So today has been a bit of a mish mash and has, like the Presley song, “sent my  temperature rising”, but not I feel, for the same reason as Presley.  In fact I am so miffed that I decided to post here as it is arts related.

So annoyance number one:  I have not mentioned in my blog but as well as the dementia exhibition (which I very excitedly was told (my excitement not there’s) that I’ve been given an extension on as mine is the central piece), I also have the MA show at Atkinson Gallery coming up (one of my pieces: Snapshot, from the With Me, Without Me series is included) and four pieces from my Transience series are going to be in Here and There (working title) at Aspex Gallery.

Anyhow, the Transience and With Me, Without Me pieces are prints and I was informed today that my work would be delivered by the end of the day.   Well one rather thin (they are aluminium prints) box turned up, I opened it  and though great quality, it was 1 image and not 5 big prints as it was meant to be.  I telephoned and was assured that it was coming today and would be in 5 deliveries.  I then received a text from the delivery company telling me my order was complete: it wasn’t.  Again I telephoned the printers, who again assured me they would all arrive separately by the end of the day but because they were required for an exhibition they agreed to do a reprint and send them 24 hour (I thought they were 24 hour anyway).  At least they refunded my £20 delivery cost.

So as mentioned I was a tad annoyed.  However this was nothing compared to my anger and annoyance when I received a reply to an email I sent to the council today.

I am organising a rather large arts event this May-June.  I have been working very hard for months through the not for profit I run, Live Art Local, to build relationships between various bodies and to create a web of organisations and venues to make this a truly wonderful event.   With a multi venue trail of exhibitions I created last year with a tiny council grant I was assured by the local council that they were so impressed that they were definitely going to be involved this year and due to this there would be more cavaeats to my funding.  However, the suggestion was I would receive much larger funding (I was unpaid for several months full time work last year) and support (I received no real support last year, aside from my small grant).


Four weeks before Christmas I presented a numerously paged document, as asked, detailing every aspect of the festival, every single penny accounted for, I was assured I would be contacted immediately upon reading and meeting.  Today, having still not heard anything I contacted  the person I had a meeting with and got a reply.

Depressingly, this reply did not contain what I wished, nor what I had expected, following our meeting and what was told to me.  In fact what I received was a total reneging on their pledge.  I found this particularly hard to take as in my meetings with colleges, theatres, art centres, shopping centres, libraries, charity and businesses, I have declared that I have the council.

I am at a loss.

I find it very hard as an artist to make change happen.  I still do, I still launch things and create things; indeed through Live Art Local I run free to attend Artist networking.  However I find it so depressing that to coin a rather passe and cliched phrase “the man” has a habit of turning up at the last minute to the organsing meeting and then, like a drunk afterparty guest declaring to everyone that they created this great thing.  I have experienced this with politicians too.

The thing is, as an artist who is out there in the wilderness, trying to establish a career, create a community, and change the world (well their little bit of it) through the power of art and to make people realise they are creative and that art is for them; it’s really hard.  You cannot stand up to “the man” because you need him and even if they renege on their word and offer you the chance of something much smaller, you need all the credence you can muster and all the money you can get your hands on and so what do you do?

It is a depressing state of affairs that you need to put up and shut up.  I even fear venting on my blog that it may find it’s way to someone and I will appear rude and ungrateful, but at the moment I don’t know if I have anything to be grateful for; and at present I am just bitter.

We artists need to unite, we need to bind together, we cannot rely on the man to help us, we cannot accept what our local Governments say when they tell us they’re “listening” and they will work with us because they can renege on their promises.  Many of the artists I have met locally through the way I have tried to start to change the local artistic landscape have thanked me and said people had spoken about it before, but noone had done anything until I  made it happen.  We cannot just talk about change, we need to work together to affect it and if it doesn’t happen then we have noone to blame but ourselves.

On a lighter note and aside from my diatribe, I have been progressing with the bookcase over the last couple of days (see earlier post about the dementia exhibition).  I have recruited my husband to drill numerous holes for me throughout the top tiers (shelves and sides) decreasing in number as we go down the bookcase until we reach the bottom shelf and childhood where there are none.  These holes varying in intensity are representative of how dementia eats away at the brain and creates both literal and metaphorical holes in the self.


So I have spent the majority of my day building a bookcase.  The bookcase in question is a rather lowly one from Argos.  It is based on a walnut wood, although it is more like fire or chipboard with a very cheap plastic veneer.

The reason for this is that I am currently working on a piece for Dementia Friendly Hampshire that will be toured around three towns in Hampshire to promote the idea of dementia friendly high streets and to increase awareness of autism.

In November I met with a lovely lady called Jane who is a dementia champion and whose own mother passed away from vascular dementia early in 2014. In our four hour long discussion (I kid you not) she told me how they (many who work within dementia awareness) view dementia as an old and tatty DIY bookcase, the sort to be purchased at many shops that are not made of real wood.  The suggestion being that if you move one of these bookcases which appear ok when new, many times over, they begin to tatter and start to fall apart.

Now every shelf on this bookcase refers to an era in that persons life: their memories.  The bottom (and sturdiest shelf) is childhood and the top shelf is the present.  On the shelves in between is the rest of their existence.

As the bookcase ages and gets moved around it starts to falter: the items that were once on it start to fall off, move around and fragment , starting with the top (the present) (we are not patiently removing the pieces here but moving the bookcase with all of its items: memories in this case on board).

Eventually the only part of the bookcase that is still in good condition is the sturdiest part, the base and first shelf: childhood.

This represents what happens through the progression of any form of dementia.  The memories we once held dear start to disappear, this progression continues until death and often, shortly before death, the only memories that remain are those left from childhood.  Everything else, every other facet of our existence disappears.

