I learned a few things last week while I was on holiday. Or I kind of knew these things already, but had them confirmed.

i. Cycling, playing badminton and swimming every day is amazing. I need more exercise/time outside, and less being crouched over work or laptop.

ii. I have lost the ability to switch off. I need to make more time to read (non-art books!) and play random board games or watch films with my husband. Anything that constitutes a real life basically.

iii. Having an iphone and wifi/openzone is a problem. I literally don’t know how to have a holiday anymore. I wonder if the days of disappearing for two weeks are over? Especially frustrating is that new Windows live means Hotmail doesn’t have a vacation reply anymore. I have had my hotmail address since 1993, but I don’t think I can keep using it if this remains the case. It’s completely unprofessional and a pain in the arse.

It was a lovely week, even given the slightly bizarre shopping-centric environment of Center Parcs (they’re Ameri-French!). We paid to use the spa (HEAVEN) and also to get a massage (I NEED MORE IN MY LIFE). The food on offer was pretty crap, but we had shopped en route, so avoided too much overpriced tat. On the whole, it was probably a great choice as there was very little to deal with – I needed to be herded like a sheep for a week.

It did feel pretty shitty to be lounging around while all the student protests were going on though, and I was glued to the news about it all. Nick Clegg insisting today that low income students will do better out of it is basically him trying to polish a turd. It’s a ruse and yes, like with any statistics, you can present the figures like that and make them look convincing, but that is basically appealing to the capitalist in people – ‘oh yeah, he’s right, I’ll be better off, nice one’. This is real Conservative territory and I am horrified how much he has compromised his policies and apparent beliefs. Also, an aside, I know they’re working off a median wage, but £21,000 as a low income illustrates how far I still have to go! 31, graduated for 9 years, working hard and still only earning half of that! Sad face. Paying these back may not be a problem for someone like me, but getting by and managing any kind of quality of life or pension etc would be.


I feel scared.

Clegg also outlines his argument further in a letter to the NUS President:


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*yawn* Tired.

Last night was really good, although I was mainly on edge watching my balanced plaster sculptures wibble a bit everytime someone walked past on the beautiful sprung floor. I met Ainsley Harriot (he’s in theatre in Manchester) on my way to the gallery and then drank too much wine too early. Surreal. A couple of good friends came along too, which was really nice. I also spent the day (after hanging and before opening) looking round galleries in Manchester. It has a completely different feel to Liverpool and I really enjoyed myself.

I arrived to find my work really beautifully lit and placed and I just had to arrange it all. It actually took me a stupid amount of time, but that’s just a result of indecision and my clumsy ham hands. Kit and the team at the gallery made a real effort to introduce all the artists to each other and to be welcoming. As another artist commented, it made a very nice change from the common scenario of communication ending when the work has been delivered.

The gallery is owned by Salford University so it seems that insurance may take a while to get sorted out. But hopefully it will.

I am going away for five days next week. As I looked back a bit through my blog I was a bit horrified at how often I refer to how tired I am. The last year has felt a bit relentless, in an incredibly progressive and exciting way, but I could do with a proper break. Wales in September was really nice, but going with masses of family was not actually that relaxing! I was also still working like an idiot most of the week as well, if I’m honest.

Husband is pretty exhausted too and he really needs a break from work. So on Monday Dan and I are going to Center Parcs, the height of culture and sophistication :D The plan is Grizedale on the way up (just one bit of art mind – it is a holiday right?) and then to be floating in the hot outdoor pool or getting a massage or lurking in the spa until Friday. We did book a badminton court for one session, but I am already thinking that might be a mistake! He he. We’re also taking a suitcase of books and films and plenty of whisky. I’m looking forward to a pause; a gap that might just spark off some different thoughts and plans.

I sometimes think of places as grammatical symbols in relation to what effect they have on me. Some places are a comma (pause) and some a full stop. I hoping next week is more like a semi-colon so that there is a related point to follow as a result. That probably sounds very silly, but that’s just the way my head does it.

Hope everyone is wrapped up warm as it gets chillier. My studio is getting more difficult but have thermals, will use them.


Tomorrow sees the opening of the CUBEopen exhibition. This is the one I applied for (without certainty) and mentioned in the blog. It’s usually a good exhibition and this year I am excited to see the work and to be in it.


My personal experience has not been great however. There has been some broken communication from the start, the first instance of which was them asking to show ‘Inhabitant’, which was clearly marked IN AUSTRIA on my application form. Although I stated it would be a photograph on display, that hadn’t been read and their audible disappointment completely battered my confidence.

Their second choice was a work 3 metres high and it turned out they hadn’t read the dimensions so it wouldn’t actually fit in the gallery. Aside from those practicalities, there was also absolutely no budget for transport, so I couldn’t have brought it in anyway. As there is no budget for anything, I have to wonder where the £10 entry fee goes. The prize money is not sponsored, so I guess all the entrants are just chipping in for that. This feels especially wrong, like a lottery controlled by judges. I don’t know why, I just expected that money would go into making the exhibition happen.

