Not blogging for so long has been interesting, for someone who probably blogs every three or four days.
Marion Michell tweeted she was glad of the break, to reflect (you see we haven’t been able to stay away from social media).
I have been reflecting, but reflecting more on the role of the blog in my work, rather than what I would have been reflecting on, if I’d been able to blog.
On the first anniversary of my blog (I’ve just passed the third) I was interviewed for an article. In it I said this:
AB: This interview marks the first anniversary of your initial Artists talking blog. What motivated you to start a blog and what keeps you interested?
ET: It was actually suggested to me by one of my MA tutors. She was probably thinking I talked too much and needed another outlet for all the whittering on! I thought I’d just write stuff like “Today I went to the gallery and saw… and I thought it was rubbish/excellent”. I wasn’t prepared for the conversation, the sense of community that is here. If I am pondering a piece of work, or full of angst about the way it is being read, I slap up a photo and ask. People seem genuinely interested and understanding about the fact that sometimes you’re not sure. They offer advice, and it helps.
That has been the best thing. It’s that that keeps me interested. At first I wondered what on earth I would blog about, but I don’t seem to have any problems there, there’s always something to say. My practice is a bit all-over-the-place… textiles, drawing, sheds, and recently the sound and music work that I’ve been doing with Dan Whitehouse www.dan-whitehouse.com. Writing the blog has turned out to be a good way of seeing all these disparate parts as a whole.
(The full article is here if you want to read it, but I feel it is a little dated now – a snapshot of where I was two years ago: http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking/article/2228643 )
That mostly still stands true. But I think the process of writing is actually now more interwoven than ever with my thought processes. The answer above explains the blog as superficial to my practice, an online crit, a networking tool even.
Now, language and thought are closer. They feed each other. I read back my own thoughts and see them more clearly. I write as I speak mostly, which is why some of the sentences are a bit clunky. But I try not to edit that. Sometimes I see the ludicrousness of my reasoning. Sometimes it is pointed out to me (Thanks, Bo, that’s not changed much, although is perhaps less frequent these days?)
I describe my practice above as all over the place. I saw all the bits as separate, but linked by me… I tend to disagree with that now. Whether that is because it has developed, or whether I have thought it through and see it differently, I’m not sure. Now I see my practice as layered and multi-facetted. Each medium I use shows a different angle, with a different voice, but the things I am thinking about run through it all… drawing, stitching, sound and song… the same obsessions crop up over and over.
The pieces/media aren’t separated now, but leech into each other… affected by each other. I think what has helped with this is the year of collaborative work with Bo, thinking about my stitches and their reason for being. One outcome of that process was the discovery about how people (and stitches) affect (infect?) each other, the traces we leave on each other, our strength in numbers. This relatively new feeling about how it works lies easily, stitch alongside sound exactly the same… affected, and each strand made stronger by the presence of the other.
The blog is just part of the big picture. Not merely a record or documentation, but it is another strand, and is the microscope that has helped me see how it all works. The blog is where the understanding lies.