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.


I went up to Bristol briefly last week to give some radio interviews, it was actually very good to reconnect with the work but understand that it is separate from me now and is having a life of it’s own and becoming something else in its public life. (I can’t seem to escape the metaphor of the mothe , too powerful..).

I am still struggling with the transition from goal-oriented (i.e, shows going up by a certain date and being the central focus of my waking life) and process-oriented living (ie, enjoying that fact that the work is done and out there, rather then fixated on the next thing to achieve in order to feel valued) .

Am trying to unravel thoughts and issues that have arisen from getting The Gifts made and where it leads me next , got a day in london tomorow to visit my other shows at Southbank Centre, visit the Tate modern, see Willows opening at The Hub and get some headspace to articulate them…..will unfold them here soon.


I’m decompressing slowly from my shows…and having withdrawal symptoms. sometimes i think i am addicted to my work and the deep sense of purpose it gives me. have been having strange dreams about The Gifts this week, with it sited in a church and me wandering around half undressed looking for a therapist..hm. not sure if its wise to write this, but it’s all part of the after-effect of spending a year developing a highly emotionally charged artwork and having it in seen by large numbers of the public..

I got a facebook message from Shafan, who is one of the Museum’s front of house staff and has been working in the gallery. She also happens to be iranian and from Tabriz, very close to the village where my mother was born, so i once again feel a strange but comforting sense of presence there, from here. It sounds like a lot of people are visiting the show and the response is powerful and positive.. I am missing wrapping things up, and i have quite a few pieces in mind that i want to make, ranging from the tiny to room-size..I will be returning to the studio next week but meanwhile it is taking some letting go to adjust to the rhythm of life back home..

Anyway, seeking inspiration, i came across this Rumi poem that i had considered using in the catalogue but never did, it seems like a good point to offer it up;

from ‘ Put this Design in your Carpet’

“..There is an unseen presence we honor

that gives the gifts.

You’re water, We’re the millstone.

You’re wind. We’re dust blown up into shapes.

You’re spirit. We’re the opening and closing

Of our hands. You’re the clarity.

We’re this language that tries to say it.

You’re joy. We’re all the different kinds of laughing..’

(The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks , with Reynold Nicholson, A.J Arberry, John Moyne. Expanded Edtion, Harper One 2004.)



So i was somewhat insanely busy between my last post and now, having to leave the Musem before the piece was finished, in order to help with the install of the Bibliomancer’s Dream and Dream On at Southbank Centre. And then having to leave that to be finished in order to be present at the opening of the shape of things at the museum on friday night.

Now i am back on lewes and with a little space and some rest, i am happy to say i feel very satisfied and excited about both works, The opening of Shape.. and the unveiling of mine and Rosa’s work, with a good crowd, tasty canapes and delicious vodka cocktails followed by cosy and fun after -party was fun and rather unreal. But the next day, after i had done my public talk and the DVD of our interviews had crashed so that no-one could recognise me, i got the real deal.. walking around, sitting and slowly taking in what we have created in Bristol with these installations and how we have managed to execute it with precision and love, then hearing , seeing and feeling the impact of it on the public, was a powerful and fulfilling two hours.

It’s a landmark show for me and i feel bereft i cant just walk down the road to visit it (i am 3.5 hours away on a train). But it runs till april 18th and i have three planned trips there for talks etc.

Here’s an article from yeserdays local news, i like the title!


i am still in deccompression and adjusting to family life and different challenges like getting my children to school/ nursery on time – which feels as tricky as deliivering large scale installations to schedule sometimes….

There’s more to say, i will continue later.


My fingers have barely touched the ground …hanging 999 objects has turned out to be a mammoth task, shared with up to 5 other people at any one time, with so many variables it is like trying to write a computer programme on the fly with thread…by Thursday afternoon, when I had to leave for two days (and felt like I was abandoning a child, untill I saw my own children and everything melted away), just over 50% of the main piece has been hung, and that was ten days into the installing (with five to go, but only three when i am there). I left the process I good hands, it really is a strong team and I enjoy seeing various members of staff join in hands on and weave their energies into these gifts…. another level of giving that will be invisible to anyone but ourselves…

What has been hung does look magical, and I am deliberately not showing too much in the photos here, as I feel the Friday preview will be a genuine unveiling process. At the moment there is still an enormous scaffold making its way through the work, like a giant spider weaving a web, so its hard to get what the overall effect will be, but I am loving the way the whole things moves when you slightly move the grid as you tie the threads of the objects to the top, like a dance, a wave, a meditation. And seeing Rosa’s ‘Still Living’ piece emerging in the background has been quietly thrilling, its delicacy and the space that she has been creating which I think will work really well alongside the gifts like a playful conversation….

I spent yesterday with my children, taking them to a wedding of my Iranian cousin in London. We took the train and tubes to get there, which I had never done on my own with both of them, and felt like far more of a challenge than this project for some reason…. a different mode I guess, but it was a sweet adventure, and my heart tugged when I realised how much Moses has learnt in the time I have been away (i.e. he now counts to 15…10 more than ten days ago…). But I am also looking forward to their reaction when they and Leo see the work…

I came back to Bristol today, intending on reaching the museum mid-afternoon to do a bit of work to prepare for hanging my Gifts (1-99) spiral, but it took me 6 hours, as there was a suicide on the line and no trains running from Paddington. I have been staying with Julia the curator and her partner Paul most of the time, which has been a real pleasure, but tonight I am spending a rare night on my own at my friend’s flat and actually revelling in the quiet and space. Its like being on retreat and something I need before what is going to be one of the most intense weeks of my career – installing and opening of The Gifts here in Bristol and taking two days out to join the installing of The Bibliomancer’s Dream and Dream On installations at Southbank Centre in between…sometimes I get to the point of overwhelm then remember that this is what I have always dreamed of being able to do, and I get reconnected to a more joyful sense of purpose. Like being on a train, I must remember to take in the view, it’s rushing by so fast…