Selecting artists

My next challenge is to select at least another 2 artists to exhibit with us in New York State next April. It’s something I’m finding difficult to focus on while the church commission is still very much in the forefront of my thoughts. BUT… Bruce Davies from the Leeds based Basement Arts projects came down to meet me over the weekend to discuss the project – which has in fact been in the planning since our Stockholm trip.

As he was there on Friday, he inevitably got roped into helping me secure the wire for the installation in the church (for which I am very grateful!) but we did go off for a coffee afterwards to chat.

As we listed the artists from Stockholm and the following exhibitions in Liverpool and Leeds, we realised how many more Yorkshire based artists there were than other areas. It’s not really a big issue, but I’ve been set a challenge to try to even it up just slightly.

Although we are happy with the artists already involved, we are looking for a couple of others who will engage more with the project, by coming across with us (funding permitting)

We have the gallery booked and our New York contact is presently securing empty shops to use as additional spaces. It is therefore not really suitable for artists who work on canvas or similar 2D work. (so apologies to people I know who’s work is fabulous, but it just isn’t quite what we are looking for!)

The artists must be willing to talk to the public and student groups. This will be paid.

I’m not putting it out there as an opportunity as I feel that the first step in engaging with the project is that the artist is actually reading this blog.

Additional note….. artists have now been selected.


Back to the Church Installation

If only I could back track on my calculations for the invoice I sent to the church, I would be a lot richer. Sometimes, it’s really difficult to calculate the cost of work without taking into account unexpected problems. I mean, what do builders do when they give an estimate for a job and then realise that they uncover a damp patch, for example, so have to spend extra time to investigate and then go repair it?

Do they say ‘Oh well, actually – do you know that bill we sent? Well, it’s now another £500’?

Yeah….they probably would. But would we, as artists? Hmmmm…probably not.

Although I’d had a good start on Sunday with the initial setting up, I’d gone back for a few hours on Monday and left, completely stressed out, as it wasn’t hanging the way it should. The weight of the starflies had caused the fishing wire to stretch an incredible amount and it looked awful. This is the third installation I’ve made in which I’d used fishing wire, but this is the first one that wasn’t working. I had a fair few sleepless nights this week, trying to work out an alternative way of hanging it all.

After spending a couple of hours cutting out and decorating more shapes, we began today to re-hang the whole lot with heavy duty wire. Like a pile of other stuff that I have that ‘may come in useful one day’, it was fortunate I had this.

It is also fortunate in a way, that I’ve had to come away from the installation ( to work) as it’s given me thinking time away from the project, which I wouldn’t have had if I was on top of it continuously.

I can’t go back now till Tuesday, but I feel a lot more relaxed about it now that I know that it won’t fall down…..and Sunday’s mass can go ahead without the vicar ducking and diving behind a very wonky paper curtain.

Extra hours I have put in beyond my invoice total = tooooooo many : (


Starting to hang the Church Installation

I wasn’t so concerned about actually hanging the starflies, it was working out a pulley system that was the main worry. I was trying to work out how to string the fishing wire across the back of the church and securing it without doing any damage. It was to some vast relief then that I found that someone in the distant past, had put up some hooks to secure a light rope across the seating on the balcony. I was able to take the hooks out and replace them with eyelets that I had bought specially. It was then a case of me and 3 helpers attaching the fishing wire to a ball and throwing it across the church to each other to enable us to attach the wire. Ingenious – though I say so myself!

I felt a little awkward doing the rest as I didn’t need any help stringing up the starflies to the fishing wire, so everyone was just standing around watching….and taking photos.

So for today, I just put up 3 strands – enough to get an idea of the spacing, so that I can carry on doing them at home and let everyone else go off to enjoy their afternoon.

It was nice for me to have a bit of a break too. I spent about an hour sorting through all the bits of paper and collecting the remaining stars to place them between the pages of heavy books to flatten them out. My work space is now a little clearer, which makes me feel calm : )

A huge amount of work has gone into all of this, but I do feel that we’ve broken the back of it and I can now, finally, start relaxing a little.

