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By: Lee Devonish
B.A (Hons) Fine Art, based at K College's Henwood Campus, Ashford. My blogger profile: http://www.a-n.co.uk/degrees_unedited/article/1650...
# 43 [30 June 2012]
Now that the degree show has opened in Chatham, it’s time for my last post.
I’ve been thinking about why it’s meant so much to me. Why have I been trying so hard to prove myself, and to whom?
In 2000 I told my ceramics tutor at MassArt, Ben Ryterband, that I was dropping out to get married. As he walked down the corridor, he turned dramatically (as actors in American movies do) and said, “You’re good.” I held on to that for years, probably because I felt it was all I had.
When I came to the UK as a 21 year old newlywed, it was with the promise that I could start again where I’d left off, but that went unfulfilled. All of my ideas hung in the air, and getting to grips with my new life, and what I was supposed to be from then on, made my former art practice seem alien and out of place. Was it actually any good?
At first, I didn’t have a kiln, so I tried to go back to painting. Nothing worked. I had no confidence at all left. Most of my ambitions or ideas were batted away with, “You wouldn’t be able to do that,” or, “You can’t.” I believed it eventually. I assembled a ceramics studio and spent my free time working away at that, but without the grand, groundbreaking result that would convince the world (and myself) that yes, I was actually good. By the time I was expecting my son, and could no longer reach into a top-loading kiln with my expansive pregnant belly, I felt that I could never get myself back.
After I discovered a few years later that my husband didn’t exactly share my view of monogamy - or living with me, for that matter - I sold the entire contents of my ceramics studio in a panic for £100 and moved a few villages away. Sewing handbags and cushions to sell to country ladies wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but it just wasn’t worth it after all the work I put into it. And I put a lot of work into it, mostly at night when my son was asleep. Apart from the laborious nature of the work, I just fell out of love with it. It wasn’t me, but I hadn’t been me for years. It came down to now-or-never, do the degree or forget about it forever. The plan: be practical, become a teacher for the term-time work, and that’ll take care of the single mother/scapegoat for society’s woes problem. Then I could get far away from here. But what was I good at again?
I was nervous when I started the course in the second year of the HND, because I wanted to prove that they’d made the right decision in letting me in at that stage. As soon as I realised that it was alright, the goals changed; I had to prove that I hadn’t wasted all those years, that I was still good at this. But good enough for whom? Or what?
Where did this obsession with validation come from? I think it’s come from so many years of being unfulfilled and unhappy, and trying to make up for lost time. Sometimes I think of how my life would be if I’d have done my four years at MassArt... would I have gone back to Barbados, or stayed in Boston? I never had any plans whatsoever to even visit England on holiday. Of course, I couldn’t change anything, because I couldn’t imagine my life without my son.
Since September, I’ve learned an amazing amount about myself - what I’m capable of, what I'm not good at, and what I want to do. Being a primary/secondary teacher isn’t on my list. I’ve realised that all of those years weren’t wasted, but that they’ve made me the driven, focused worker I am today. Now, I’ve got my first-class honours degree. I know it doesn’t define my real value, but means a lot to me, a lot more than it could ever have done if I’d have finished it nine years ago. I do know now that the only person I wanted to prove anything to was myself. And now that I've done it, whatever comes next is going to be all right.
# 42 [22 June 2012]
My neighbour’s music is once again seeping through the brick wall as if it were nothing more than a sheet, but as soon as I started to stir some indignation, I realised that this time it’s a live Peter Gabriel dvd, and I can’t think of any way to complain about Peter Gabriel. Apart from the sound being a bit muffled, and not being able to watch it.
