My response to one of Richard Taylor’s insightful comments on my last post was too long for me to post as a comment! Here it is:

The shop front / window display aspect of my work and life is really intriguing and something I really only started thinking more about in my third year of study, but it’s definitely become more pertinent as time goes on. I have always worked in shops, and usually mom and pop stores, small or independant places that don’t really have a budget for displays so encourage creativity and resourcefulness in that area. Creating displays out ‘nothing’, with materials to hand, usually cardboard boxes, paper, pens and paint, is something that has certaintly intermingled with my practice. Arranging and constantly moving objects around is also a big aspect of window displays, whether it’s keeping with the seasons, specific events, or some ‘great new product’ and this aspect had carried over into my work as well. A window display is always changing, it’s never fixed, always fluid, much like my own process. Generally speaking they are usually meant to be viewed from one perspective only, which might in some ways explain why I’m never very comfortable having my objects in the centre of a room, to be walked around and viewed from different angles. It was a criticism I often had at uni during crits, that I was making objects, yet ‘afraid’ to come away from the wall. I think now that it’s proving to be more deliberate, and is something that I need consider more carefully. Perspective is a huge factor in my practice (or lack of…?) Having the perspective chosen for you, as opposed to being able to view it from all sides certainly relates to ideas of how history is ‘written’, with historians choosing what facts they deem to be important and then creating a narrative linking them together.
Also, I think the relationship between my work and a typical window display has connections, although perhaps not as obvious,and I’m not sure how deep they run… Window display / visual merchandising has a very specific purpose, it’s commercial, to show products in the best possible way, exciting, eye catching, bold, so people passing by will stop and hopefully be tempted to purchase. It’s a direct link to buy more. Is there a similarity in how fictional accounts of history, or embellished history is ‘remembered’ in cinema? Hollywood’s wow factor, showing history in a more “interesting, eye catching, bold” account, eventually making people ‘buy’ into those accounts as well, rather than what may have ‘actually’ happened? I definitely have to chew some cud… Do people say that over here??? Thanks Richard!


Today I am really looking forward to getting into my temporary studio. I’ve just spent most of the morning/afternoon annoyed and irritated. Annoyed with my husband trying chat to me, annoyed with my dogs following me around the house and barking at every car alarm in the city, annoyed with the phone ringing, the postman knocking on the door, with having to vaccum the front room and pick up tufts of dog hair, put the laundry away, etc… all things that usually distract me from doing art related things when I am home… I don’t really need to have a studio to create most of the things I make, but I think I’m realizing I might need one in order to simply have the space and time to focus on creating and thinking without any distractions. I’m only off work two days this week, and then only have between 9am and 3pm to do anything, so I NEED TO NOT BE ANNOYED.

There are two open calls that I want to put in proposals for, and I haven’t had time today to do anything other than a little bit of reading/research, an even then just barely. I should have gone to the cafe down the road, but they probably would have glared at me for buying an herbal tea and sitting there for 4 hours. In light of previous planned projects possibly/most likely falling through, I’m hoping I can still salvage some of the ideas and work on curating a group exhibition or some other kind of project… I just have to accept the fact that nothing is getting done today….


I went to listen to artist Matt Stokes speak two Wednesdays ago at the Arnolfini, and came away really inspired! The inspiration has lingered all week and has fueled some new thinking. As a recent graduate, I also found it really interesting and refreshing to hear him speak briefly about his own experiences after graduating and how his work changed and developed during those first few years… This past Wednesday was another Arnolfini talk by S Mark Gubb, which was also brilliant. It’s really been interesting to hear both of them speak about the kinds of things that interest them and why they make the work they do.

During my degree I often felt pangs of “but can I actually make work about that?” Questioning my interests and motivations for making the work I wanted to make was a regular thing for the last two years of my degree studies. It must have been for some of the other students, although I don’t really remember having that sort of specific conversation with many others. Trying to figure out how to create things that had a certain distance from the personal motivations driving my work, yet was still somehow connected wasn’t easy, but somewhere in the middle of my third year I felt that aspect of my work clicked into place.. I guess the more distance I have from studying, the more heavily I am able to reflect. Doing the degree really was incredibly cathartic for me…

I just really love that human connection to creating art, what’s underneath it all, where it comes from, what motivates and inspires, moments that really click and change the course of everything you’re doing…Creating art is such a personal thing for everyone, and there’s often really fascinating stories, interests and motivations that drive an artist’s practice, but you often don’t see any of that when just viewing something. Artist’s talks can sometimes (although not always, by any means) give brilliant insight into some of those things and make you walk away inspired, motivated and ready to go out and forge your own path with confidence. These last two talks I attended really resonated with me and left me feeling really inspired. Of course, it helps that they were both great speakers. Often a very hard thing for an artist to do!!!

On another note…

UPDATES: The cardboard traffic cones are still in the shop window. Paper collages of city council members are not, haha. Had a feeling that might happen.

Also, Polly Kelsall and I were supposed to sign contracts a few weeks ago for the temporary empty shop project we have been planning for this spring. Two days before our scheduled meeting, we had an email postponing the contract signing because there was some “movement” on the shopfront we are interested in, but that the project should still be able to go forward if we moved the original intended dates. Agreeing to this in reply, we have yet to hear any response. We have since heard through various people/sources that there are certain things the city council is changing in April that will affect the creative use/empty shops projects in the city, so I am guessing this might be why it’s at a standstill at the moment. How frustrating! I guess in the meantime we just have to carry on looking for other potential opportunities and see what happens…

I will soon have a temporary studio! I am going to be subletting Jo Lathwood’s studio at The Motorcycle Showroom for 3-ish months starting in a few weeks, while she completes a residency at the Stapleton Road Tavern project. The Motorcycle Showroom is a great artist led space here in Bristol. I’ve become familiar with some of the people there from doing my micro residency/exhibition with Matt Robbins at the BacksideBlackhole project space, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know some of them a little better. It’s only temporary, so I decided I’m going to use it as a little experiment. How does having a studio (compared with not having one since graduating, until now) affect my practice in regards to production, output, process and engagement with others? We shall see. All in all, I’m excited about being involved and helping out with things where I can…