Do we start new things in January because we imagine its a clean slate, a step into a new position or is it because we have had time to reflect? Each year I look forward to what the other day, my friend so aptly described as perineum time, that is the space between Christmas and New Year. In this space ideas and possibilities stride about in my head, my attention tries to discern the shape and quality of these lovely new things. Sometimes the new things take form and seep into reality, but too often they dematerialize, undone by doubt, poor attention and frittered time. My intention in starting a blog is to notice.

I will blog weekly keeping to around 200 words – achievable and concise. I want to document what I’m doing , thinking and experiencing, where my work is going, where its been and what it did when it was there. As well as my creative practice I need to write about my teaching. Imagine a creativity see-saw with teaching at one end and personal practice at the other, inseparable, but conflicting, to often one end is grounded whilst the other is suspended mid-air. Play needs to be restored.

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This week for the first time in months I managed to set aside a whole day for my practice. Having not had a chance to paint for so long it felt like loosening rusty joints, with screeches, squeaks and scrapes accompanying every contact of brush with canvas. At the end of the day I had a blissful feeling of exhaustion and time well spent. Not that the outcome of the painting itself was in anyway special, but being within the process again is. For the past couple of weeks or more honestly the last couple of months, my thoughts have dwelt less on the content of my practice and more on the making of time and space to do it. I put myself in a position where rather than finding a way through, I threw up more barriers so that I couldn’t get close enough to my fears to face them. Painting today felt like having the courage to get under the bed and prove there was no monster there – there’s no monster, but there’s a lot of dust, fluff and cobwebs to deal with, but the monsters gone – that is until it’s there again….


Last week I returned to teaching after an unexpected week caring. Ordinarily I don’t bother with New Year, but this year I watched fireworks peppering the sky, lighting my way as I retrieved my father from A&E. Concussion; stitches; more medical appointments; endless cups of tea; making work? Not so much.

My practice mostly concerns the narrative of possessions, that is objects and homes; links to personal and community histories and beliefs traced by the things we have. Before I moved a couple of years ago, I started a project called Postcards from Home. I printed postcards from lino blocks documenting 20 years lived in the same house. The postcards show my life through things, a catalogue of conscious and unconscious decisions.

Being at Dad’s for the week made me aware of his things or rather the lack of them. He has honed his ownership such that whilst cabinets and drawers fill the space they are often as not empty. Whilst our possessions speak of our past, maybe they are as unreliable as memory. Drawing at Dad’s I reflected on his spaces and what was absent and on my space and what I’d put there.