I’m sitting here waiting for a call from the garage to see if my car has passed its MOT. (or not :( )

Sitting doing nothing basically, as I can’t really start anything in case I need to go out.

Updating my blog always slips my mind, but now seems appropriate to do something useful with this ’empty’ time.

Hmm…so my last post was weeks ago and as it was a bit of a moan, I suppose it looks like I’ve been sulking in all this time.

That couldn’t be further than the truth though as I’ve been running around, exhibiting, going to artists talks and generally just enjoying life (using up 4 days of my leave has contributed immensely to my welfare!!)

Sooo….the biggest thing was going up to Sheffield for the PV of ‘Flux’ (which I have work in) at Exchange St Studios.   It was nice to go up and stay over so that I could not only relax at the PV, but also take a walk round the city and experience Castlegate festival the next day.

The good thing about combining the exhibition with the festival, is that there have been absolutely loads of visitors.

I was even invited to take part in a textile exhibition up there in late summer, which reiterates a point I made in one of my earlier posts – the best exhibitions have come out of talking to other artists.

While in Sheffield, I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. She left a comfortable job in London, to go back to Uni to study creative writing, ‘up north’. It was interesting to talk about comparisons between writing and ‘making art’, and the difficulties faced. Yeah… we’ve both had that ‘work 5 days in the job and do your own work in the other 2′ ,…then realise weeks down the line that you hadn’t actually been out and done normal things.

Then there’s the competitions and the anger of the 50 shades of grey mentality of the book buying public, rather than something more creative.

Yeah yeah…probably the same goes for musicians. We’re all in it together though, which is kind of good.

So basically, for the last few weeks, I’ve been working on average 4 days a week (using leave in between) It’s not a huge amount of time off, but it has given me time to socialise, do work and just generally think through some ideas.

I feel charged again  :)



FLUX Gallery Tour https://www.facebook.com/events/101442366868656/




Yesterday, I received the most bizarre ‘Rejection’ I have ever had.   I have received rejections before (many) but most were because my work didn’t fit with the current exhibition or they just didn’t like it.  Fair enough. It happens.

This one though…  hmmmm

If they’d just said that my work was rejected, end of. I could walk away. But to read this AND see many artists posting on social media that they had been accepted THREE WEEKS before the deadline, makes me think that my work wasn’t even looked at :-(

Read it and let me know what you think  (copied and pasted exactly as in appeared in my inbox – including all of the annoying â€“ ‘s !!)

Bear in mind that I applied within a few days of the deadline and I did not actually receive a reject as stated in the email below.


I am writing to all of those who submitted an entry for the 2015 Book Prize and were not accepted for the exhibition to explain a little bit about the process from our point of view.

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone for their interest and for taking time to make a submission – again, we were overwhelmed this year by the response and quality of entries.

As many of you will know, the 2013 Prize was a huge success – we exhibited over 450 books, featuring them all in the catalogue – but ultimately the exhibition was too large and the whole event put a tremendous strain on all concerned. So we conducted lengthy research process before deciding upon changes for 2015 and also adopted a bit of a wait and see attitude to entries this year as we were not sure how the changes would affect numbers.

In the end, we had nearly 400 entries. So, in the interests of properly hosting the event, we have decided to restrict the exhibition to around 200 books. This is still a very large exhibition! Unfortunately, more than half of the entries arrived in the last two weeks and this caused us a further problem. Had we left the decision on which books to accept until June then we would still have been reviewing entries in July! Effectively, this meant that we accepted up to two thirds of the books entered in the first two months. We did not decline books but left the rest pending to see how many entries came in. As entries grew in the final two weeks we realized that we could only accept a few more. At that stage, only the books that really stood out for whatever reason were accepted. Of the 200 entries then left we could then only accept about 40 – and the process became quite arbitrary.

So next, we started to decline entries. Firstly, those that were not books. Secondly, where the rules were not adhered to – books made before 2013 or multiple entries from the same artist. Next, where we had insufficient to judge – only one photo, no photos of contents, photos too dark or no description. Next, we tried to accept at least one entry from all countries, so preference was given to some books for this reason. We also discounted the larger entries because they would be harder to show. In this way, accepting and rejecting entries eventually left about 40 books – which were rejected simply because we had no space left.

Was I happy with this process? Personally, no. One of the key features of the Book Prize has always been to be open and available to all. So, for me personally, it was a great shame to have to select books in this way. In retrospect, maybe we should have opened entries in January until April and then had May to select. But it is easy to be wise in hindsight. Equally, it would be better if artists entered earlier where possible and did not leaving submissions until the last minute – most of the books entered were not made in 2015.

I hope all of those who entered will consider entering again if we run the Prize in 2017 – we will try to improve the process again next time around.

We will also try to organize an exhibition of some of those books rejected, particularly the larger entries, at a later date this year or early next year, so may get back to some of those who entered.

We also have a huge programme of book related activities, which offer many more opportunities for book artists in 2015 and we hope to build on this next time around. You can see the programme developing at – openingupthebook.com

Finally, can I apologise for the length of this email – I have tried to offer some explanation with respect to the process. You will appreciate that we cannot respond individually.

Thank you again for entering and for your understanding. The Book Prize has been a privilege to be involved with over the years and I am sorry whenever it falls short of expectations.

Best Regards,

John Clark



The best exhibitions I’ve been in over the last few years, are ones that have emerged sort of organically. You meet someone, work together and then suddenly a collaboration is born.

This is how I’ve found myself preparing to exhibit in Sheffield in a couple of weeks. A place I’ve never been to, I’m ashamed to say, even though it’s only about 60 miles away.

The theme of Flux was bounced around, which didn’t really fit with my recent Tea work…  though actually, thinking about it now, the tea I’ve been using has considerably changed, morphed, moved on, whatever you want to call it…  hmmm…

It’s that sort of feeling you get when a theme is thrown at you but you have no time at all to actually just sit, think and work things out – damn you paid work, taking up all of my time and energy !!

But then, it was good to reach back to the safety of older ideas and re work them to fit. Also, I had to think about transporting the work again, so the tea would have been too fragile.

So digressing apart, I took the theme literally and made a little paper truck, filled with map aeroplanes. A mixture of past ideas.

Castlegate Festival has also decided to run a ‘Find a mouse’ trail and my initial thoughts were ‘I am absolutely not doing that!!’ but then you think ‘Oh whatever…sometimes doing something completely different throws out new ideas’. 

… so I found myself making a papier mache mouse. Ho hum.

Collaborating with Soup Collective and Exchange Place studios , I’ll be part of Castlegate Festival Sheffield from 19 June.