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By: Julie Dodd
The day to day life of a struggling artist.
# 277 [25 August 2013]
I feel like this installation has become my life! I eat, sleep and breathe it!
I'm back in work soon and am worried that if I don't complete it before I go back it won't get completed. I did take a little break last night to show my daughter some print techniques. I think I've got her hooked! Can't wait to get started on some printmaking projects of my own now, but one thing at a time.
# 276 [21 August 2013]
I had the unexpected offer of work today for sick cover. It turned out that the guy made it in sick anyway but I still got to work for the morning which was great because I was assisting in my favourite of all activities, printmaking. A lovely group of teenagers screenprinting images of each other. It doesn't feel like work when you are doing what you love does it?
So after feeling like I'd had the morning off I got back to writing proposals this afternoon and this evening up until now. Needed a break so here I am.
My head is full of ideas that I can't write down fast enough so I'm back to list writing. The thing I do more than actually working.
I have emailed my initial ideas for the hospital proposal I was writing about yesterday so that's one thing done... On to the next.
# 275 [20 August 2013]
I feel like I have wasted most of the day. I needed some ink and decided that as I need it urgently I would be better paying extra and being able to get it today so I could make a start rather than waiting for delivery of it from an internet store.
So I went shopping... a few hours later all I've come away with is paper! The ink was so expensive, I just couldn't justify getting it. I've now spent couple more hours browsing sites and purchased it online. I could kick myself though, time is so precious at the moment and I could have used it to cut a few more layers on my Sinister Structure pieces.
I am hoping to put a proposal together this week for a hospital project working with the patients/community. It really needs to be in the form of drop in workshops that will suit anyone so I'm thinking about using a similar workshop in technique to the ones I did at SAICA as that worked so well. I'm planning on introducing paper manipulation to create an installation of curable diseases. It doesn't have to be anything medical but I think enlarged microscopic looking diseases might work well.
If the vaccines were available, the diseases I'm looking at could be wiped out all together like Smallpox has been. Well besides the sample kept in labs. I was thinking of just doing the project on smallpox but I'm worried that the workshops would be to defined and there would be no scope for artistic interpretation or development as an example would just be copied.
I hadn't been thinking about anything medical until a couple of days ago and was going to look at leaves and how they look under the microscope but I prefer this idea now it's started to develop. I've got to try it out yet as the diseases are going to be hard to interpret using paper in this way, but if it doesn't work I'll try something else, maybe the leaves, I can already visualise how they would look.
So my time hasn't been completely wasted today as I've been looking at images of diseases on the internet too.
Just look at this artists work that I've rediscovered.
Anyway back to work.
# 274 [19 August 2013]
There has been a change of plan. I realised that if I make the installation 3.5 m I wouldn't be able to fit it in the car to transport it. The floor space in the car is 150cm by 90cm. When it first occured to me I hadn't thought about this being a problem because I thought I could piece it together at the Lodge but I've realised that the way they are made will prevent that.
After talking to Josie the curator I've deceided to keep the pieces in the three seperate parts, although they need to grow still. There's more work than I had expected left to do now that they are seperate because they need to work as individual works as well as together. The goo news is that the installation can be more than 3.5m overall because the work could go portrait or in both directions so it takes up 3.5m by atleast 3.5m now.
# 273 [17 August 2013]
I went to Chester Zoo yesterday with the family so I did very little work last night as I was exhausted when we got home. A residency there would be great working on a project about endangered animals.
I have worked hard today though. The new work is getting quite heavy to hold with one hand whilst I'm cutting with the other so I think I'm going to have to work on it on the floor this evening. I do think I'm almost there now though, just a few more days and I can start the framed pieces. I am nervous about making non reversible decisions on the composition of the installation now though as I am about to add the final and largest pieces.
# 272 [15 August 2013]
This is the work I am doing at the moment. It is going to be a large scale wall installation made up of several pieces and will measure 3.5 metres. It is for an exhibition in September so I’d better get a move on! I’ve been working on it for about a month now, so I’m going to have to find a way to work faster! It will be accompanied by a few framed pieces of the same subject inspired by images of cell structures etc from inside the human body.
This idea developed after making some ‘Sinister Structures’ books last year, this was followed up with a framed piece for an Arena Auction, slightly different process but giving a similar effect and now I’m making on a much bigger scale for this installation.
I’m still making the books though; PAPER gallery in Manchester took some of my book work to the BALTIC artist’s book fair earlier this year and sold one for the TATE artists books collection. Yippee…
# 271 [14 August 2013]
This is the talk I gave at the inauguration.
'I’m really pleased to share with you my latest installation PM11- Inspiration: a collaborative piece between me and the children who visited SAICA at the weekend.
I’m an installation artist and I usually work with paper or recycled materials so I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to design and create a large paper installation for the mill.
When I first visited SAICA I was given a tour of the mill. I was inspired by the processes involved in the recycling and making of the paper and on seeing the machinery I knew I wanted to design a piece of art based on the paper running between the huge rollers.
But I also wanted to reflect on SAICA’s environmental commitment, so I looked at aspects of the natural world for inspiration. With water playing such a significant role at the mill I have taken inspiration from flowing water and I have also reflected on the trees saved through recycling, so patterns based on microscopic images of pores found in tree cross sections can be seen in the piece too.
The installation was produced using a selection of SAICA’s paper and when I designed the main piece that runs through the installation I split it into manageable sections that I would later connect so that I could leave the outer two sections empty ready to be worked on when the children visited, that way their work would be integrated into the piece.
