I’m not in touch much but getting closer. Still have got e-mails to answer from the time I was away – catching up is hard to do, esp. as I’m easily side-tracked by the urge to make work, or at least mentally explore ideas of which I’ve got aplenty: they lure me down the garden path, paths really, where makeshift structures hold tools and materials, notions, signs and symbols, all demanding my immediate attention. And a small pair of disembodied legs is dancing across the green…

Communication/connectivity was one of last year’s themes. Writing here has gently pulled me into the (art) world and hooray…, but as I can’t sit at the computer for long I haven’t been able to keep up with your blogs, write comments or tweet my heart out. This may change as I’ve received funding for a tablet and it’s here – a much coveted, shiny little thing, light enough for me to handle lying down once I’ve learned how to use it. My productive=connected periods will be extended, provided that fatigue hasn’t knocked out cognitive function, and even if I can’t read or write I can look at images. Exciting!

A tweet from @rosalinddavis look whose name popped up during mentoring: I admire & would like 2 try & emulate simplicity & coherence of – my work! transformed a very tired day. When @ZeitgeistAP asked Why do artists find it so hard to value themselves & positively promote what they do? a bite-sized, meaningful and enjoyable exchange ensued. Then I found this poem – it tries a partial answer too. Looking forward looking back – I wrote this in 2008 [inspired by Anna Ancher’s painting Sunlight in the Blue Room (1891)], about the time when crochet became my medium. And as I’m thinking about crochet’s relevance for my work and trying to get a better grip on its contextualization as well as articulate its relationship to memory – why not dig out something old, something blue?

Apropos connectivity – a delighted thank you to Jean McEwan for a copy of her zine Reciprocity-1, which ties in with her brilliant thought-provoking blog.


She wields a small metallic rod,
curled at one end,
its miniature bill blunted.

Head bent she stabs a flaggy fleece,
pricks and probes. A mangled triangle
grows in her lap.

The eyeless needle delves in, pulls out.
Between her fingers trail
thin ribbons, bloodless arteries.

Clammy hands drag loop through loop,
stitch curly hieroglyphs, each row
a protocol of checks, of curbs.

From patterns written in secret alphabets
she casts spells beyond her years:
chain, cross, lover’s knot.

Reds, pinks and blues entwine –
her heart in her hands
contracts and expands.

Every stitch unties a knot.


Fully coming back is work in progress; the journey took its toll, energies depleted, muscles slack and sore, head faithless and fickle. My suitcase, laden with clothes, art-books and gifts, sat in the hallway for days and was unpacked ever so slowly, whenever the fatigue relented. Gorgeous gifts: a coral necklace, a ceramic vase from my favourite South African shop, a little red notebook, and money, some of which I spent on a burnt orange dress and a children’s sewing machine. The latter waiting to be tried out, which is not something you can do in the horizontal…

Funny how I still expect to feel better in just a few more days. Unfortunately no amount of good spirits or willpower overrides the fatigue. So I haven’t left the house in two weeks and a day, grumble, grumble, have been laid up while remaining a fully paid up member of the maybe tomorrow-club. But: I’ve managed to read through the Grant for the Arts-application which the wonderful Arthouse has been developing with me. A drawn-out process, but we’re almost there. And a great way to pull me into the new year – the application is the hook on which I’m hanging my aspirations, towards a professional future, a future that isn’t completely on the sidelines. Or – doesn’t this sound better? – the saddle I put on the magic bird that will fly me and my work to far-off shores of the art-world, known and unknown.

In the meantime my body keeps me on my metaphorical toes. After over-exertion I often get what I call my pain-review, with pains flaring up at points that were affected years ago, by a childhood ear infection say, kidney troubles, a broken leg, a root canal, a concussion… Pains logged in the body’s memory which a certain level of M.E-fatigue reactivates. But it also keeps inventing new ones. A few nights ago something befell my hands, very unpleasant though not excruciatingly so: generating an exterior layer of pain, a reverse pain poultice on top of my hands, leaving the palms untouched. It was a strong burning sensation, and when I tried to enter in so I might extract something that I could put into words, which is a kind of fantastical, counter-intuitive process, an image of huge hirsute hands came, furry hands, a Neanderthal woman’s hands. No, image is the wrong word, my hands felt like that, inflicted with a thicket of dark brown hair, about an inch in length. I’ve had pains in my hands before, in sharply attenuated finger tips which seem about to shoot off like bullets, all at the same time; or, also strangely beyond the physical boundaries, emanating from those flaps of skin connecting one finger to the next, making the triangular spaces between my fingers hurt. Why am I telling you this? Apart from wanting to wrestle something from the daily grind of M.E., make it productive in some way, it also seems to link up with the making of art in ways that I can’t quite formulate yet. Maybe a kind of gift too: a very practical way of exploring issues around embodiment.

Yes: art, artwork, arthope, artpleasure: two pieces on the go, a foundling and a new piece, which, as I can see now, sprang directly from the conversations I had with my mother, working title: making do. No photos yet, but soon… And soon I’ll be able to read your posts more regularly – I’m about to order my tablet-thingy, ha!


I’m back although mentally still suspended between two languages and two places – arriving is hard work! Spent lovely, affectionate days with family and friends, feasted on Anatolian garlic soup, Hungarian goulash and too many sweets, sipped sparkling wines and strong coffees, read a mystery for diversion and a novel to bind me in the world, was wheelchair-whizzed through an exhibition until my grin couldn’t keep me upright any longer, bought a catalogue that I can hardly carry, dreamed of museum-sleepovers and waking amongst pieces that I’d get to know slowly, like new friends, and when I lay on the sofa at my mom’s house like a fossilized pretzel I filled spaces with my own work, real and imagined.

Being back at one’s childhood home is a strange kind of dislocation – halfway in, halfway out, the territory familiar, fraught, and alien. Is the past ever as present as where we come from? For a sense of continuity and connection I took LR’s boy with me who was received with interest and questions and whose one-armed siblings lie curled up in the coils of my brain. Temperatures felt more like early spring – disorienting – has the new year really started? It seems so:

Happy New Year to you all! Glad to be posting again.

LR’s girl (2012)
Materials: hand-me-down wool/polyester mixture
Dimensions: 41 cm x 31 cm

LR’s boy (2012)
Materials: hand-me-down wool/polyester mixture
Dimensions: jumper 29 cm x 15 cm, pants 16 cm x 13 cm