This is what I wrote on my first blog Keeping It Together last year :
… in 2012 I’d love to be able to strengthen the connections I’ve made with some of the artists I’ve met; not only are they people who have social consciences and share similar values to my own, but they are people who have encouraged me and complimented my work, instilling in me the confidence to keep on doing what I do.’
So far, so good, then; I’ve nurtured those relationships and, without being particularly conscious of it when I sat down to write the last post on here, it turned out to be a kind of a celebration of that. I haven’t been through a formal art education and started out as an artist feeling pretty much on my own. Forming close, meaningful and professional relationships is a relatively new thing for me and has contributed enormously to helping me feel much more rooted as an artist. I’ve written about it on here before – how at the heart of all of us there is an innate need for compassionate understanding; I’d forgotten and underestimated the strength and impact of being around a genuinely supportive peer group – I’ve experienced it in past work placements in social work and education – I’d forgotten the positive effect it can have, both professionally and personally.
Being involved in crits with Q-Art and Engine ChatChat has also contributed positively to my overall personal and professional learning and development; they’ve increased my conversations with other artists and their informal nature means I haven’t felt intimidated and have felt able to speak and contribute. Yes, there are moments when the theory of art is being discussed that things can go totally over my head, but to find myself in environments which feel all-inclusive and non-judgmental and have allowed me to feel comfortable enough to ask questions and to respond to other artists’ queries, has felt really refreshing. And of course, blog writing on Artists Talking has furthered that even more.
I also wrote this:
… as well as nurturing and maintaining relationships, I also want to just get on with making some work – this blog has contained a significant lack of discussion about any actual work for some weeks now, I’ve noticed and I’d like to feel that I’ll be able to address the balance of the two in the year ahead.
The aim of this follow- on blog was to examine the impact that writing a blog might have on any kind of creative output. Will I be able to maintain a blog at the same time as being creative in the studio? Will it help or hinder my practise as an artist? I’m not able to give a definitive answer to that question quite yet; it’s only been a short time since I restarted blog writing. What’s clear already however is that even though it’s taken up a considerable amount of my time, maintaining this blog has been an extremely useful exercise, not least because it’s encouraged me to monitor more closely what work I actually am creating and getting on with.
Getting on with the work’s been the name of the game over the past couple of weeks as I resurrected my 10×10 project and took it to Hastings as part of the Coastal Currents festival. It was the fifth time I’d presented 10×10 and as always, the days leading up to the exchange were filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Would anyone come? Would any exchanges be made? Would humanity come out of this one well – as indeed it had in every other place it’d been taken?
In the event, Hastings did itself proud. Thanks to Coastal Current’s brilliant publicity, over 100 people came along and over 40 exchanges were made in the three hour exchange period. I couldn’t have wished for more in terms of the sensitive way in which people responded; some amazingly thoughtful exchanges were made. There’s a lot to digest and summing it all up will prove difficult in terms of doing it justice. How do you sum up those small moments of wonder and magic when people share their stories? That’s the next task in hand, even though I’m also going to be turning my hand to more creating for an impending exhibition in November. More soon …