Sunday, November 28, 2010

Home open, house keeping

With our BIG home now open, we at last begin to send the blog link out to our friends and contacts. Feedback and support is starting to roll back to us so generously, we decide we will celebrate the beginning of BIG by making a gift of one of Lilly's original works to one of our blog 'followers' early in the new year.

Right now though, we laugh about needing a housekeeper here, to sort the sidelines, list the links, scribe our discussions of copywrite and rights, selling and selling out, brand and business, potential and management, and sweep out the mountain of 'draft' posts collecting on our dashboard!

Between housekeeping and home opens, we spend our time in the (art-making) 'work' of it. People have asked how (and why?!) we fit this BIG thing in, and for us both, it seems the work and the collaboration has a will of its own, an unexpected driver that propells words, images and quickfire response accross-country.
We try to keep track of progress and process;

- The postcard is about to go to print...with Lilly's image of the flagship gatherer set to sail around the world to act as both a landmark link to the blog and a BIG invitation.

- Grumpilina and Grumpilotta write and image themselves faster than we can keep up, and we are currently working on their world written for the very young, with pockets of poetry complete with wrap around aprons for our Grumpi ladies to share out with the under fives's.

-Our first invitation to artists and children of all ages to contribute to Issue 1 of BIG Kids Magazine is ready; 'BIRD CALL' will be released in the next week.

The BIG world drafts and re-drafts its way between Sydney and Perth and we take the time to land with each other before it gets bigger.

dreaming a BIG world 
                                                                                                                         illustration by lilly

Friday, November 26, 2010

They could be in two places at once

                                                                                                                                                          illustration by Lilly

'Grumpilina and Grumpilotta could hardly speak for the weight of time on their shoulders. The space between each vertebrae was filled with feast and war and spirit and famine. Celebrations lined their fingers, and disapointment hid behind bent knees. Passion stuck to their ribs, and love was layered in the palms of their hands. Memory mixed up with each miniture cup of candour they drank, and slow coloured words carried by fine winds and shorelines joined their far away tables together. Proximity and postion had become interchangeable and instantaneous. They could be in two places at once.'
                                                                                                                     words by Jo

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Co-authorship, conflict and creativity

It all started out so simply; I came to Lilly with a BIG idea, and she (unexpectedly) met me right at the heart of it. The responsive conversation that ensued is coloured in previous posts and will continue to land here in front of you as it happens. It is a rich and driving place with billowing winds and the occassional crack in the groundswell.

After sailing without a map for weeks, we were arrested by shallow water and sharp edges. Put simply: I didn't expect Lilly. The force of us both in the boat threatened to overturn it and the turbulance has seen us fall head on into faraway lands of lawyers and accountants, percentages and profit and loss. We hit our heads together on the way down and it hurt. Luckily we are both spring loaded.

The difficulty in sorting roles and souls was like a storm in Narnia, all drama, dark wardrobes and late nights. While I retain the role as founder and editor, Lilly has become undoubtedly the co-grounder of this BIG world. BIG is one vision harnessed from two hearts. We now have an agreement that is safe, bold and unconventional and supported by weight, difference, serendipity and the slipstream that sees this BIG world grow at lightening speed.

We both hold on, and we both let go.

With a rocking building in her blood, tiny boats carve new ways through older veins. A procession. A fleet. Anchors lodging in little toes and in the corners of her eyes. Land ho. Miniature armies scale slippery irises, hooking ropes and harnesses to see what she sees. To look with everything. To see with more. The end of childhood comes with the birth of the youngest child. And now she cries. The child. The girl child. And history gets up to feed her.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Welcome: BIG goes live on facebook

To the middle of the beginning of BIG Kids Magazine and the BIG blog.

This BIG site charts the 'making of a magazine'. Here you will see the work in process of two artists, founder Jo Pollitt, and central collaborator Lilly Blue, as we journey toward publishing many voices in the first issue of BIG Kids Magazine, set for launch in 2011.

The artistic processes, conversations and business renderings associated with our journey to publication are openly detailed as we research and write, respond and collect the submissions, characters and worlds of small and large ideas that will become BIG.

the flagship gatherer
At this particular landing, you'll find us already in full sail. If you are interested in the shifting seas that swept us to this point, scroll down to the very first post "The invitation" and read from there.

We invite you to respond in the comments as you read, to move with us as we take the plunge into all that we don't exactly yet know, and all that we do.

Jo and Lilly

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grumpilotta in the night

Grumpilotta gives up the sorrows from her skirts for the stars to burn as fuel to flame the sky.

