Drew ten leaves.

Thought about up and down and below and underground. About life and living and not living.

On this third day I began to feel under, low, slow, lethargic. I remembered a similar feeling when I did a residency in an underground gallery in Hastings three years ago.

Later from this low point and a sense of stoppedness, ideas began to arise, to come up, ideas about up and down, ups and downs, hills and lowlands. And the East Hill Lift. Rather peculiar. Especially as I had been thinking about roots and growth. Makes me think of Freud and the Interpretation of Dreams, puns and the many meanings of words.

Played about on my beloved blackboards, rubbing out and rewriting. Another idea comes up. Out of nothing, something can come. I have to learn yet again to ‘trust the process’. To trust the inner workings of the brain, the mind, the whatever it is inside us/outside us. If you wait and play with an openness then new ways to take the world/our surroundings can arrive. I can be mixed up, even feel devoid of any useful thoughts and from the confusion, the emptiness, the empty mess, something slightly different can come/become. I can take a sideways swipe at making something of the swirling mess inside myself and outside in the world.

READING: And then equally surprising, appropriate, peculiar as I dip into The Gift by Lewis Hyde I find:

An essential portion of any artist’s labour is not creation so much as invocation. Part of the work cannot be made, it must be received; and we cannot have this gift except, perhaps, by supplication, by courting, by creating within ourselves that ‘begging bowl’ to which the gift is drawn.


The imagination is not subject to the will of the artist.

see this review of the book: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-gift-by-lewis-hyde-424028.html

Now I have to make these ideas work.



EXERCISE: draw ten leaves.

THOREAU: ‘An honest man [and woman] has hardly need to count more than his [her] ten fingers, or in extreme cases he[she] may add his [her] ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity, let your affairs be as two and three… keep your accounts on your thumb nail.’ WALDEN

ROOTS – I shine a strawberry root, a leek with its roots onto the wall and draw them. Something grows into this barren underground place.

RADICAL – can these 10 days be a time for delving to the root and coming up different, stretched, expanded. Radical political, economic and social changes are taking place presently – I find them disturbing, distressing. They seem ungrounded. I see grounds for drastic turnabouts but in radically different directions.

I turn to Jeanette Winterson and I am calmed:

‘I like to live slowly. Modern life is too fast for me… One of the casualties of progress is peace and quiet.’

‘Art is large and it enlarges you and me. To a shrunk-up world its vistas are shocking. Art is the burning bush that both shelters and make visible our profounder longings. Through it we see ourselves in metaphor. Art is metaphor. Metaphor is transformation”.



First day in the underground studio.

THE RULES: no computer, fixed start and finish times, lunch hour, time to read, time to sit.

FIRST EXERCISE: draw ten leaves.

Think about 10. Ten posts, rhymes for counting, ten fingers, ten toes, ten out of ten.

Cup of tea.

Spidergram of ideas.

Blackboard – hens’ helmets.

Cut out helmet shape from sheet using my rabbit headdress as a pattern. Take this home to sew.

Notebook. Write up so far. Now what?

Ah reading. Jeanette Winterson: ART OBJECTS, chapter on Imagination and Reality. She speaks about art as stimulating the part of us nothing else reaches and about art’s visionary purposes. About how art is outside the money culture.

“We know we are dissatisfied, but the satisfactions that we seek come at a price beyond the resources of a money culture. Can we afford to live imaginatively, comtemplatively? Why have we submitted to a society that tries to make imagination a privilege when to each of us it comes as a birthright.”


My aim is to ground myself in rhythmic activities in order to let ideas arise, to take off.


Finish with knitting and thinking.