In a way I’ve looked forward to this post and dreaded it at the same time, because of having to admit to what an extraordinarily emotional week I’ve had since the show opened. What on earth was that all about? Fatigue, mostly. After pushing uphill towards the goal of the opening on Friday night, I got to the top and promptly rolled down the other side, and ended up aching all over. All of Saturday was spent in the house, most of it lying flat and near comatose, apart from having to feed Mr. T and the birds. After campaigning for the Saturday opening, I was too knackered to make use of it. When I did get up, I could do nothing but fret about not getting the jobs I’d already applied for, and frantically search for more.
Feeling better on Sunday afternoon, I decided I had to make use of the last two hours of South East Open Studios, as I’d found out there were two on the other side of my village. I dragged myself and the boy out to walk around to the artists’ houses, which coincidentally were side-by-side, semi-detached cottages; the proverbial two birds to my one stone. It seemed like a good thing to do, to see real people making the art they wanted, without a module, crit or brief in sight. I should do the Open Studios next year just to see how the village reacts to my post-Goldsmiths work...
Now I can waffle, but my talent for waffling has been tested to the limit. Mavernie, our course leader, brought some college bigwigs over to my space on the opening night and bade me speak about the work. So I spoke, and I’m not sure, but I think it made some kind of sense. I can’t really remember now, as I was exhausted, running on fumes (and a glass of Private View wine, naturally) and obsessed with trying to stop my labels from falling off the wall. I did stay nearby and chatted with viewers, and I’m sure I managed to appear normal throughout. By the time Monday and the final crit came around, I’d perked up enough to string some more fluff together about the project and the way it had progressed, and all that. We know each other’s work so well now, though, that it turned into quite a good little chat. It also helped immensely that Ellie served up tea, cake and chocolates from her protest tent throughout the entire day. I’ll be disappointed by any performance art that doesn’t involve tea from now on.
We left feeling buoyant, but the next day, the tension returned with the arrival of the external valuator, Deborah Gardner. We tried to come up with ideas to pass the time as we waited in the refectory to be called in individually. I was last. By that time, I’d really had enough of talking about the work. I was also struggling with the fact that I still hadn’t had any success with my job search, and was becoming increasingly depressed about it. Having an unjustifiable amount of pride doesn’t help in that regard. I felt like a week-old party balloon. Still, I did my usual thing - talked and talked and talked.
Since then, mercifully, I haven’t had to say too much. I wobbled my way through the unemployment blues like a kite without a tail, but managed to emerge yesterday. Having a cackle whilst invigilating with Kate Linforth helped, as did hearing lots of praise for my work from some more bigwigs brought my way by Mavernie - from the council this time. Getting a package full of chocolate goodies from Ireland when I got home sealed the deal! Today, the first artist whose studio I visited on Sunday came to the show, which was a lovely surprise. I didn’t mind talking about the work then. But I’m definitely looking forward to a week of shutting up before setting up in Chatham for next Friday’s opening.
# 41 [15 June 2012]
Shattered only just begins to approach my current physical state - pulverised seems far more adequate for tonight. After a late night/early morning spent squatting on the living room floor, screwing frames together into a strange jigsaw arrangement, I was wondering how I would find the energy to stand up straight at the opening. My knees didn’t want to co-operate. Yet somehow I did manage to stand up straight, in shoes, whilst holding a glass of wine, and speak mostly coherent things on demand. In the end, the construction dramas faded away, the shelves I made looked just fine once they had their respective Philips atop them, and I decided that I did not, after all, hate all of my paintings as I had done at 2 a.m the night before. But I’m too tired to say much more, so I shall have to expand on the night that was my degree show opening in the week to come.
# 40 [8 June 2012]
Since Wednesday the dismantling of the studios has been attacked with a real vigour that’s buoyed us all up, but it’s wearing off a little now. I’m tired. Poor Xanthus is exhausted by the amount of work still left to do with mounting his 420 paintings, and as the only one of us with any training in construction, he’s ended up doing a lot in the studios. I’ve been going to the college for the last two mornings and then driving over to Stour Valley Arts’ gallery to do my afternoon shifts, and trying to finish my work in the evenings. I’ve also been prodding everyone to get their cards printed for the catalogue, which has meant performing a bit of late-night photoshop surgery on others’ photographs. As long as they all arrive before the show opens, it’ll be fine. It’ll be fine.
