James has just finished an MA in Critical Writing at the Royal College of Art.Previously he completed a BA in Fine Art at Winchester School of Art.

(Before he talked to fine art students he joined in with our Christmas lunch and seemed to be very much at home !)

James described  his work and interests with great clarity – he is very engaged with what he is doing and seemingly pretty relaxed about it all (which had a calming effect on me!).

He explained how his practice has shifted from painting and sculpture to writing, describing  his sense of his own writing as an art form  ( just like painting or sculpture). So rather than switching to writing from fine art he sees it as art with particular interest in how words work on a page – the white negative space around the words – and the ability of words to describe our surroundings and experiences.

James created such a sumptuous picture of words as a medium that I wanted to rush to the library and read poetry for the rest of the day!

He has been involved in collaborating on a few books already whilst doing his MA ( and is currently working on a long term project).  He passed round the books for us all to dip into  – collaborations; studies of place,of ideas, thoughtfully designed and presented (even a heat sensitive cover that changes colour whilst in the readers grasp).

He clearly sees the world through the eyes of an artist and is very able to express his intentions and responses in a written – and read and spoken – form. Chatting to him after his lecture it was  exciting to talk to someone so engaged and comfortable with the creative world they inhabit. This strengthens my own desire to express and communicate  creative ideas in real and meaningful exchanges.

James’ writings include: As is the Sea – an Anthology and Ends Meet – Essays on Exchange


I have my fingers in lots of pies – arty pies of course. I’m working with the figurine in a variety of ways and enjoying shifting between mediums – photographs; ‘model’ ornaments, drawing and paint. It’s a versatile way of working but as I get more deeply involved with the processes I am loosing focus! So today I began to concentrate on one element – the photographed figurines. I am trying to improve on my photographic skills to create  a more defined image. I think I will have to ask for some help from staff at college!

In these images I have run photographs through the photocopier pulling them back and forth on the glass as the scanner moves across underneath it. The distortions are random and quite unworldly – some good material to work with next.


I have just read Sonia Boue’s latest post in her blog Barcelona in a Bag regarding a chance sighting of her late father ( in film footage) whilst in exile during the Spanish Civil War  


The discovery clearly has a profound effect given Sonia’s already great involvement in unearthing information about her father’s experiences in exile and his life as a writer. In great contrast my own father’s life was simple and safely confined to the goings on of a couple of farms in Shropshire but its something I too return to in my practice to find self expression and to define a sense of my own identity.

Quite fittingly the most poignant way I can express a sense of empathy with Sonia is visually. I just have this feeling that when she spotted her father in the film footage  she may have experienced an inside-out feeling ( its the only way I can describe it really) of being touched by the past – by those that are no longer with us. Its momentary but will remain as an overwhelming sensation for years to come. So in response here is ‘my painting’ given to my mother by here cousin a few years ago. It has been touched and re-worked by my great grandfather I think and the trace of him and the child (my grandfather) is palpable – I feel them – the painting is the catalyst for my current work and now sits above my mantle piece – I love it, its a mysterious unresolved part of me and I am a part of it. ( The painting comes from my mother’s side of the family rather than my fathers in this instance but I’m lucky enough to have objects from both of them to ‘draw on’ – I posted about a letter from my father earlier in the year).


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