It’s been an exciting week for me, as my piece ‘It’s The Little Things’ is being shown as part of the This ‘Me’ of Mine exhibition, which launched last Thursday. Like so much of the assemblage/installation work I do, it took ages to install. But it’s the part I love best and the reason I do what I do. I was pleased with the end result and I’m happy to have been given the chance to show my work in the brilliant, spacious APT Gallery, Deptford and to have it placed alongside other artists whose work I’ve admired for a long time. And it feels good for a change, to be writing about getting on with some real, actual work rather than endlessly talking around the whole subject of creativity.

As well as getting the chance to meet many of the other artists involved in the exhibition, the evening also felt like a celebration of the hard work put in by the show’s curator, Jane Boyer. It’s over a year since the seeds of This ‘Me’ of Mine were first sewn and made public, so it felt good to finally see it launch and to see so many people turn out to celebrate the start of what is to be an ongoing, touring exhibition.

It also feels good to have handed ‘It’s The Little Things’ over to a new, fresh audience. Like ‘The Fabric of Life,‘ it’s a work that’s primarily made up of objects I rescued from my late Nana’s home – the little, seemingly insignificant things that take on a whole new meaning once the person who owned them has gone. I’ve had more opportunity this time round to process the emotional attachment I hold for the assembled items and, in the grand scheme of letting go, feel more prepared. I’ve even managed to put a price tag on this piece, a significant shift on my part as I never seem quite able to equate the work’s emotional value and worth with anything financial. Consequently, very little of my work in the past has been for sale.

As part of the evening’s artists in conversation, organised by Jane, I was asked to speak specifically about detail in relation to ‘It’s The Little Things.’ Seeing my work in a different setting helped focus it and enabled me to appreciate its true aesthetic value. The generous space surrounding ‘It’s The Little Things‘ in the Gallery means a greater emphasis on the work; it stands alone – as a piece in its own right – as opposed to in the midst of the clutter of a working studio.

I talked about how the pieces had been accumulated, largely as an emotional response to the clearance of my Nana’s home in which she had lived for some 70 years. The items I salvaged and assembled together were reminders of the many times I’d spent with my Nana as a child and the close relationship we had. The detail is in the pastry cutters, the icing nozzles, the left over soap, the embroidery cottons, thimbles, darning mushroom and tape measure – all reminders of the many domestic skills my Nana taught me. The fun side of my relationship with her on the other hand is reflected in the lipstick, powder and perfume which she sometimes let me play with at her dressing table, while the ancient pocket Bible and the red poppy speak of the history of a woman who lived through two world wars and would engage me with her stories about the war as she taught me the rules of a waste-not-want-not life. It is quite literally the little things in all senses of the word that we retrospectively come to appreciate and value.

The subject of our immortality is one that has always fascinated me. There’s such a fine line between being alive – or not. As I say in my Artists Statement: ‘My work reflects a fascination with the passage of time and the contrast between the permanence of objects and the fragility of life. ‘ I created ‘It’s The Little Things‘ as a homage to my late Nana; the objects remained (and still remain) despite her no longer being here. That to my mind, is a true indicator of the fragility of human existence.

I haven’t even started to write about the experience of meeting the other participating artists yet. But as I so frequently say here, more perhaps, about that next time …




So, another period of quiet, introspective thinking time followed by a burst of creative activity – there’s a pattern emerging, I’ve noticed. Obvious now I’ve spotted it, but it’s only when you stand back from your practice that you really get the chance to notice these things. I’d imagine it’s a pretty common feature of other artist’s lives – it must be hard, if not impossible, after all to sustain periods of constant making without suffering from some sort of burn-out – or it being at the expense of everything else.

I’ve felt relieved this past week to have regained my energy and enthusiasm for getting back into the studio – and better still, to have created a piece of new work! I’d been feeling quite restless up until the point I managed to produce it, tired of going round and round in circles, repeatedly talking about the creative work rather than just feeling able to get on with actually producing something. The premise of this blog springs to mind for the umpteenth time: Will I be able to maintain this blog at the same time as being creative in the studio? Will it help or hinder my practice as an artist?

Those questions form an ongoing debate in my head but for this week at least, it’s felt really exciting to be leaving the studio with new work to think about. I feel more light-hearted and upbeat than I have in a while – ironic in many ways because the piece of new work is quite visually intense and certainly, when I think about the concept behind it, is highly emotionally charged. I’ve completed and already photographed and submitted this recent piece for an Open call. Things seem to move quickly on the creating front, it seems, when you’re in the right mindset.