After that it felt like ‘oh well, anything else will do’ like all my other work is a bit second rate. Anyway, that might all be inferred by me to be honest, but I just feel that I shouldn’t have been put in that situation at all. Next I drop my work off, and then find out I have to go back a few days later to finish install as the gallery was not ready for hanging.

Lastly, and the spectacular icing on the cake, I get a phone call from them saying one of my pieces has gone missing from the gallery. It has not been found and I am going in tomorrow to finish installing the other work and talk about insurance. My gorgeous new bookbinding shears were packed in with the work too dagnamit.

Clearly (to me), it is in a bin somewhere and probably flat as a pancake. I was surprised how gutted I was to lose this work,. This is probably because the whole thing seems so uneccesary and because I didn’t actually need to drop it off when I did. In theory I could re-make it, but I just can’t see that happening. Ironically I had just talked with the curator at YSP about including it in my solo show and using it as one of the starting points for the exhibition. HA. Not so.

I’m a bit resigned to it now, I just hope we can sort out money to pay for it. I shall be going to the opening, but I am sad to only be showing one (teeny) piece. I hope something good comes out of the exhibition so that it ends up being a more positive experience overall.

I have to say though, twitter and facebook have been amazing. I put out a question asking if people knew anything about insurance and galleries losing work. I had SO many replies, some with personal experience, some pointing me to useful websites, some patting me on the head and saying ‘there there’. I love the online art community, there are so many generous people out there. Thanks to everyone who replied and shared.

Gosh, MOAN OVER. Sorry about that. Cheer next time, I promise.


Well, I haven’t had a two week break from blogging for a while! That wasn’t intentional, it’s just that well, there has been too much life for virtual activity. Thinking about it, this is probably the right way round!

I have been making a real effort not to work every day and evening of the week, and I count blogging as work, even though it doesn’t seem like it. I’m sure a lot of people don’t distinguish between work and life as they are so inextricably linked, but I have begun to realise (albeit incredibly slowly) that a) I work better with gaps b) I am more excited about my work after gaps and c) it is essential for mine and my husband’s happiness that I am not a walking art bomb.

I have also been staying at Yorkshire Sculpture Park for a week, without internet – aside from the odd snippit of openzone on my mobile for twitter. I was in archway house and had the boathouse to work in. Although I have been to the park numerous times in the past 18 months, this is honestly the first time that I have explored. Wellies, thermals and waterproofs on, it was just a joy to walk around all day (it’s big) and get soaked and exhausted. The technicians all go to the local every day at 5pm after work, so I happily joined in with those trips to get warmed and dry again. It was an eye-opener talking to the technicians about the park and other artists! No Diva-ing from me I promise guys! But no, their understanding (as artists some of them) about how much pressure artists are under is what enables them to support people through the exhibition process. One technician explained that, from what they’ve seen, it doesn’t matter what stage of the career, artists always put themselves under an immense amount of pressure and they often go through the same process. Even if the stakes are higher, the pressure is (proportionate to experience) exactly the same. This makes sense, although I am a bit disillusioned that the image of being a calmer, older, more experienced artists has been taken away from me!

Honestly, I have struggled to get to grips with making work in a park, I just don’t see my work in that setting or responding to that environment. However, this week something clicked and I began to see the park as a construction. It is built (landscaped) after all, and on the overcast days, the architecture in the park blended in with the trees and ground and it all just sort of became one. There are follies hidden in the conservation areas (so of course I haven’t seen these as a member of public before) and I loved finding those.

A man called Cyril Peake, who taught at Bretton College in the park for 30 years, is incredibly knowledgable about the history of Bretton Hall and the family who built it. He gave a 3 hour walking history tour for staff on the Wednesday, so I got to tag along. This was a real turning point and just brought the place alive for me. In the afternoon he also gave a slide show, so I just spent the day in the past, and it was wonderful. The real point of interest for me though, is the student housing and communal areas that will get knocked down soon as part of a plan to return the park to it’s original (18th Century) plan. These 60’s buildings have begun to deteriorate so quickly, even though they have only been vacant for two years. It’s fascinating to think about the decision of what stays and what goes, and how that may be seen in the future. The judgement about value here is based on a number of factors, but I hope in December I can get into them and take some photographs with the view to developing a site-specific performance.


A great piece of writing from Lewis Biggs, Director of the Liverpool Biennial on how the cuts affect those on a low income and the whole bank/gambling issue.


I wish more people in positions like his would state their opinions so openly.

Here’s the end of it (it’s a bit too lengthy to quote in full).

Since there can be no economic stability, and no end to the economic devastation wreaked on the poor by the very rich, until international agreement on financial regulation has been adopted and enforced, all voting citizens should insist that their elected representatives put all other issues to one side until this one issue has been satisfactorily tackled.

Politicians often look for a leadership role on the world stage. At this moment, the only leader we need is one who is prepared to stake his or her career on persuading the G20 countries to agree unanimously, and impose rigorously, regulations that prevent rich people from gambling with the current and future right to quality of life of innocent bystanders.”