Until about a month ago I imagined that I would standing in Gallery 1 of the Artists’ Club in Uppsala right now. This afternoon should have been the opening of my show there, instead I am enjoying a peaceful afternoon at home – I have just baked some banana bread and am watching the sky turn from a tightly clouded expanse of chilly white to a shade of blue that if it were not for the increasing darkness could seem almost bright. I can hear a flock of starlings doing their rounds before no doubt taking their roostings on the not too distant power-lines.
Of course had the show not been postponed then everything would be finished, installed, and out there. As it is several pieces remain works in progress, I took time way from the studio over Christmas and NewYear – time that would (’should’?) have seen that rush of activity that I am sure many other artists also experience in the weeks immediately before an opening. Since New Year though I have been turning up at the studio pretty regularly – to the surprise of one colleague who assumed that I would down tools on hearing about the show not going ahead as planned. Honestly – I have really appreciated my frequent and slower days at the studio. It has felt like a more authentic way of working than I have been used to in a while. Perhaps I am at the point with these works where I could make fast decisions and quickly get them finished, however with the luxury of time I can now feel my way, pause and ponder, indulge my daydreams and meandering thoughts.
I think that the work, when finished, will be all the better for it.
Actually I think that I will be all the better for it! The postponement allowed me to spend the best part of a week testing different recipes for paper-mâché (perhaps it is closer to what people call paper clay). The tacit knowledge that I gained – I call it a recipe but I could never write it down! – makes me wonder if the material might become something that I work with in the future. Paper-mâché has gone from being the solution to a problem to potentially being a material in its own right . I really enjoyed the materialness of it, and as I recently mentioned to a friend the work in the studio feels more like sculpture than it has done in a long time. I look forward to playing around with it and seeing what happens.
And this stage of developing the material opened up space for thinking not only about the pieces in production at the moment but also that which will follow. My curiosity about the material is encouraging me to explore what it can do rather than what it might be about.
[written Saturday 16 January]