I’ve reached the point where I can’t see what I’m doing because I haven’t got the space. 

A Facebook memory popped up and showed me how much space I used to have and I signed with envy! So I have put my making to one side for a little while, while I tackle the clutter. It isn’t really clutter, but there’s a lot of it in the wrong format, in the wrong place. I have framed and mounted work just inside the door which makes access tricky, particularly if I am carrying in more stuff, or inviting people in. And I am unable to move my tables because they are hiding a load of rolled up drawings. I started this activity a while back, and now I need a stage two. So I cleared a space, selected a few drawings of similar colours and unrolled them, rubbed a damp sponge lightly across the back of them, and then next time I go in they will be flat and I can chop them up into pieces in order to make them into more books. I need 27 pieces, 8” x 16” in order to make one book that will be about 2” thick. When I stitch and bind them they become beautiful objects rather than a nuisance. It also means you have a manageable and close up way to view the drawings anew, and even reuse the pages for notes or new drawings if you want. I did sell one, but I’m not sure at the moment if I want to sell any more just yet. I think I need to see them filling a shelf. I think If I can just cut them up, that will help, then I can make the books at my leisure.

I also have decided that I need to sort out the “stuff” in the small bedroom, because once I do that, then I can make space for the framed pieces and some of the textile pieces in boxes at home. It’s full of things we brought with us when we moved here two years ago, but we still haven’t done anything with it. (And of course, some of it belongs to our youngest son, and will need to stay here as he doesn’t live in a place suitable for storage yet.)

In an ideal world I’d have a unit to store and a studio to work, but until I’m rich and famous that’s not happening!

And actually, it is probably healthier to do it this way, sort, decide, recycle and reuse… very little will be thrown out, just chopped edges.

I am full of fresh enthusiasm for my task though. While the weather is so rainy, collecting twigs isn’t as fruitful… they are soggy and rotting before I can get to them. I shall probably slow up a lot until the weather gets better again in spring. 

Seasonal tasks seem appropriate. 



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The work being done for the exhibition can just plod on, lots of it to be done, but it can plod on without too much in the way of decision making or hard work just yet.

Meanwhile, there’s music going on.

Over the last two or three weeks about 12 songs have been written. This is actually a bit epic. Lyrics I sent out months (or maybe over a year ago?) are being sent back to me. All in a rush it seems… Andy and Ian are on a roll, an amazing time of creative productivity! The music ranges from sensitive slow ballad to a Springsteen-esque number… some blues, and most recently, a bloody tango! “Strictly” here we come! My lyrics are a bit quirky and unusual, sometimes a bit miserable, often a bit dystopian and they tell tales of dysfunctional relationships. Sometimes they do this with sarcasm, or a sharp gallows humour. The music written for them is perfect I always think. I feel very fortunate to have met these two. They get what I’m writing, and the music seems to either accentuate the feeling, or hold a counterpoint… both approaches work well. I often reflect on the series of circumstances and coincidences that got me here. It seems miraculous that I’ve only been doing this songwriting lark for about ten years, and the first band performances were late 2015/early 2016.

It is rare to have a collaborative relationship so balanced, respectful and appreciative. We are easy in each other’s company. I hope we have many more years ahead of us.

Next week we are due to record our third EP. Somehow this one seems to be the one that feels most naturally true to who we all are as writers and performers. I think we now sound confident in each other, and ourselves, and the songs we have chosen sound great. They are well bedded-in, having been sung many times, the lumps have been ironed out with live performances. I will share something soon…



I have work to do!

I submitted a proposal to the RBSA.
And it has been accepted! I’m both excited and somewhat nervous. 

It will be a solo show, called Five, Six, Pick up Sticks and will be the focus for my current work with twigs, thinking about the shocking child poverty statistics I’ve been working with. It will be in May 2023, so I have about six months to pull it all together, to be installed in this amazing newly refurbished city centre gallery. I am thrilled. Rather pleased with myself actually, can’t stop smiling… until I remember the amount of work I now have to do.

The problem with working with multiples is you just have to keep going. I’ve done work before where I have lots of repetitive work to do. Either lots of stitching, or making lots of the same thing, or lots of drawings… But I think this is possibly the largest scale… and in terms of what I’m trying to say, the most politically and personally important to me. It is a daunting task. 

I’m plugging away though.

A few posts past I said I was done wrapping. And at the time that felt like a truth. But since then I have discovered if I am going to pull off this big installation, I need more. Many many more. So all the time I am in the studio I am wrapping. This has its down sides.

It has happened a few times before, when I have had lots to do in a short space of time, I go mad at things. Trouble is then I suffer. If I do too much at a time I get tenosynovitis and end up not being able to do anything until it has healed. I can feel little pangs of it, so I have had to take a break and tidy up my studio instead. I have months, so it’s not a mad rush deadline this time. Trouble is though, the sooner I have LOADS of twigs, the sooner I can start playing with them and figure out how I am going to display them to best effect. I will get it done, I just need to be aware of my limitations and work accordingly. I’m not good at being patient.


The studio tidy is more than that too I think. I’ve been talking to Kate Murdoch about her epic sorting, and I’ve been talking to Helen Garbett and Bill Laybourne  about how they plan to change around the space in their large and very interesting workshop so they can use it differently and invite people in… thinking about the third space theory

My own studio has become so jammed with completed work I have reached a point where I can’t use the space as I want to, or for the best. I started re-purposing drawings into books, which was great, and then I stopped. I think I need to do a rolling programme of this to keep the avalanche of paper at bay. So I see the next six months as a repeat patter of twig-wrapping, tidying, and making books. Maybe then, by the time the exhibition comes round in May, I will have a different workspace too? It’s a lot to ask… Maybe I should just chuck it all out of the window?