Cardiff Photomarathon 2012

So this Saturday just passed the Photomarathon descended upon Cardiff again. For those of you who don’t know; the Photomarathon involves taking 12 photographs, based on 12 different topics, all in 12 hours. In such simple terms like this it might not sound like a huge task but it’s a lot harder than you might think. You can find out more about the Photomarathon here:

I limbered up early on Saturday morning for what would be my third marathon with tea and toast and peered out upon grey skies which wasn’t encouraging and sure enough I was registered by 10:00am and soaked to the bone by 11:00am.

If it wasn’t tough enough already this years Photomarathon was made doubly difficult by heavy downpours of rain. I’d decided prior to Saturday morning that I was going to take a more observational rather than interventional approach to my photographs this year. With hindsight this might have been a bit daft since with the wet Welsh weather it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to base myself at home in the fry and work from there. Nonetheless here are my efforts:

My Number: Celebrate

Those familiar with the Photomarathon will know that the first topic is always “My Number” with a twist, which this year was “Celebrate”. Knowing the format for the first topic is I had been running through some potential ideas over the preceding days and had a few potential props in my bag… none of these were in the least bit suitable so it was back to the drawing board. As you can see I cut my registration number out of some black fabric and pinned it to this lovely handmade bunting. It was a slow start to the day but I was up and running.


Buttons may have been a little obvious but it was nice and dry in this telephone box so I was quite happy to find some shelter whilst I shot this. I toyed with the idea of having a finger in shot but decided that it didn’t really work and that the suggestion of the action was enough.


This topic was perhaps the one that had me racking my brain for the longest. I tried shots of friends huddling beneath umbrellas in the rain or sheltering doorways amongst other things but this shot of our coffee cups was the strongest of my efforts by far.

City Life

This is one of my least favourite shots amongst those I took. This shouldn’t really have been a difficult topic in a city like Cardiff but being behind schedule I ended up rushing a bit. With hindsight I should have changed my lens back to take a cleaner shot of Castle Arcade.

My Favourite Thing

Anyone who know’s me at all will know I’ve got a sweet tooth and who doesn’t love Dolly Mixture?

I thought about heading home to unleash my unicorn for this picture but with pond-life making it’s home in my shoes I settled for something more simple. I snapped this picture in the sweet shop one of the arcades in Cardiff.

The State We’re In

Of course there is a glut of empty shop fronts in Cardiff at this time but upon checking in at the RWCMD to get my second set of Photomarathon topics I took my registration card out to get it stamped only to have it disintegrate in my hands: the weather had gotten the better of it. Given the bedraggled state I was in as a result of the wind and rain it seemed an appropriate item to snap for this topic.

One of the hardest things about the digital Photomarathon is selecting which image to submit having taken a few variations on each topic. This is one that I think suffered for that and I should probably have selected a less abstract image like this.


Now this was my kind of topic. I used this as an opportunity to head home for some respite from the weather, to fill my belly and rest my weary legs. It took me about an hour or sew (sorry!) to embroider this copy of the Photomarathon logo. It wasn’t my best work as I was in a bit of a rush but for the purposes of taking a photograph I think it worked out quite nicely.


Well now, this really doesn’t need any explanation does it?

Out of Place

I was struggling to come up with an original idea for this topic. There were almost too many ideas to choose from. I considered setting something up with one of the potential props I was carrying in my bag but decided against it an sought out this simple shot near the Secret Garden instead. I struggled with the focus a little but it’s not my worst image.


Conceptually this is my favourite as my random tweet at the time will attest to. I took the lift up to one of the upper floors in the NCP car park near the Millennium Stadium which at 7.00pm was nice and quiet since the shoppers had headed home again. I’m really happy with the way this shot turned out. I played with different light levels and decided that this, the darkest image, was by far the strongest.


This one might be a little too abstract for it’s own good but I thought that this shot of some moss made for a more interesting image than a number of landmarks that I tried shooting. Again, with hindsight I think I should have switched back to my standard lens for this shot.


I decided that a literal picture of a smile would be far too obvious and happened to have a plastic cock with a moustache stuck on it ready and waiting… as one does.

