Last week was excellent. We managed to do most of the clearing and cleaning and saw the improvements instantly. We have been at this site for three years and have really neglected it. It has been treated as just a building, ignored and neglected. A space we just used and paid little attention to, like a dead space. The more dirty and unkempt it got the more respect we lost for it and therefore it seems to have spiralled. It was filthy. But not anymore. We scrubbed on our hands and knees, cleaned out the cupboards, dusted! polished! I can hardly believe it. There was such a sense of achievement at the end of the week and we felt much more of a group. It is funny how simple things like that can have a massive affect on morale. It was like a big step in taking control.

Apart from this we had a chat with the chairman of the trustees on Friday. We arranged for him to come down and discuss giving a presentation to local businesses both big and small, to demonstrate to them what we do and explain our ideas and how it could hold benefits for them. This was a really positive meeting not only in terms of the presentation but also for the dialogue we had with a Trustee. This was very encouraging and allowed us to exchange things that are going on and thoughts that we have. I think he was delighted to hear what we had to say and we were also, to hear his ideas. We really did appreciate the effort and openness to which he chatted with us. He showed real support for us and the growth of the trust. I believe it left us with a real sense of hope of things to come. Perfect timing with the Launch on Friday.


August has flown by. Last day of the month and 12 days to go until our Digswell Open Studios. I've been trying to balance getting things organised and getting my own work done. At times I feel really confident about the piece I've planned, at others the doubt seeps in. I guess nothing is without doubt and that's a good enough reason to try things out. I'm thinking if I was too certain about something then there would hardly be a point in doing it.

I am in the process of building this semi-transparent mini house for me to sit in when I do my drawing; it's like building a shelter for the night, making me seperate from the whole event. Will I feel protected by it or will I feel conscious of being on show? It seems to be playing on these two sides…the anxiety of being the piece and the protection of being seperate from the viewers. It feels scary but I know whatever happens it will be interesting for me.

The organisation aspect has been a fantastic process of learning and such a good way to get closer to the other fellows. It has been frustrating trying to fire everyone up and get final decisions but so enjoyable to be this proactive. I love this feeling that with enough drive you can get things to happen, even if they are only small, it's a start and gets us discussing our issues.

Next week is clean up of the studios and preping them for hanging. I'm actually really looking forward to the mundane task of it- it sounds cheesey but it's something we can all do together and that's a rare event!


It feels a while since I last entered a post on my blog….it's a difficult time of year for getting work done. My boyfriend is a teacher so has the whole of August off, I find myself torn between spending time at the studio and spending time helping him with things at home. I always seem to be busy and he always seems to be doing things on his own. I feel guilty not helping out around the house and then guilty not working!

I felt a little rubbish after getting turned down for the Jerwood and also the Surface Gallery are confusing me with not putting my piece into their Open Exhibition but telling me that they have not rejected my work but would like to put it in a show later in the year. It feels very frustrating- not really knowing. I am just carrying on focusing myself as much as I can. I woke up last night thinking about the C4RD exhibition and what I will do for it. I have had a few ideas but really had doubts about carrying them out, but like a bolt of lightning I made up my mind last night. I have had an idea for a piece that I have wanted to do for a while but not had the right space to do it but thinking about the room I have for this exhibtion I think it is perfect for it. I got really excited and wanted to get up and start plans for it right away. Subsequently, I didn't get back to sleep for hours!

I have a good few days in the studio this week and some set things I need to get done. We have started our plans for our Digswell open studios event for this September. I have the responsiblity of doing the organising of the event so have been working on trying to get fellows involved and fired up. It is also a difficult time of year for trying to organising groups of people because they're all going off on holiday at various different times. I really hope this will be a successful event that will bring us together and produce some interesting work. I hope this will become an annual big event in Digswell's calender.


My trip to the shops for milk.

Part one

I didn’t think such a trip could be so poignant, well it wasn’t really but it captured me enough to sit here and remember it.