Although I’d had enough of dismantling walls and marking out new ones, I did go to Jon Adams’ talk at the gallery on Wednesday night. I thought it would be interesting in itself, and also an interesting insight on the delivery of artists’ talks in general. I wasn’t wrong - I was very surprised at just how much the exhibition came alive for me because of the presentation, and very glad I made the effort. In fact, it might have led to other things as well. Beforehand, I was speaking to Dan, SVA’s curator, about Goldsmiths (he’s an alumnus) and my plans for writing, and today at the gallery, the acting director asked me if I would write a piece on Jon’s talk. After that, I managed to tell her about my idea of SVA holding an open submission exhibition - I was chatting about this with Kate L. a few weeks ago - as a way of forming links with the local arts network, and y’know what? I think it went down quite well! Since I won’t be disappearing down to Portsmouth any more, I’d better see what I can do to stir things up close to home.
I’ll need to divvy up my time carefully in the next few weeks though. Even though the show will be up by this time next week, I’ve got quite a few things to fit in after that. The piece on the talk/exhibition, first of all, then scheduling a few regular articles for two culture blogs I volunteered to write for a few months ago which have just come back to me, and of course, rehearsals for the band projects. I’m only sure about one of them going ahead because I seem to have lost the emails from the new group, and can’t quite remember what I said to them or even when I said I’d say something to them.
There’s still a firm offer from the original band, an offshoot of the 10-piece I temped with last year. They’ve got a fantastic bass player from a well known 80s band (whose biggest hit always gets played at all the weddings I’ve been to - I’ll say no more) so they won’t be needing me for that. However, I did get an email asking if I could play guitar. I said yes. A week after getting that email, I finally got the guitars down from the wall with their mocking, dust-encrusted headstocks, and tried to get my fingers around their six teeny strings when what they really want is four fat ones. Well, I’m pleased to say that the results weren’t as crushing as I thought they’d be! I can still find B7 from C without too much trouble, but there’s no way I want to actually have to do this in front of a professional musician. The days when I’m not invigilating at the degree show until the rehearsal on the 23rd are going to be spent in intensive practise sessions until I’ve got some level of confidence up.
It’s fairly important that I give these groups a good shot, as worryingly, they’re my only promise of paid work post-graduation. I’ve been applying hither and yon, but admittedly, only for jobs that I actually want. Of course, everyone wants them, and there’s the issue of experience. I’m experienced, but probably not in that minutely specific way each one seems to expect. Soon I’ll be going for more generalised office-type gigs, I suppose. Still, a gig’s a gig.
# 39 [1 June 2012]
I don’t have room for uncertainty. I’ve been through enough of it in my life and nothing rankles with me more. That’s why I need a plan, or a list, or some kind of diagram. And that’s why the last seven days have been such a - dare I employ such a cliché - rollercoaster ride.
Seven days ago I received an offer of a place at Goldsmiths.
Six days ago I drove to Portsmouth to spend some time with my boyfriend, went to Art Space Portsmouth’s open studios event, did some carving and got some difficult news from an old friend.
Five days ago I asked my boyfriend a question and got an answer I didn’t like, fell out with the old friend, bought some sandpaper for my sculpture, did some more carving, got into the car, sobbed briefly and drove back to Kent.
Four days ago I went to an interview at UCA for an MA course, patched things up with my old friend, patched up my soap sculpture, cleared up my space in the sculpture room and had an awkward phone call with my boyfriend.
Three days ago I poured some plaster around a ceramic face, talked about shelves and plinths, got an amazing mark for my dissertation, grinned for the whole day, decided that my boyfriend was right, tried to work on my sketchbook but ended up listening to rocksteady and reggae on YouTube and skanking around the living room.
