Stoicism For Your Life


Philosophy can be of great help for your life, and especially stoicism. We seem to live in an era where almost everyone is way too fragile. Fragility is a huge danger, because it prevents us from achieving our goals. The worst part is that this fragility is artificially-created, and this means that we are living in a culture which promotes fragility and the constant search for safe spaces.

If you really want to be happy and live a meaningful life, you have to neglect this way of thinking. You need to embrace the risk and accept it as an important part of the human life. It’s not possible to be happy if you are fragile, because this will prevent you from taking risks, and if you don’t take risks then you will never be able to win nor to achieve your goals, and this will ultimately lead you to unhappiness, frustration and whole set of negative emotions.

Marcus Aurelius

You need to combat this modern way of thinking by implementing stoicism in your life. We can identify this way of thinking in great personalities like Marcus Aurelius. This Roman Emperor wrote a book known as “Meditations by Marcus Aurelius”, if you had the change to read it, then do it – this is going to change your lifestyle for the better. This will transmit to your life a lot of necessary wisdom, the kind of wisdom you need to make your life a meaningful thing.

One of the most important teaching from this book is the following: “Don’t get angry easily”. You shouldn’t upset yourself easily, because this will lead you to problems and ultimately frustration. You should always try to remain calm and preserve your angriness for moments which really require it. Your life should be governed by peace.

Another teaching which is worth mentioning and discussing is the following: “Don’t get busy with vain things”. Nowadays we tend to get busy with things which are way too vain. We must pursue a higher purpose in our lives, and spending your time watching TV or watching endless YouTube videos shouldn’t be this purpose. You have to achieve great things in your life, and the unique way to make it happen is by pursuing your dreams and doing as much as possible to turn them into a concrete reality.

Marcus Aurelius was a real stoic personality. His books has served to teach a lot of people about this philosophy which embraces the risk and the qualities present in the constant search for meaning. You should never busy yourself with vain things, nor busy yourself getting upset at vain things, and you should never accept the excessed present in modern society. You should eat only what’s needed, you shouldn’t be a slave to food nor to drink – because this will only lead you to unhappiness.

We hope you enjoy this interesting reading. Adopt stoicism and integrate it to your lifestyle – you will feel happier and have more peace in your life.


Start Your Day Early!

There are several benefits attached to starting your day early. Nowadays we seem to live in a world where people are obsessed with technology, and it affects their schedule, leading them to go to bed pretty late and waking up early but feeling horrible, or even worse, waking up late and feeling equally or even worse!

You need to listen to your body and hear what it’s saying: “You need to sleep and wake up early!” Great men all over the world have followed this simple lifestyle tip with great success. If we had to name one of those examples, then we would have to mention Benjamin Franklin. This great personality used to say that a great man should go to sleep early and wake up early.

The principal benefit attached to this practice is that you get “more time”. Of course, by waking up wake up early all the timeearly you won’t magically make the day last 30 hours, but it gives you the sensation of having more time available. It also gives you the chance to plan your day pretty well, and this is by far a great advantage for people with tight schedules.

Going to sleep early and waking up early also gives you a fresher mind. If you want to feel fully relaxed and ready to work, then you should follow this simple lifestyle advice. If you feel like a zombie most of the time, then this can simply be changed by following our advice.

Following this lifestyle will lead you to get more peace in your life, and when a person enjoys plenty of inner-peace, he’s more likely to experience success in a daily basis. It will also help you to relieve your stress, so that you can enjoy your day a day a lot better. Nowadays people seem to be over-stressed, and one of the reasons can be found in their sleep schedules.

You just have to try it for a while in order to see a great impact in your life. People nowadays go to sleep way too late, the maximum should be 11pm and that’s a maximum as we have said. The best time to go to bed seems to be 10pm, it gives you the time that’s needed to finish your day quite well without leaving anything left, but it’s also a great time to go to bed, because you will easily be able to wake up at 5am or 6am.

Your waking hour should be between 5am and 6am, because it seems to be the sweet spot. There are lots of people who wake up at 5am and experience lots of benefits. At this hour you can go for a walk in order to activate your mind and body. There are some dudes who wake up at 4am, but that’s a tad too excessive we think.

So follow our valuable lifestyle advice and you will reach your goals sooner than you think, because this will bring plenty of peace and happiness to your life.


Alright, you lot

Who knew when I started this blog two years ago that I would’ve made a whole army of amigurumi creatures to conquer the world and gather dust on shelves everywhere. But I’ve been outgrowing fluffernutter for a while – there’s only so much you can say about crocheting cute animals. I guess I’ve got to a point where I’m ready to put my own name on what I make / draw / sculpt – and not need to dismiss it as ‘fluff’ or nonsense.


CASS Art: The White Chalk Technique

CASS Art run cheap and inspiring workshops – I went along to Maria Mari Murga’s session on Chalk Drawing in the Manner of the Masters. Maria studied at the Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence, which teaches a tradional style of closely considered naturalistic, sight size drawing and painting. Maria now teaches at the London Artelier of Representational Art and also mentors artists on a one to one basis.

