like pebbles on a beach i reach for my experiences this week to gather them together to draw them all into one place.  i gather up the photos of buxton, the heat wave and the latest mens circle meeting.

beginning in january 2017 the belper mens circle has evolved over time as participants have come and gone.  this week we met away from belper at a temporary site near little eaton.  i mention this meeting as i was able to park unhappy feelings generated at the meeting 8 weeks earlier.  having regained balance i feel able now to assess if continuing to participate is something i want to do.



another positive activity of note this week has been receiving verbal feedback from a recent job interview.  potentially the first time of such feedback it’s proved to be really useful as we were able to discuss where my presentation and answers could have been stronger.

hearing the feedback a week after the decision was helpful as i was over the disappointment.

what i heard in my feedback was i wasn’t a million miles away from topping the list.  several little things i could have improved and finding  stronger answers from my experience to certain questions would have improved my ranking.

so despite not being sucessful, my feedback has given me optimism.  note to self – find opportunities to apply to that offer feedback after selection process.




i accompanied my partner to buxton this week for the preview event for the buxton spa prize.  now in its fifth year the spa prize wouldn’t normally be on my radar, however with the prospect of an evening out supporting my partner and looking at some lovely work – it seemed a really good thing to do.




in the introduction to the evening we were alerted to someone referred to as high street ken.  this was ken howard obe ra.  he was a bit of a revelation – his manner and public speaking having a calming engaging quality.

his address left me wondering about my own work.  i’m sketching something out at the moment and listening to ken i have to say i did leave wondering about what i’m doing at the moment.

i made some notes from ken’s words.  i wrote :

  • revelation
  • celebration
  • communication

he suggested a painting needed to be or did all of these.

ken also spoke about owning art.  in a full room he linked car ownership with buying art.  he suggested that attitude towards spending upwards of £20,000 on a car is more open than spending a few hundred pounds on a painting.  he made the room think about spending £3000 – £4000 on running and maintaining said car.

hearing ken speak left me considering my current project involving video and audio and recombining these.  he left me considering what am i trying to say?







hello from my sofa on a beautiful day in june – 2018 – not just any day because today is the second day of figment new york.  figment is a participatory arts festival that happens in cities across the world.  at figment derby in 2017 i wondered can i work internationally while sitting on my sofa ?

i hatched a plan to submit my analog drawing machine to figments in america to see if i can work internationally through co-production with local volunteers.

this morning while taking in the hubbub of the children in our house, neighbours one side butchering fence panels and the other side throwing pieces of metal around i’ve taken refuge on my sofa to reflect on my experience so far of working internationally this weekend.  (i admit to having to take to wearing headphones with the you tube video below to give me some headspace to write).

this morning i’ve searched through twitter and instagram for images from day 1 of figment new york.  there are some online and i can admit i was disappointed at not seeing any of the analog drawing machine.

all i have to go on at the moment is that through the figment artist portal i know my work has been accepted and is production ready.

in approaching this international experiment i knew not what i needed to feel like i had worked this weekend in new york.

after the first day of figment i have a clearer idea.



an idea of who was up for taking part in the experiment with me – locally in new york.  having this image of the people making the work .

— — —- STOP —- — —


i’ve realised in putting up that image that in my proposal i said i didn’t mind if the work was only at figment for a few hours.  my optimism in this experiment has been restored because there is still time for an image to appear online. and thats the thing – one image is actually all it needs to spread this storey.



— — —- and continue —- — —




so i have learnt that to work internationally in the way i want to i need to outline in the proposal what i need to fulfil my needs of working internationally.




when attempting to work internationally i see the biggest problem to overcome is the connection with people in the international location.  a thought occurs to me – maybe i need to turn this international working on its head.  maybe i need to produce work for artists and makers from around the world in derbyshire.  i can provide them with the evidence i need to believe i have worked in new york.

maybe working internationally does actually require me to get off the sofa after all.



i like getting to friday and taking some time to reflect back over my week.  this one has been varied and i’m pleased to write today about a feeling of clearing i have.

i feel i’ve cleared some troubling energy and today have head space and optimism to look towards the yet to come.




the mind map today is much simpler than i’ve made before –  a deliberate ploy to remind myself that i do need to have things in simple form around me.  the layering on of complexity comes from the foundation of simplicity.  today i focus on the foundations.



so what of this week ?


i’ve worked at kedleston hall – delivering a learning activity for nearly 50 children – a part of their habitats and survival themed visit to the hall.  it was lovely working in the team led by the learning officer and some of the talented volunteers that work at the hall.

i really enjoyed myself – a tiring day and well worth it to see the smiles and hear the comments of children and staff as they prepared to leave for their journey home.