I wanted the children to experience something a little different in exploring ways of creating artwork during four workshop sessions. The children learnt several paper manipulating techniques through simple ways of rolling and fixing the paper to produce a varied result.
The children were so enthusiastic and very creative with their ideas for the patterns; hopefully they will be inspired to keep experimenting and pushing the boundaries in their art.
I couldn’t bring myself to include this little rabbit in the final piece as it would have been absorbed into the patterns all around it but the others have become part of the final piece and hopefully you’ll agree that children have done an excellent job of completing PM11- Inspiration.'
The rabbit was presented to the Mayor of Trafford after my talk which was a nice finish to my morning and my time at SAICA.
# 270 [13 August 2013]
Earlier this year I was commissioned for a large project for a paper mill. I hadn’t done anything on this scale before and it proved to be a very exciting experience for me. I was approached to submit a proposal for a site specific installation for the reception area. The first step was to be taken on a tour of the mill, I looked the part in my hard hat and steel toe capped shoes but was anxious for an idea to materialise out of the trip. I had pondered over an idea before I went on the tour but couldn't really visualise anything clearly. Luckily when I saw the machinery and the recycled paper being produced it started soming together and after lots of hours using Photoshop the proposal was accepted.
The proposed piece was very crude in its appearance as I was working over a weekend to get it together but I included images of the detail too along with the statement below to accompany the work so that they'd get the idea.
“A collaborative project between the artist and children in the form of workshops was undertaken to create a positive, uplifting and celebratory response to SAICA’s environmental initiative and commitment.
Representing the processes involved in making paper through the paper mill’s machinery, this piece was shaped to represent the cycle taken, combined with inspiration taken from the natural world, including cross sections of trees and flowing water to express SAICA’s dedication to a sustainable future.”
I was to use the paper mills papers which they sent me samples of to choose from. I selected 5 and whilst waiting for the papers I made alterations and scaled up the work. This was nerve racking, if I didn’t get the dimensions right I wouldn’t know until I installed the work which was right before SAICA’s PM11 inauguration. I don’t have space at home to lay out a 5 metre installation so decided to make it in several pieces that would slot together in situ. This also helped with a difficulty I was having, SAICA wanted me to run children’s workshops and wanted the children’s work to be somehow incorporated into mine. Difficult because the children’s work would need to match up with mine and because the whole thing would need to be on the wall the day after the workshops had finished!
I decided that the pieces I was going to slot together would be sections with a base and walls that could be filled with paper patterns, that way I could fill my part of the installation and have it installed previous to the workshops and the childrens could be added later. I made sure the pieces overlapped slightly and I didn’t fill them to the edge, making extras to fill gaps in situ.
I also needed to consider concealing the wall fixings, this was difficult. I came up with numbering pieces that would fit over screws and added them later too.
The piece took around four weeks to make and went up as planned and day before the workshops. The first day’s workshops were with Spanish children, this proved a little difficult because of the language barrier but they grasped what I was showing them and produced some lovely work. The second day was easy because it was with children local to the mill so they understood me straight away.
I gave an artists talk during the inauguration celebrations which was to the largest number of people I've ever addressed. I was so nervous before I went up onto the podium but it went okay, it always is when you're talking about your own work isn't it? I also ran some additional workshops Partingtons local schools which were lovely and I have since written a short article for The Quarterly, The Journal of the British Association of Paper Historians. http://juliekdodd.moonfruit.com/#/article-for-the-quarterly/4578644451
So it was quite a large project for me to take on but very enjoyable and I'm really pleased with the installation.
Photos of the finished work to follow.
# 269 [13 August 2013]
It's been such a long time since I posted anything on here... I'm not sure what to write, or how to start...
Last year finished on a low art wise, although it was seeping into all areas of my life and I couldn't bring myself to share anything. Amongst other things the solo show I was planning fell through due to the building needing repairs, a collaborative project I'd been working on didn't materialise (although it still has potential for a future project), a really exciting venture in London didn't go ahead and I felt that I was just keeping my head above water.
I decided to take a break and start the New Year a fresh, although I didn't actually start anything until February. I was just starting to get restless and felt in need to start something new when I was approached by a consultant agency about a project for a paper mill… since then I haven’t come up for air.
I’ve been thinking about blogging for some time now, it was such a big part of my life but I didn’t want to come back until I had a positive attitude again and now that I have there will be no stopping me!
I’ll post a quick catch up on what I’ve been doing.
# 268 [29 November 2012]
I've been crazy busy. Went to view the gallery at London Rd studios that I'm going to be having my solo show in through Jan-Feb and it's massive! http://londonrdstudios.wordpress.com/
So I've been working really hard on a new body of work which will be shown with other environmental installations. Plus I've been getting work ready for a Christmas show at Merseybio, (I'll be showing my snowfalkes and some Sinister structure books) and I've just finished a new batch of stock for Paper Gallery. Finally I'm in the middle of decorating my Christmas baubles for the Arena Auction, I've completed one side of each of them, just got to match the other sides now!
If you want to find out more about the Arena Bauble Auction look here:
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I graduated from a fine art degree course at Wirral Metropolitan College in 2009 , continuing my practice through a fellowship course during 2009-2010 also at Wirral Metropolitan College. I work as an art technician in a high school three days a week. My art practice is based in printmaking, bookmaking and installation work.