We worked from Maria’s drawing of a female nude, beginning by tracing the figure with charcoal – tracing it turns out is not ‘cheating’, the masters used to call it ‘cartoon’ drawing for their frescos, a way of transferring early sketches to a final piece.  We worked on canson paper which is grey and commonly used for pastels, it has a smooth and a rough side.

The next step was to fill in the shadows with 2B pencil sharpened to a long point, to give more precise lines. Flow of light is brighter at the top of the figure and darker as you descend. The ‘bedbug line’ is where the shadow meets a lighter area, it gets darker, like bedbugs in the studio scampering into the shadows when the light is turned on. Shape a putty rubber into a brush or stump for more precise rubbing out. Use a stump to blend to an even tone.

Finally we added the lights with white chalk and white pastel. Be careful to clean areas with a putty rubber before adding white as white and graphite mix to a bluish tone; similarly keep one end of your stump for blending lights and the other for darks.

I have done so many lightning quick figure sketches in life workshops, (poses of five minutes or sometimes as little as one minute), it felt like a real luxury to spend a considered amount of time on one drawing. Although ultimately it was merely a copy of Maria’s drawing, I feel it taught me a valuable new technique which I can absorb into my own drawing style.


Experimental Textiles with Cas Holmes

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I am still buzzing from another creative binge at West Dean – Experimental Textiles, Stitch, Cloth and Memory with Cas Holmes.

I’ve been aware for a while now that textiles can make a more evocative and interesting ground than paper. Jo Dixon’s course in Mixed Media: Print Paint Collage taught me some basic fabric dying techniques and use of gesso on calico – I wanted to carry this forward and explore experimental textiles further. I decided my focus for the weekend was going to be in transferring some of my figurative sketches into textiles and used my sketchbook drawings as a starting point.

The main techniques we tried were wax crayon rubbings of lace trim and doilies, fabric dyes, and transfer dyes. I especially loved making collagraph plates by machine embroidering on laminating plastic. Below you can see my initial sketch (from the Life Drawing with Adele Wagstaff course), the plate, and the print. I printed onto cotton with acrylic paint – this is a really immediate and straightforward process which will be easy to try further at home. The effect reminds me a lot of monoprinting in that you get some lovely lines from where you applied the acrylic to to the plate – I almost don’t want to work over this print to much for fear of losing the initial lines!

In the collagraph below I kept it simple by just using the stitched line, I overlaid two life drawings of the same pose from different angles here which gives an effect of movement – Cas recommended I look at Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (click here).

The collagraph plate below is based on a drawing I did of a Rodin Statue ‘The Muse’ at the V&A; I stitched on a variety of other fabrics to give texture, including hessian and an old seam. I want to do more prints with this now I’m home.

With so many techniques going on it was a constant struggle to keep control of my workspace. I used the board behind my worktable as a visual reference, initially pinning up items I brought with me for inspiration, including: scraps of handmade lace which my friend rescued from the bin, Victorian portrait photographs I collect from vintage fairs, patchwork scraps, tea cards, a handkerchief, and lace table cloths given to me by my great uncle, embroidered with his aunt’s initials. As the weekend progressed I took these down and replaced them with collagraph prints, test pieces and bits and pieces of fabric given to me by other women on the course.

Cas encouraged us to be brave and constantly deconstruct and reconstruct our work – tearing up pieces and mixing with samples from other textiles, pasting them together to create very different effects. I had brought some vintage dress patterns on very thin parchment paper, which worked perfectly for this; here I layered them with a print from some elaborate lace, scraps of hessian, buttons and lace from an old bra of mine (which I had previously used to print onto ceramics – read here). I like the idea of clothing, especially underwear, as an object imbued with the intimacy of being worn so close to the person’s body.

This led me to think about jig saws and quilting, how different shapes in the body could fit together to make a figure – I worked over this collagraph print (based on a drawing I did of a sculpture at the V&A) and added shapes of lace to fit the thighs, stomach and breasts, and pattern paper on top of this, then machine embroidered them down.

Textiles is such an inherently feminine medium, it would seem wrong to go into it without an awareness of feminist writings on the subject. So in preparation for the course I read‘The Subversive Stitch’ by Roziska Parker which explores how historically ‘women’s work’ or needle work was used to oppress women by keeping them quiet and occupied, but also how women used it as a mode of expression – highly recommended! An idea I’d like to explore further is machine embroidering some of my life drawings of male nudes onto fine lace and feminine floral fabrics…

I’ve also been toying with the idea of scale – small samples of fabric can look gorgeous in a sketch book as reference, but I loved some of Cas’s larger hanging installations. Larger hangings which aren’t pinned down in conventional frames move with the breeze, in a way that recalls breath. I also love the idea that the ‘viewer’ of the art could also be invited to touch my work, in the way that women feel the cloth of a garment when clothes shopping – and engage with the work on another level. I would love to break down the barriers set up by galleries of ‘do not touch’.

I learnt so much from Cas as well as the group – check out websites of fellow studentMilliande Demetrou. We naturally shared ideas and materials as we went along. One idea I am especially excited about is dying fabric with rust – see Milliande’s blog. I also want to explore the idea of damaged fabric: burns (from matches and also more deliberate marks from incense sticks), stains (wine / coffee) and wax (different colours) – taking the discarded and making meaning with it. So many ideas – so little time!