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On Monday morning my brain waved at me and I had a further idea.

Make my earth circle bigger and place it on the floor.  So simple yet took so long to get there.  Beneath our feet.  THE EARTH.

Use that large piece of board that’s been hanging around waiting for this time.

How to draw a large circle:  string and chalk – memories from childhood.  Where is my protractor?  I’d love one of those large wooden protractors made for blackboards.  I can see my maths teacher using one in my mind’s eye.

The eye of the earth.  Gaia watches me.

Making mud, such a strong connection with the earth.  Same feeling I get from working on the allotment.  Balance, steadiness.  Qualities needed for a good life.  Periods of quiet, silence, pauses during the day – these too encourage less swinging of the emotions and give time to pay attention – to onself, to the world around one, to the leaf flapping outside the window, to the bird hopping from branch to branch, time to reflect and consider.

I look at the church floor.  Tiles, the colour of sand and earth.  The colours of the soils I am collecting from Rock a Nore, Quarry Road, Glyne Gap.  They fit together, a simple pattern.  The tiles in the entrance, Quarry tiles, orange and black, tessellated.  I sketch patterned tiles near the Font.  The carpet leading to the altar has simple but colourful flower shapes. Patterns drawn from the natural world.  Earth flowers.

I am re-reading How to Live by Sarah Bakewell – on the life and writings of Montaigne.  Full of ideas on all the questions that arise in life.  Montaigne writes on everything around him, he reads, he observes.  He pays attention, he writes ‘about his experience as if he were a river.’


The middle of the residency and visit no. 6.  I am later today and the cleaning ladies are in the church. I find it hard to settle.  Feeling flat.

I read The Spirit of Silence.  I am not inspired.

Do some sketches of the choir figures again.

Look at the eagle lectern, her head stretches up and out, as if she is going to launch and fly frenetically round the roof space.

I eat my sandwich.  Do some more sketches.

I sit in silence.  Waiting.  Silence: a period of rest, like a field lying fallow. Music: sound and silence.

The Sacristan enters the church and the silence is broken. I settle again and sit.

Perhaps I need to get on with making.  Decide to leave earlier than usual and go to collect more soil samples.  The sea at Rock a Nore is huge and splashing right up on the cliff.  On the West Hill the wind buffets and pushes me as I spoon up the soil.



‘Learn silence,’ says Pythagoras, ‘with the quiet serenity of a meditative mind, listen, absorb, transcribe, and transform.

Henri Rousseau says, ” The landscapist lives in silence.’

‘Silence is a source of great strength,’ Lao Tzu.

The discipline of coming, making time and space to think, write and read – this is the value of the residency.  Boundaried time, shut off from distractions, a regular opportunity to stop, write down my thoughts and see where they lead.

Hard to sleep last night, so many ideas, time to start making too or I will be suffocated by half-formed starts.  Only way is through the making.

Two aspects:  time to think;  time to make;  both open out possibilities, lead me down a path, usually a familiar path, same values and things I am working out, working through, but a new way too, a sideways shuffle through a gap in the hedge, push through the prickles into the field next door, a fresh view, an open place, phew.

Watercolour sketches: the candlesticks, the choir figures.

Each week I notice different things; my attention is called differently.

Jill calls in.  I talk about the circle of silence, my idea for some readings.

The church flower lady comes in to take out the flowers for Lent.  She gives me a bunch of white blooms.

On the way out I pick some leaves from the churchyard and later at home I print them.  February leaves.


SILENCE and yet there are plenty of sounds, the traffic passing, a collared dove cooing, someone moving around in the church room below.  But it is a quiet place where the busyness can stop.  I can write, listen, read and think. The writing is a way in, it leads me.  My hand keeps going, tapping into the stream, definitely moving, following the voice.  No need to find the voice, it’s there waiting to write.



I sketch the Eagle again.

‘ART AND FEAR’ by D. Bayles and T. Orland, they provide comfort and reassurance in the face of the shaky approach to making:

‘Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty; it means living with doubt and contradiction, doing something no one much cares whether you do and for which there may be neither audience nor reward.’

‘To you, and you alone, what matters is the process – the experience of shaping the artwork.  The viewers’ concerns are not your concerns’

‘…even the failed pieces are essential.’

‘…vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue.’

I eat an apple.  Take a photo of the choir cushion covered in William Morris material, a Lily theme I think or…

Time to go and gather some stones. And some leaves. Look for a grinder.


4 February 2015


I remember the readings on Silence I held which came out of the study of Grey.

I look out the books, my markers still there, and re-read the passages.

I am struck by the importance of quietness, breaks from the constant clutter of noise in our busy lives, the many writers on all aspects, the benefits, the influence of silence.  John Berger, Jeanette Winterson, George Prochnik, Sara Maitland,

‘My experience of silence was like being awake inside a dream I could direct.’ and   ‘there are increasing hints from the world of neuroscience that support the notion of silence as a fertile pause.’ quotes Prochnik.

One book by John Lane has a pile of stones on the cover.

Several authors mention stones or rocks.  The interlinking of interests.

The power of three – Stones/rocks, Silence, Soil collection

Today I bring less, sit quietly for a time, focus on three activities: reading, soil collection, tracing the outline of the church.  I sketch the Eagle.