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I have been busy since the exhibition at half term, but I haven’t actually made anything. I went to London. I went to the Art Party Conference. I’ve fannied about on facebook and twitter, and drummed up support for our Kickstarter campaign to set us on our way to New York hopefully via some other funding pot…

(there are still a few days left if you want to join in – yes, you too can come to NY!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scibasecolonize/scibase-colonize

and you might even have the chance to own one of my works as a reward!)

I’ve even been at home for a week, and have lacked the motivation to do anything but stare at one screen or another. I was feeling slumpy and flumpy and frumpy.

But now, I’m at it again. I have finished making a little vest I started making while the exhibition was going on… and today I started making a little pair of baby shoes out of the same nothings I’ve been working with. Strangely, the pile of things made gets bigger, but the pile of things I’m making from doesn’t seem to get any smaller. Is it because I am constantly aerating it like the compost heap? I turn it over, de-tangle it and fluff it up a bit each time… or is it part of the same narrative, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts?

It is nice to be stitching again.


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Art Party Conference then…

A bit of a jolly? Yes. Definitely.

A meeting of like minded folk? Of course.

A day of great conversations mainly.

The highlight for me, was the witnessing of the conversation between Stephen Deuchar, Cornelia Parker, Jeremy Deller and Pavel Büchler.

In my time I have listened to an awful lot of pretentious, idiotic dross talked about art. But not here. These four were extraordinary in their ordinariness. They said things that made me nod my head in agreement, laugh, sympathise. I came away with deeper admiration, a little starstruck, but also heartened…. These four successful people, unbelievably, are a little bit like me! They have had parents, tutors, teachers telling them they shouldn’t/can’t do things. They did it anyway.

I wrote little notes in my book…

“Theory is not the job of the artist, it is the job of the work. The artist can ignore theory. The work changes/affects perceptions and it is that that speaks to theory”

Halle-bloody-luyah!

I think I might be a little in love with Pavel.

I’ll leave all that to someone else then, and just keep making what I want to make.

Any theory I did when I was writing essays for my MA was dragged out of me kicking and screaming. Partly because I am lazy, but mostly because I didn’t see how I could possibly understand most of it without doing a degree in philosophy beforehand… if I had wanted to do that I would have done that! I felt all the time that I was cheating, jumping through a hoop that I couldn’t really see the reason for… that I was pretending to “get” but didn’t. In quiet corners, with selected fellow students I would confess.

Now, I am out and proud.

This event will stay with me for quite some time. I suspect it will have ripples that go on spreading. It was great to be there. Thank you to everyone involved in making it happen.


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As Franny said, we had a good time.

(www.a-n.co.uk/p/564556/)

(do pop over and look at the lovely photos we took of each other)

She was just as I had imagined. We laughed, chatted, discussed and pondered… there were no awkward pauses or anything. I suppose we had had enough online correspondence to know stuff about each other’s lives and work to talk about. It was wonderful to see pieces of her work in the flesh too!

We have had very different lives, but there were enough points of accord to make the conversation easy. I think this may be an artist thing. I have seen a poster somewhere that says artists are dangerous because they mix with all classes of society. Isn’t that a marvellous thing? The thing that holds us together, whatever we make and however we make it, wherever we are from, there is a commonality in the most basic part of us – our brains – the most human thing, our thoughts and dreams and aspirations.

The trappings and accessories are really immaterial. Franny and I could have been sat at any table, in any surroundings and the conversation would quite probably have been the same.

The table thing fascinates me. I might do some drawings…

Whenever my friends and I get together, there is nearly always a table between us, and mugs. There’s the possibility that art could break out at any moment, some spark of creativity could leap at us and we would be prepared. We lean forward earnestly, conspiratorially, cheekily, flirtatiously, confessionally, comforting, teasing, sympathising and taking the piss. We lean back, ponder, relax, yawn and sigh, cry or laugh and snort sometimes to the point of hysteria, we consider, remember, and grasp at straws.

The table provides a platform, a safety net, a barrier, something to put our elbows on when our chin is in our hands, our fingers raking through our hair. The stuff on it a distraction, diversion or focus, something to play with, or throw in exasperation.

But I will tell you this… if I have someone here, and I put the kettle on… we don’t head for “the comfy seats”, without fail, we head for the table.

I expect Franny had “comfy seats” too. But her table was better.

However, the state of her crayon box was bloody shocking.

I expect she is grateful that I put them all in the right order before I left.


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I know I said I was going to do teachery things for a while, that the artist would have to wait till December to be allowed to roam free, but an unexpected bonus has cropped up. In the middle of all the teacheriness is a trip to that London…. And so it transpires that Franny is going to take me in hand!

My meeting finishes at 4pm, and by then my brain will be swollen with stuff and guff and I will be rendered incapable of reading the map of the tube. Franny is going to meet me and take over all responsibility for me, like a large confused child… (me, not her).

It is with this impending meeting in mind that I gasp in wonder yet again at the internet. I don’t think our children realise or understand what a miraculous thing it is! They haven’t known life without it.

I have never met Franny or Kate, or Jean or Julie, or Marion, or Rob…..yet I consider them sort of friends. (I have met both Sophie and Wendy though!)

Franny is about 150 miles away I think, but I feel like I’ve known her for years. We have conversations, we bloggers, that cut to the chase. If you “get” another artist’s work, it is a short cut to knowing something of their personality, and something of what is important to them. You don’t make judgements based on appearance, or accent. What people make and what they write is the important bit.

I am hoping she thinks the same, because I don’t think, by 4pm tomorrow I will give a good first impression… I’m not what you would call “well-groomed” at the best of times. By the time I meet her I will be easy to spot… I will have crumpled everything within touching range. My hair will have been raked through with my undoubtedly sticky possibly chocolatey, definitely inky fingers all day. Any make-up applied carefully at 6.30 am will have slid down my face. I expect my knitted coat will be hanging off one shoulder, my bag slung across the other, doing its own version of “lift and separate”.

The almost all day meeting will be interesting and stimulating, I am sure. But I find what I’m focussing on is Franny. I can’t wait to meet you my long-lost, never-met friend!


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I don’t usually find it hard to write this blog… it spills onto the keyboard as fast and furious as it spills out of my mouth… I talk too much!

But today, I can’t decide what to write about. I feel I need to round up a bit about the exhibition… but I did that on our joint blog, so I’ll point you there instead:

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

Suffice to say, we want to do it again. The negatives were outweighed by the positives, and lessons were learned.

I also started writing a post about a couple of weekend workshops I just did. They were really good, I did a bit of a talk about my work, and then the students spent the time making a response to my work. That bit was great. It was in an independent school, beautiful architecture, gardens, materials and equipment abundant. But I found what I was writing about was far too overtly snipy and political!

Suffice to say, I couldn’t work in the independent sector, and I couldn’t send my children there either, lessons were learned there too.

What I NEED to write about is the New York COLONIZE project with Scibase… we now have a kickstarter page, complete with video, blurb, images, rewards and a big shiny green button that says “BACK THIS PROJECT”.

So, lovely generous readers, get yourselves over there, make a cup of tea, watch the gorgeous video, in which you catch a short glimpse of my studio wall and me saying a very cheesey “Helllooooo!” Then, get out your cards and pledge a bit of dosh… every little tiny bit is welcome, we are grateful for and will be put to good use… minimum pledge a measley pound, but while you’re there, you might as well make it a fiver…. Or if you are feeling supremely flush… a bit more!

Thank you!

For the rest of this month I am very busy doing teachery things, but when I open the first door of the advent calendar and scoff the choccy, I am starting work on the Army greatcoat. Defo.


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