Two days ago I went into college with a head full of Toots and the Maytals, sang in the sculpture room and got caught by a fashion tutor, worked on my sketchbook and curation essay, took some of my equipment home, worked on a bursary application, planned with my boyfriend for his visit over the weekend, played a lot of dancehall and dub and danced around some more.
Yesterday I went into college, worried about how I would manage to go to Goldsmiths, worked on my sketchbook and curation essay, volunteered at my son’s school, barely maintained my sanity in the midst of the baying herd of children, stayed up far too late re-writing the essay and evaluation, and thought about how well things were going with my life.
Today I went into college to print my paperwork and hand it in with the sketchbook, rushed to Stour Valley Arts gallery with my son tagging along as it was a teacher training day, set up the gallery and spoke to a visitor about the show, received an unexpected email from my boyfriend, read the email, tried to understand it, replied, read the reply, replied, read the reply, asked for a decision, broke up with my boyfriend, smiled at the gallery administrator and drove home.
During the course of writing this blog I’ve been worrying out loud about all sorts of things. From the very start I was sweating about doing an MA, and now I’ve got a plan for that. Now I need to come up with a plan for working it around a small child, but I’ll do my best. I’ll sweat about it a bit as well, but that’s what I do. I worried about the process of recording relationships in my artwork, and now I’ve done just that with my last, as well as recording its beginning and end in public prose. I managed to experience the very transition to ex-dom I described... and dreaded. Never mind; it’s a risky and usually painful thing, having relationships as a fundamental part of my practice. But I’m a big girl. There’s a kind of poetry in having painted parentheses around this part of my life, in which Luke featured. As for the future? Right now I can only think fourteen days ahead, when all of this work will reach its peak and the show will open.
In the meantime, I have Toots.
# 38 [24 May 2012]
Art opens doors. Or gates.
Since the sculpture is the main priority now that the time’s running out, I decided to devote the studio time to making the last cast in soap, and take the carving home. It’s easier doing it at night, as I can’t paint without the natural light anyway. Then, without any warning, the sun suddenly reappeared. I decided that the only way to remain sane was to take my table and tools outside and get some sun at the same time as working, and so I found myself outside of my house yet again, but on purpose this time. I thought I might get a few looks, but I got more than a few appreciative comments as well. In fact, after the second day of working outside, I’d spoken to neighbours I’d only known by sight for the last four years. Mr. T and I found ourselves invited over by our pipe-smoking, tractor-driving farmer neighbour and his wife to bottle feed two sock lambs (Bernard and Meep Meep). Just as I thought the cuteness had risen dangerously close to lethal levels, we were introduced to some turkey chicks in their incubator, as well as Bear, the ex-racehorse who liked to get into one’s personal space, his three horsey mates, and two proper farmhouse dogs. Four years in this place and look at what spending two evenings outdoors with a wooden head does! Oddly, it’s not the plaster cast that gets the conversation going, despite the fact that I’ve obviously made that as well; it’s the wooden version that people relate to. It’s interesting how the change in material affects people.
But just in case you were beginning to think that the biggest development in my week revolved around farm animals, you’d be wrong. It was definitely the purchase of 12,500 grams of soap from the 99p store. Sounds better than 25 value packs. I decided to try the rebatching method for my sculpture - there’s been quite a bit of delving into the online world of soap, purely for research purposes - and that meant endless grating of bar after smelly bar, then cooking the whole lot in a cauldron, pressing the congealed gloop into the mould and hoping for the best. Thankfully, Ellie helped me to grate the last four or five bars, when I’d lost the will to grate ever again.
Between the beeswax which Kate L.’s been using for her fungus sculptures and my hot soap soup, the sculpture room has been an olfactory revelation for most passers-through. Almost everyone who has smelt my wares has said the same thing: that it reminds them of their youth. Primary school toilets and the like. For me, however, it’s been a fairly disgusting experience, as I’ve had to stand over my bubbling pot of soap gloop when I really can’t stand perfumes. It’ll be over very soon though, as the two halves have come out of their cases, and I just need to join them with hotsoapsoupgloopglue. Patent pending.
