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The exhibition launch was fun.

We had cake, and tea.

So much more me than nasty white wine and nibbles.

It was good to catch up in real-time with Bo, have a proper conversation. Although we were quite busy talking to other people too. It is really good to talk about the work, the progression, the links between the strands, and the perhaps less visible links between mine and Bo’s.

I sold something.

It is nice to see the work up, all in one place. I haven’t had time to take photos, although I think Bo did, so maybe they will appear on his blog sometime.

Next week, I am opening the studio itself. At the moment it is still full of the crap of exhibition hanging… paint tins, tool kits, rubbish… and cake crumbs. So during the next few days I’m going to have a look at my surroundings afresh, and think about whether things are in the right place. I want to put the bra drawings in a more prominent place, as these are the things I want to concentrate on next. I might move some furniture. I might fold away the ironing board. I will vacuum the carpet!

Initially excited by the prospect of opening the studio, I am somewhat reticent also.

It is hard to explain, and I know that some people that read this will understand totally, and that others won’t or might even be offended. To be honest if you are offended I don’t give a sh!t…

I jealously guard this space. It is hard earned. I might invite you in, I might not. It is mine. The frame of mind I am in, and my flow of thought might affect how I feel about your presence. In the short time I have “lived” in it I have seen various approaches. Some people wander in as if it is a shop. It is not a shop. Some people hover at the open door. That’s ok. If you do that I might offer you a seat. If the door is shut, leave me alone, or knock and wait. Everyone except one person has knocked before being invited to enter. The one that walked in was ushered out unceremoniously. A few people yesterday said, *“ooh now I know where you are I can pop in to see you!” This isn’t what it is for. It is not a social space. It is most definitely an ANTI-social space. I read this back and it sounds aggressive, stroppy. I don’t give a sh!t about that either. It’s mine. I can do what I damn well please.

BUT… next weekend, 17th May, from 11-4 it will be open. You can wander in, sit down, look around, talk, ask questions, look at my work in progress, and at the exhibition. I promise I will be friendly, approachable, nice and polite and welcoming. There will be more cake!

And then at 4pm, I’ll shooo you all out and shut the door.

*PS. E and H… you don’t count, but it would be wise to text first!


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This weekend sees the start of a one-month long exhibition of my work at Artspace Dudley.

I’m using it as a sort of recent history review. Work shown is a selection from the last 2 or 3 years. I wanted to get all the best bits up together, to see if there was a logical progression, both visual and conceptual, and to see if there were any aspects left to be explored, or any pointers where I go next. The work includes the almost famous dandelion greatcoat, and some of the work done for my MA, which was tutored, mentored and guided to a certain extent, and assessed and judged formally, on to the stuff I’ve done since, which is none of those things.

Actually I lie. It is of course judged and assessed by me… and my peers.

Talking of whom… part of the exhibition is shared of course, with Bo Jones.

He is the most honest of my peers, as he is the only one who continues to question it all, and if he sees doubt or weakness of argument, picks at it until it makes sense, or falls apart. (Damn teachers!)

So there is part of the space dedicated to work done for and since ONE… and in fact this show is titled one(2). Some of the work is obviously linked, other bits less so, but the conversations sit behind them anyway.

I have started to spread work about in the space, and there seems to be a gap… I feel I should show what I’m thinking about now, even though there are no resolutions, no “finished” items. I’m talking about the bras.

And this is maybe exactly why I should put them up there, so that I can discuss them, hear other people’s ideas. I’m not going to write any blurb about them. I just want to hear what people say. But I’m not sure how it will work in the space, how it will look and behave.

Is this a good idea do you think, or am I confusing the crit with the exhibition?

If you’d like to come to see, we’re having a bit of an event this Saturday 10th May 2-4pm at Artspace:

http://www.artspacedudley.com/exhibitions.html

We’d love to see you. I’ll be baking.

And the weekend after, I’m opening my studio for nattering and working too… Saturday 17th May from 11-4.

You’re welcome to either or both!


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Confidence is key isn’t it?

I don’t mean the brash, stride about, showy off sort of confidence, I mean the calm knowledge that you can do something.

I talked about serendipity before. To me, it has come to mean the coming together of the need to do something out of the usual routine, something scary maybe, and the arrival of a big chunk of confidence to help you do it.

I did desperately want to get to the US with my work, to experience maybe just once in my life, that feeling of being a professional artist. Oh I know I do stuff here, but it is never at the exclusion of everything else. There it was. I am a 53 yr old woman who has never been much further than a couple of hundred miles on her own… when I think of that I am shocked. I like to think I am independent and a woman of the world, but actually, no, I am a woman of the Midlands. So going to the US on my own, was so scary… 4000 miles… 3 planes… 4 airports… (mantra: passport ticket money passport ticket money passport…)

I confess I was quaking in my boots. I tried not to think about each stage of the process until I had to.

Because the situation at school had got worse, I decided if I didn’t want it to drag me down completely I needed to do something about it. So I began telling people I was looking for something else.

My amazing husband, once again, was so supportive, taking it all on the chin, while possibly quaking in his boots at the thought of lost income, we discussed it and decided I could do it. I could resign. I had a few bits and pieces that would bring some cash in, so it would be ok. We are not extravagant people (we certainly don’t travel much do we?) It is easy to be a woman of principle once you realise you are not going to be totally destitute. If we had needed the money more desperately I would have had to swallow my principles and count myself lucky to have a job at all.

Having made the decision to leave, I was instantly relieved of the black cloud that had been following me around. I told more people I was looking for new opportunities.

And suddenly there was one… and a really good one too!

It gave me such a boost of confidence, after all the rubbish that had been going on. To know that I was appreciated, thought capable, an asset rather than an expensive liability.

So, then I knew I could do it. I packed my suitcase and off I went into the world on my own, with a red suitcase and a big grin. I strode through airports running over people’s feet with my little wheels, willy nilly!

So now I am a Woman of the World

And a Woman of Principle

A Confident Artist

I feel I could do pretty much anything right now, so ask me quickly before it fades!

Short bit of video just to prove I did it… excuse croaky voice!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aERl1HFQVh4


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Sometimes, blogging can be very frustrating, because you are unable to talk about things as they happen, when you are feeling them most sharply.

But, when the dust settles, you then see things more clearly!

I have this morning resigned from my job in school. Those of you that know me, or have read this blog for a while, will know how much I loved the job, and also how grief-stricken I was when it all changed.

I feel the need to trot out cliches…

Things happen for a reason…

As one door closes another one opens…

There’s more to life than money…

The world is my oyster…

There are more no doubt…

But… if I hadn’t been unhappy, and started very noisily telling people I was unhappy, and looking for something else, I would not be where I am now!

I will soon be working with the education team at New Art Gallery Walsall… (and other places too I expect) My favourite local gallery… actually probably just my favourite gallery, for so many reasons, some of which I must have written here.

I will still be in my studio at ArtSpace Dudley, and doing workshops there too.

I was unhappy.

Now I’m happy.

(I have a raging throat infection, a sore knee and jet lag, but very happy)

Hello Brave New World!


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