‘Bread and Roses’ fifteen weeks on …

Fifteen weeks on from the General Election, 2015 and the roses in particular are showing real signs of decay. Neglect has had less of an impact on the bread, however. ‘Full of preservatives, perhaps?’ is the question asked by a friend on Facebook when I posted a photo of barely changed slices of bread earlier on today. Who knows …

What I do know however, is that the impact of neglect on the roses has been significant after just 15 weeks. Imagine the impact of five years …


The fragility of life …

Another of those moments when I feel compelled to catch up on this blog – if only to park a lot of the stuff that’s been busy scrambling my brain. I’m definitely feeling in need of a break and sitting down to write this, feels like a kind of signing off from art for a week or so – my own art, at least.

I’ve added some images recently but haven’t been able to focus or concentrate enough to write, despite feeling that I really wanted to. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really generous artists these past few weeks who collectively, brought with them amazing warmth, sensitivity, colour, fun and humour. Simultaneously, I’ve had to deal with a lot of sadness in other areas of my life.

Detail from painting by Biscotti for Bread and Jam show, July 2015

Detail from film by Rebecca Glover for Bread and Jam, July 2015

It’s been a demanding time, both creatively and personally; taking part in two exhibitions in quick succession, amidst coming to terms with the sudden and unexpected death of a close relative at the end of May. Following on from that, just a few weeks later, came the news that someone I knew as a kind, generous and gregarious person had taken his own life. Another sharp reminder of the fragility of life. This stark contrast between the fragility of life and the permanence of objects is something I think about a lot. It’s one of the main themes of my work, and I found myself thinking about it during the installation of Don’t Ask in the Bread and Jam group show, as I created a scenario of a (mainly) fictitious, but rather sad life, using objects as my main medium.

With all of the above and more on my mind, there’s been very little space or time to think about much else over these past few weeks. I’ve continued to monitor Bread and Roses for signs of decay, but otherwise, I’m acutely aware of how little attention I’ve given to thinking about politics and in particular, what’s been going on within the Labour Party in terms of the recent campaign to vote Jeremy Corbyn in as the leader. It’s unusual for me to be out of touch in this way – my work is frequently informed by my interest in what’s going on in the world around me, socially and politically – Bread and Roses after all, is a direct response to the austerity measures imposed by the current government.

But in a conversation with an artist last week, I was struck by how vague and empty my response was when asked about my position on the Corbyn vote. It left me with an uneasy feeling that’s been niggling away at me ever since – recognition perhaps, of how disengaged and disassociated I’ve been feeling these past few weeks and months. What do I feel? Do I actually know any more?

Ever increasing signs of decay, Bread and Roses (ongoing) from May 2015

Looking back at what I wrote here just under three months ago, shortly after the election results came through, I realise how little I’ve moved on from that time. Seeing the Conservatives voted in again completely threw me; it was not what I was expecting.’Gutted’ was the word I used to describe how I felt, a word defined in the dictionary as: devastated, destroyed, demolished, wiped out, ruined, ravaged, wrecked.

I’ve continued to experience a lot of those feelings, unable to overcome an overwhelming sense of despondency, and all the other descriptions of what being gutted feels like. Once bitten, twice shy, I suppose; there’s a sense that I’ll need to dig deep to find the enthusiasm to be optimistic all over again. But hopefully, through recognising the loss, I’ll get closer to taking that first step to getting back on the proverbial horse and starting afresh – to ‘keep spirits up, to turn despair into hope and to channel anger effectively‘ as I wrote in a blog post here, two weeks after Election day, May 7th 2015.

I also included a quote in that particular blog post from Malcolm X, which said this:

Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.’

Maybe it’s time to get angry?

Something to think about while I’m taking a break, maybe …

Objects from Harry Pye & Kate Murdoch’s collaborative ’42 Objects of Affection’ for ‘Life of Pye’ show, August 2015

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Further images from group show ‘Bread and Jam’ in Brockley, London, which ended last week. The show featured work of 11 artists in a private, soon to be renovated house. I spent a couple of hours, wandering from room to room, taking photos of things that caught my eye. Some patterns have emerged …

White. From no 52, July 2015.

Details from work by Kate Murdoch, Alison Hand & Elizabeth Porter (clockwise l-r)


From Bread and Roses to Bread and Jam …

From Bread and Roses, an ongoing personal project created in response to the 2015 election result, to a group show, Bread and Jam in a private, soon to be renovated home in Brockley, London – it’s been a productive few weeks, creatively.



The Bread and Jam show ended last Sunday, July 26th on what would have been my Nana’s 107th birthday. I’ve barely had time to acknowledge the date, let alone find the time to complete the piece of work I was inspired to make in response to the 5th anniversary of my Nana’s death. Anniversaries have always been important to me and I’m looking forward to finding time to be in the studio some day soon so that I can complete this particular piece of work, a homage to my late Nana – Five Summers Without You.

Being a part of the 11 strong group of artists participating in the Bread and Jam exhibition proved to be a really positive experience for me. Being actively encouraged to spend time in the house and to respond to our chosen space in any way we wanted, meant an opportunity for the invited artists to totally immerse themselves in their work and surroundings if they so wished. I found it completely liberating to have physical space in which to present my work, especially following my recent move from a studio where I had quite literally, boxed myself in and had no space in which to manoeuvre.

On the basis that there’s so much to say that it’s almost impossible to know where to start, I’m adding a few of my favourite images I took of the show – some close ups & details of my own and other artist’s work and the similarities, common threads, cross overs running through it. And some images capturing the fabric of the house itself – the patina on the walls, weathered, well-worn lino, water stains and so on. More will emerge, I’m sure.