With only a few days until the studios start to be broken down and the exhibition build-up starts, it’s probably a bit crazy to still be experimenting, but I’d say there isn’t much I can do about that. I’ve never done any of these things before, but I said I’d do them. Sometimes you’ve just got to step out into the soapy unknown.
# 37 [17 May 2012]
Last week I had a rare opportunity to step outside of my constructed self, to escape my rigid schedule and reflect. I sat on the bonnet of my car and stared up at the sky as it passed from blue to grey and back. The wind moved the clouds from left to right and shook the vivid new leaves on the trees. The village moved around me; through the hedgerow I saw the horses gamboling around their paddock, whilst atop the hill the medieval stone church with its glistening weathervane rose into the air, and the voices from the Victorian school house echoed down the road towards me. Neighbours waved from their cars as they drove past. Passers by made polite, British small talk as they went to the village store, and an inquisitive cat came to say hello. I became aware of being at once a part of something, at the same time as being a miniscule speck on the planet’s surface; aware of the futility of our human attempts to regulate the natural order of life and time.
Fortunately, the locksmith arrived before too long to put me out of my misery and let me back into my house.
After putting the kettle on in commiseration for being a numpty and therefore neither being able to spend a few precious hours at the studio carving nor to visit Kate L. in her residency studio in Faversham, all I had time left for was packing for the weekend’s trip to Portsmouth. Rip it up and start again, I say - never mind. I did manage to knuckle down to the carving from Monday onwards, and my elbow seems to hate me a little less each day. Although there’s more to do, it’s not quite as terrifying as it was last week, and there are definitely good passages within the sculpture so far. Over the weekend, I got to spend some time in Southsea, and its library in particular, which is fast becoming one of my new favourite places. ‘Library lust’ isn’t too far-fetched a term - it’s even got a gallery upstairs, and whilst introducing Luke to this new discovery of mine on his own turf, we stumbled upon an interactive long-exposure photography exhibition. Why-oh-why don’t we have that kind of thing in Ashford?
Actually we do have a gallery in Ashford, and I’m going to start my invigilating there tomorrow. It’ll be interesting, no doubt, but beyond that, I’m not sure what to expect. It’ll be a great way to get some insight into the public interest in the arts in the area. My not-so-secret ambition is to set up artists’ studios in the town, so getting more involved in the current local arts activities is the first step. That’s better than comparing it to the Portsmouth scene, which is many times stronger and more vibrant... and seeing as I don’t live there, it does make sense to do what I can in the area I actually do live in.
As for the village I live in, I’ve survived my first day volunteering at Mr. T’s primary school. Coming straight from spending the entire morning carving in the studio, I was happy just to be following instructions; having little energy reserved for actually planning activities. I had no idea what materials they had at hand or what these kids could actually accomplish. One such accomplishment was a roly-poly into a pile of grass clippings when we were supposed to be making tree bark rubbings, but it was impressive nevertheless. Now that I’ve experienced a bit of it, and the entire class has stared at me and my hair and gotten that out of their systems, I’ve got a few ideas to bring to the next few weeks. Really, I’m so busy trying to get everything ready for the show that I don’t know if it’ll amount to much, but I’ve got to get the kids’ work together into some sort of final outcome or other. At any rate it’s a way of doing something good for the village, which I’ve gone back to observing from my preferred vantage point, behind double glazing.
# 36 [9 May 2012]
Reasons to be cheerful: More than three.
The latest thing to be grateful for is that although the next door neighbour’s music is loud enough to blare through the walls, at least it’s Stevie Nicks tonight. The downside of which is having Edge Of Seventeen stuck in my head, when I only know the chorus and the whoo whoo whoos. I can’t belt it out any more either, as it’s past Mr. T’s bedtime, and if the neighbour hears me he might think I’m being facetious. Anyway, I’m trying to listen to the rest of the album (must be a greatest hits) through the wall.
