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Joyous Delight…

I have been reading recently about indescribably hopeful brightness…

“Colour is energy made visible…
A vibrancy that helps us thrive, learn, be productive, and grow, become more alert… more interested.
Bright colour stirs us out of complacency…
Colours prompt an unconscious change in people’s relationship to their environment: from fight or flight to stay and grow…
Bright colour operates like a stimulant, a shot of caffeine for the eyes. It stirs us out of complacency.”

I’ve been reading from Joyful: The surprising power of ordinary things to create extraordinary happiness’ by Ingrid Fetell Lee

Ingrid talks about the idea of “reversible destiny”; an idea that we can prevent stagnation by recognising and embracing stimulation in our environments on a regular basis. She suggests we “resuscitate the childlike wonder we feel in a world full of novel sensation” 

Our world is full of color, texture, and pattern but often we don’t realise it, but we sometimes suffer from a “sensorial hunger”.

Ingrid writes; “…the word “gaudy” has roots in the Latin gaudere, “to rejoice” or “delight” in something, which happens to be the same root that gave us the word “joy.” As Diane Ackerman writes, to live not just the length of our lives, but the width of them as well.”

And so on a recent ride home from work I took a route through Leicester’s city centre rather than through the city park, and discovered these joyous delights!

You can find out more about Leicester’s street art here: Leicester’s Street Art

An extra variable in the cocktail that is my cultural infotainment, I have recently been greatly enjoying Will Smith and National Geographic’s ‘One Strange Rock‘ (Disney+).

In the last episode ‘Home’, astronaut Peggy Whitson talks about seeing our Earth from a different perspective, and a psychological phenomenon referred to as “the overview effect”. Taken out of the familiar macro routine environment we live in daily, astronauts like Peggy get a unique perspective when they look back at our world. Looking back at our home, astronauts are significantly struck by emotion; feelings we could perhaps call… an indescribable hopeful brightness, an energy made visible… a vibrancy that helps us thrive, learn, be productive, and grow: a joyous delight (?), if we choose to recognise it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthrise
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Sign Language – revisited

Where am I? I just wanted to revisit this little project/exercise I started back in July 2020; a study I’ve called Sign Language below:

It’s very me… though to others might seem like nonsense, to me resonates still – can you hear the reverberations?

Language and our cultural behaviour controls our consumption, what we eat and drink, when we work and create, or relax and holiday, it chooses what and how we love. It takes our wealth and builds monuments to its glory. Our culture is there at birth, death, & every important time between. It consumes all it can, and our culture discards what’s not needed.
Our cultural ‘Images’ breed ‘Assumptions’, which in turn create ‘Motivations’… I AM…

As a student of Art and Performance, with a view to creating and ‘discovering more’, I was taught to deconstruct. Deconstruction is useful, it helps us to discover the links between the ‘object’, the ‘subject’, and it’s ‘meanings’. But deconstruction can leave us with piles… piles of stuff that mean little. Stuff without value.

But we need some form of meaning, we need purpose…

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Imagined…

I like to reimagine things… (like I did here back in 2018; The Lane )

A quick reimagine…

I work near the towpath of the River Soar in Leicester City Centre, close to Leicester Castle Gardens, but until now I’d not take the five minute trip south to Castle Gardens and what remains of Leicester Castle.

Unless you look, you never know what’s around the corner!

As I say, I like to capture imagesGraphics, it’s what I do.

As it’s the end of another year, and the start of a new one. Here’s 22 random images from my camera roll to nurture a new year, 2022….

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Listen?

Curiously, I took a relatively positive look at things recently (17/12/21) on the ‘Friday Fix’ blog post, about music.

Mid-winter is a season for stories, a time when we might listen closer. But there’s a lot of noise, bright lights, glare and mirage…

After the show, after the huge imaginative fantasy, when the angels depart, one has to see things as they really are, and one has to learn to put those imaginings to some practical use…

Breathe in… breathe out… ‘life’ is good… ‘and all shall be well’, ‘and the night can shine like the day…’  ‘All is well, all is well, with my soul…’

To paraphrase John Keats, heard sounds are sweet but those unheard might be sweeter still.

I am reminded by Brian Draper this Advent, that the Latin word for obey is ‘obedire’, literally means ‘listen to’.

What surrounds us outside the safety of popular noise? What is there beyond the concept of ‘the heard’? (or ‘the herd’ even?)

If we venture away from the noise, what might we realise?… Might there be treasures in quietness and riches stored in silence?

What do we listen to? What do we hear?

I digress, as mentioned in above, I shared some thoughts recently on a blog post about music; ‘a song that really moves me’. You can find the ‘Friday Fix’ blog here: Friday Fix.

A ‘popular’ song that reverberates?

I’ve never been able to pinpoint a song that I could share, there are sooooo many! However, I revisited a song that always inexplicably renders my soul.

