This week me and my friend held an exhibition of our work in progress. All fine art students have to hold an exhibition at some point before the degree show, but we wanted to do something different from a traditional exhibition, and so we used the exhibition space as a working studio. This meant that we based ourselves in the space for the duration of the exhibition and continued to make work. We provided information about the work that we chose to show in the space, and shared our plans for how the work will progress. It was great to see my work spaced out rather than crammed into my studio space (I do have rather a lot of stuff in there!) and it gave me a clearer view of what to submit for the degree show.
I made use of the extra space to plot the route for my pilgrimage walk from Chester to Sheffield, which I have decided to make in May. I had several OS maps pinned to the wall, which got a lot of attention at the exhibition opening. I am still developing my ideas for how the pilgrimage should be illustrated in a gallery setting, but I now think that I would like to make use of the maps in the final piece. I also displayed my completed cross-stitches for the first time, one adapted from my painting The Heart of a Heartless World and the other based on the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur entitled Labyrinth. I do not want to include both pieces in the degree show, but I would like to find a place for Labyrinth, as I think it is quite an unusual use of a traditional craft technique.
Having spent the week working in a different environment, I will be glad to get back to my own studio space. I see now the importance of feeling comfortable in my work space. To be in a familiar environment, which is still clearly defined as a workspace, helps me to focus on my work and motivates me to be there.
I have not had much time to blog lately; I have had to really pick up the pace with my work as the degree show looms ever closer.
I have mostly been working on my painting and developing ideas for my work. I had intended to put my painting and my photography work together to form an installation, but I have now decided to keep them separate. This has thrown up all kinds of problems about how it will now work. Both my photography work and my fine art work have been based on the Virgin Mary and her relationship with the sea, so I still want the work to be positioned together, or at least close by. The photography work will take the form of panels of images all related to the Virgin Mary. This includes my own photography work as well as collages, found and appropriated images, contact sheets etc. The result is an eclectic mix of images. I aim to make a set of panels which will be mounted on a wall.
My other two projects are progressing nicely. I have been buying and planning for my planned pilgrimage, although I now think that I will postpone it until May to allow longer for my ideas to develop. I am also working on my Sheffield Steel photography project. I need to get back into the darkroom to start developing some of the photographs of factories that I shot the last time I was in Sheffield.
Generally I think that my work is moving along nicely, it’s just a case of juggling it all at the moment.
I have been busy planning my pilgrimage recently. I have been ordering outdoor clothing and maps from the internet, as well as compiling a list of all the things that I will need. I’m hoping to leave at the end of March and arrive at my parents’ house on Easter Sunday. I went for a 10 mile walk earlier in the week to see how I cope and I think I coped surprisingly well. Apart for being very tired at the end of the day, and my hips aching, I felt fine, and I had completely recovered by the next day. I’m hoping to manage at least one long walk per week in preparation. It has also pretty much been decided that my husband will come with me and film the walk. He’s a script writer and aspiring film maker, so he’s really interested in helping out. My only condition is that I do not want to be on camera as much as is possible, I hate the idea of being filmed! I have also been thinking about what I could leave behind as offerings. I collected some stones from my parents’ house and I am still considering how best to use them. I had a tutorial today, and we spoke about how this project crosses over with my interest in the sea. Both subjects interest me because of the journeys that take place. One thing that captured my imagination in relation to the sea, was the idea of an albatross around ones neck. I am now considering using the stones in this way, carrying the stones as a kind of weight around my neck and dropping them as I go. Next I need to plot a route from Chester to Sheffield with accommodation roughly every 10 miles.
I also finished and photographed my small tin of grass entitled A Little Piece of Home. I have been questioning whether or not it needs a care kit to go alongside it. I think the tin, as an item, works well on its own, isolated from other works. I intend to still work on a care kit, but it may not make it into the degree show.