Festial is a Grants for the Arts funded, self-directed, year-long residency I am undertaking in a largely unrestored medieval church at Wood Dalling, Norfolk. Selecting twelve medieval feast days, I will spend time at the site 'just being there' and seeing what happens inside and outside: a meditative process through which I explore the limits of how far I can share in, empathise with and inhabit the medieval world.
I've been working on a new application; 'the last one' I tell myself. This one is an opportunity with money attached (how rare is that?!) and it's not as if there's a 20-page application form to complete or even a proposal to write. So, why not?
Yet again, I've been trawling through Festial images, but this time the ones appropriate to the theme of this application are quite specific. It's been refreshing to look at things from a different perspective.
I can feel this phase of Festial drawing to a close, as I sort out the remaining photographs I want to post here, and with the website more-or-less fully updated.
There's still a lot I'd like to do with the project, but it's hard to make decisions on the best way forward when you have to make every tiny thing happen yourself. The issue of the outstanding ACE funding is still a concern, but I think that further attempts to secure a higher-profile exhibition may have to take a back seat for a while. I'm going to email a few more galleries, looking a bit further afield than previously, and then let things rest. I was reading Alex Pearl's blog recently, in which he said that he believes there's only one gallery in Norwich – Outpost – and that's about right!
Looking back, though, I certainly don't regret getting involved in the project and I know I've learned a huge amount and maybe other people have been interested too. At the same time, Trevor is under great pressure with the paid work and it's clear that I should be helping him. Goodness knows he's helped me out enough!
Before that, though, I'll be working on another application today, for another opportunity where the Festial photographs will be needed to support the submission. But if I happened to be successful the actual commission would require me to make completely new work, which is an exciting thought now.
Why is it that I always find myself desperately getting applications together at the last possible minute? Time after time I'm standing breathlessly in the queue at the post office ten minutes (well, sometimes five minutes) before the post leaves with the deadline the following day. Yep, that's how it was today with my Salthouse 09 application. But it's certainly a good feeling that it's gone and that I've given it my best shot.
The front cover photograph is one of me playing the recorder at one of the Rogationtide crossing points last May and I'm hoping it looks strange enough to catch the curator's eye. Mind you, it's easy enough to imagine all those hundreds of artists busily thinking of ways to catch the curator's eye….
Anyway, I still need to finish documenting Ex Voto on this blog, so I'm posting another batch of photographs now. I've had to look at them all again while selecting eight for the application. It's an exercise that makes you hypercritical of the work which is probably a good thing when there's so much of it.
Having a break from thinking about the bigger picture, as the deadline for Salthouse 09 looms.
This is one of the very few opportunities to show in a prestigious contemporary mixed show in Norfolk and I suspect there'll be hundreds of hopeful applicants. The theme is 'salt', which suits me OK as there's plenty of mileage in medieval church salt-scattering so I can propose something that fits well within my existing practice and the things that are occupying my thoughts at the moment.
The exhibition takes place in Salthouse's medieval church, which poses its own set of frustrations but does have an obvious resonance with what I've been doing for Festial. Add to that the Bronze Age barrow cemetery up on Salthouse Heath above the church (where Trevor and I first met) and I'm in heaven. Well, sort of.
After much procrastinating I've finished the proposal itself, and am now digging around for images. This of course fits in well with my digging around for images for this blog. So I'll post a few new ones from Ex Voto now.
The much-updated website was uploaded today – a deceptively angst-ridden process, with broken links and lost files to contend with. But Trevor has done a great job. He did find that the back-issue Kalender pdfs wouldn't open because of a website-provider upgrade but that's all sorted now. Sorry if anyone has been trying (and failing) to download them.
Anyway – ta daaaaa:
Time now to work out what to do about my outstanding Arts Council funding. The second instalment will only be forthcoming when (if) I secure another exhibition at a higher-profile gallery. *Sighs*. That's not proving easy. Do I persevere now I have these installation photos from Ex Voto to show sceptical curators? Part of me wants to give up on this profile-raising palava and accept that I won't be given funding to make some more ambitious work. That would also mean giving up the ten per cent of the total funding that ACE hold back until the whole project has been evaluated. As that money is part of the original budget, it's effectively already been spent, and not continuing would mean not recouping that expenditure.
Do any artists out there actually make a living rather than just trying to limit how much they are spending on their art, I wonder?