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back from first session at college……….somewhat odd but then I think it was always going to be.

Same college as my BA five years ago, An unaccredited six months course of studio practice, seminars, crits and student led research groups…

For some time now I have been tussling with keeping my work focused and myself engaged with it.

The last few years have been a mixture of personal loss and then [this year] both my children getting married within a few weeks of each other. Art is like a barometer for me – I can see the stress like tree rings in my output or lack of it.

Some women eat more when unhappy and some less. I am an eat more woman [ sadly] but it appears a make less woman when it comes to my art.

I have found it very easy to focus on the Arts Forum I run, or advising/helping other artists, or attending everyone else’s private views…and slowly let my practice wind down.

By that I mean that I am not producing extra work outside the exhibitions I have been invited to join or projects that have come my way.

My work at Knole House [see previous posts] has been a joy. No problem researching, engaging or completing the work. I would happily work like that all year… just nothing else is being done outside of that.

I used to have a central concept – my family’s Holocaust heritage – that drove my work, sent me off to read and look and research. That has faded and been replaced by a much less urgent and diffuse way of working with memory, memorial and loss.

No longer a central concept; more an atmosphere within which my work always sits – a silent, delicate monochrome melancholy. People say that they can tell its my work even though it may be an installtion of bones or a drawing of dead insects or a plaster pear covered in wasps.

I like that – I think its how it should be and is probably a mark of the years spent working – maturity I suppose.

But still I mourn the loss of a passionate centre to my work. I fantasise that I would be scribbling furiously in notebooks, rushing to see relevant artists’ work and my own work would suddenly become a coherent whole. Because of that it would all hang together and be self explanatory, sought after and of course madly saleable….

So – how to re-engage?

I have floundered around but things that lit a small flame seem to have died away again.

So back to college. Deadlines, discipline, peer group appraisals and mutual support………

My artist friends have for the most part been somewhat circumspect about my return.

Why would I want to go back to college? They would find it threatening. Why aren’t I doing an MA instead? [that’s not threatening?]

We will see……..the college has been revamped since my day. Now all security passes and gleaming refectories. The two London artists who tutor the course didn’t teach on my BA. They are young, academic and situated in today’s art world.

My peer group are varied in their art disciplines and in their reasons for being on the course.

Tonight it feels good. If I do end up still working as I do now in six months time then I hope at least to understand why and be at peace with it.