Two weeks ago I went to Artists in Dialogue on the last day of Discernible. Popped into the open studios before, enjoyed talking to some of the artists there and in passing to a woman who told me about her grandmother teaching her knitting in front of a mirror, as she was left-handed. There was much to see, some gorgeous art, but Kate Murdoch’s studio-space gave me pleasure pure: a fairly well-ordered second-hand heaven, with towers of old cases and shelves and surfaces stacked with covetable stuff, beautifully, carefully set up, incl. spring posies for visitors to take away. All these objects are meaningful to Kate, heirlooms of a kind which become (part of) her work. I wanted to rummage around and make a quick getaway with some choice items – one of those hat-cases in blue or red, a doll’s bed… Normally I kind of rummage on-line, no comparison, although there is something in the moment of opening a package when it arrives. Over the last few months I’ve acquired a couple of vintage children’s outfits and shoes which I mean to turn into memory objects, amongst others a tiny tiny pair of scuffed brown mary-janes with round, almost polished-looking soles no longer than 10 cm…

For Artists in Dialogue I talked about Veteran’s girl and my interest in how children inherit memory, hold it for their parents. Loved listening to other artists presenting their work – those unexpected aspects, ideas, impulses certainly enhanced my perception. And Rosalind Davis gave a brief but tour-de-force perspective on the whole show, mapping it out like a dazzling panorama.

About a week later, with a hospital appointment behind me, I went under. If fatigue weights you down, holds you in place, pain hollows out, discards all but the loosest tether into the world. For a rather long while I seemed to shape-shift between a person-sized straw-puppet and a frazzled nervous system rattling in a carapace. Every bone poking, piercing, skin a lacework of fury. My skull made up of tectonic plates pushing, parting, pushing. Lost days. When the world expanded again the sensations remained strange, almost non-sensical: for a day the underside of my clavicles hurt so sharply, it took my breath away – as if I were hanging from a coat-stand, face pressed into layers of abandoned winter-coats.

When I come out from under I have to go through a kind of reverse metamorphosis and reacquaint myself with myself, physically, mentally. Pain and fatigue at their most severe cut you out and off, sever connections and any sense of continuity. So I’m weaving myself back into the world again. I’ve been at it for days now. Time to throw a kind of drawbridge to an afternoon two weeks ago, when for a couple of hours what I want to be and do briefly overlapped with what I am and can do.

Have a look at the gorgeous Discernible catalogue!


This is where I wanted to be tonight: at Dilston Grove, London, to participate in the performance of Act 55 of Anniversary—an act of memory, a public recitation from memory of the Preamble and 30 articles that form the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, led by Monica Ross (former tutor of mine with whom I would have liked to catch up, but that’s by the by). I chose Article 7 and learned it by heart, in my mother-tongue. Trying to remember the text, speaking it out loud to myself again and again, made me realize how precise and well-thought through the formulation is. Every single word calls forth, affirms, accentuates. The imprint on me of its meaning, its clarity and significance strengthened with every repetition.

I signed up because I believe that the Declaration of Human Rights is as relevant today as it was in 1948, and because I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, my art. Unfortunately my body has suspended my plans. I am gutted. Over the last few days I’ve been in the pits of M.E.fatigue with worse pain than I’ve had in months and going out is out of the question although I kept hoping until this morning.

I’ve recorded my recital though and am putting it out to the universe here! Will be at Dilston Grove in spirit.

Allgemeine Erklärung der Menschenrechte

Artikel 7

Alle Menschen sind vor dem Gesetz gleich und haben ohne Unterschied Anspruch auf gleichen Schutz durch das Gesetz. Alle haben Anspruch auf gleichen Schutz gegen jede Diskriminierung, die gegen diese Erklärung verstößt, und gegen jede Aufhetzung zu einer derartigen Diskriminierung.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.


There’s something so intensely satisfying about finishing a crochet piece. I love the final sewing up of threads, such slow, deliberate, almost tender work, a literal tieing up of loose ends. Thought of a mother checking her child’s appearance before letting her/him step out of the house, brushing crumbs off a shirt, adjusting an inturned collar while the child is already pulling away… A crocheted piece is truly done in ways that don’t apply to painting or writing, say, where scope remains for additional marks, the trimming of words. When it doesn’t look right it needs to be at least partially unraveled, maybe started over, which happens more often than I care to remember.

I’m rather pleased with this piece and immediately wonder if that’s ok. Shouldn’t an artist always find something to be discontent with, to want to improve on? Still, this companion to Veteran’s girl moves me, speaks to me. I can’t say I fully imagined its appearance – an outline drawing to guide me doesn’t mean it will look ‘right’ in crochet. I like its counter-intuitive curves, the sense of rippling movements, so much in tension with the firm texture of the stitches: dissolving and holding together; neatness, containedness and excess; definition and shapeshifting… I’ve started a third piece to extend this evolution of physicalities, of embodiment – Gestalt? I looked it up on the internet: A physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts.’ Oh, I hope so.

This has been a challenging week: a couple of days in fossilized pretzel mode, the usual and ever new panoply of M.E.-pains, and I haven’t been in the world. In the end I achieved different kinds of presence – updated my website, uploaded pix on axisweb, tweeted and posted on my trusted tablet. And today I’ll be going to Artists in Dialogue at Discernible for an hour or two, talk about my work and listen to other artists presenting theirs. Life! Have prepared as best I can for the whole gamut of post-outing woes, away from the world again. To stay connected I thought out a little tweet-project which I can do wherever I lie once I’m over the worst and ready to raise my loopy droopy head over the parapet.


Soldier’s child (2013)
Dimensions: 66.5 cm x 39.5 cm
Materials: crocheted from wool/polyester yarn


I’ve been on the waiting list for a studio-space for ten years now and whenever I find an opportunity-to-view in my inbox I e-mail back: no thanks, due to ill-health, but please keep me on your list. Here’s hoping! I long to be able to occupy a studio for so many reasons: seeing other artists at work, following their progress, the meanderings on the way. Share in the conversations there, the support, the exchange of information about exhibition opportunities – being part of a community of sorts. And I wish for a space that is just for my art, where I can spread out and experiment, splash about and leave things lying, place work and step back and look without furniture and home life coming in the way.

This is how I see myself: I am = I am an artist. Through adapting my practice I have managed a continuity of sorts beyond the before/after falling ill threshold (‘falling’ makes so much sense in this context). The continuity is in the production of art – if and how my work goes into the world is another matter. Art is the place where I have agency.

I live with the work, it grows around me, from me, in me (when I literally can’t move I imagine manifestations and mutations of pieces in my head, it’s the place where I ‘experiment’ while everything else fails). My circumstances inform how and what I make and I worry that I get stuck in an endless self-referential loop, that I don’t much get out of my comfort-zone (although I’m far out of it with M.E.), that I don’t push and question my practice enough. My blog is meant as a kind of stand-in for direct communication and I wonder if, in order to get (more) feedback for my work, I need to rethink how I post here. Maybe I’m too precious about what I present, work too much on my writing (not this time – ha!). Maybe I need to make this my virtual studio, get more into my processes, hold up work-in-progress for you to see. I’m crocheting a sibling for Veteran’s girl, but this is one of the things I’m playing with, part of my shoe-explorations:

Work in progress
Dimensions variable: 13 – 42 cm x 16 – 28 cm x 17 cm
Materials: adapted u-bend, cut-up tights, shoes