an annual blog charting my opinions and experiences as i continue to work towards understanding myself as a person better and how this underpins my practice. there might also be some discussing and documenting my practice too.
my view out of the window this morning is one of wind blown tress, overcast sky and eldest daughter cleaning her rat’s cage. its the last week of the holidays and i’ve had to abandon plans of editing this morning.
throughout june, july and august i’ve been job sharing the lifelong learning assistant (lla) role at derby museums. i’ve enjoyed the role and just about ok with being unsuccessful at interview for the post until march next year.
the role at the museum has seen me working with the other learning facilitators of the museum, people i would rarely see or talk with. this experience has helped me to gain a bit more of a perspective on my own approach to the role of learning facilitator, one that continues on beyond the cessation of covering the lla.
in august i took part in figment derby. i went very low tech with my work fun with shapes : analog drawing machine. this work potentially can be recreated at other figment festivals collaborating with local artists and volunteers. if nothing else it’ll be a new experience for me. the worst that can happen is they’ll say no.
while in the role of lla i’ve also been filming and recording audio for the non linear film commission i have. in my last post about it i talked a bit about the process and made positive sounds about it. now i’m a little further forward i can see that at times making a non linear film is much more difficult than a linear one.
with the non linear film i think i’ve been through the hardest part of the process and now have a vision of how the film could be. i think most of the filming and sound recording has been completed. i suspect i have some specific things i want to capture and i’ll confirm this as i put the film together.
a recent development in my practice is the addition of another webspace. this is something i’ve been considering since january and a recent volunteering opportunity cohered my need for an online space. within it i can house my non linear films and coded works. it’s only a couple of weeks old so i’m still working out the details of the space and look forward to share it with you in the future.
part of my contingency thinking when applying for the on going lla role was to connect with volunteering opportunities currently available at derby museums. i’d noticed how being involved with getting out of the house and talking with people had lifted my mental health and wellbeing and as difficult this is to talk about feel it important to talk about it.
there’s something to look forward to in november. a project i was involved with last year has been shortlisted for an award. we have to go to the awards evening to find out if we have been honoured with an award.
so casting an eye of july and august i’ve been busy, seen, learnt and took part. the hope of three days a week work didn’t work out and once again i have to work hard at finding work. i felt belief in myself and my ability and begun developing a new digital space to play within and exhibit works and ideas. i’ve started to once again explore if what i’m practicing is understood by me and acknowledge that often a fragile mental state impacts greatly on what i belief i can do. being the job share lla this summer has shown me that when in a position of being able to do something i can do it and do it well.
so … i continue to practice getting into a position of being able to do something,
sipping coffee was at the top of my list of things to do this morning. the morning after the opening of #findinglines at derby museum and art gallery. i like to sip coffee. this morning was without the more usual accompaniment of saturday live on radio 4. instead the occasional rubbling of a car outside punctuated the near silence of our living room and the mindful sipping of coffee.
setting up my drawing machine became controversial almost immediately. my angling of the table in the jospeh wright study room immediately alerting the square police to the presence of something angular in the room. site specificity can be such a subtle thing.
a large part of my evening was spent listening to and talking with visitors to the exhibition opening as they engaged with and processed their response to the drawing machine. to begin with there were lots of questions connected to how and why. as the evening progressed i saw more curiosity and play emerge.
in andrea hadley johnson’s exhibition opening speech she spoke of the often frustrating nature of drawing. we saw this with the machine as visitors played with their understanding of how to create their own drawing. one visitor described the machine as “mark making without touching anything”
the opening event developed a warm freindly vibe and i started to see more adventurous interactions as the night developed. one visitor even proclaimed he’d had a really good cardio workout while playing with the drawing machine.
the other aspect of the evening i noticed was the diverse age range of the visitors. the museum continually works on developing its audience and this event was appealing to a very wide range of ages. i particularly loved the group of young people who once they had played with the machine came back several times with other friends to show them the machine and encourage playful interaction.
i loved being part of the opening event. i had lots of diverse questions about the machine and still was able to be relaxed and enjoy the whole thing. as the show of drawn images grew the diverse range of images started to become apparent. one of the common questions dealt with the nature of the images being the same.
there are some commonalities within the drawings and this reflects the commonality of how the machine is initially used.
the final image tally of the evening was 64.
i’m enjoying the process of exhibiting the drawing machine and having feedback, ideas and reactions to feed into the development of this prototype machine. i’m facilitating a session in august at the museum and i think the machine will work really well in this context.