Specifically Nina Simone’s recording of, Feeling Good – 1965

Nina Simone recorded the song in 1965 and it’s subsequently been covered by Muse, Michael Bublé and many others.

I first ‘really’ heard it played on a record player as a student in Crewe in the 1990s. I will never forget it filling the house – everything stopped!

I think it’s the ‘massive’ background musical composition (it’s simple, but just so BIG!), together with Nina Simone’s performance that is quite phenomenal.

What do we hear outside of the noise?

One way I have found to tune out of the noise is BBC Radio 3 on my morning commute.

Combine music such as Feeling Good with a sunrise, a river, wildlife, a friendly ‘good morning!’ fresh air, cardiovascular exercise, and occasionally you have a hint towards life in all its fullness.

Breeze driftin on by you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…

In years past, I would never have predicted that I might habitually listen to Radio 3!  But, I have to admit, over recent years, my morning routine has seen me listening to (fellow Cornishman) Petroc Trelawny’s selections on ‘Breakfast‘ on BBC Radio 3.

During my morning commute, just as the day starts, it occasionally (and surprisingly often) seems possible to glimpse something ‘true’, before the business of the day kicks in, before the popular noise takes over.

River running free…
Blossom on the tree…

As I cycle my 45 mins to work, occasionally, endorphins cause the abstract combination of musical compositions accompanying the fresh air, wildlife, seasons and the things and people I meet, to become more than the sum of their parts.

You know how I feel…

I know very little about the history of music, composers or the political or social relevance of specific music creations. I can imagine for the creators, there is a lot of loaded significance behind, underneath and inside many compositions. Perhaps I might dig deeper at some point. But it’s the raw essence of some music that I find wonderfully powerful. 

I have heard it suggested that a definition of ‘classical’ music… is that it transcends cultural, as well as generational barriers… music that’s created through sincere devotion, not through selfish desire, but rather by something greater, which exists beyond time, history or culture. Golly gosh!  When you hear a musicologist say “it’s a ravishingly beautiful piece of music … and we can’t quite understand why…” that’s the kind of thing that makes music special.  

What has struck me over the last few years is the power of music to affect us. 

This old world, is a new word, and a bold world…
Freedom is mine… (and yours)

What surrounds us outside of the safety of popular noise? If we venture away from the noise, what might we realise? What do we listen to?

Listen… the mountains and the hills before us might break forth into singing, and all the trees might clap their hands!

Here’s to finding more unheard melodies in 2022!

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Graphic Repro

Repro; copying and reproduction of documents and printed material.
Graphics; creating imagery and visual material to communicate significance.

A friend once said, “you just do colouring-in for a living”. Yes, perhaps; but, as I have studied… the graphic Signifier will relay an idea that is Signified; in essence, this is what a Sign is.

As David Carson said, “Just because something is legible doesn’t mean it communicates”.

How can we make the most of a simple opportunity to say something?

“Can you just do a simple ‘One Way’ sign for me?” Or, a sign to ‘Science’… or a ‘No eating in the library’ notice?

Yes, of course, but what more can we do with that opportunity for signification?

We can add value to the everyday. Often print might simply have a utilitarian function, but that does not mean to say it can’t have added value, look smart, and reflect or reinforce the tone and climate of its environment. 

Can you just print me some signs saying ‘Textiles’ and ‘Graphics’? 

Yes, of course, but what more can we do with that sign?

The front cover of a worksheet, the postcard home, the certificate of achievement, or even the punctuality report; all of these can have added value beyond the initial function. Integral to their design, they can reflect and reinforce the values, visions and ambitions of the organisation.

This can be done in part by keeping the style and form of the organisation’s design elements consistent, and adding and repeating form and sub-content that promotes values and reinforces messages.

There’s more to it than that, but again as David Carson said, “It’s not about knowing all the gimmicks and tricks…”… You need to feel it.

As well as small repro works, I’ve recently overseen the creation of some large text signage for interior and exterior walls. 

Our aim was to reinforce ambitions using simple quotes from the school’s poetry canon. Yes, we could have gone bold and loud with colours and imagery. However, in this case it’s just the words themselves using simple consistent typography.

Inside the building the light warm grey colour is subtle and almost a subliminal presence (Expertly installed by Big City Graphics, Leicester).

Outside we’ve gone for a strong yet simple aluminium. (Expertly installed by Focus Signs, Leicester)

In the past, I’ve designed large wall-collage compositions, creating artwork for a local sign maker who installs murals to cover complete walls/rooms in primary schools. 

So, from a one off ‘sign for the loo’, to an energetic topical graphic statement…

Reprographics; reproduction of printed material and imagery that communicates meaning.

It’s part of what I do…

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Cycle Commute – an update.

So in February 2011 I pulled an old bike from under the ‘stuff in the garage’ and did the ‘never in a month of Sundays’ ride to work.

