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Got that wibbly wobbly fluttery feeling under my rib cage.

I’ve arranged some recording sessions with Dan and Tom to get my latest songy thing into tip-top condition for my final submission. This is the thing that is really doing it for me these days.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my textiles, and always will. But I have a level of competence/experience/mastery with them that doesn’t often throw up a surprise. I know how they work, what to expect and how to achieve what I want. It’s gratifying, it’s perhaps like a long happy marriage.

The music is my illicit affair. I don’t know how to do it properly, someone is going to find out and call my bluff. It gives me such a thrill… I record the sound of my husband making a cup of tea, then sit for hours trying to get something interesting from it, then I make a complete hash of it, but something magical appears… my mistakes and incompetence yield the most amazing things. The fact that I’m recording straight onto my mac means I get the sound of a bluebottle buzzing, or the cat meowing. I’ve got this tiny bit of sound that is a bus screeching to a halt outside, it fits with the music perfectly and totally accidentally. I could jump up and down with the joy of it. It makes me blush.


Tonight I’m going “talent-spotting”. They won’t know that’s what I’m doing. I shall be a spy. A member of the audience like any other, but with a secret agenda. To find singer-songwriters to play at the July ShedSongs event. It is an odd thing to do, because I’m not just listening for who plays/sings well, but listening to lyrics, and thinking of the Big Picture, and who will nestle amongst the other performers. Something that stands out as different, but not too different, harmonious, complementary even, but not jarring. I don’t want the music at Life and Other Art to be like the ignored string quartet in the corner. Neither do I want them to run away! I want people to grab their cuppa and their cake, leave the assorted nudes for a while, watch and listen. I also want passers-by to be drawn in off the street by the music, then go and look at the art too.

I’m curating the sounds I suppose. I like to have a good mix of people, and I like to especially have a mix of experience. I like the fact that I might choose someone who hasn’t performed in public before, and also someone seasoned and experienced like Dan (I have mentioned him before but won’t expect you to go searching… www.dan-whitehouse.com). What happens is fresh, and fun, and chatty. Performing in a shed – I’m told – is not like a stage. There is little between the artist and the audience. There is conversation between songs and during tuning… there are jokes and heckling, and another cup of tea. The shed joins in… percussion of course.

I’m hoping to have an even jammier-packed programme this year, so that everyone who comes hears something lovely as well as engaging with the exhibition of quilts from the Rebellious Quilters, and life drawing and other art (hence the title) from the life drawing group. Each year this event has grown, and I’m immensely proud to have been one of its instigators!

Next morning update…. Found a couple of people…. Watch this space for news!


I’ve noticed on these blogs it’s not just me that lurches from the aesthetic, to the theoretical, philosophical, then over to the practical, material problem, then back to the aesthetic and round we go again. It’s like spinning plates.

Over the last few days I’ve been trying to resolve a physical problem, a practical glitch that has been annoying me for ages, without compromising the aesthetics, or the philosophical.

That old chestnut: How do I display these items of clothing?

Folded in a drawer? X

Hanging from a coathanger? X

Making my own abstracted coathanger… NNNOOOOOO! XX

Hanging from nylon line? X

Tied to the wall with cotton tape…. Erm…. Closer, but X

On a plinth? X

On a doll? Definitely not XXX

On a shop mannequin? XXXXX

All the above add things to the clothes that I don’t want to be there.

All I want is a means of looking at the whole garment 360º, but I don’t want to add a person, or something that can be read as a person. Or for that matter the lack of a person, such as you get with a hanger, or the drawers.

Tying the things slightly away from the wall was almost there, but I need to see the back. Also, using cotton tape was nearly, but not quite. I liked the way it echoed the materials, but didn’t interfere… too much…

I’ve made a prototype. I don’t know if this is a resolution, but it feels closer than I’ve been before. If I’m to submit any of these items for my final show, I need it to be what I want it to be.

It feels nice, it fits. It has the same materiality as the items of clothing, I’m reading it as a blank. But is that wishful thinking, because I’ve been here before. It feels right to me, but what do I know eh?

So if you read this and you have an opinion, please let me know, I need a group crit!


For the last 25 years or more I have had 2 drawings hung on my sitting room wall. When we decorate they might get moved about a bit, but they always go back up. They are so familiar I forget to regard them. I did them when I was about 17 years old. Pretty much copied from photos of my mother as a child. I’ll try to take some decent photos of them to post here if I can.

All those years ago, when I was almost the same age as my son is now, when my mother was the same age that I am now, I took the only two photos of her as a child and painstakingly copied them from the 2”x3” prints to drawings about 6”x9”. I have no recollection of why. I have a vague memory of my foundation course tutor liking them, but can’t recall why.

All these years later, I am embroidering shadows onto clothes that have a similar vintage to those worn by Mum in the drawings. For the last two years I’ve been doing work about parents and children, and only now have noticed these drawings and considered they may have a significance.

Probably not, a “red herring” perhaps?

When discussing it in emails with another artist she said:

“In those drawings somewhere is the kernel of what you do and why. You just need to find it…

They appear to be about childhood memories; processed as a child, from a child’s perspective…

They are also vintage, retro, nostalgic, safe in that they are at one remove from today. They have happened….”

Someone else said (it was Bo, he’s complaining I didn’t credit him)(excellent use of the pun, thank you): “it’s just a stitch in time”

Am I looking back or forward? As a parent or child? Some of my work seems to do both. I need to think about whether this is ok, or if I need a clearer standpoint.

I can’t believe I haven’t seen these drawings before now. Turns out I’m really UNobservant.

I’ve got no one to blame but myself, I’ve made my own brain hurt.


I’m not sure to what extent one should use ones art or ones blog as personal therapy. I have used my work as a way of exploring the relationship between me and my mother, and me and my children. It snuck up on me, but it’s there. Certain behaviours, reactions, opinions become clear. The reasons for decisions made have become obvious. I find I look upon certain things with a kinder eye. This may not be in the work I show (or maybe it is) but it is definitely in the thought processes. If I’ve come to any conclusion along the way it’s that parents do their best (sweeping, generalism I know). Also, awareness is good. I react to my children in this way because… My parents did this because… I work like this because… I teach like this because…

However… sometimes things pop up in my work that I haven’t seen. Unbidden. Exposing things that I might have preferred to be left hidden if I had been aware.

As part of the show ‘n’ tell Wednesday I played my new bit of song. I chose to play just me singing, because I hadn’t yet edited all the other sounds around me.

This is the first piece of work I have shown anyone that is just me. I hadn’t noticed, it snuck past me, but not past eagle-eyed Bo. Everything I have done so far is a collaboration: with someone else, someone else’s clothing, someone else’s words, sounds from another place, something with a history.

This 2 minute recording was me. My words. My voice. My incompetence. I was fine until he told me, but now that’s a bit scary. I’m not ready for it. I shall chop it up, mix it up, in the hope no one else notices that I’ve exposed myself. Not a pretty sight.