Cycling to the gym this morning for the year’s last workout I reflected on the year and surprised myself with how much I have achieved:
- sold three works; my first ever sales! Two pieces were purchased for local authority collections and one for the national public art agency.
- selected for a group show; it was great to show together with a fantastic group of artists, to work with a great curator, and the brilliant arts officer at the Möblen culture house in Tierp.
- wrote the third instalment of my Brexit trilogy for the Supermarket 2021 Art Fair magazine; thank you so much Roberto Ekholm, Michael Petry, and Derek Curtis for your generous interviews.
- co-wrote an article for a-n.co.uk on long-term long-form blogging with the lovely Elena Thomas and Kate Murdoch. It was good and inspiring fun to discuss blogging practices and habits with two other seasoned bloggers.
- co-hosted a discussion on blogging for Platform 7’s Discussion Festival. Thank you Elena for organising that.
- coordinated a successful Meetings programme for Supermarket 2021; it was my first proper year as Meetings Coordinator and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you to all of the Supermarket Team, the amazing volunteers, all of the moderators, and the artists/curators who took part.
- established a studio at the Hospital Studio Association in Uppsala; I am really pleased to be a part of this exciting and evolving artistic community.
- selected for an artists’ studio discussion programme; I am looking forward to getting started with this in the new year.
- invited to exhibit at the Enköping Town Gallery next year together with Klas Hällerstrand. It means a lot to me to be asked to show here as I know that the chair of the committee has very high standards.
- invited to run the late summer school at Uppsala Art Museum; it was delighted to be asked as I know that there are many really good artist/educators in Uppsala. It was fantastic to work in such a well resourced education studio!
- invited be maternity cover on a children’s art programme in Gottsunda (Uppsala); the programme is very well regarded and has an excellent reputation.
I also made what I consider to be a good application for an artist’s working grant. For the first time I asked for feedback on drafts from friends and colleagues. Even if I do not receive the award the process of writing this and the residency application have shifted my thinking about my practice and enabled me to identify a theme that has been running through my practice since my time on the foundation course at the Southend on Sea Technical College back in 1986/7.
Acknowledging these things and excited about getting going with the new sewing machine I am looking forward to the year ahead and wonder what opportunities it will offer!
Thank you 2021! Despite some shaky times, some frustrations and disappointments, you’ve been a year that has seen a considerable number of significant advancements. Here’s to more of that!
And a big thank you to everyone who has encouraged, supported, and shown confidence in me over the year. It truly means a lot to me – thank you!
A considerable drive to pick-up a sewing machine that I had bought on the Swedish equivalent of Ebay gave me plenty of time to think about the programme that I have been planning as part of my upcoming show at the Artists’ Club in Uppsala. In the light of the recent re-introduction of restrictions regarding the number of people per ten square meters of floor space each gallery at the club house can only accommodate five people att any one. This includes the artist/invigilator.
I have already received an email regrettably informing me that there would be no vernissage for the show – the dates of the show will be publicised without mention of an opening event. Nor can I promote Friday Fikas, or the finishage that I had planned. I might feel differently closer to the time but for now I can not really see the point of organising these things if they will not be what I intended them to be – gatherings of people. If I can’t let people know about them in advance then I can’t assemble a significant number of people around a specific time point. The aim was not simply to give visitors tea and cake, it was to create an easy atmosphere where, over tea and cake, discussion would develop and evolve. It would feel very wrong to set up a situation where a few (four) people are offered tea and cake, and anyone else who turns up while we are enjoying our fika is turned away. Such a scenario goes very much against my ambition for inclusion. I also do want to put the fika guests in the situation where they could feel that they are ’blocking’ accessibility.
I thought that the finishage would be an opportunity for people who had visited during the ’live work’ to return and spend more time in the space, again I imagined discussions between people who had seen different stages of the live work, or that I would even orchestrate introductions and discussions between people Again this seems a little inappropriate knowing that I will need to be mindful that there could be people waiting to come in.
With the previous similar restriction I noticed in both my own behaviour and that of visitors to the Enköping gallery that visits were conducted almost hurriedly as though not wanting to occupy the space for too long. While it may happen that a particular visitor may stay longer than others planning events which encourage all to linger currently feels like poor judgement.
And then there are the workshops! Driving through miles of twinkly snowy landscape I flitted between thinking that they could of course go ahead – they are outside of the regular opening hours and could be offered to small groups, to thinking that they too should be shelved – they would be too far from what I envisioned for them to be enjoyable … for me to find them enjoyable! The email that I received did not mention whether or not the workshops could be promoted. Even if they can be, do I want to run a workshop for four people? Could I run a workshop where I keep at least one and a half meters from the participants, and the participants keep that far from each other? I had imagined a larger group sitting around a table working and chatting together. Am I being inflexible not re-imagining how I could work in the current situation? Nothing that I was offering is so urgent that it can not wait until things are looking better … by which I mean after my show.
I don’t need to make a decision immediately about the workshops, I can talk it through with friends and colleagues next week when everyone is back from the Christmas break. But at the moment my preference is to postpone them.
In other news …
I am absolutely delighted that Uppsala District Council have bought one of the Trophy series. It means a great deal to me that one of my works will be in their public collection. I know the public art team and the collection from working with them on the Under the Same Rainbow project last year. Many (most!) of the established Uppsala artists whom I know are represented in the collection as well as a good selection of contemporary artists from the whole of Sweden. Hearing about this just a couple of weeks before Christmas was a wonderful surprise and a very welcome early Christmas present!