Life, creatively then, has been more busy than usual. Coming to a clear conclusion about ‘The Fabric of Life’ being pushed too hard and the realisation that I’d become quite stuck with this particular piece of work has had a positive impact. I’ve felt freed up as a result. Firmly packing it up in a box – thereby containing all its associated emotions – has allowed space for more work to be created.

I also coincidentally, had two exhibition preview nights inked firmly in my diary for this past week; I felt determined to make both. The launch nights included artists who have been inspirations to me – both for the actual physical work they produce and for their work ethics and consistent application; David Dipre, Aly Helyer and EJ Major in ‘A House of Many Windows’ and Emma Cousin in ‘Three Fields,’ curated by Lucy Day & Eliza Gluckman and Ben Street, respectively. The work is diverse; beautiful, intriguing and original – a joy to see and a timely reminder, too of how important it feels to me to stay curious about the contemporary art world at large – to keep an eye on the bigger picture and maintain an awareness of what’s happening ‘out there.’

My thoughts, in the meantime are turning closer towards home as I prepare for the This ‘Me’ of Mine exhibition in nearby Deptford. Jane Boyer, another artist/blogger on this forum is the show’s sole curator and has worked tirelessly to make it happen. But more about that next time, I’m sure …

To see more about the two shows in the meantime, please click on links below:




It’s now over a month since I presented my work, ‘The Fabric of Life’ at the group peer crit organised by Q-Art at Central St Martin’s. It was, as I’ve already mentioned here, the first one I’d ever presented and it’s taken a bit of time to properly process the experience and to feel that I’ve wanted to write about it.

Having allowed myself the space and time to think about some of the comments raised, things in just the past week seem to have fallen into place in terms of understanding what’s been going on in my practice – and in particular, the blocks that have occurred in relation to ‘The Fabric of Life.’ I’ve been helped along by supportive feedback from fellow artist/bloggers Jean McEwan and Elena Thomas who, through relaying their own experiences, helped allay some of the anxieties and confusion I’d been experiencing post-crit. Their online comments helped ‘normalise’ what I was feeling and helped me move things forward – and specifically, enabled me to return here to write about it.

One question in particular continued to play on my mind after the group crit had ended. It was raised in response to me talking about how difficult ‘The Fabric of Life’ was proving to complete, or indeed, move on from its present rather ‘stuck’ position. What was it, I’d asked, that after some two years of working on it, made this particular piece of work so difficult to finish and present?

Someone asked if I’d thought about the possibility that the timing for making the work might not be right – that it was perhaps, being made too soon after my Nana’s death. I registered what was said at the time and jotted it down in my notebook as a point to come back to. I’ve kept coming back to this comment and gradually, have taken on board the weight of it – crucially, because it’s very likely, true . Obvious, in fact, now it’s been pointed out – why hadn’t I thought of that!

Such interjection demonstrates perfectly for me the premise of the peer group crit working at its best. Having been wary about what I was entering into, it’s a clear demonstration of the advantages to be gained from sharing creative ideas with artist peers rather than working in isolation. Through listening intently not just to what I said, but the way I said it, the group was able to take an overall, objective view; to read between the lines and reflect back to me the realities I wasn’t conscious of. Denial is a powerful tool.

The crit reminded me of one of the crucial themes underlying my practise – what to keep and what to throw away, what creative ideas to ‘sit on’ in order to allow them breathing space to develop and ferment – and which ones to let go of, albeit temporarily sometimes. I’ve been pushing ‘The Fabric of Life’ too hard, I realise in retrospect – have been far too eager to get it to the finishing post. It’s stopped and stalled so many times over the past months, despite my plugging away at it – too emotionally raw still, to be able to ‘go’ anywhere.

And it’s not without significance i think that’ The Fabric of Life’ was what I happened to be working on the day we were given 24 hours notice to leave the premises at Cor Blimey Arts studios – some 16 months ago now, but it still hurts. It was also the first piece of work I put on the wall in my current studio – again, feeding into my subconscious desire to get it over with, done and dusted – finished!

There’s a whole host of emotions tied up in this piece of work – no surprise then, that it’s felt so heavy and loaded. As I’ve said numerous times before on this blog, timing is everything – feelings and emotions take time to unravel, process and understand. ‘The Fabric of Life’ is now back in a box in the studio for the umpteenth time, contained in every sense of the word until the time feels right – if ever – to resurrect it.