This week, I’ve been concentrating on filling in my work roster for the next three months, and figuring out how I can make the ten days leave I have left, stretch to the end of February.

To most people, ten days would be fine – a couple of weeks away, what more can you want? To me though, it means using up a few to curate the book exhibition in October and perhaps run a related workshop or two, at least one to install an exhibition in January, a few just for me over Christmas to see family and friends… I need at least two to carry over for after February as there’s a possibility we will exhibit overseas again…. and I need a couple set aside as a contingency in case anything pops up (as it has several times this year already ) …. sigh…nothing over for me OR to spend time on my own work.

I’ve stretched my time as well as I could this year, travelling a fair bit with exhibitions, including the one in Sweden, but lately, I’ve been seriously considering taking a month’s unpaid leave to concentrate on my own work. It will be a real struggle financially, but I’m trying to find ways around it.

Looking at the Arts Councils Development fund, the artists needs to be freelance or self-employed, which seems a bit unfair. Just because we work, doesn’t necessarily mean that we earn more – especially those of us working in the arts. I wonder if that goes all for arts funding?

Anyway… things are going well with the book exhibition I’m curating. The nearby library has agreed to let me use their space too, so that means there will be a really good triangle between the Gallery, the library and my studio space.

I went to a PV last night and saw that they had unused display cabinets lying in the corridor.  There’s a possibility I can use them for the library part of the exhibition, which is really quite fortuitous!

Tired today though… Bank Holiday for some , but not for me.  Yawn  :-(



I could have put more tags in there….  I was trying to list all of the things that have happened in the last 10 days or so, but I think we’re only allowed 10 or something.

I’d have more than that.

Where to start then? The first thing I did or the most recent?  Hmmm

OK, I’ll go back to a week last Friday – I went on a coach trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Weather-wise, it was the worst day ever, but it didn’t stop us walking the entire length of it.

For all of the ‘Paper artists’ in the group, the highlight was meant to be Rob Ryan, but I much preferred the Caro – it was worth the long walk in the pouring rain.

Rather than getting the bus back to the main site, I plodded on – not wanting to miss the Andy Goldsworthy or the David Nash. There was just too much to see before having to get back on the  coach for the journey home. I’ll have to go back.

Work has virtually flown by, as my head has been buzzing with so many ideas, but I didn’t feel quite alert and ready enough for a list of questions fired at me for our guest bloggers post on the group website :  https://sciartistprojects.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/resized/  But anyway…

Next was a response to my email I’d sent to the curator at The Williamson . With my friend Debra Eck coming over from NY to teach bookbinding at the Sheffield book prize in October, I wanted to see if my local gallery would display a small cabinet of books in the foyer – or any small space really, I wasn’t fussed.

Turns out, they’d seen our light night pop up exhibition at the Tate back in May, where we ‘hid’ artworks so that the public could find them. They loved that idea and wanted to do the same at The Williamson.

Soo… Saturday saw a meeting at the gallery, with a walk through pointing out areas I could use  … the realisation that I would need a few more artists now… a phone chat with Louise Atkinson (who has set up many book exhibitions) asking if she could recommend one or two artists… which lead to her asking me to put my books in her exhibition in Staithes next month  AND a quick tutorial on putting an opportunity on her ‘Curator Space’ site.. http://www.curatorspace.com/opportunities/detail/doesnt-look-like-a-book/352     ….sifting through submissions (already!!) from artists who just didn’t read the brief… then Saturday was over.

In the words of one of the conservators I was chatting to, when they were installing ‘Venus of the Rags’ in Tate, ‘Our lives are not really normal, are they?’




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Yesterday, I had to decide whether to go to the studio, or to do a pile of washing and cut the grass.

It was really hot, I had a stack of stuff to do and my next day off (apart from Friday, when I’ve taken a days leave to go to Yorkshire Sculpture park with colleagues from work) is Sunday. Rain forecast from tomorrow onwards.


It makes me feel guilty when people ask if I’d been to the studio on my days off, but its not always that easy.  Everyone who works full time knows what its like – you work with your commitments or even the weather, and do what you can.

