I really enjoyed my few days in Berlin. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve started visiting places more than once. Being back in Berlin was much more relaxing than my first time, I knew my way around and that made a huge difference. Now that I’ve been twice it feels as though I’ll go again. Could I ever re-locate, not necessarily there, anywhere?
It was great being invited to speak about my work to students. It made me realise how much I miss being in an academic situation. The question is how do I get back into it? I looked at the person specification for a part-time visiting lecturer early this week – a PhD or equivalent profile was the first of the ‘essential’ criteria. What’s stopping me from really investigating a PhD (I mean actually talking with someone about it rather just downloading stuff from various college websites)?
The thing is, I’m really enjoying my life at the moment. But I’m getting anxious about the future. It’s okay (not ideal but okay) being 40 and having a couple of part-time ‘cash in hand’ jobs with no prospects, but I don’t want to do it forever, and if I don’t do something about it no-one else is going to!
I’m quite clear about what I don’t want to do – I don’t want to run workshops in schools anymore and I don’t want to get a PGCE. For the moment I don’t want to leave London. Actually working out what I don’t want does help. What else don’t I want? I don’t want to live hand to mouth forever and I don’t want to become a ‘manager’. I don’t want to give up my practice and I don’t want to ‘re-train’.
I wrote those few paragraphs a week ago but didn’t post them. I imagined that I’d do it the next day – I didn’t. Since taking the second part-time job I haven’t got in to any sort of routine and weeks pass before I feel as though I’ve even started them. Yesterday (Tuesday) I found myself already putting an imaginary line through this week – every day accounted for. Of course it’s not quite like that but with four regular days work and an extra one on Sunday coming, it feels as though I have no time for myself. I want to find a way to earn more and work less.
Art opportunities are coming up and they’re starting to get more interesting – these are the things I really want to pursue, these are things that are important to me. I’ve got to find a way to make it all sustainable …
What happened to May?
Achieved three things on my do to list:
• I have a lovely flat fresh white studio wall – it’s the only wall in the studio that I can actually pin things to.
• Yesterday morning I installed slide scanner software on my computer and used it to scan some slides of work from 2001. It’s great to have these older pieces in digital form. Though I must get the slides cleaned before I scan the next batch.
• Ordered and collected a length of foam ‘bolster’ for my patchwork punch bag. Combined the collection with the Tom Friedman opening at Gagosian. I felt rather under-dressed and over-burdened – one of the almost identically glamorous assistants smiled very sweetly as I laid my oversized package at the side that frighteningly extensive reception desk.
Spent a great day playing with urine bottles last week – results pictured. Was most surprised by the ‘cairn’ form that evolved. I left in the studio for a few days and was genuinely delighted with the feedback I got from everyone. Encouraged my to think I should play more and plan less. Am I starting to uncover/recover the sculptor in me? It’s ages since I played with materials – I know urine bottles are far from ‘neutral’ materials but I really enjoyed playing with their form and not thinking too much about they actually are. I want to order some more and see how high I can go.
My new bike has had a big impact on my life. I’m more inclined to attend openings now it doesn’t cost me six pounds for a travel card (somehow the few hundred the bike cost doesn’t seem to worry me). The other noticeable difference is that I don’t take my laptop with me when I work in the shop. I could usually get at least the equivalent of an hour when I could go online. Now I don’t do it. In some ways it’s great and appeals to my technology resistance, in others I realise that I’m not as hooked in as I was. Would it be possible not to use a computer these days? What would that life be like? I manage quite well without a mobile phone, though email and the internet is another question. Last week I amended my email signature to include a line that says I don’t check my inbox everyday. I read recently of a business where they never open email in the morning, and heard of another where they have email free days – it’s good to know I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed by communication. I can honestly say that I’d rather be on my bike than online ….