…. Not before sending off some of the images to the local paper, as requested. (They’ll do a piece on it next week) …. and trying to figure out mailchimp to do a mail out. Sigh


The Opens with submission fees

OK, I know I said only the other week that I’m never doing another open…..but I’m just ticking off things on the curator’s advice list. Despite my better judgement, I’ve applied for the Jerwood Drawing Open.

Even before I delivered my work to the submission centre, I received an email with instructions on picking up unselected work. This doesn’t bode well.

The good thing about it though, is that despite having so much on at the moment, I found the time to work on an idea that had been formulating over the last few weeks. I’m pleased with the work and the direction it is going in and I don’t think I would have pushed myself to achieve this without having a deadline.

So my day off today started off VERY early. I woke up before I needed to as I’ve just got so much to do. I need a box/container for my awkwardly shaped work for Jerwood and with not having one with the right dimensions, I’ve had to make one. So first things on today list, was a bit of cutting and glueing and a lot of hoping that it will stay in one piece.

I had to get my car to the garage by 8.30, even though the MOT wasn’t booked until 12, so I had to get the bus to the school for the workshop. This meant I couldn’t carry as much as I did last week, but even so, I thought I had enough scrap paper and cut out starflies for a small group. I was there at 1.15 as requested by the head….and still there at half past. Despite a note about me being there in the diary at reception, no one knew what I was doing. We (thankfully I had a friend!) waited while teachers went up and down corridors, knocking on doors to find out which class I was with.

Finally…. it turned out it was year 2. The teachers had kindly (!) shoved two classes together in the one room’ so more children could experience the lovely artwork’… so it was unbelievably chaotic (and very hot!) We ran out of papers really early on because there were just so many kids, and had to raid the supply cupboard.

The starflies were really loaded with too much glue and everything was rushed because we started too late. I had to bung the still wet shapes all in my bag anyway and hope that I could separate them when I got home.

At least….. my car passed its MOT ( VERY surprised and hugely relieved at that, as its getting quite old, and I don’t have any money!)



Well, today’s intention was to network, by going on the Wirral Open studio tour : http://wirralart.com/ but, like all good intentions, other things happen.

I didn’t actually leave the house until after 12, because I had to do a pile of washing, walk the dogs and try to get some sort of order to this chaos at home. My 6 days off seem like a blur now as I’m back to the 3 days in, 1 day off, 3 days in week nonsense.

So I circled a few of the artists studios that I wanted to visit and I headed out to the first on the list. On the way, I bumped into a friend of mine, and we chatted… too long. Then I met people who organised the church installation at one of the studios and we talked about logistics, setting up and trying to fit in one more school workshop beforehand. By this time, over two hours at passed, so I thought I’d pop into the Williamson Art Gallery to check my shoe installation was all still there ( it was) before trying to see at least one more studio.

Trying to follow the odd little map on the trail, I eventually found the studio of Brigitte Jurack : http://brigittejurack.de/

I’d only vaguely heard of her, as she was the partner of someone I’d exhibited with last year, so I was quite amazed to hear about her experiences. She gave me some ideas about using commercial printing companies for digital prints, which I’d never really thought about.

This is the good thing about the Open studios – having the opportunity to actually talk to the artist. There’s probably no way that I would have been directed to her website without this chat and I would have been totally oblivious to her achievements. So I need to think of a way of doing this next year….I’m sure like other artists, I could just share a studio for the week to set up.

Brigitte complained about not having the time to work ( she teaches part time in Manchester) while I just longed to be part time again.

I came across a part time job that would suit me and that I thought – to take this job, I would need to supplement my income by earning circa £4000 per year. Could I do that as an artist? Too scary – I doubt it very much that I could. I would have to get another job – which kind of defeats the object.

I will have to stay full time : (