I’m pretty pleased to have despatched that nasty cold in a relatively short time, and swapped the pong of garlic for the pong of pain relief gel smeared all over my elbow. Gotta smell bad to feel good, I guess. Armed with a medium sized tubigrip for my medium sized elbow and my whiffy gel I tackled the dreaded carving after weeks of avoidance. After a day and a half in the sculpture room, I think all may not be as disastrous as I’d feared, if I can work steadily and carefully to avoid doing real, lasting damage to my elbow.
One bonus was getting my bisque face out of the kiln - I’d saved part of the original clay Phil, shaved it down and set it aside for firing, and almost forgotten about it. Now I think it could well be useful as a sculptural/painting bridge, as well as just a downright creepy, and therefore compelling, thing. I’ve decided to paint this version instead, so even if it serves solely as an experiment, it’s worth having around.
Another reason for cheer was getting another week before hand-in! The relief that announcement gave me was indescribable, especially now that I seem to have divided up and parceled out even more of my scant spare time. The CRB check has come back, so I should be going into Mr. T’s school very soon to do something or other - deliver workshops or provide riot control, I’m not sure which. They’re sure to want an afternoon a week at least.
During Tuesday’s tutorial period I found out about Stour Valley Arts holding a training session for volunteers that evening. It was such an inconvenient time, but I thought it’d be a way of getting valuable experience, and close to home at that. After a farcical interlude which involved arriving early but having to leave to bribe the child with fast food in exchange for sitting still(ish), then trying to move the car to the gallery car park and getting stuck in Ashford’s ring road at rush hour, I eventually ended up at the last half of the session at the gallery. At least I tried, eh? We’d actually been there only a few days before, at the opening of Jon Adams’s exhibition “Look About” and Animate Arts’s “Salue”. It’s exactly the kind of place that Ashford needs, and while I don’t have much time at all now, I still want to get involved if I can.
It was a major relief to find that everyone liked our ad in the Degree Shows Guide, especially seeing as I designed it, and only Kate saw it before it went to print. I’m also happy that I’ve got our website all set up, and that we finally wrangled a confirmation of the Saturday opening, even if just ‘til 12:30. I wrangled it by putting it in print in a national publication - kinda crafty, but I realised that I’d either have to be crafty or continue to be ignored. My editor’s hat is still jauntily perched atop my ‘fro, with only the back page of the catalogue to format, after which I can print the cards and chase the others to get theirs done as well. I’ve only got one person to chase for text, but the process is so straightforward that we still have a wee bit of time to spare. It’s funny how this student rep job has turned into editor, graphic designer and marketing person. Yesterday a host of querulous eyes instantly turned to me when someone asked about invitations... so I made the invitations today. I’ve learned my lesson though; when discussing collecting the info for our labels, I made sure to nominate ‘anyone as long as it’s not me’.
# 35 [2 May 2012]
Here’s the plan.
Finish the four paintings I’m still working on, frame them, call that side of it finished.
Figure out how to make a bucketload of soap from scratch, buy the materials, make a soap Philip. Sounds easy enough.
Finish carving wooden Philip. This is starting to look tricky, since my dodgy elbow is still, well, dodgy.
Paint plaster Philip. When I started this list I thought it would be shorter; perhaps painting plaster Phil will have to wait until the more important things are finished.
I’d planned to have so much more done, but catching a cold from Mr. T (my kid), as well as the aforementioned elbow, has slowed me down somewhat. The tea and chocolate biscuits have given way to herbal teas, pills and my own noxious concoction of garlic and honey - worse for others than for me.
Never mind - I did manage to buy some lengths of moulding to make some frames up for my latest pictures. I wanted to get a jump on the week’s work by going into the studio and cutting the mitre joints with their equipment, but somehow I must have missed the update that instead of closing in the afternoon on Wednesdays, it was going to be just plain closed.