for now i sit with a good happy feeling while i look through #findinglines on twitter. the puppy is back from her walk and stretched out on the sofa. soon i’ll return to day dreaming and looking through the window while sipping another coffee.
the puppy makes her way into the kitchen and i get to sit and reflect about my day, a good one to be inside while the gentle drizzle waters the rhubarb and tomatoes.
after my day of recovery i was well poised this morning to make my preparations for things to come this week.
starting with the more difficult to prepare, i made myself comfortable at the dining table and set up my drawing machine to make it ready for friday’s event at the museum and art gallery in derby.
finding lines a co-produced exhibition of drawing over seen by andrea hadley johnson opens to the public with a fantastical evening of surprise drawing events alongside the works in the gallery. my invitation arrived through social media to take part in the opening event and from what i know already social media has played a large tole in putting together #findinglines.
after clearing the kitchen of the pots and containers we’ve left to amass so they annoy us i turned my attention to preparing for tomorrow. another cpd event for me, i’m going to be running a workshop on how to whittle a fox that can be used repeatidley to make a skulk of foxes. the workshop is hapening at the derbyshire forest school day, an annual networking and sharing event organised by the team who co-ordinate forest school in derbyshire. my approach for the workshop is an experimental one and this caught the eye of one member of the organising team to the point of her wanting to assist me so she can assess how the method works.
my preparations are going well, just wood preparations to do after some food. working with materials is easier than with code, i think i made the right decision about which order to do the preparations.
while this short term work is happening i also find myself having moments of considering things a little further away.
one of these is … how might i express myself in my work ?
during the days after the tradegy of the grenfell fire, i learnt of Khadija Saye. i watched a video about her. the video spoke of what she expressed through her work. as i processed the tragedy and what i had learnt in the video that question started to be asked of myself, by myself.
to be able to express one self feels like a powerful thing and one i’ve not been exploring too much in an intentional manner in my practice for a while.
reflecting about this i see that in having some time of from expressive works has given me time to play, explore and have fun. i remember a lecturers remarks during a group crit at university… “make stuff and then attach meaning to it.” at the time i wasn’t sure if this method has integrity but maybe i was just being too precious. one might argue that everything one does is connected my meaning and integrity because it all comes from oneself.
while giving myself space away from the question of what am i expressing i have made practice gains and i’ a lot happier.
perhaps the question about meaning and expression is one that i need a lot longer to answer than it takes to prepare for a workshop and celebration event.
a thought occurred to me this evening, what if i’m where i should be now after a long secondary primary route? i’m starting to believe in myself within one facet of what i currently do.
today i’ve been facilitating in two sessions. the second was a first for me and the first was a development of something i’ve been practicing for almost a year now.
for that particular year i’ve been practising the idea of loose parts play with a museum setting in derby. this morning i took that session to inspire a 2 hour activity workshop for under 8’s and their adults.
this evening i’ve made a very quick reflection about what if after all the angst and uncertainty i’m now actually meant to be. i feel i can set up and run a loose parts play session and today showed me i can.
being part of derby museums has enabled me to feel good about myself, believe in myself and this is beginning to under pin potential within other facets of myself.
i’m tired but i feel good.
(this post was written in the evening of 9th july 2017)
after my slightly bizarre post last night, this evening i’m starting to feel and its a good feeling. the view through the window is warm evening sunshine bathing the bricks of the buildings over the road and these are backed by light cloud sitting in a light blue sky. the puppy is in full on relax mode after shes helped in the garden this afternoon.
today has been our last tuesday night forest school for this school year. a lovely relaxed session in a sun bathed wood. we celebrated with popcorn and smores made over an open fire. a year on from qualifing and i feel ready to move the practice forward. next week i’ll share with other leaders how to whittle a skulk of foxes at the derbyshire forest school day.
the feeling in my making/ art practice is good. the curator of the finding lines exhibition at the derby museum and art gallery has picked up on the drawing machine and i’ve been invited to be a surprise drawing experience at the exhibition opening.
the feeling as a learning facilitator continues to feel better. i’ve learnt a load being part of the creative sessions held in celebration of the weeping windows installation at the silk mill. in my summer role as learning assistant i’ve also learnt a load about managing activities at a very active and busy site.
i’ve been in the learning assistant post 4 weeks now and i’m beginning to manage how i can meet my responsibilities in that role while also working on the commission for a second non linear film.
it feels like all my biorhythmic curves have aligned in a harmonious manner, it feels good, sounds good, looks good.