It’s funny how old things can feel once they are done. The Gifts is still on for another three weeks, is still being seen anew by thousands of people every week, and yet for me, four hours away, it feels like a runaway member of my family – they’re coming home soon, what do I do with them?

Who knows whether my dream of finally getting my work collected and properly looked after will come to pass, that’s out of my control, but what I am realising is that once the gig’s over, if you don’t have someone representing your interests for you, it’s still a one woman show most of the time.

I am incredibly fortunate that I already have other projects on the horizon, but this is a new situation to deal with – making works that are no longer very temporary (textile sculptures are fragile but reasonably straightforward to conserve and re-hang) and that I don’t really want to hold onto, mainly because this was a project about releasing old energies embodied in objects. The feng shui of holding onto them doesn’t really add up.

So, my main desire is that the project gets properly disseminated to those who might have a hand in extending the installation’s life nationally and internationally. I am lucky that the shape of things have this on their agenda to some degree – our show at the Flow gallery in September will help, having the catalogue done is brilliant and the circulation of the project to their own networks will certainly help – not to mention the huge audiences that have seen the work at the museum. But, as an individual artist, I still feel that there is a big leap to be made into the world of galleries and collectors who might provide another income stream as well as another way of disseminating my work to places I do not yet have access to. And reasons to be able to spend more time in my studio making smaller work and getting quiet headspace.

It’s a question of guaranteeing longevity – if the work doesn’t get seen again in different context then its just a photo in a catalogue, an image in the head. Maybe I am just impatient and/or spoilt, I am always looking one step ahead to what has not yet happened, willing it to be so and not always allowing adequate time to appreciate what I have achieved. I also am already missing the close working relationship with Julia, our curator at Bristol Museum ,which was very enriching and supportive –I want one of her all the time!.

Re the next step with this particular project, I do keep thinking about what Rosa said just a few weeks after we had gotten the show up, ‘That was that, what now?’


Objects have a voice. Stories create forms. Rather than laying these objects to rest, they seem to have come more alive, or maybe it’s what being in the public eye has done to them…

After feeling totally emptied out from getting this show up, I have been struggling to get back into the rhythm of work, mainly because of emotional exhaustion . This week i did manage to get into my studio and began a new piece, a ladder which i wrapped in blue silk. i am preparing the binding and also musing on the texts to use. i have learnt, from The Gifts, that objects have a particular story to communicate and that as an artist its my job to iisten and transmit. It feels like it may take a while with this one but it was good to start..something.

i enjoyed giving the gallery talks last weekend, it was a full house with some juicy questions and emotional responses to the installation. It reminded me why i make my work using textile so much now- to create relationships that would otherwise not be available to me, on a mass scale. A diversity of contact and response that fills me up…for a sweet while. Then i have to crawl through the darkness again until the next piece becomes clear…

It’s only now, talking about the making of the work in retrospect that i realise what a risk it was, that reliance on material from the public – several people commented on the trust that had been created in order to surrender some of the most precious and emotionally charged items…I am still moved by the transaction that took place and hope that I returned the gift fully enough….

Attached is an image i have used for the postcards which will be arriving next week…

Sogand and i were filming last week at the museum, it’s such a complex piece to film unless you have steadycams etc,so we took short tableaux shots instead, we found a language to work with but it took a couple of hours to define and we both had fluey colds. At least we have stuff to work with now, though i have to find the budget for a cut. Video documentation hasn’t been part of the overall budget and although i was once a filmmaker i was too inside the work to really do much on that front. Sogand suggested i use what we did to work up a voiceover that is reflecting on the experience of making the work retrospectively, which feels like the freshest way to come at it.

I have never had a show that lasted this long, and want to make the most of creating new connections with curators, collectors or others who may not know about my work but might be interested. This is when an agent would be very helpful, maybe..? I am not sure if this is part of the shape of things’ remit or mine really, must check. Think that’s the next step in terms of what there is to do with The Gifts while it’s in the air. I can’t complain that it hasn’t received enough overall attention though as visitor numbers were almost 20, 000 in four weeks. But we could do with a proper review of the show. There are so many elements to this soup called Exhibiting in a Museum, I have to learn to take it step by step ….breath by breath.