This seems to have fallen by the wayside a bit …apoplogies all.

The usual autumnal bug that makes you feel rubbish and puts a stop to all the things you wanted to do. In my case hearing Tom Hackney talk as part of my course. Oh well.

I did manage to go to what was billed as a Symposium at UCA Farnham by Unravelled – the organisation that puts site specific and installaion art into National Trust houses.

After recently installing Echo in Knole House I was really looking forward to this. Not as good as I had hoped …what is it with these days. I am getting a bit jaded with them. So often woolly thinking, and speakers who seem to be treated with undue reverence.

This time they started late and the last speaker didn’t show. I want to come away from these days for which I have paid feeling invigorated, refreshed, with new ideas or concepts in my head. This means that the day has to be inclusive of the audience.

Days in which I have listened to endless speakers from an organisation telling me how wonderful they are doesn’t do it for me. I think it’s rude. At least there has to be some form of address to your audience – some indication of that they are there, have bothered coming, how they might become involved.

In this case the main man hadn’t even prepared anything – just bought his huge PowerPoint and flipped through it missing out pages that weren’t relevant or he didn’t have time to cover, or we weren’t grand enough to merit…..

So sad- if you lead something you should be inspirational- to the worker bees as well as the Queens.

The last speaker of the day, Lindsay Sears was really exciting both as a speaker, thinker and artist. She shared her process, and her work and was inclusive and interested in her audience and I will now seek out her work and follow what she does.

That all said the lovely curator who sat next door to me was interesting enough to make the whole day worth it!

So – today.


After all these years of blogging and e-mailing and Twittering and hopes and plans that never quite took off – tonight she and I will be having a drink in our local pub.

Can’t wait.

Hooray for a-n I say.


No new work done yet but I continue sorting and throwing.

This afternoon I was at college to hear sculptor Doug White talking about his practice. I have a passion for listening to artists talk about how they work. I will hunt for videos on the internet late at night and watch Anselm Kiefer in a huge brick building or Susan Hiller talking at the Tate late into the night.

I had thought that this was all good, but I am beginning to think I might just be indulging in a form of displacement activity. Watching someone else work!

Interestingly Doug owned up to having bought a rural shed to house all his past work. He said – and it resonated with me – that he had wondered how he would feel if the whole lot went up in flames. Probably ok was the answer. He felt the old work to be a psychological weight on him.

Driving back I toyed with the idea of ditching all mine.

Where? How?

I should have thought about this earlier. Could have had an arty farty bonfire party…………

It is unusual nowadays to listen to a process lead artist. Doug’s recent ceramic work was wonderful. Having discovered how to make wet clay resemble elephant skin while on a residency in the Netherlands he has gone on to produce monumental works with it. Recently exhibiting in a French Palace he had to build scaffolding, armatures and make clay on site in the midst of a fabulous gilded Louis style room. The resultant sculptural installation was enormous but fragile with overtones of Beuys I thought [ sounds like a wine!]

I have such respect for all that research and hard work.

Anyone who wants to see his work – Doug will be exhibiting in Saatchi December 10th NEW ORDER: British Art Today II

see douglaswhite.co.uk


Horrid, horrid wet, windy miserable day. I hate the winter and most of all I hate the fact that days seem to have evaporated by 4.30.

My biology is on back to front. I am at my best after 10.00 at night; most of my posts are written at 2pm – just before disappearing off to bed.

I get up late and am pretty grumpy until mid day. Creatively nothing works until after lunch. So suddenly to go from it still being light at 8pm to darkness really hits me hard, and I certainly struggle to get stuff done.

Finding the extra just gets harder as the winter goes on.

Its not the ideas…they seem to come ok. Its the translation to fact. If I am not careful I have had the idea and my brain thinks that will do. I can ‘see’ the finished work – so its done.

I have to get myself by the scruff and give myself a shaking while yelling ‘you have to make it you idiot!’ – in my ear.

Today was spent clearing the room that was trying hard to be my studio before I moved. Hopeless because it was so crammed I couldn’t find myself yet alone anything else. The fact I spent this afternoon bagging, sorting, re – cycling and re-homing just shows me how out of control it had all got.

