I’ve been feeling physically quite unwell. Easter’s been and gone and I hardly noticed. A viral infection – probably flu – completely wiped me out. I’m slowly recovering, but on top of all that, I’ve been undergoing some pretty invasive treatment on my right ear as a result of a deep-seated infection – all too close to the brain for my liking, adding to a general sense of feeling physically rundown.

This spell of ill-health has come pretty much on the back of the massive studio move – a much more exhausting process than perhaps, I’ve allowed myself to acknowledge. The move marked a significant change for me and I’m still thinking about the impact of it – being away from familiar territory and no longer having my things around me; how this change might affect the work I make in the immediate future.

I’ve managed to secure a new place to work – it’s tiny, but cheap & manageable. The space means I’ll be working in a completely new way, no longer surrounded by my collections – there simply isn’t enough room.

After three years of being in an open plan studio, I’m looking forward to being back in an enclosed, private space – alone with my work and thoughts again and having a choice about who comes into my working environment. I’m certainly looking forward to taking things a bit more slowly in terms of producing and completing my work, trusting my intuition about when a piece of work is finished and ready to be ‘out there.’ Somehow, I got into a habit of working at a pace that really didn’t suit me – too fast and rushed. To the point that I found myself deleting images I’d posted on Facebook recently, realising retrospectively that I was hurrying work along and not giving it the time or space I felt it deserved.

Such issues I daresay, will be the sort I’ll continue to write about here, as the door on a new working space opens and new experiences unfold.

But first things first: for now, it’s all about getting back to being physically fit, conscious as always that the decision I made to stop working full-time means I’m fortunate – fortunate to be able to make choices about taking things a bit easier; no boss breathing down the back of my neck demanding when I’ll be fit enough to return to work.

Quiet down times like this offer a real opportunity for reflection and a chance to take a stand back from recent output; to catch up on all those things I fantasise about doing when life is so busy – reading, researching and organising. I have suitcases full of newspaper & magazine cuttings for collage at my feet as I write. I’ve been dying to get my hands on them for ages so that I can start organising the scraps of paper and other paraphernalia I’ve held onto all these years. I’m currently working on the Nana’s Colours series but packing up from the last studio made me aware of how much ‘not quite finished’ work I have. I’d like to address this – and of course, start the process of cataloging what’s in those 100+ 30 litre boxes. Now that the better weather’s here and I’m starting to feel better …






I first posted images of the objects below a year or so ago as part of an artist call on Twitter. I can’t remember what the theme was now, but I do remember being aware of how personal and precious the items were to me.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen and handled them and when I found them again yesterday, it felt good to be reunited with them in a different setting, uncluttered. I was able to see them properly and was more aware of their unique qualities – the marks of wear and tear, the patina of age and use – each object so evocative of my childhood and the many times I spent with my Nana as a child.

Memories came flooding back – the knife, completely worn with use, a poignant reminder of the times I spent chatting to my Nana at the kitchen sink, as she peeled huge piles of vegetables in preparation for family dinners. The bone, left overs of a Sunday roast lamb dinner from eons ago, hung for years by a piece of string on an apple tree in my Nana’s garden – originally put out for the birds to peck on. These objects are steeped in social history and powerful reminders of the huge impact Nana’s way of life has had on my own – particularly her unerring devotion to domestic chores; how not to live my life, perhaps. I don’t strip the beds every day and remake them with hospital corners (pre-duvet days) or stand the dining room chairs on the table to polish their legs every Monday – or iron my tea towels & sheets.

The hairnet, the mirrors and the broken comb represent another side of Nana when she was alive – the side that turned her attention away from domestic life and focused on herself – Vitapoint combed through her hair, curls carefully caught up in a hairnet – in private, of course, for bedtimes only – intimate, shared moments.

The subject of our mortality is one that has always fascinated me – the fragility of our existence and that very thin line between being alive – or not; using that knife, that comb, that hand mirror – or not. Examining my late Nana’s objects yesterday was exactly about that – these objects, unlike her, have lived on – the permanence of objects versus the fragility of life.