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I know I only posted yesterday, but I wanted to get this photo up.

I made the pants.

I’m really pleased with these items.

They do lots of things… they make me smile for one. I like the feel of them. I like the scrappiness, the something out of nothingness about them. That makes them a little bit tragic. I like the scale of them. The vest measures about 16” all around the chest. The shoes are just under 4” long. I can imagine a real baby that would fit into them, because of my own very small babies. So they are fragile too. However, they are stitched and stitched and stitched into strength. I have nurtured them into a health and a robustness that wasn’t there before.

I was concerned that making pants would be problematic. Had they stood or sat alone they might have been. But they complete this set of things. They needed to be there.

I now have these, and the dress.

I suspect there may be more. There is enough fabric left in the pile to make something else. Using this pile up is as much part of the work as what I make of it. But I don’t know why really…

Maybe it will just make a quilt or a sheet or a blanket… just all of the leftover leftovers together… to be shared by the two invisible children.

I don’t really know any more about these things yet. I expect the meaning of them will carry on growing. But they feel right. I have to trust that for now.


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A comment by Franny Swann about studio space being all my own has really got me thinking, and stupidly excited really, especially as I may not get the space I have applied for.

What the process of applying has done though, has made me realise that I do want a space that is my own. I’ve never had it. NEVER! Any work space I have had has always been shared, or has been a room that holds another function. I work at home in the “dining room” that my husband has put the inverted commas around. At school my space is shared by the children, but also another teacher who does proper teaching in the mornings, so I am restricted there too in what I can fill the space with. At home, Christmas is approaching fast, so the table and floor space will need to be cleared until after the new year.

I am starting to think about how I will use a space that is totally mine. How will I display work complete, and work in progress? What will I put on the walls to inspire me? What equipment and materials will go there, and what will stay at home? How will I divide my work? Will I still want things to do at home? Will I spend every spare minute there? I have absolutely no idea! I do intend though to celebrate it happening, wherever it might be. I will have an open studio day/weekend/week. Undoubtedly there will be cake. There will be a bit of a laugh. And I expect I will be told off by someone for being overly precious and territorial. Then I will throw everyone out, lock myself in, and get on with it.

I haven’t got this mythical space yet, but it is already putting a smile on my face.


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Poetry then…

The words that I write, sometimes become poems, and sometimes become songs, sometimes they are just strings of thoughts, pertaining to my life, my work and so on.

I find it comfortable to write and speak the words that have an association with my visual work, it’s a different way of saying something, and often throws light on what I’m trying to get at.

I have started writing songs starting with sounds, rather than words, and I quite like that too, the words can become almost abstract, I just like the patterns they make.

Occasionally, one word, a pair of words or a short phrase comes into my head, or is overheard, or misheard. It throws an instant picture into my head, and must be expanded to create the missing narrative…. This is a tricky one, because if read or performed, I don’t want people to think this is about my life, a verbal illustration of something experienced. They are almost doodles… a “what if…” experiment with words.

I have worked with scissors all my life… for paper and fabric and thread… they are extensions of my fingers… I look at Edward Scissorhands and think “How handy!”

Scissors have also been used as my rhythm instrument of choice on several occasions.

These words appeared on my page, almost unbidden, a few days ago. The word scissory has been bouncing around in my head for weeks. It isn’t a proper word I know. But it feels nice in my mouth when I say it.

Tonight, this will have its first airing in front of an audience at an event called Mouth and Music, at the Boar’s Head in Kidderminster… great pub with a gallery and a performance space… an unexpected, unlikely gem of a venue.

You sniped at me with scissory words

Escaping sideways through your lips

Sibilance and steam pushed them out

Until they hurt

You grimaced at me with your face of clay

Pugged and wedged into ugly shapes

Groans and growling drove them into my sight

Until I was gone.


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An opportunity has arisen, about 5 miles from my front door, for me to “register interest” in occupying a studio. I think I have said here, early on in my blogging, that I didn’t want a studio away from home, that I enjoyed being at home, able to mix and muddle the two parts of my life. There are certainly advantages in that. But things change don’t they?

I have found it increasingly difficult to follow a train of thought at home lately… there are many distractions, the greatest of which, infuriatingly, is the now senile cat who squawks every time you move your foot, thinking she will be fed (again) having forgotten that she was fed 20 minutes ago, or even that her bowl is still full from the last time she squawked. If you stay sat in one chair in one room, she is fine, and will nod off in front of the fire.

My husband is also home more, due to a change in his working life. I would like to state here, for the record, that he is NOT “under-my-feet”, but merely present. And it is fun to be able to pop out for lunch together occasionally! But an artist, engaged in thought, looks like someone doing sod all… someone perhaps, to chat to. So, the possibility of a different space that I can go to work in, separate, will make for a happier home life, where I do not snap and tut and get irritated just because someone asks if I want a cup of tea. I can still work at home, but it can be the sort of work that I can chat happily through.

So, just on a casual research expedition to the neighbouring town, I contemplate the possibility of a studio. It is cheap. It is in an area hard hit by recession, one remaining store in the run of empty shops due to close any day now, rendering the passage to the shop/studio a bit of a derelict space. Having visited artist studios all over the place though, this is by no means the worst area, and certainly not the worst building!

There are two shared exhibition spaces, up and downstairs, and two studios upstairs, one too small, the other just right. It is well lit, has a decent window overlooking historical monument and bus station in one fell swoop. It is heated, carpeted, has hot and cold running water and a choice of loo – one labelled GIRLS, the other GENTLEMEN – a curious combination.

In return for this, I would have to undertake various community duties, none of which are out of my range. Seems a good deal to me. So I have Registered My Interest. I now have to wait until January to see if I have been shortlisted for consideration and interview…

But… it is in my head now… I NEED it, this space… NEEEEEEEEDD it I tell you!!!

(and if not this one, then I shall seek out another)


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Pants then.

I’ve been working with clothes and household linens for years, doing all manner of things with them. The last two or three years I have been using old children’s clothes, the sort I would have worn as a child. I have mulled over parental relationships, particularly that of my mother, me and my two sons… with the occasional visit by my mother-in-law.

I stripped everything back for the collaborative work with Bo for ONE. Looked at what I was doing with these stitches, what they meant to me. I examined the process rather than the product. I was quite pleased with it, but was happier when that process and the thoughts engendered by it started to seep into the rest of my work. Making the dress out of “nothing” felt initially like a full stop to ONE, but was actually more of a capital letter for the next chapter. Perhaps a colon then. Stretch that analogy!

A dress. It linked this work to what had gone before… visually, materially… but also pushed it along, opened up a new pathway. While I sat invigilating the exhibition, the leftovers from the dress suggested the shape of the vest… so I made that. The armholes cut from the vest suggested the shoes. The scale of these items suggest my own children, both of whom were born prematurely and small. Back to parenthood.

But you can’t have a vest without pants can you?

So I am making the pants. I have cut the shape of the leg holes, and have put those pieces on one side to examine after. But making pants is different. Pants might take me somewhere I don’t want to go.

As I stitch through the newly constructed old fabric scrap material to form the shape of this garment, I will think some more about the implications of making these pants.

They are probably just pants.


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