If this doesn’t make you smile…

Looking back over the shots I took I think my personal favourites are ‘Handmade’ for the effort and personal touch put into the making and ‘Silence’ as I mentioned above for the concept of the shot; I’m also particularly fond of the subtle dark colours in that shot.

I spent most of the day soaked right through and on Sunday morning my legs felt as if I’d climbed a mountain. Despite this I would do it all over again in a flash and I’ll be looking forward to next year’s event.

You can view my photographs along with those by some of this year’s other entrants in the Photomarathon 2012 Flickr pool here and you can follow a Twitter timeline of the day on Storify here.

Click here to view my photographs from the 2011 Cardiff Photomarathon
Click here to view my photographs from the 2009 Cardiff Photomarathon

Milkwood Market

I will be selling my handmade wares at Milkwood Gallery’s Market on Sunday 8 July 2012.

Stalls will once again fill Milkwood for you to gander at from Midday and hopefully we’ll have some entertainment for you all in the evening. Expect a fair full of craft and vintage folk for folk who love craft and vintage! So come and be part of it!

Confirmed Stall Holders include:

  • Crafty Cakes Cardiff
  • Spike Dennis
  • Gold Lion
  • Lucy Lilley
  • Vintage Zizou
  • Laura Rocksteady
  • Spiral Craft
  • Gin Payne
  • Amanda Bathory
  • REtrose
  • Mati Stuff
  • Helen Woodward
  • Leanne Taylor
  • Sarah Edmonds

There will also be workshops taking place at the gallery including:

  • Beginners Ukulele Workshop with Nick, 6.00pm (Ukulele’s provided) FREE

  • REtrose Collar Making Workshop, 3.00pm £5.00

Six by Four

Earlier this year I donated a little drawing to Six by Four, the UWE MA fundraising exhibition hosted at Motorcade FlashParade in Bristol. I’m a little late posting these images of the exhibition but you can spot my red UWEnicorn on the end of the bottom row of postcards if you look carefully.

You can view more images from the exhibition on the Motorcade FlashParade website here.

Six by Four was a fundraiser for The University of the West of England’s MA Fine Art Show organised by artist Elizabeth Dismorr. Artists, illustrators and designers (students, emerging artists, and established names) donated one or more postcard sized pieces of work to be sold at a set price at the preview and following days, (or until sold out!).

Unfortunately you’ve missed your chance to purchase a postcard sized masterpiece from this show now as the exhibition ran from the 3 – 6 May 2012.

Photographs via Motorcade FlashParade

Mermaid Meringue

Typographic Embroidery: Mermaid Meringue | Spike Dennis 2012

Hand embroidered type on canvas. Available in my online shop this weekend.

Unicorn Cake

Hand embroidered with cotton threads on canvas.

Little Summer Benefits

14 – 27 June 2012
Cultivate Gallery
Vyner Street
E2 9HE

Opening night: Thursday 14 June, 18:00 – 21:00
Opening hours: Cultivate is open from 11.30 – 18.00, Thursday to Sunday

Following the success of the recent Bodies exhibition I have been invited to exhibit my series of seven unicorn embroideries on black as a part of Cultivate’s next exhibition, Little Summer Benefits.

Little Summer Benefits is Cultivate Gallery’s two week long summer salon style show of smaller pieces of affordable art. No work is bigger than A3 (plus frame) and all work is on sale at no more that £200. Cultivate are anticipating a packed gallery full of work of all shapes and small sizes, walls alive with diverse contradictions, with careful blends of styles, thriving with a complete cross section of artistic creativity, contemporary mark making, complimentary flow and beautifully different pieces. There certainly will be something for everyone.

Explore some very reasonable priced art from artists who who have already benefited from exhibitions at Cultivate (as well as new artists showing for the first time). Artists who have shown their work over the nine months that the artist-run gallery space will have been running for by the time the show opens, as well as artist who will be showing as the team carry on cultivating new exhibitions and projects.

Cultivate expect the show to evolve over the two weeks as works leave the wall and new pieces arrive. 10% of the sales will go to support the gallery and help keep it alive (that’s the Little Benefits bit), 90% goes to the artists and keeping them alive and supporting their practice.

10 Words for Unicorn