part of my simplicity mapping today was the re-iteration of my interest in process and those that involve working digitally and with wood.  the carving i’ve done this week starts to talk to me about both practicality and metaphor.  i have in the past rejected metaphor and concede that rejection is circular – so there’s opportunity to see if the rejection still applies.  i’m also happy to report a sense of play with the material and tools.




my week began volunteering at derby museum and art gallery.   a british council / craft council visit of far eastern practioners and curators were visiting the world culture gallery and i was there to record more greetings for the greeting telephone.  i reflect today about how my view of the world is different to how it was on monday.




so slightly looking towards the next few weeks – i’m adjusting to not currently having as much work lined up for the summer as in the previous two years – this was bothering me.  now i accept that this is the way of things and through positive reflection see that i have time now to focus in on my practice and move forward those interests and ideas i have eluded to in previous posts.

i continue to balance my interest of being outdoors with my interest in using technology and what that might mean.






recently my posting here has been around myself and my life – a sign of how i’ve been distracted away from my artistic concerns.  there has been thinking about it going on and experience shows that thinking alone leaves me with nothing to show, nothing to reflect upon, nothing to build upon.




this morning i’m feeling optimistic.


at the beginning of the year i framed this blog round the notion i had made space for me to play.   reflecting upon the next 5 months i might have played – wether i could have played more … the thing is that intellectually i know that play has stages of development attached to it that leads through to critical thinking.

therefore for the play to be beneficial – i’m beginning to ask of myself – am i demonstrating any critical thinking ?

to test this – i can begin a period of play knowing i want to progress to critical thinking.




to try to help with my work progression i’ve been keeping a monthly to do  list, this began at the end of last year – now in june i notice there are entries still on the list from january.  time to review what i have on my list.


work / life balance is important – how many things on my list are potential hobby interests ?


having a connection to nature feels important to me.

acknowledging that i’m interested in technology and it’s use for creation and in consumption.

making from material found in a wood is something i am starting to give myself space to do and am finding the outcomes thought provoking.

simple geometric shapes  – fundamental stuff.

its nearly 10 years since i completed and had shown aesthetic of evolution (2008).



i have a love of audible aesthetics.

i love the potential of non linear documentary and film.

i love being around people, discovering and learning about what they are engaged with, why, what and how.


I read the entry from may. without holding the feelings I had when I wrote them,  the words take on a new appearance. The words are a little bizarre – I’m reading them like they were written by someone else.

I consider a cloakroom where I check in my emotions before starting to write. I imagine a ticket number associated with the check in. I toy with blog titles.

Now seemingly with emotions checked in I have nothing immediately to write.

Emotion cloakroom

An idea for a title.

Arrived at through a process of thinking. Again having checked in – nothing more to write.

More thinking – more emotions developed – more words written – the attempt to plot the process, as a means of recording, understanding, arriving at meaning . To have something to check in.

Unpicking the subsequent actions of why and implications of checking in.

Intellectually attempting to assess if the checking in is worthy and good enough when lined up against other known about works I believe to be held in high esteem. Wanting what I’ve done to be held in high esteem. Realising being held in high esteem is something I feel I need. Intellectually this being about the needs of my small fragile boy self – unashamedly emotionally connecting to wanting to feel being praised for little things – any thing – years and years and years after the opportunity to be praised.

I want something I can never have and can never talk about.

I check in another emotion.

I’ve questioned – I say questioned , it’s been a process of internal questioning of why the creation of expression is so wholly based upon intellect. Why are art works – those in particular that go into becoming the ones undergraduates consider and TV programmes are made about – why are they based upon intellect?

I write that and my perception of the reader becomes one about the reader being dismissive of my previous questiin because of its statement and question based on nothing other than myself and my perception. Did you dismiss it ?

Eight hours later I add this

There’s every chance I’ve been drawn into making creative expression …. Time out here please…..

I’m attempting to be authentic. I”m attempting to get closer to understanding myself and why I try to make / create.

There’s a strong suspicion by myself that the need I sense in me to make something quickly is linked to the fluid and dynamic nature of my emotions.

There is a suspicion arrived at by myself of myself that as a child I felt things deeply and was unable to share or discuss because I lived in an environment where this wasn’t demonstrated or encouraged. As a result I used my thinking as a means to regulate what I felt about things. This is backed up by my memory of my liking of the spock character in star trek – the character used pure logic to understand and negotiate situations .

Bringing this into now – I feel a dilemma when my thoughts turn to exploring more deeply the what is it I want to say question.

This makes sense to me as I’m drawn to making work for others – and I’m getting on ok with this.

I need to insert a picture or something here as a clue to there being a shift in thought about to happen.

I’d like to try to explain out loud what happens – or actually is happening while I try to develop my artistic practice. I can feel what it is I need to do based on all the practice and taking note of what is said by others on the subject of making art.

