It is as though I cannot help myself! I have accepted the invitation to be on the management team at the studios. I did make one condition, that I do nothing this side of New Year. There are a couple of things that need to be looked at right now and I know that with the final assignments for both the Swedish and artistic research courses coming up I simply do not have time. Being on the team should be a win-win situation – I will start to use and learn Swedish in a professional artistic context, and can offer different ideas and perspectives from my experiences with Crystal Palace Artists and Bow Arts Trust.
The first show in the newly renovated gallery went very well. Melissa Henderson has such enthusiasm and passion which makes it an absolute pleasure to work with her. At both the opening and closing events she pitched her talks perfectly. ‘Talk’ sounds rather formal, she gave a kind of guided tour speaking about each of the artworks in turn and also making connections between them and to the show’s title “As I begin to speak”. Birgitta, Ellinor and I now need to sit down and go through the exhibition proposals that are coming in. There are also some administrative and practical aspects that need to be taken care of, thankfully they too can wait until January. In the meantime we have our first Christmas Market at the studios! As I do not have anything to sell as such I am going to set up a stall where people can make there own Christmas decorations from those plastic beads that you bond together with an iron. I made some as presents last year and people liked them, so this year people can do their own – I will make a pattern book too!
Hopefully the sense of crisis at the studio is lessening. We still do not have a definite answer about the future of the building but with a ‘refreshed’ management/steering team and a few collective activities it is starting to feel as though we are a body of artists rather than lone individuals rattle around a condemned house! My proposal for a Christmas party has been warmly accepted. These social and enjoyable things are essential in trying times! Empowerment through pleasure!
The work at Mejan is progressing slowly but surely. My home-made plaster lathe is now ready! Next week I begin to actually use it. It has taken far longer to get to this stage than I anticipated, however it has been unexpectedly rewarding and I have made discoveries along the way. The glass-casting course has been very inspiring and I have a few things that I will try out next term if I do not manage them this side of the Christmas break.
On Tuesday I gave a presentation to students just starting on the Research Inquiry programme at Konstfack. It was very well received, not least by Rolf Hughes the course leader and my tutor on the Making Matters course. He has an amazing ability to hone in on and articulate aspects of my work that I find difficult to express in any means other than their own physical being. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to speak about my work in this way as it is always a rewarding process from beginning to end. I understand things by doing them in real time and space, and in the context of other people and their responses. This is true of both my physical artwork and the thinking around and about it.
Of course a question remains about how to make this experience communicable. And it is this questions that I am attempting to resolve through my approach to artistic research. I am in less doubt now that ‘research’ exists within my practice, now I want to work out how to deal with content and make it accessible. Perhaps my resistance to the idea of artistic research has been formed by thinking that it was something external or other to my existing practice, where as it might be more appropriate to consider that it is always already present…