I pulled up at the studio this morning to find it pretty much as I was expecting: locked, empty and deathly quiet. Coming in the front doors I had the usual pause as I contemplated my next steps – straight up to my studio space?, through into the kitchen? or stop by at the computer room? I contemplate it every time but actually everyday usually runs the same. Switch computer on, then through to the kitchen to make a cuppa while it’s starting up, but annoyingly, although not uncommonly I find no milk. What is very rare is the absence of the three days out of date, sickly sweet, and sends your throat into spasms as you take a whiff one. So my day begins refreshingly absent of the sniff test.

Following this, back in the computer room, spinning the stiff old chair into position I carry on with my next step, tea-less. User name, connect to internet….dial (should we still be ‘dialling’? Isn’t dial-up years old?) Anyway, waiting…50/50 chance, and no ‘error 507 port blah, blah, blah not detected, blah, blah, blah….redial?’ I know that from experience restart is my only option. Restart….whilst I sit and stare at it. Typically, I feel like this morning is going to be a non-starter, 10am already…….. ok check yahoo (no mail), check other email (no mail), check Facebook (one go on Scrabulous to take, so take)

Then my turning point comes…I decide to head for the shops at a leisurely pace, clear my head and start the whole morning again when I get back. Off I go…

The weather is perfect (or just how I like it). No wind or even a breeze, just warmth that is so light you can’t feel you’re outside. I could almost put my slippers on and be in my living room, perfect weather for taking my time and thinking. I trundle a long, there are a few people over at the park as I walk through, lady on the far side walking her dog, man at the far side just entering from the other side. As I pass him I pay particular attention to the dog. A grey hound-‘rescued I wonder’, then strangely think, I wonder if this man lives like a slob, I bet his house is a mess (maybe because of him being largely over weight) what an assumption?!!!

(continued on previous post)…


part two

…I then continue, ‘houses not actually as rough as I would of thought for this side of town.’ As I approach I scan the row of shops…hairdressers ‘Shall I just go in and get it all cut off?’, Tanning shop….’Oh I need a tan’, Haberdasheries, ‘I don’t believe it…I traipsed all over town the other week looking for a place that sells thread, well must remember for future’ and then nisa for my milk. Wander round, get my milk, bump into a lady, ‘Oh sorry’, she too says sorry like it was her fault but it was clearly mine. Wait at the till for a lady with a young boy to be served. Another woman chats to her just off from the till….’Does she know her?’ ‘Is she mad?’ They discuss having their kids at home for the summer…’what a pain’ the boy makes some brum noise, taking no notice of the fact that his pain in the arse presence is being discussed. The lady serving smiles a lot and shows agreement at the conversation. The other woman leaves…abruptly it seems. I see her walking away muttering to herself (definitely bit nuts!) The lady finishes and takes her stuff and off she goes. My turn… Asks me ‘would you like a bag?’ ‘No’ I feel a little sense of pride. I give the exact money and feel a little more pride. 51p…and I’ve got it exactly. (go me!) She calls me darling and seems so happy at her place in life. I reflect on this as I leave. ‘How are some people so content with what they have?’ I feel it’s admirable…is it? Heading back with a cold finger around the handle of my milk I feel something like achievement, yet don’t acknowledge it really. A man chats to a couple walking in front…’does he know them? Is he mad? He doesn’t look it.’ He gets nearer to passing me; I don’t know whether to say hello or not. ‘Will it make me feel good?’ He bounds by, looks and says ‘milky!, milky!’ I laugh and that’s it…I’m a bit stunned actually, but it genuinely makes me smile. I carry on down to the park. There’s the man with the grey hound coming back out. ‘Shall I smile at him?’ I half look, half not. Suddenly he blurts out…’All that way for milk, and you could of had it delivered to your door!’ I laugh and that’s it, thinking inside…’what? and miss all this?!’ ‘It’s not about the milk really is it?’ Isn’t it the journey? I reflect on something connected to the Jerwood Drawing prize and my failure to get in. ‘It’s not about getting in but the journey’

You find consolation in the strangest places if you really need to.