A while back, I made myself a game to play.
After chancing upon an slide projector in a charity shop, I started to collect old slides, asking for donations from friends, and buying any I came across in second hand shops, markets and online. I soon developed an addiction, spending hours in a darkened room,  pressing click. Around this time, a friend gave me a slide scanner and I accidentally discovered that you could put two slides in the tray at the same time, which gave a double image. After trying this a few times, I discovered some beautiful combinations. Many of the slides, which by themselves might be seen to be quite mundane  – photographs of landscapes, family birthdays and holidays –  developed a new life when combined randomly with another slide, and the two images together said something new. Sometimes this thing was funny, weird, or sad, often it was just an indefinable feeling of surprise and strangeness.
I developed a game and set myself some rules. I could pick six images from my (now huge) box of slides – no looking at them before I put them in the slide tray, or even seeing if they were the right way up. Often the combinations weren’t very interesting, or were too dark to be seen. – then I wouldn’t scan them, but just put them back into the box, and keep trying. But now and again, something magical happened, and a combined image would happen that  made me stop breathing for a second. Then I would press ‘scan’.
I’ve been keeping and adding to these scanned images for months, not quite knowing what I wanted to do with them. This week, after getting a new batch of slides from The Shop, Nelson,  a fantastic new creative shop space in Nelson, Lancashire – I started to play the game again. Today, for some reason, feels like a good day to share them.

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It feels like all my time is being sucked up at the moment  with job hunting, writing proposals  for opportunities/commissions and funding applications.  Pay and conditions in my part time job have become so dire I need to find another way of surviving or else I’m going to lose it (my head and probably my job).  This is probably a good thing (I keep telling myself) – I need a change and it will push me to write those applications I have a tendency to avoid. But its exhausting, and it feels like I’m not getting time to so the thing that’s the most important – making work.

But this week I’ve found the little moments and occasional hour I’ve carved out for myself to play in the studio have brought some joy. The studio is a mess – boxes of cutouts, papers, piles of books everywhere –  looks and feels  like chaos. But as I’ve been rummaging feverishly through a pile of  paper on the table or a box has upturned itself, a combination of accidental collisions makes itself apparent and suddenly I see something makes sense .I feel like with the pieces that work best, it’s not me that making the work, but just discovering it. There’s no saying when it will happen, I just need to be there, forget to try, be patient and eventually something will happen. These moment make the other stuff okay.