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?’