Spent a fair bit of yesterday emailing Debra Eck, the US based artist who joined us for our Stockholm exhibition last year. We had talked a few times about UK artists exhibiting over there, but yesterday we managed to finalise it.

We learnt so much from the Stockholm exhibition and will be able to use that knowledge as a basis for our plans. Unfortunately though, we will have to work on the assumption that we will not get funding. (Obviously great if we do, but best to plan otherwise)

The exhibition/s (as Debra has been able to secure a couple of venues already) will be paper works only (so that work can be posted if the artists cannot go across)

We will first invite the artists that came to Stockholm with us, and then open it up to others.

Still a bit of research to be done, but the basics are there – galleries booked, links with a book fair made, free accommodation sorted…. And still almost a year till we go – plenty of time to tick off other things on the list.

Now, why can’t working with a local church be that easy??


Ten days since I wrote to the Church people with the list of things we have to do, and still no reply. I’m thinking perhaps: a) they are the type of people who don’t feel the need to acknowledge an email and have gone straight into the prep for the workshops….. Or b) they are thinking ‘it’s over Two months till the festival starts – what’s the hurry?’

If that’s the case, I am a little worried.

Anyone who has worked with the public will know that they generally start the project with much enthusiasm, then it starts to drain a bit and you end up working round the clock to finish everything on your own : (

I’d sent a time scale…. materials must be collected by a certain date, workshops to start on a given date, first lot of installation pieces to be finished by…..

Let’s hope they are not so slow about my payment!

In the meantime, I am still trying to find the time to do my own work. My paper shoes will now go into a recycling exhibition in July (same time as the church installation, so I will try to tie those two together)

I’m toying with the idea of using the shoes again for the Chapel Gallery exhibition in September, but will install them in a different way. I have to decide quickly though as they are pressuring me to sign the artist’s agreement, so that they can sign it all off and get the publicity rolling.

I had turned down Light Night in May, as I just didn’t have the time to run round finding a venue. For the second time though, something else – more achievable, as come up in its place. (Which makes me think even more that it’s better to just sit back and concentrate on the work rather than stressing about showing it, as things WILL happen!) I set up the group ‘Soup Collective ‘ in 2001 with another work colleague, when we realised all of the staff we work with have an arts background. We work and exhibit together at least once a year. Soooo, cutting a long story short, Tate Liverpool will be celebrating its 25th Birthday this year and will be running an exhibition in one of the galleries of all the achievements over the years : http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/display/tate-liverpool-25

I’m thrilled that they see our staff shows as significant enough to add to the timeline, so we will be in there somewhere. Obviously, there won’t be the space to show everyone’s work, so we are going to show the flyers, catalogues and posters we have made over the years.

It was really good to contact everyone to try to gather all of the paraphernalia and it really brought home the strong community we have in our work environment.

Other than that, I have been asked to submit for a drawing exhibition also coming up in May as part of Art Month AND Light night.

Blogging then….. is sort of low in priority just now, but I’m hoping that my experiences will help one or two artists if they have the time to read this, see that full time work does not mean the end of an art career!


There is a positive side to Open exhibitions, for me anyway. I’ve had several occasions when a theme they have used has triggered an idea – even if I haven’t actually entered the exhibition.

It was because of this that I started making the paper shoes.

At this stage, I don’t have a definite plan on where I will exhibit them, I’m just enjoying the making of them for now.

Open exhibitions can be a bit hit and miss in my opinion. It’s really hard to get the right mix of works that appeal to a wide range of visitors, and yet still retain some sort of quality. Obviously there are plenty more that also work well, but I will give the thumbs up to the West Lancs open and the Leeds DWF ( both of which I’ve been involved in) as both have given thought on how the exhibitions reflect on the organisation. I do think though that other venues don’t always see that as a priority.

I had a couple of years break from Opens that you have to pay for, and it was only this year I made the tentative steps of putting my work into the Wirral Spring exhibition (at my local gallery) I hadn’t entered this for absolutely years, but because I’m concentrating more on my own work these days and not being ‘out there’, I felt the need to wave a little flag saying ‘look, I’m still here!’

I’d missed the PV because of the awful weather and until yesterday, my time was taken up doing other things. In the meantime, I’d heard mixed reviews of the exhibition, so I was a little apprehensive of seeing it for myself.


I suppose, more so in the last couple of years, galleries have that added pressure of trying to raise funds themselves. In doing this, they would have to try to appeal to just about everyone. So, in the case of this exhibition, it looks like they have accepted ALL works.

Has this policy worked for them? Or for the artists involved ? Yesterday was fairly sunny, people are still off for Easter and yet, there was just me and one other person looking round the gallery.

Maybe not.


There was a collective ‘oh xxxx’ in work last week as we were all given a letter containing our projected pensions on retirement. One of the perils of working in the arts I suppose. My dream of going back to part time and spending more time on my own work will probably stay a dream as I, like many others will have to try to save as much as we can while we still have a job.

My work load though, is getting larger.

I worked Bank Holiday Monday (triple pay…or in reality, one day of a ‘normal’ rate of pay for an artist earning what they should be entitled to! ) and spent my lunch time making maquettes, scanning them and sending out instructions for the Church Installation. Frustratingly, no one has responded yet. I don’t get these people who don’t check their emails for a couple of days at a time – or is that just me being manic?

At least when they did respond last week (asking for said instructions so that they can start the ball rolling in collecting materials) they did confirm I will get payment. Phew.

On top of all this, I had an email from the Chapel Gallery in Ormskirk asking me to participate in their ‘Land, Sea and Sky exhibition’ in September. I had sent THE worst proposal in for that last year and had forgotten about it as I never heard back. I hastily put the proposal together when I was snowed under with work during the Biennial and remember writing something on the lines of ‘ I’m not sure what I will do for it at this time, but will hopefully have something together nearer the date’. As soon as I sent it, I got annoyed at myself for being so lazy. Its typical though isn’t it? When I’ve spent days and days on proposals, including huge amounts of documentation, I get rejected. Such is life.

So…. After a moan about how I will find the time to fit in all of this work, to one of the recent graduates I work with, I was hastily brought back to reality when she said ‘You are so lucky – I would LOVE to be asked to participate in an exhibition’.

OK. You can’t have everything : /