The Grumpy Ladies have stayed with me since they were first imagined between us. I watch, concerned, as children are sent a clear message that certain feelings are more encouraged than others, some grumpy monkeys thrown out into the rain to make way for the princes and queens of docile light and bright. Little ones are only just finding their way amongst the galaxies of emotions, practicing, performing and polishing their melodies. I feel it is too soon to discard the darker ones in favor of sounds that are easier on grown up ears. We live in a Many Coloured World and Dr Seuss reminds us that some days are yellow, some days are blue, on different days I am different too!

So welcome to BIG Grumpy Ladies, I get the feeling you have a story or two to tell...........


Correspondance with Jo is like being swept up into the arms of the wind, both zephyr and wild. She crafts words so that they do in fact move, with an academic whimsy that is rare and sought after amongst creatives. This new partnership intrigues and stirs me so that I am awake in the night, searching for the child of me in order to draw with the same lyricism as a little boy might render a bird hovering over an egg, in orange and green. 

The potential of co-authorship strips away all that is protective and superficial for me, so that I can get to the heart of this vision, which seems to come from the core of me, at the same time as having a vigorous irrepressible life of it's own. We toss metaphors back and forth, reveling in allegory and motif's that are curious, beautiful, inspiring and generous enough to hold the childhood terrain we are both navigating and fabricating. This dialogue holds, demands, encourages and sanctions so much more than a solitary conversation within my studio walls.

I look into the dark, moonshine stealing starlight, and know that somewhere out there is my confidante and collaborator, equally as fervent, restless, and driven. There is a mother, awake also, drinking in the beauty of a childhood lived for a short time in her arms. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bang Bang: the nuts and bolts

There are many kids magazines. Most of them are television show or toy related. My boys love Scooby Doo, Buzz Lightyear and Mario Bros and much as any child and I love and laugh at the invigorating worlds and adventures they continually create from these established characters.  The mystery of these characters come with step by step instructions to realise each 'adventure' just as it is on the box cover, one Lego brick at a time. The merchandising and perpetual target marketing at kids from the earliest of ages is phenomenal. But this is not the issue that drove my desire for a new magazine. It was simply because there was no other choice on the shelves. I could not find what I thought would be everywhere; publications and reflections of  kids poetic, unpredictable, brave, imaginative, and generous meanderings. 

BIG will offer a choice. A choice for kids, and a choice for parents. BIG will not be exclusive. It will offer another version of the world, one that has space for interpretation and play. My hope is that BIG will sit alongside the established brands, with the magazine thrown open on the playroom floor, in amongst all of it.  BIG will present 'art' as normal, and bring it into the realms of everyday.  It will rain ideas into the mainstream with words and images that spark responses and conversations between children and artists and people all around the world. We plan to make room to for the magazine to also be accessible to children who cannot afford to buy it.

It will cost money, to make, to curate, to print, to publish, to distribute. We accept that business models are integral to this process of creating an ethical, green, responsible and generous magazine. We grapple with ideas of identity as personal, and global. Indeed, a world much bigger than ours but most deliberately built in real houses, real hearts. We acknowledge the parallels of practice as mother artists, as well as our differences. We fine tune tag lines and collect quotes, shuffle postcard designs and share blogs, websites and endless research. We make decisions on form, structure and future with a new attention.

We in the midst of making a magazine that will be launched in 2011.

BIG Kids Magazine; for all kids living in a moving world.

See how she grows

A few feverish weeks later, and, following the first lull in our conversation, Lilly quietly asks me to send her my vision for the BIG world.  It is the first pause of breath, the first question mark of many marks, the first return. To the beginning. Again. 

I take it on as a test, to myself and the BIG world. To see if it knows, if I know. I write her my childhood and get to a clearing where there are birds and descriptions of first flights by the young and very old, by artists and all people, with space for children to spend time in their own lives, to be still for a second in the increasing noise of everything spinning around them.

I sail a small craft into headwinds of seeing that are spectacular, and concrete, and wondrous and shared. BIG tells me it will build cities and landscapes of memory in my children as my mother did in me. Deep reservoirs for thought and reflection (and action) without breaking into their world or creating it for them. Just an opening. A way in to fly among the birds with equal parts beauty and spirit, mischief and mayhem. 

I send the co-ordinates of the new world back to Lilly and marvel as her latest images animate in front of me; pencilled children, feet off the ground in wordless motion with tiny cities unfolding along the sides of long legs. Immediately we are galloping atop the Faraway Tree, gathering the crosswinds and shaping them into rooms and characters with edges and definition drawn from the restart.

So with history and detail now firmly creased in our meanderings, we meet in the fold and boldly step off the BIG cliff for a second time. A flight that demands we passenger it, tailor it, respond to it, and continually fuel the mainsail.

