So time ticks by… what have I been doing?

I guess the reading and writing part of my brain has been quite occupied and in the studio I’ve still been tinkering with small things.

I have taken the bull by the horns and pulled out a slab of clay (yes, you read it right – CLAY), still in its original packaging, which has been sitting under my worktop for… oh, I don’t know… maybe 5, maybe 6 years. Maybe longer actually.

There are two reasons for breaking out the clay. One: I wanted to try making some of the little palm pebbles in natural clay (rather than the polymer variety I have been using), and Two: I’ve been challenging myself for a long time to make a mould (mold?) of my favourite stone, this one,

and try casting it in different materials.

Now I’m not very experienced at mould-making. I’ve done it a few times and learned a few different mould-making techniques, but the last time I did it, I remember clearly, was 2010 on my MA. Hmmm… I think I need a refresher class. So I spent most of a day watching online tutorials, reading about the materials I could use (plaster? silicone? latex?…) examining my stone for undercuts and trying to work out how many pieces I’d need to make a plaster mould in (plaster being my preferred material because I actually find the form of plaster moulds themselves quite fascinating – the last one I made was like a little plaster coffin).

So I got my clay out and started to wedge the stone in place, building my clay walls around it and calcualting that I’d need to make a five piece mould, but it wasn’t long into this process that I realised that my undercut and pitted flint just wasn’t going to respond well to being encased in plaster. At least it would be encased alright, but would it ever come out? Oh well… off to the shops for some latex then.

Meanwhile, I’ve been updating my website with a new home page featuring what is currently my favourite piece of new work, a small concretion of those sticky pink pebbles I mentioned a blog or two ago and I’m feeling rather chuffed with it.

What I’m not feeling chuffed about is yet another rejection e-mail from an exhibition opportunity I thought I might stand a chance at. That’s roughly a 96% rejection rate this year. Hmm… so I just had to take another look at Laura Fitzgerald’s lovely P45 video which never fails to make me smile. Here it is



“I’m confident that with the funding applications out of the way, I’ll be able to make a decision about next priorities and get stuck in!” That was the last sentence of my last blog – two and a half weeks ago. And actually, I have to admit that I don’t seem to have made a lot of progress. C’est la vie. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. I’ve been trying out some things, some collages, which haven’t been very successful yet but have opened up some new ideas. But I’m not sure I really want any new ideas at the moment – I just want to keep persevering with the old ones. So that’s mostly what I’m doing, with some thinking about the collages going on at the back of my mind.

As often happens I find myself disarmed by how much I’m drawn to the simplest of images. It’s hard to find the courage to leave them as they are; to know when something is enough.

In a different sort of development during the past two weeks, I’m very excited to have been selected as one of the artists to take part in a-n’s Writer Development Programme 2017-18. I’ve been spending more time than usual reading a range of different articles and magazines, as well as doing my first two writing tasks.

As part of my research for the writing tasks I also listened to some of the excellent Radio 4 series about “busyness”, Oliver Burkeman Is Busy. I would definitely recommend a listen – it’s worth making time for!

There are a few great things about taking part in the writers’ programme. Apart from getting some fantastic input into developing my writing about art from some excellent people (a-n News editor Chris Sharratt, art critic and journalist Fisun Güner, and Frieze deputy editor Amy Sherlock) I will get to know seven other exciting artists from across the UK who have also been selected, and visit some great arts organisations who will be hosting our workshops. It’s going to be brilliant!