I have my material now but still no chemicals…. Very interesting exhibition: www.lefresnoy.net is in different locations around the region.


Thursday morning

I am waiting to go back to the Slaughter House; the butcher has called yesterday to say that he has all my ‘Crepines’ so I am going to collect them.

I just got back last night from the UK. It was so frustrating trying to find all the tanning solutions and chemicals that I decide it to go back to the UK to buy them. But one thing I didn’t know and wasn’t aware that there was and still is a postal strike. So had to come back still with no chemical. I am so hoping that they will arrive by Friday that my partner who is coming by car can bring them over on Saturday. So will see….


Sorry about the short delay in getting back with my news. The Tuesday afternoon wasn’t a good day, we got to the slaughter house very late and there was just the secretary and the top director left in the office and it wasn’t a nice experience, they where very unfriendly and very unhelpful!!!

But this didn’t put me of I went back the next morning and with a translation and the help of Adeline and Bernard- the technician, managed to find a very friendly butcher who will be helping me source the material for a very small price, ad list I hope so. We even where taken inside, and that was an amazing experience a huge walk in fridges full with hanged caws, but sorry no pictures where permitted.

The last two days here have been bit of a madness, trying to do anything here takes double amount of time, and is so hard to find anything, such as materials, products etc. I found that the web is not as good as in the UK, I think we are bit spoiled when it comes to researching and trying to buy products on line. Maybe this is also because I am doing a search in English not in French… but got so bad that I have to call companies in England to get any relevant information, specially when it comes to Taxidermy and tanning products.


Valenciennes is a town in northern France. In the 9th century the region was run by the Normans and in 1008 was badly effected by the Plague. In the 15th century the city was economically independent with manufacturers of wool and fine linens. Valenciennes is historically renowned for its lace. Until the 1970s, the main industries were steel and textiles, but since their decline, there is mainly automobile production. In 2001, Toyota built its Western European assembly line for the Toyota Yaris in Valenciennes.

As I began my research I started to look at how and draw ideas from the lace production. I found an old traditional school, the only one in the region, called Dentelle de Valenciennes, (www.dentellieres.com) which I am going to visit this afternoon and will tell you more in my next post.

I also started researching food specialities of the region and traditional dishes. Became fascinated by the butchers and the production of the selection of they meat and products that French people eat!

I bought some samples to experiment with such as tripe, offal, intestines and Caul Fat, or as the French would say ‘CRÉPINE’, sounds like a pancake, something nice!

Intestines are the most disgusting things I ever had to clean so far in my life, smell’s awful, and has an ‘interesting texture! At the moment they are drying in my studio space and the smell is getting worse by the minute. I am being taken to a slaughter house this afternoon to see and perhaps get some more samples, so I will tell you more about it tomorrow….


I arrived at L’H du Siega on Saturday the 15th of September 2007, by car. It seemed easier at the time, I was packing and bringing most of my belongings and preparing for three month being away from home. It was very easy to get here, a drive from Brighton to Dover, then a nice easy ride on the ferry to Dunkerque, and then 1 – 2 drive to Valenciennes. Everything was fine until we (me and my partner) got back into the car and started to drive on the opposite side of the road. Got very nervous but in fact the drive was very easy, until we got to Valenciennes, where we got lost and couldn’t find the Gallery and this is when the panic button hit in.
After some time we managed to find the Gallery and we met with the Director and president of the Association, Philippe Bétrancourt and the cultural mediator Adeline Michel. Adeline is my saver really, is the only person that I can have a conversation with, with out having to look at my dictionary every second.

After all the formalities and inductions I got settled into a beautiful small house. On the ground floor there is the living area with small kitchen, bathroom and sleeping/living space and upstairs very nice bright studio space, plus I’ve been allocated another large situated the Gallery. All this can be seen on the website: www.hdusiege.org – residences – Présentation.

L’H du Siege is founded by Acte de Naissance in 1996 and is housed in a former joinery in Valenciennes. The space comprises a gallery, artist’s workshops and a livework studio for artists in residency. They are dedicated to the development and promotion of contemporary art and the support of artist through a programme of exhibitions and residencies.