Art can be anything I want it to be. The problem with this is the reaction of others.

Let me develop my thought here.

Art can be anything I want it to be. What becomes important after the completion is the back story as this is an integral part of the work.

I check in with myself to stop the waffle.

Intellectually I have a problem. I”m too ready to present something that is based upon response to a feeling.

Checking in again.

I need a ( word ) .

There would have been an attempt to describe conditions for realising a work.

I’m returning to my want to try to express something. In expressing it I’ll be working out the way to express something that is internal – a sense of feeling about myself.

Check in again.

The check in are reassures for myself about in wanting to think do or feel about myself there isn’t going to be an external consequence. I’m not at threat as a result of wanting to share something inately inexpressible – a feeling.

Leads to what is a feeling .

There’s another opportunity to place a picture or something here as I want to develop my thinking a bit more and need a visual punctuator to lead you somewhere else.

Nearly 24 hours since the first words were written for this post.

Now nearly fully recovered from working on a museum sleepover, I’ve read my words and see how the comprehensiveness of them come into focus over time.

Keeping the waffle to a minimum I’m aware of how I need to do some things a little differently in the coming months to help my continuing evolution as a person.

I’m aware how I need a .

Sorry I’ve had to stop a moment and take a breath.

What I’m trying to do might actually be best as a drawing – to get out an expression of the things I feel, the things I want to do – leading my thinking someone I’ve not been before.

Another picture please – maybe a repeat of one from the quad thing in September.

An email has arrived from East Midlands contemporary visual arts network telling me how the crit day in September has become the artists peer networking group in June. I can share with you how back in September while I shared about my practice we covered the corridor arts peer to peer meetings we started back in 2012. Today I smile and resist the temptation to view this new group as a copy of something we have done. It’s ok if it as most of the stuff we started as corridor has been copied in one way or another. #flattery

Coming up to 48 hours after the first words were written in this post. Still I’m catching up with sleep after I worked Saturday through Sunday at the museum – a sleep over – a night at the museum.

Physically and mentally I feel below where I would normally expect to be at this time on a Wednesday.

The sleep deprivation affecting my mood and inclination to write – it’s like I’ve taken a massive dose of truth serum. The feelings I have influencing what I write.

In amongst all the confusion I sense a place in me where I’ve collected the things together that I want to concentrate on for the next few months.

I’m beginning to imagine a mind map – one that is the result of drawing and editting , rather than the get everything down version I did last month .

Have I mentioned the job application I have in at the moment ? Probably not actually. Yes I’ve applied for a role at derby museums and await any reply.

The problems we’ve been having with our neighbours does feel like something I’ve mentioned. Both my partner and I are starting to live with an unhappy acceptance of the way things are. Time once again will tell.

My smartphone has been the place where I”be written this and looking at the paragraphs I have a hunch when I copy into the blogging platform it’ll look much shorter than now.

Perhaps an image here as I need to alter the track of the post a bit

I have a need to feel that in my artist practice I am progressing. To do this I feel the need to set a goal – at least one – and set to working to it and most importantly achieve it. Like a slow Mo shot in a film where the character walks calmly through the slow Mo carnage around them . Yes I want to feel heroic.

Another picture

Coming back to the beginning ( yes a bridge reference ) there is the title of this blog – scope to play.

I take time to consider.

There’s realisation of being tight as opposed to loose. A need to set out the boundaries of my okay so I can safely be at one with my practice knowing where and what to explore.

A sense of being able to fail – safely – waving over me.

A smile appears on my face as the realisation of this post being a post my way .

Waffle !

My tiredness has

I’ll not finish that sentence.

About 60 hours after beginning this post and after food I’m feeling a lot more whole than I have done for the last 60 hours.

A diary of 60 hours of tiredness or how my feelings lead my thinking … This post has become something like what I’ve not attempted before. What it is I’m attempting – I hadn’t had prior foresight other than I wanted to add a post in June.

Another picture here please .

Now Wednesday evening about 10pm, the post began Monday morning after reading the previous last post . In that time I have regained my waking self after working on the sleep over at derby museum. It’s taken to this evening to feel free from the effects of the late night, early morning .

What a morning it was. Aspects of the building being lit in unfamiliar ways by the early morning sunshine. Looking out of the first floor window and seeing the staff of the derby ramathon setting and checking the route. Later while sat waiting for the bus to take me home I would witness the lead group of the race go past the bus station at an alarming rate.

72 hours past those initial words after reviewing my post from may – i still juggle review and reflect as words that seem interchangeable yet deep down I know they are not the same.

The haze of tiredness as nearly fully cleared, simply a bit of mist this morning as I wake up.