When I started in 2010 I thought it was strange that the studios weren’t open on Saturdays, at least to HE students. At the beginning of this year when we were told that we’d lose half a day mid week, I thought that was bad enough. Now, it’s so close to the end that I refuse to be surprised by anything else that comes my way, as long as it doesn’t interfere with me getting my work done. The lack of equipment and materials does get in the way, but we’ve all worked around that.
Since having a bit of a downer last week I’ve been buoyed by lots of encouraging comments, and having an interview for an MA course lined up does help to keep me chirpy. So far, everyone seems quite happy with what I’ve written about them for our website. It’s been interesting doing the profiles, with some being far easier than others, for some unknown reason. We’ve also had an essay written by Jane Millar for our catalogue, which is fantastic! So far that side of it’s going well, with only a few people left to chase for statements and info. I’ve also got to create invitations and make Jane’s writing into an A2 poster, which we’ll hopefully have printed as vinyl lettering for the exhibition.
The only bit of written work outstanding for the course is that essay on curation, which I just can’t seem to get started on. I’ve got notes, but getting to the outline stage is tricky, especially with so much else to distract me. Now that I’ve admitted it, while I’m held up on the practical work, I don’t have much excuse but to lock myself away with laptop, paracetamol, garlic and honey until something that looks like an essay comes out at the end.
# 34 [25 April 2012]
What a difference 48 hours made - I started off the week on my feet, and now I’m on my head, folded like a paperclip, butt-end up.
After that undignified start, I might as well carry on. The new oil paintings I’ve been working on met with unanimous approval when I took them to the studio on Monday, but the mental mayhem began when I returned the next day with the full amount of paintings and drawings I’ve accumulated, ready to lay them out all together. After a long session of arranging and rearranging, our tutor suggested that the drawings and watercolours jarred with the oil paintings, and that we should try taking them out. Taking them out entirely. Cutting away 40% of the body of work I’ve been amassing since September, despite quantity being one of the piece’s major factors. Looking at the remains, I started to question the entire point of the brief I’d given myself. At this point I became desperate for a cup of tea and a darkened room in which to lie down.
To make things worse, I can see exactly what she means. The others who were present all agreed as well. The oil paintings are just so much beefier that they bully the other pieces, and seen on their own, it’s obvious that they’ve taken on their own unifying language. I can’t fight any of the logic in this pruning; I wholeheartedly embrace the value of editing in writing, so why shouldn’t I apply the same metaphor to visual communication? I guess the editor in me doesn't want to be the edited, but tough. It would definitely be better to have fewer pieces, of higher quality. But dammit, that means a shedload of new work to get through, and probably taking time away from the sculpture. Speaking of which, I haven’t been able to get back to the carving yet because of the sudden development in my right arm of something like tennis elbow (that’s what people keep calling it, but I’d have preferred something more mysterious, although less painful). No swinging a mallet for me for a bit. I must have been visibly wilting under the weight of the work ahead, as the tutor suggested leaving the sculptures to two versions - the candle and the wooden carving. I haven’t come around to that yet - it feels too much like admitting defeat.
All of this is becoming very worrying, when I think about the amount of extra work I’ve given myself, writing for the Henwood 8 website. I do enjoy it, but now that I’ve got three blogs to maintain I think I might be a bit battier than I previously thought. Battiness is something I could use a little less of right now, after realising today that my MA plans have gone down the pan. My current coping strategy for dealing with the onslaught of post-graduation uncertainty that this brings, combined with the unforeseen redirection of my degree show, is to increase tea intake and consume large amounts of chocolate. Large amounts.
In no particular order: Multimedia visual artist/painter/ceramicist/printmaker, originally from Barbados, then Boston, now in Kent, UK. Mother. Occasional writer/singer/bassist.