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By: Jane Ponsford
The title of the blog, from a piece of writing by Anni Albers is a rather apt description of the exhilarating feeling of freefall (or is it flying?) that I am feeling now as I emerge from a twelve month project and residency.
This year's projects: 'Recycle by Design'.
'Contemporary Art in the Surrey Landscape'.
'So Surrey' based at Caterham
St George's Arts http://stgeorgesarts.wordpress.com/
# 21 [13 June 2008]
The Surrey Open Studios are on now and I am attempting to make work at the same time, which is something of a juggling act. I have some work to make for the launch of the 'Art in the Surrey Landscape' project. This is to be a temporary intervention on the bank of the canal at Woking next to the Lightbox Gallery. I am also coming to the end of my set of workshops there as part of another project so need to ensure that the children have all had the chance to make what they wanted to. My own work for that project is having to take a bit of a back-seat right now and I am looking forward to being able to re-engage with it.
# 20 [11 June 2008]
Week 7. Book-binding was the focus of the workshop today. The sheets of paper are being put together in their final form with much decision-making about different types of binding and thread v string dilemmas. I took some photos of the work I have been making as part of the project in to the education rooms because the hard thing is having to communicate the process of making without the work being there to see. It made me realize (again) just how lucky I had been in my last project where the making of artwork had been much more evident. Although I am enjoying the work that is emerging from this project.
Earlier in the day I had a very interesting discussion about a future project where I would have more of a curatorial role. It's a development that I find exciting. Watch this space!
# 19 [3 June 2008]
A really rainy day. I'm getting my stuff together to go off to the Lightbox for my workshop. I thought I'd post a photo of one of the pieces we have been working on over the last few sessions.
# 18 [2 June 2008]
The week went fast. It was good to stand back from the workshop side of the project for a few days and assess things. I really enjoy working with people but it's hard to give enough attention to your own work while the teaching side of things dominates.
I have been preparing for the Surrey Artists Open Studios, putting a small display in the window of Waterstones in Guildford as part of the 'Street Gallery' initiative. That was fun actually. It's interesting seeing things in another context. The Open Studios is a lovely way of meeting people but I don't aim to use it as a money-making, career promoting activity it's more of a wild card kind of thing.
Other artists from SAOS, Angela Thorne, Lisa Pettibone, Martyn Perryman and Faye Campbell are showing work in other windows around Guildford. More details from the Open Studios website.
Tomorrow I am back at the Lightbox with my group of kids. We are going to be concentrating on self-directed work using any or all of the techniques we have gone over since the sessions started and the next week we will start to assemble the books they have been making.
# 17 [27 May 2008]
Brilliant news! The Lightbox Gallery, where my current project is based, has won the Art Fund Prize. This prize formerly the Gulbenkian Prize is an extremely prestigious one and well deserved in my opinion. The Gallery is not only a beautiful new building but also has a team of enthusiastic, positive people working to establish it as a much needed art resource in an area without much art provision. It has a good local history gallery too and always seems to be full of school children and local visitors as well as those from further afield.
This week, being half term is a break from my papermaking and recycling workshops too, giving me a chance to continue with my own project within the project. Coming up soon is the Surrey Artists Open Studios and towards the end of the week I am installing a small selection of work in the window of Waterstones in Guildford to publicise it. So another busy week.
# 16 [21 May 2008]
Week five. The afternoon went very well. We did printmaking and burst into colour. The children made some good work and were happy to experiment. Some or all of these prints will be added to their book structures after the half term break. I am hoping that I'll be able to take their long strips of paper back into the Lightbox to hang by a window or somewhere the light can catch it. There are problems with being able to hang things though because being such a new building no-one wants to make holes anywhere. Drawing pins are a no-no! However Lynn, the education manager has promised to work out a method.
# 15 [15 May 2008]
There are too many conflicting and competing things to do this week. To mix my metaphors, I have too many fingers in too many pies and my chickens are coming home to roost. On a more positive note though, the work for the Lightbox Gallery feels as if its working out. I am finding it really interesting to re-examine my relationship with 'stuff'.
# 14 [14 May 2008]
Week four. We got on well today, finding textures in the courtyard garden and making paper from a variety of recycled materials. We also made another long composite sheet to hang with the others we had made last week. The materials we used to recycle into new paper included brown envelopes, pages from discarded books and money. The last was the most popular with the children. The idea of sticking hundreds of pounds worth of bank notes into a blender and seeing what happens is quite appealing! Before you go away with the thought that this art project is possibly over-funded if we can casually pulp money; be aware that this is pre shredded by the Bank of England and can be got from them free plus postage and packing! Monday saw me washing the shredded bank-notes in biological washing powder to remove the characteristic smell and grime off the paper. So I can also add money laundering to my CV.
# 13 [11 May 2008]
The workshops at Farnham on Saturday went really well. It was a very enjoyable day if extremely busy. Note to self; queuing system next time! Dozens of sheets of paper were made, mainly to be carried off by proud participants and a good time was had by all. Many thanks to the wonderful people who were conscripted to assist at short notice.
# 12 [8 May 2008]
I am drying the rest of the paper today. It is wonderful to be able to dry it outside, usually I have to use hot-plate type dryers with large quantities of paper. Later I am nipping into the Lightbox to pick up some of my equipment because on Saturday I am running a workshop at Farnham Maltings as part of their 'Farnham Creates..' events. I am also working on a growing installation through the day with (I hope) participation from the public.
More information from www.farnhammaltings.com
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Jane Ponsford is an artist based in the South-East. Her work, sculpture, bookworks, installation is often ephemeral and delicate and involves repetitive, laborious processes, constructing sculptural forms made up of hundreds of near identical fragments.