Last week in a Twitter conversation Kate Murdoch kindly asked me how things were going post-degree – “trying to find order in the chaos – need to be patient and let the dust settle I think!” I said, to which Kate replied “Yes, time to process is good I always think – hard, though, like you say to be patient!”

I’m exactly at the point that Kate touched on  – processing the experiences of the last few months – my work, the degree show and graduation; leaving the safe boundaries of college and establishing my practice. I feel unsure of who I am as an artist all of a sudden – I think this is because I cant see what is ahead of me – in the way I could at college. Perhaps I have become rather institutionalised.

As I had my morning walk around the meadow next to my house I began to piece elements of my working processes together – patterns in my processes and outcomes; connections.  I thought about how my responses tend to develop.

First I select objects and respond to them directly and simply by outlining them – thus acknowledging their presence, their existence.

Then I respond to the object , considering its context and  drawing it as simply as I can in an attempt to drum up the essence of the thing.

I write a lot at this point  to immediately reflect on the process. This drawing seems to be at the core of my work , I make links to context here and begin to get a feel for how my response will develop further – an intuitive stage.

I then seem to decide on how I wish to proceed – materials, motifs, content and the work continues to develop.

I suppose what I’m doing here is thinking out loud about my working process and as a result I answer my own question  – this is what I do. Over the last six years whilst studying I have made all kinds of work in several mediums. Some of this time I haven’t really known about what I’ve really done – just made – sounds strange not to have known or understood all my work. In the early days I think at times I made work and moved on without   truly seeing its meanings. Now I’m standing back and seeing how some of the threads I created in the second and third years of study figure in my current work. This is very tied up in drawing and the influence of working at The Drawing Gallery at that time http://www.thedrawinggallery.com.

Whilst working at the gallery I studied the wide range of works held there and was able to dip into books and catalogues. I really got to look at to drawings in depth. Drawing is exciting – its so immediate and explicit of the hand and mind that created the lines – that we subsequenlty observe. Drawing to me is so readable.

Straight after the degree show I took part in a collaborative project and really enjoyed bringing drawing into the process. it met my need to respond in an immediate,  intuitive and simple way. I feel that this response shows in the drawings I made.


I am meeting with some of the artists and poets who I collaborated with in The Little Museum of Ludlow a few weeks ago as part of a performative event The Paradox of Order  http://www.paradox-of-order.com/

So tonight I’m reflecting on what I experienced and the questions this experience is bringing to my practice. Teresa Albor who originated the process focused part of her documentation of objects around the visual recording of objects with a museum type tag attached to them and objects held in the hand of their owners or finders. I would like to consider potential meanings of these actions and images and they prompt me to ask the questions:

To what extent do I need or wish to interpret objects in material terms (using drawing, painting and installation as in previous work)?

Does the act of performing with the objects and recording these actions satisfy / develop my line of inquiry about our relationship with objects?(beyond drawing etc)

Images showing my hands engaged with the objects and creating drawn lines around the objects resonate with me – I would like to explore these actions further. I’m interested too in the  introduction of the label  – attached to the object as an archival process –  and the relationship it creates – object – label. The label seems to hold a powerful influence over our understanding of the object. The object – label – hand connection suggests further meanings for consideration.


The experience of this whole process has been energising.

Interactions between participating artists and poets has been open and spontaneous for the most part. This was the intention of the host artist and author of the process Teresa Albor.

Teresa told me how she had left explanations of the activity deliberately unclear to allow for a range of responses. Some of us had very defined ideas whilst others (including myself) took a very fluid approach.

Resulting activity includes poems, sound recordings, a two minute talk, drawings and enactments and the auctioning of found objects on eBay. Although this performative collaboration has come to an end (it has run for 3 weeks as part of the Ludlow Fringe Festival) I think it feels to all of us as if it is a catalyst for sharing ideas and for making new work.

For Teresa the collating of work and information and the documentation of the process forms an important part of the scheme and she will be developing ways to record activities.

Today Jean Atkin and I enacted a ritual of return. We had decided to do this earlier in the week when the question arose about what we should do with the found objects in The Little Museum of Ludlow.

An important point to mention here is that one of the objects was a very old and rusty wheelbarrow with a very flat tyre! I had demonstrated to Jean the wonderful noises it made when pushed so she decided to film my journey with the wheelbarrow back to its home (a deserted garden in the town centre).

The tyre was so distorted that the only way I could shift the barrow was to take a really good run at it. I pushed and puffed, the barrow sang out its squeaking, noisy call and Jean speed-walked behind in an attempt to capture the ‘performance’!

It was funny, yet serious, as passers-by and seated coffee drinkers watched and laughed. (The noises even scared a very cute little spaniel).

Here we were in the middle of a market town, busy with tourists and shoppers making art about time and place. It felt great. It was the right way to bring this process to an end – with noise and meaning and bit of theatre.

Once back in the quiet and overgrown garden underneath the parish church we removed some of the (biodegradable) found objects we brought with us and I placed them on an old ivy root against the wall of local stone. It felt like an offertory/ thanks giving experience and Jean and I both fell quiet at this point (after much giggling with the wheelbarrow experience!) Jean hastily wrote a poem, I re-arranged the objects so that I might linger with the work a little more. We filmed and photographed the shrine and the barrow in the overgrown walled garden. It felt intuitive and meaningful and right.

Teresa Albor  http://teresaalbor.com

Jean Atkin  http://jeanatkin.com



The Little Museum of Ludlow is part of a research based project The Paradox of Order,  a collaborative and performative work exploring the question ‘why do we seek order in our lives?’. I have been working with artists and poets and am finding the collaboration really exciting and thought provoking.