Although a sad thought this also explains why dementia can be so confusing for everyone.  Us, because we expect that person to know who we are,and them because as far as they are concerned we don’t exist, we are not on the same timeline as one another.

It can also be a good, or rather more benign  thing, once we let go of our held assumptions about that person, our relationship to them and even what it is to be human.  Jane told me about how dementia enabled her mother and her to have a relationship they could never have before; for the first time in her life she felt genuine affection and love from her mother.

Jane told me a story about how she always thought her mother was embarrassed by her and preferred her “perfect” cousin.  She had carried this feeling throughout her life; her mother had never really told her she loved her and would always downplay her achievements.  Once her mother got ill and moved in with Jane she started to warm to her (to Jane).  She no longer recognised her as her daughter and instead believed they were friends.  One day she was telling her about her daughter Jane and what a lovely child she was.  Jane suggested she preferred Jane’s cousin to which her mother replied that “no” she thought the cousin was a spoilt and rude child but she did not want to boast about Jane as she didn’t find it  necessary.  Jane explained who she was and her mother had a fleeting recognition of her daughter and for a moment they embraced.

This Jane said, was one of her favourite moments and put to rest a lot of feelings of self hatred she had held onto for years.

I only mention the bookcase and the idea, as this is forming my piece for the touring exhibition.  As mentioned earlier I have been constructing this bookcase in a higgledypiggledy fashion all day and it already looks quite good.  Tomorrow I am going to continue my destruction of this bookcase to create a real world example of the bookcase analogy.

I feel this fits in well with my MA although it is for  an unrelated exhibition. Like the rest of my current work it explores what it means to be human, it questions what identity is and who, we ultimately are.

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So I have been rubbish with blogging this December.  Yes I have been unbearably busy but I think if I was a “blogger” then I would have found the time time in my schedule, home educating and parenting time to write more regularly.

This leads me to  a question: how does one become a blogger?

Are some of us more naturally inclined to blog about our lives?

Does it mean that I am really unsociable because I do not find it easy to do so?

Why is it important?

Anyhow I am digressing.

Aside from my failure to blog I have had a very manic December.  The arts festival I am organising and running is into full swing; I have had numerous meetings with art centres,theatres, council officers, venues, a college, shopping centres, charities etc and it is all (touch wood) going splendidly.  I have the awfully scary task of funding all of this also and as any artist/arts organiser will attest to (having done it themselves) I have of course been putting off the terrifying process that is, multiple funding forms….. oh how I hate them and find them exhausting and daunting; they fill me with a sense of dread and induce in me a severe case of anxiety induced illness.


I also have  various exhibition things coming up in the next two months.  I  volunteered to produce some work for dementia friendly Hampshire to tour around the county to draw attention to dementia awareness.  I shall be updating my work on it here as I move along (I am far behind at the moment).

There is also my inclusion in the Atkinson Gallery MA show which takes place in the next couple of months, a piece from my With me, Without Me series: snapshot, will be on display there.

Four of my pieces will be included in Here and There at Aspex Gallery from late January too.  These pieces are part of my Transience series.  I shall be updating information on this nearer the time.

With regard to my MA specifically I have been working on soundscapes with a difference: you cannot hear them.  Their pitch is so low that they are inaudible to the human ear; I will be overlaying these with sounds you can hear and they will be blasted out from different angles at varying volumes as part of my first installation.

I am also currently working on producing my ghosts who will be projected  onto a black surface within the room.  However I am starting to realise how difficult it is to create realistic ghosts without huge pockets.


Maybe in 2015 my pockets will be deeper…..


Happy New Year


So I spent the majority of my weekend emailing the huge backlog of people I have to contact and it has been a good thing to get done.


There is a national campaign working in the arena of disabled sexuality: and I have spoken with them about an exhibition I am planning as part of my MA project.  They responded to my last email today notifying me that they have a partner who wants to supply high quality underwear to their campaign but as they don’t have a photoshoot planned at present they are going to give the opportunity to me instead which is fantastic.


There are also some people involved in the campaign posing for me and I am attending their next meeting in London in January to discuss where we’re going.

Similarly Mik Scarlet, disabled activitst,actor and TV/Radio presenter is going to come to the meeting and is also excited about being involved, told me he’s going on a diet to as fit as possible for the shoot.

I am really nervous but excited about this project,  it is a work on a scale I have not attempted before and I feel it is a new chapter in my work.  I am using it as a way to explore new methods for conveying my ideas, many which I possess the skills for but have not utilised in the context of showing it.





So you’ve probably realised I like to come up with corny and slightly childish titles for my posts.

I had an email from an alcohol producer the other day to say they couldn’t contemplate my grant application due to using an image that featured a person under the age of 18.

The offending image was this from a 2013 project I did called With Me, Without Me.

As the project forms the bulk of the artwork for my MA and is largely in the research phase I  did not, and do not have any acceptable images as of yet and so as the work focuses around what is visible versus what is invisible (with particular regard to illness and disability); I  thought it would be an image to use this photo to illustrate the idea as there are links between the two.


Well as I said they would not accept it owing to a child being present (afterall children cannot drink alcohol).  So this left me in the position of visibly describing the project without having any work to show as of yet.

This is why I decided to create a mood board for those parts of the project I am already planning.  Although I understand physical mood boards are best, this has been done digitally owing to space, time and physical constraints relating to my disability.


What is of paramount importance to this project is that people are made to question their belief about who they are and how they see themselves in relation to others.  Especially how “able” , “well”  and “normal”people view themselves in relation to those they perceive as “other” (with specific reference to those with illness and/or disability).

Although this is quite a dark and confrontative project, I also feel there is a lightness to it.  A sort of truth and reconciliation process with the self and with the other.


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