Chai Rangi

This is my very first blog post. Firstly, a warning: there is most definitely a proper way to write a blog if you're an aspiring artist...things you should and should not do to make people like you. I'm not going to find out what they are and instead I will use this as an extended rambling diary including bits about inspiration, lino printing process, greenery, slow walks, a few ill-informed but strong opinions on politics and spirituality, farming and biodiversity, travelling and hedgerows, I love hedgerows, and whatever I want. Gosh. 

'Chai rangi' is the Kiswahili term for tea without milk- 'rangi' is colour, so I translate it as something like 'coloured tea'. It seemed an appropriate name for my tea plant print, created here in the middle of the plantations in upland Kenya.

All the tea in Kenya...

All the tea in Kenya...

I'm just getting in to the idea of working on designs as much as possible. In this period of travelling I'm unable to produce very many or high quality prints so I'm taking it as time for leg work: looking, designing and cutting, proofing some designs, and thinking hard about my next steps. I've been creating in a bit of a vacuum for the last year or so despite having lovely support from Tanzania friends and those back home in the UK. I feel the next level is approaching, I'm just not certain what that will be. I've taken to Instagram (and look, I'm writing a blog!) in order to get images 'out there'. Each step feels very exposing and scary and exhilarating, and like the best thing ever.

For now, I am drawn to make prints of local food plants- bananas, tea, cashew nuts, coffee, palm trees- and still searching for the right ways of expressing the deep green layers of bush, farmland, forest and the extraordinary variety, chaos and patterns in nature around me. Sometimes I wonder if my work will ever feel like art, or be political, or reflect something important, but that way lies madness. So I give myself a shake and carry on with my current goal- making things that feel important to me, and plenty of them. Twendeni!

'Chai Rangi' block inked up and ready to go

'Chai Rangi' block inked up and ready to go