Raise the anchor.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Mother and The Artist - a Conversation

Grumpilina and Grumpilotta by Lilly and Twyla

I have always danced somewhere between the earth and the sky, preferring height and air to the feel of ground, and asphalt, and hard edges. In birthing this BIG I find myself withdrawing from the practical demands of figuring things out, and leaning into the meandering, dabbling, daydream lands where doodling and pouring ink reveal characters, and tales, and trails that beg to be followed. A little hand wraps itself around my stained fingers and a small person skips along by my side, traveling these newly revealed paths with the wonder necessary for the world to become enchanting again. Her presence feeding, driving, pushing and pointing me in directions I would never have noticed if not for her new and curious eyes. The accidents, limitations and glee of a toddler leaving me inspired, stretched, and profoundly exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that gives this strange, and at times disappointing life, a deeper kind of meaning. 

I am a mother. I am an artist. There is a constant, liquid juggling of charcoals and baby dolls. I find a  new groove, a frolic, a tango and a fresh interpretation of what it means to create, to collaborate, to nurture and to provide. I rediscover myself in the layering of one upon the other, feeding and informing back and forth and back again. Mothering unbridles my art making, and living a creative life imbues even the most challenging sleepless domestically laden moments with poetry and mystique.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A question of time

This BIG world has made me restless. And rest less.

It is an equation of time divided by 3 children, several arts projects, a neglected domestic sphere, and an inner disposition of associational imagining and distraction. Of continual interruption by my own life.

Lilly and I communicate the planning of issues, the  inviting of contributors, and the impossibility of time, all while charting and creating the BIG landscape and its inhabitants. There are thousands of words crossing the country in any one 24hour period. We forage to distil the central ideas while moving at a breakneck speed into places we didn't forecast arrivals for. Accumulating each other, the ideas and too much of all of it in a concentrated game of  Pass the Parcel without end.

I have an hour now and immediate panic for what I should attend to. First to land, to arrive. Then to stretch the far that I create a space in between the end of one minute and the beginning of the next. And finally to live in that space for a moment, (the one out the window where there are no deadlines and it is compulsory to daydream), and rest in it.

I laugh at the alternating urgency and delaying of time I frolicked in as a child, and watch it now in my own children. Kids have a way of tricking time. Of extending it and compressing it to fit their needs. I marvel at their play when there is no question of time at all. The way they own that space between the minutes in a way we have forgotten.

In a split second, I remember the password to time, and put it in my pocket for later.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grumpilina and Grumpilotta

                                                                                                                      illustration by lilly

'Grumpilina and Grumpilotta fussed and twisted the clouds of dark days into froths of clear coloured bubbles that split and ran away from the seams of their pockets into rivers of goodies that silver children collected in rope bags of laughter. The Grumpy ladies carried shining secrets and gave them to any children who could see they really weren't grumpy at all, just too grown up.'  words by Jo

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Treasure maps

I scribble the word past midnight, over and over and over again. Knowing I should get some sleep. Gripped with a hunger (yes I know that sounds unnecessarily dramatic, yet I really do feel taken by this in the most extreme way) so yes, gripped with a hunger to understand more about how exactly one gives birth to a magazine? I know what a flatplan is now, and having always loved maps, I am delighted with the thought of it. I rip up ideas and float them around on the floor, inspired by the way Jo puts words together to paint her stories, every action of mine triggered by something she has insinuated or dreamt. 

The beginning of a creative project is always chaotic and accelerated for me. Ideas come more quickly than I can grasp them, capricious and loud. I find myself talking too fast, not at all concerned about making sense or connections yet. Taking lots of notes, doodles, lines pointing to words wrapped around pockets of things tied together with string. At some point we'll let the quieter ones fall away, and begin to see the shape of this new world; brave, colourful and generous. Soon we'll search for treasure, but for now I love the mystery and bedlam that comes at the beginning of it all. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Long distance art direction

Today I had an invigorating phone meeting with a generous and imaginative Sydney based art director who is helping with the practicalities of this magazine making. (Skype was down but the baby slept through!)

I love the way working long distance can make communication become personal so quickly. The geographical space between two known points seems to generate a shared platform that invites openess, demands clarity and bring ideas closer together with a sense of fair play and honesty.

Lilly and I are working like wildfire to formalise the intangible, design fonts, collate stories, realise characters and map our way into this BIG world; all in our seperate studios, side by side on either side of the country.

It stirs constant butterflies on the inside of my bones to see BIG taking shape so solidly outside of my imagination.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Domain games


On the exhale, I pick my brain up off the floor and look around at the BIG world again. After a week of juggling DNS and CNAME and help turorials and exasperation, I have managed to finally transfer the blog to our new domain name. And here we are. Live again.

This virtual navigation is certainly different to the supporting frame of the dance studio, where physicality works proximal to thought process in a mutually responsive way. These domain games have seen me spin out of sight in the ether with no legs and no weight.

We now own the domain name of for three years and hope you will hold a hard copy of this BIG new world in your hands long before then!

It is good to have finally landed.


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