I think of my new studio as a blank space [not the way I thought of my old one] and I will fight myself to keep it that way.

This time I will try to keep all images [except current project sketches] off the walls.

Hopefully that will help me focus.

In among today’s dross I found a small newspaper clipping by Andrea Gillies.

Woking as I do around Memory, Memorial and Loss I loved this so I offer it to you:

‘We operate as time – travellers, aware always of our place on the time line, roaming mentally forward and back. Let me ask you who you are. Don’t use your memory to answer. Abstracts might be useful, under these conditions, perhaps you’re greedy, curious, suspicious. But how do you know? Only through your own autobiography, which is at once a library and a cairn on a hill. One that new experiences and thoughts add fresh pebbles to and reshape with each addition.’

So I wish you all many pebbles.

Good night.


Grayson Perry this moning and then Edmund de Waal on BBC1 this evening.

Great stuff …Grayson is so reassuring to listen too- gives you permission to take your time to mature- it will all be ok.

Edmund de Waal’s work is just glorious. Watching him develop his New York show put disciplined hard work into true focus. I never took my eyes off the screen. Absolute respect.

Now I want to have seen it of course.

So – India’s sent a mission to Mars and it will take a year to get there. Bet they get to Mars before I get a new body of work out………..

Life in the way again, and the diary is rammed full and now I am beginning the old familiar feeling of guilt and slight panic where the studio is concerned.

I haven’t been back yet but I do want to be there. In my mind the space feels good; I feel as though I have claimed it as mine just by sitting it for the day. That has to be a really positive sign.

….and I am thinking of work all the time again now.

I have been making several piles of old family photographs – strange images from a trip round Europe in the 1940’s….they are on my computer desk and I keep flipping through them.

They have become very familiar now. I think they will find their way onto canvas/ plaster on board….

Size is an issue. The small size of the old photographs seems integral to a certain emotive force that they carry, to holding history and the unfamiliar in your hand.

Once on the wall this dissapates – maybe I need to size up and see what will apear in its place.

Its the juggling everything isn’t it? Husband’s birthday/ college/ studio/ living…being around enough not to lose your mates….

Still working on the website with Tracy….I seem to be taking out all the fancy pants bits out of the theme we chose. Minimalist was the word I used from the off, but shortly we will be looking at a blank page.

I also have to decide by Thursday which works to take to an exhibition in Mile End in December. Not sure how many plinths I can have the other end and I can only get three in my car this end – handing in a list of work might be a bit of a problem.


Ho ho ho!

‘Blog’ is No 7 on Top of the Pops………means lots of you are reading this quietly and silently behind closed curtains……come on out into the light! Let yourselves be known! We might like each other…….

Seriously, its lovely to know I am not writing this into thin air. I shall attempt to bring you some art over the coming months….

I did get to the studio yesterday. The A2 was gridlocked on the opposite side of the road on the way there and on the way back gridlocked on the opposite side of the road. Which is a worry. Lets hope its a one off.

Lovely to find the main door was unlocked so I wasn’t first in. Lovely to unlock my studio and be in my very own space.

Lots of people in and out of the building and printers clattering about. Upside- friendly noises. Downside – artists busily going about their art unlike me wondering where I go next [ situation normal]= annoying. Will be fine when I have settled and am working. Then I shan’t notice.

None of the studios have roofs so although radios have to be on headphone you do get to overhear all the phone calls. Very odd as I don’t know who anyone is yet.

Anyway, I pottered, reorganised things , made coffee, chatted a bit, went back in, tried a drawing. No good- too tense I think.

Got out bags of bones and stones, rusted old metal and other treasures and started piling them onto the shelves. Immediately happy and engaged and ideas began to form.

Installation artist or what?

I did do something. I bluetacked my parrot feathers [!] and today I bought some ready made concrete.

Where’s your car Mrs Swann? Just down the road. This is quite heavy, do you want to bring the car up? No, I’ll be fine…………..hmm.

Will it be it lighter when I’ve mixed it?