Ten years later, this is now my 11th winter riding to work in and out of Leicester.

I now only ride 15 miles a day = ~3000 miles a year. (I used to ride 18 miles a day. My current ride’s a tad shorter than my previous employer

I tracked it in 2017, just for the record; 96 miles a week.

The route is 95% off main roads, 75% off roads, 62% separate cycleway, meaning the trip is often a 45 minute tonic before and after work. 

4; 12,000

It’s now been four years, and more than 12,000 miles since I switched to my delightful Gazelle Ultimate S8.

10; 30,000

It’s been more than ten years riding a bike to work daily. That’s more than 30,000 miles, and I’m approaching my eleventh winter, brrrrr!

2011… 2021

I started riding a bike back in 2011 – a lot’s changed since then.

2017 I moved to belt from chain etc – and you can read about it here: Gazelle Ultimate

So much has been learnt and unlearnt that I would not know where to start. Mindsets have changed since 2011 (sadly the cycle infrastructure has not!). You can see posts, from my dalliances with ‘the media’ to Bike Books here: #bike

A 2021 fuel costs update: Driving ~7.5 miles @ 7.5mpl, £1.45p/litre, costs £1.45 each way, that’s £ 14.50/week.

Just for the record, here’s the main section of my homeward commute this week. (Nov 2021)

There’s more ‘bike stuffhere if you’re interested.

In comparison here’s the autumn in 2017

#Cycletowork

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All are welcome

I was recently asked to share some graphics I’ve created for a community group in Northenden in Manchester – St Nics.

St NICs @NorthendenInclusiveChurch

It focuses on the idea that ‘all are welcome’; inclusivity, with no exceptions.

Martin Luther King said “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

There’s an Islamic proverb that says something like “A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.”

St NICs @NorthendenInclusiveChurch
@AFFIRMCOMMUNITY  · Church

I also created similar for a roller banner for a church in Oldham. Affirm Community, see left.

If you need help with similar just let me know, I can design and supply graphics, or design and deliver finished large format roller banners, vinyl banners, posters, flyers etc. Contact me here: #julesprichards

You can see a selection of work I’ve produced here:
A selection of design work

The inclusivity design above, aligns with a ‘Safe Space for Everyone’ project I created.
“Diverse, Inclusive, Accepting, Welcoming, A Safe Space, For Everyone”
The design below is available on Mugs, Bags, Coasters, Stickers, T-Shirts, Prints…

This and the other designs are available on a range of products from my Redbubble Shop here.

As mentioned, if you need similar I can design and supply graphics, or arrange for production and delivery of finished products; roller banners, vinyl banners, posters, flyers etc. Contact me here: #julesprichards

You can see a selection of work I’ve produced here:
A selection of design work

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Approaching a reader

A good few years back, I created a poster ‘Reading, when is it safe to approach?‘.

I thought it was time for a revamp and so here we are…

Approaching a reader… when is it safe?

Children who read for pleasure are likely to do better in maths and English, research suggests. The study, indicated reading for pleasure was more important to a child’s development than how educated their parents were. See more here: Institute of Education, London University

This poster above is available as a free download, but if you use it please credit me and do drop me a line – ta! contact Jules.

I have written here before about the benefits of reading:

  • Reduce stress:  Get lost in a good novel and take time out of your hectic lifestyle to unwind.
  • Help you sleep:  Turn off the TV, get into bed, pick up a book and snuggle down.
  • Keep the brain in shape: What better way to work out your brain than reading?
  • Improve knowledge: Even a fictional novel can teach and inspire you.
  • Health and well-being:  Regular reading is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of dementia.
  • Feeling:  Reading boosts empathy. Fiction can simulate real-world problems and therefore has real consequences for the reader.
  • Boosts Vocabulary:  What better way to discover new words?
  • Achieve: Reading for pleasure helps to improve skills at the same time as increasing enjoyment, self-confidence, motivation and a sense of achievement.

The big question is, what shall we read next?

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Present your requests

a powerful, unyielding conviction.

I’ve used some of my photography recently on a small project for a faith community in Nottingham…

Rivergreen Methodist Hub in Clifton Nottingham are committed to praying for local people, places and situations. They will provide cards for individuals to suggest prayer requests.

It’s perhaps a simple idea and effective idea that might offer a grounding and potential comfort or peace, in what can be a busy and conflicting world.

The bible says ‘Do not be anxious about anything but, in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests…’

The Japanese Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda says ‘Prayer is not a feeble consolation; it is a powerful, unyielding conviction. And prayer must become manifest in action. To put it another way, if our prayers are in earnest, they will definitely give rise to action.’

The photos I have used on these Prayer Request Cards have all come from my spontaneous snaps that I share frequently on Instagram © @julesprichards

If you might like similar and if I can help you – just get in touch.