I felt I had earned  brownie points though by working through my last days off – completing work for the Arena and Berwick exhibitions, and sitting down to invigilate at Arena while everyone was out in the sun.

I’m pleased to say though that I’d completed the ‘Thread of Life’ cross stitch work (albeit at home) initiated by artist Sharon Mossbeck.  I’d met Sharon when we were in Sheffield for our Flux exhibition in June. Although its a long time since I’d worked with any form of textiles,  I loved her enthusiasm for her project and was pleased to be asked to contribute.

It has taken ages, but I haven’t been working on it continuously, I’d pick it up here and there and put it away for a few days. It pretty much stayed on the kitchen table, so sometimes I’d do a few stitches while waiting for the kettle to boil or something.

I don’t want that to sound like I didn’t find it interesting to do, its just that I was unsure how to proceed as it was a medium I wasn’t totally comfortable with. I needed to do it in small spurts so that I can think about how to approach the next stage.

But here it is…



I think there’s a fine line between creating work within your normal practise and making commercial or rather, more ‘saleable’ work.

As mentioned in my last blog post, I’d spent a whole day working and reworking 2D images with the sole purpose of making saleable items. The results were dire, I hated them.  I was trying to do something that I thought people would want and it just wasn’t me.

It was only because I’d chatted with our press release person that the real reason behind my work came out and I was able to condense my installations into much smaller postcard size versions, which still fitted the exhibitions brief.

I felt comfortable with the work. After feeling a bit lost with the tea creations and not really finding a way of going forward with it, I felt this new work was a direction I wanted to follow and explore.

Even better that I actually sold all three exhibited.  Now that’s a first!!

The spate of exhibitions I’ve been involved in recently have been good because all of the venues have varied immensely, each having their own quirkiness and sometimes limitations, so I’ve had to constantly adapt my work to fit.

I’d built up a body of work too, which was quite fortuitous as a friend of mine had been asked to take work to a small gallery in Berwick, inviting two guests. I was delighted to take part, but slightly stressed as the instructions were only given one evening for the work to be ready and framed the next day.

Since March, I seem to have been constantly exhibiting and although it’s been fantastic in that I’m working and pushing ideas to the limit, I feel I need to have more studio days (time permitting) to continue with this new line of work.

But then…If opportunities  continue to pop up – I’ll keep taking them. The trick is just to be constanly prepared.




That moment when you are sat down and asked about your work suddenly becomes the moment you actually think about it.

In my case anyway.

At really short notice (a cancellation) we were offered an exhibition space. Thus followed a mad 3 days of getting artists together, working out a plan of action and finding someone to do a write up.

This is where I usually stumble when talking about my work.  I do it because I want to and I don’t usually offer any more explanation than that.

So I was kind of taken aback when probed further on my work for the press release. Even further astounded when I read a fellow artists write up – she had been Art in Liverpool’s ‘Artist of the month’, one of axiswebs ‘five to watch’… hang on a minute – SO HAVE I!! Why do I never think to say these things?  (though I can’t use the axisweb thing now that I have decided not to renew)

So I really need to big myself up a bit more – but in an appropriate way (just read this rather funny (to me anyway) guide on how not to succeed) : http://www.artbusiness.com/osoqartworld.html

Because of this, maybe I should explain the reasoning behind posting images of older work on my facebook page… https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wendy-Williams/1401933143438923

Quite simply, an artist I know had started running workshops on ships – OK, so I don’t own copyright on ships obviously, but I felt that the workshop ships were direct copies, and a far cry from the artists own practise.  It just seemed unethical. Or am I over reacting? Without commenting,  I thought I should remind everyone about my work.

So anyway…Back to this coming exhibition… I’ve spent the week trying to make smaller works for it and its been soooo trying!  I had a studio day on Wednesday and although I worked almost constantly, nothing at all (that I liked!) came out of it.  It was only the next day when I plonked myself in front of the TV after work that an idea actually hit me.

That’s how it works I suppose.

I don’t want to be constantly exhibiting, but when I’m tired after working all week and all I want to do is sit……….. its good to have that incentive to keep going.

Resized. Arena Gallery Liverpool. 8th and 9th August