My oldest friend left to go to live in Spain tonight. We’ve done 40 years time together and he’s my go-to person when my world falls in.
When I found out that he was moving I confess to tears and I was unsettled for weeks.
We were abroad at the time and when I came home the first thing I did, instinctively, was to make work. It seemed the only way that I could settle myself, put pieces back where they should be again and be in control.
I sought out a box of leather shoe soles that I had found on the beach in Dungeness – barnacled and covered in salt crystals they were fragile but recognisably honest working items.
The soles found their way into a work that made itself – truly. It just fell into place and yet still gave me that feeling that you get – that high of knowing that a piece is both finished and good.
It became ‘I let go your hand’ and is on the wall in my studio.
Today I have no frenetic wish to make work – I look back on that fortnight with some amazement- at how strong and urgent my need to make was.
It validated for me in some strange way that I was truly a real artist. Doubtless because its what the artist in the garret is expected to do, but also because I seemed to know what I needed and it wasn’t a glass of wine, but to make work.
Artists are strange beings aren’t we?