petty politics. I like results, I’m no-ones ‘yes wo/man’

I painted lots, kitch Scottish, traditional landscape, fantasy, figurative, impressionistic, all sorts. sold embarrassingly little. a couple of commissions, some prints a few cards. Just no Market or Money in the North.

I exhibited in most of the areas Galleries, Open Exhibitions, joint Exhibitions, an Exhibition at Inverness Airport. I didn’t bother with many craft fairs & producers days until the winter and cash starved desperation kicked in, I took £5 at the last one, and that was a good day. They really are a waste of time.

Workshops are good, I did recycled things at the eco-housing expo, comics workshops, willow sculpting, , recycled mini comics, space rockets, science inspired super heroes with Gary Erskine. around 15 in all, these are fun and I actually get paid. Every year these differ, its all funding dependent.

I ran a community arts group voluntarily all year. This Autumn I also got paid to run a proper painting course by the West Highland College- there was a lot of prep work for the wage but its still a wage, and the students were great.

Myself & Rich ran a successful Hi-Ex Comic convention in Inverness in March, we managed to raise money for Children 1st and actually break even this year, 600 folks attended. However with our work loads and the lack of funding we took the sad decision to cancel the 2011 event. In Retrospect this was bad because I’ve been bored and climbing the walls this winter- But good because lots of other events have sprung up for 2011 across the UK meaning the guests and funding will be spread even thinner.

I passed my ECDL ( computer basic certificate ). Got shortlisted for a Fire service award of achievement type thing ( free bar & night in a hotel ). We ran a fundraising car wash for Haiti. We played extras in a horror film. I dressed as Rosa Klebb for my Brothers 40th Bond theme party. Designed an arts trail leaflet for area. Designed amenities for a community woodland project. Sold my studio workshop ( wouldn’t even buy a new garden shed with price I got ). Produced a 4.5 metre long interpretative exterior mosaic. Ran the community November Fireworks display with my Fire colleagues. There was a book launch for my first fully illustrated Children’s book. I learnt not all organisations treat professionals in a professional manner. I resigned from such a one.

My youngest daughter left home, went abroad, came back, went away again…

Thrills> Flying lesson for my Birthday. Pearl Jam in Belfast. Eddie Vedder sent me a Polaroid picture of him with one of my paintings I’d sent in for a competition. I cried, he is my hero, They provide the sound track.

We has a few days holiday in the summer in Northern Ireland visiting Rich’s family & seeing the Antrim coast with friends. We did Bristol Comic Expo. Leeds Thought Bubble festival. Octocon Sci-Fi festival in Dublin. I traveled about a bit doing Fire brigade Union things, I am now the womens and retained Rep for Highlands. This is all good. I rant about the revolution a lot, but with public sector cuts from the Coalition Government its no laughing manner. I would happily do a whole load more politics stuff, as long as it feels like its useful & i’m contributing something, somewhere.

I worked on the colours of a brilliant Graphic Novel called ‘Slaughtermans Creed’- watch this space. I got an illustration In John Freeman’s ‘Sci-Fi Art Now’ Book ( go buy a copy its jam packed with great art ! ). I pitched & produced sample work for other stuff that’s come to naught yet. a page here of colouring an illustration there published bits and bobs. Such is the unpaid labour of freelance.

How can I pay the bills then? My Fire brigade work, the retainer fee is something like 1/6 of a salary, but it keeps me afloat, I’ve lived my life & raised three children under austerity measures, we always get by. I also got temporary promotion to Acting Crew Manager, so am working hard to keep that! Its a wee bit extra money & masses more responsibility but I enjoy the challenge.

Then there was Russia. I’ll write more of this tomorrow. Russia was huge, it hurts my brain thinking about it, I left a chunk of my heart out there in Tatarstan skies, red Russian sun. how can 2011 top that ?

tomorrow > making sense of it all, Russia & What next ?!

4 comments on “2010 Review – part 1

  1. Nicki MacRae
    January 2, 2011

    Vicky I have to say I was so excited this year when I was at Inverness Airport and saw your work. Standing in the terminal building saying 'Ian, Ian – that's a VICKY look!' LOL! That's pretty darn cool – how many thousands walked past do you think?? 😀

  2. Nicki MacRae
    January 2, 2011

    By the way that E V polariod is just…….. 8-0 8-0 Awesome! 😀

  3. VickyS
    January 2, 2011

    Thanks Nicki! Thats good to hear- I've not had any feedback at all from the exhibition & so far didn't get a chance to pop over & see it myself. Happy New Year and I hope your family is all well.

  4. Nicki MacRae
    January 2, 2011

    And to you and yours too! May 2011 be healthy and prosperous 😀

    What a shame you didn't get to see… I would say they were seen by quite a few folk – the beach scene (I think it was, or was it the dancers, they were on the back of the same display board) were right as you left the loos at the Starbucks / arrivals / car hire end of the building, and I saw people looking as they were coming out, good spot… I'm sure I remember also seeing one of yours in the executive departure lounge? Fireman? The first and only time I've ever been in there, one of the benefits for paying over the odds for a last min flight :-S

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