The last time I turned up at a PV one of the artists made straight for me clutching a screw of kitchen roll- which I was obviously thrilled to receive. I could see the curator looking somewhat intrigued. Little did he know it contained a wasp and a fly.

Everywhere I go people hand me little jars and pots of dead insects. There is more than a little insanity in all this…………………..

My lovely friend Juliet has sent me a matchbox through the post containing moth wings she has collected from under a bat roost.

I am stupidly excited by their arrival and spend the day lovingly constructing in my mind works with them. Favourite at the moment is to paint each one separately in watercolour – and then as a pile of wings – both works on separate sheets of paper; then frame them side by side as one work.

This seems to honour each insect and memorialise it, while at the same time telling the story of its demise.

I can hear an echo of the listing of names on a plaque at a place of massacre.

Anyway- nothing can be done for a while…………just too much else to do. I need to get my work /life balance sorted. I have so many projects waiting in my brain and no time. The hobby horses are very time hungry.

Maybe by the spring I will have changed my mind as to what to do with them completely and this imagined work will be no more than a homeopathic vibe within the final one………

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Another day of sun and showers with the Farningham Hobby Horse Project – this time part of the Ramsgate Squall. We were on the costal path in George VI Park – with Weapons of Sound next door to us as our sound- track.

Great visitors, but a constant watch on the sky and all hands to get the plastic bags on the horses to prevent them getting ruined in the showers made it all a bit wearing.

Ros my partner arrived wanting to try setting them up in a circle reminiscent of a fairground carousel. It took longer to set up but worked well – allowing visitors to go inside and look at the inside rows as well as the outer ring. Less problem with small children wanting to stroke and touch them this time. Last time the parents couldn’t get in to get them out!

Finally left defeated by the weather, accompanied by the drummers, the cafe couple and the visitors. All damp but having had a good day.

All very British by the seaside.



Today the Farningham Hobby Horse Project was to have been a presence at the Ripley Arts Centre. We arrived, unloaded the cars, set them up around the lovely sensory garden in the manner of a sculpture park – something we hadn’t tried before – and the heavens opened. We were drenched, they were soaked and the paper and feathers and the PVA and the sequins and the ribbons so lovingly put on by their makers hung damp and dripping. We voted to bring them home and dry them off. The rest of the afternoon was spent drying everything so we can be on the road again first thing tomorrow for the Ramsgate Squall – on the coastal path – weather permitting.

This project is hard work, requiring two cars, a team of at least four, crowbars, electric drill, generator and endless patience. Somehow in the excitement of starting it all we chose to overlook the sheer repetitive nature of the endless e-mails and phone calls to set up each location, and in the loading and unloading, storing and repairing of 120 hobby horses.

Soon we will have to start looking for indoor venues, but first we have to work out how to stand them up. The favoured solution is some form of wooden ‘log’ each one taking ten horses. Then we can be flexible as to venue and space as they can be in a line, a square, in lines… now just how to make ten of these cheaply…………..


My moth boxes are gone – I took them down to St Mary in the Castle Crypt in Hastings yesterday and installed them alongside Cathryn Kemp’s residency work.

It was the first time I had seen her installation other than in her beautiful photographs. [ see her blog on Projects Unedited to find out more.]

Cathryn has installed white petticoats in this damp, silent place in memory of the 27 young girls who succumbed to TB in the seaside sanatorium and are buried there. Her lighting is very soft and the sound installation is whispered and unintelligible. It engendered in me a feeling of gentle sadness, femininity and of lives that were robbed of the girlish gaiety that the petticoats speak of.

I had wondered if placing the boxes within somone’s completed work would be problematic, but they found an instant niche as sometimes things do. Concerned about the damp I decided to put them on top of a grey wooden apple crate- dusty, and spider webbed. I hoped it would melt into the colour of the crypt walls and it worked well. It also raised the drawings to a height where they are more easily viewed.

I am pleased. They are something to be found. If studied closely the X-Ray/crucifixion images and the fact that the moths are dead add an unexpected darker touch to the installation.

The crypt which is entered through the crypt cafe on the sea front has been an innovative art space but under threat for a while. Thankfully the crypt has been reprieved for a year.

I have been offered a residency in this very special place next summer……I am already percolating the possibilities in the brain.

Lots to think about.


My little wasp has caused a buzz on my Facebook.

An artist sent me this photo of a dress made for the actress Ellen Terry . It is covered in metallic green beetle wings, and has recently been restored to its former glory. I shall be close to Smallhythe Place this weekend so will try to drop in and study it.

John Sargeant painted a portrait of Ellen in the dress so I guess it must have been well known in its day, although I see from Google that in many parts of Asia it was an art making beetle wing material for the wealthy.

One of my best Google finds was this wonderful Victorian beetle wing tea- cosy!!

I keep the insects I am drawing and now have a growing collection of dead insects silently waiting for me to work on an installation ………..maybe dead insect tea- cosys is the way forward…………

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