Well we all know the weather has had a big impact this week with yesterday being the second hottest day on record and super-high humidity contributing to storms and downpours. Well to be honest, I know in the overall scheme of things this is only a small thing, but I am actually really suffering from this weather disruption at the moment. For the past four weeks the weather has been firmly on my side, allowing me to spread out of the studio and into the garden while making my boulders. Fantastic! The warm sun has been my friend, making many litres of glue and paint dry quickly and speeding me towards the impending installation deadline. But now, with the exhibition rapidly approaching this weekend, the weather has turned against me!
Yesterday I failed my self-imposed deadline for finishing the work when soaring temperatures slowed me down and evening storms put paid to late work. And now under dark skies and with final coats to apply, here I am blogging, while waiting for paint to dry. (The note on the tin said “Do not apply in more than 85% humidty”…)
On a more positive note, in a brief interlude from boulder-making, I spent a brilliant morning with artist Vicki Painting a couple of weeks ago. Vicki is a photographer and we worked together to realise an idea I’d had in my head for a while since developing my cluster work at the Milton Street and Martyr’s residencies earlier this year. Here is the result:
Photo by Vicki Painting from a collaboration with Judith Alder.
The finished boulders will be at Holding The Fort from this Sunday 28 July to 26 August come hell or high water.
More of Vicki’s Cluster portraits can be seen at the Open House we’re both participating in as part of Artwave Festival next month.
Isn’t it always the case that after a reflective period of quiet making and drawing, gradually and subtly, everything changes and before you know it, all of a sudden it’s deadline, deadline, deadline!
At the moment, I am mostly making boulders. The aim is to make ten boulders (five in progress, five to go, two weeks left…) for the Holding The Fort exhibition which I’m part of at Newhaven Fort. Why boulders you might ask? It began a few years ago with my Improbable Experiments With Growing Stones when I speculatively made a couple of big “rocks”. I’ve been feeling ever since that there was some unfinished business here.
Growing Stones from 2014
On my first visit to Newhaven Fort a few weeks ago I spotted this:
The idea of a rolling barrel of petrol bouncing down the 72 steps to the caponier, along with the location of the Fort built into the hillside behind a chalk cliff, triggered a particular line of thought about rolling stones, blocked passages, cliff falls and the boulder which chased Indiana Jones down a tunnel in Raiders of the Lost Ark. So I decided to make at least one boulder big enough to block one of the narrow entrances or passages at the Fort.
Newhaven Fort hosts one of those vintage museums that remind me of the museums of my childhood which were filled with quirky displays and hand-made flocked model landscapes. I’ve always loved this spirit of improvisation and am happy to adopt it into my work. It has also helped me maintain my policy of using re-purposed or surplus materials in my work where possible and social media has been a great way of sourcing surplus chicken wire, blackboard paint and cotton bed-linen – some of the essential materials for my boulder-making. It’s been great to get into a routine of messy, hands-on making and the weather has been kind allowing me to spill outside the studio as the first boulders begin to take shape.