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Blog writing is going to get tricky over the next few months, because I won’t know where to write! The work I am making at the moment is solely for the joint project with Bo Jones, so it seems logical to write there, and come back to Threads if I get a bee in my bonnet about something else… So I leave this sign post to “pix” for you:

www.a-n.co.uk/p/2910921/

See you over there for a while…


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I do try to keep this blog just about my art practice, and not about my teaching too much. Initially that was because I already knew myself as a teacher, but was trying to get to know myself as an artist. I’m ok with that balance now, so feel more able, occasionally, to drop in a post about more teachery things…

This weekend I attended the NSEAD conference (link below).

It has been brilliant. The speakers (mostly) were totally from and with their audience.

Teachers (and artists) haven’t got time to listen to someone who isn’t interesting, informative, creative, useful, or at least entertaining! I have experienced all these things this weekend, and have come away, enthused about taking new projects into school, and livening up some of the stuff that’s looking a bit jaded. I think I was feeling a bit jaded myself as end of term approaches.

Sometimes… and this is going to be difficult to say, I want to choose my words carefully, out of respect for the amazing organisers, and wonderfully inspirational artists and teachers I met this weekend…. Sometimes… you need something to go wrong, so that you see in sharp contrast how fantastic everything else has been. Otherwise you might take the wonderfulness for granted.

Teaching teachers is tricky. Talking to teachers, as a teacher, is tricky. Talking to a room full of teachers among your professional body at their annual conference is bloody nerve-wracking. When I talk to teachers I have to be sure of everything I say, I have to be confident that I can articulate what I think and feel. Teachers and artists working in education should be respected for turning up to these things at the end of a term. They are all knackered. If you put your board out saying you are going to tackle an issue and 100 people turn up to listen to you. You need to tackle that issue!

I found myself quite horrified, that among all this talk of defending and championing our subject, of striving for excellence and integrity, that some people don’t think like this. We are not just needing to convince people who aren’t artists, art teachers, artist teachers and other combinations of similar words, but we have to convince those within our ranks too, that success in the arts is NOT just about knowing what formula to use to get an A*.

http://www.nsead.org/home/index.aspx


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The main reason the work with Bo for “pix” and my solo work have started to connect, is in fact, the stitch itself.

I asked the question a few posts back, “Why is a stitched line different to a drawn line?”

The stitch is a connector. It doesn’t just sit on top like a drawn line. It isn’t superficial. It is THROUGH. It becomes part of the fabric. In this process, because I choose where to make the hole, what to draw together, what to repair, or embellish… I am the connector too.

Am I the signifier?

I am the one making meaning as I stitch.

As such I am implicated in the meaning….

So am I also the signified?

The work that results has me stitched right into it.

I didn’t know whether to post this here, or in “pix” – the edges are blurred. But as the recognition of the significance of the stitch and my psyche became apparent; and in light of recent discussion; it seemed more logical to put it here.

It has implications for me, all over the place.

The philosophy and semiotics of the stitcher and the stitched…

The more I stitch things together, the deeper I become embroiled in the meaning.

If I was having trouble seeing the personality and the emotion in the joint project with Bo, I’m not any more.

(phew!)




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Funny how you look back and are able to see your life in chunks and eras. Sometimes one blends into another, its passing unnoticed until years later. Sometimes there is an almighty crash as one ends and another begins. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Hindsight and experience make it possible to spot the patterns and can provide clues for future change and movement.

Sea Change

Great expression… the feeling that the current is changing, water underneath is moving… at some point I will find myself swimming in a new direction.

Of course, in this blog, at this time, I cannot be specific about such things, but I can feel the sea change. The rip tide is pulling at my feet, my knees, very slowly rising up my body.

I must rush to finish tasks so that I can “put my affairs in order”. There are things I want to achieve and complete before the tide sweeps me off and the surf crashes over my head.

Occasionally – the other morning for instance – there are moments of sharp clarity that I know I am in the wrong place, that there is something better waiting, that an opportunity has been missed. When it happens, I hope I’m ready for it… I think I will be…

Time will tell…

Time and tide wait for no (wo)man.

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I’d be rubbish working on my own, isolated in a studio, starving artist in a garret scenario. I am a slave to the comfort blanket – my adult transitional object. I don’t even see it sometimes. I seem unable to question myself realistically. When I ask myself questions about my work, the best way to go about things, I answer myself very politely saying exactly the things I want to hear – take the easy way. Bloody rubbish! Is it possible to achieve this by yourself? Am I beating myself up about something impossible? Because if you tell me it is impossible, that’s great. Because it makes me feel stupid. I swan along quite happily unable to see the implications of my methods. All it takes is one person to say “are you aware that…” and suddenly I see it.

I think I’m wearing the bloody comfort blanket over my head.




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