The title of the blog, from a piece of writing by Anni Albers is a rather apt description of the exhilarating feeling of freefall (or is it flying?) that I am feeling now as I emerge from a twelve month project and residency.
This year's projects: 'Recycle by Design'.
'Contemporary Art in the Surrey Landscape'.
'So Surrey' based at Caterham
St George's Arts http://stgeorgesarts.wordpress.com/
It is almost a year since I began this blog whose purpose was to record and reflect on the twelve months after most of the work on my 'Papertrails' project came to an end. It has been an odd year; neither falling nor flying, more like blown around in all sorts of directions. I suppose that that's the result of being an artist with, what we are all encouraged to have now; a portfolio career. Apart from keeping the wolf from the door type activities I have also been involved in various exhibitions, two big projects, have started work at St George's Arts organising the residency programme and fundraising for it, have run workshops thither and yon and have made some work that feels as if it's going in the right direction. I should feel a sense of achievement but I actually feel as if I am losing focus. I have made a resolution to streamline things a bit once I have carried out my present commitments (read, ruthlessly prune out everything that is distracting me).
Navel gazing concluded! This blog has reached its own slightly inconclusive conclusion too and is going to be replaced by a blog which focuses more on the actual work and less on the rickety edifice which holds it all up.
The workshops at the Arc were the first practical (as in 'making' rather than 'talking') interaction with local people and functioned as the opening events to the project that I am working on in Caterham. The two afternoons went well, participants made individual maps of themselves and their town and we had some interesting chats. The events were open to families and it was run at half term so it was mainly youngsters taking part. Most people went home with a book that they had made about themselves and we tried to document the workshops as we went along; not always easy.
Irrespective of the merit of the occasion it felt like a minor milestone actually making a start though these feeling were completely overshadowed by the news which emerged over the two days that the Arc was being forced to close at the end of March. This is the same Arc that we were working in that was noisily packed so full of people that finding somewhere to park nearby when I was dropping off my materials and equipment was almost impossible.
This is not some elitist temple to obscurity, it is a well-loved, well-used home of musical events, dance classes, art classes, small exhibitions, soft play areas, it's where all sorts of local groups like the 'Baby Cafe' meet and interact. It's one of those places where that most box-ticked group, 'the community', actually get together.
The Arc, Caterham: http://www.tandridgeleisure.co.uk/thearc_home.php
I feel rather thinly spread right now. My time is divided between regular work and the rather sporadic (read frantically busy and not very remunerative) projects that I find interesting. I'm finding it difficult to write about the work I'm doing overseeing the St George's Arts Residency because at the moment the applications are coming in and while the whole process is fascinating I don't feel I should comment on them other than to say that I have met some lovely people and heard some really interesting approaches to the residency. It has made me reflect on applications in general though; why don't people type, why have so many people forgotten to enclose their c.v. or the contact details of the referee and why have people applied from so far afield? We have had applications from the US, France and Thailand amongst others. Although saying that, I find filling out forms paralysing when its my own particular project that I would like to be given the opportunity to do. I have three applications to write for opportunities I would so much like to do and am finding them impossible to put into words.
I am preparing for and carrying out some workshops at the Arc in Caterham today and on Thursday as part of what used to be called 'So, Surrey' but has now been renamed 'Creative Communities, Surrey'. It's hard to comment about this project too because there are so many people involved and so many hopes and wishes riding on it.
In my own work, I really want the opportunity to develop things that I have started to work on over the last year or two. It's one of those points when I am so excited by the work but have no real time to actually carry it out. Thus the need for the fluent, persuasive form filling!
I think the time has nearly come when this blog splits into two because my work seems to be diverging into two related but separate activities. The project in Caterham which has been progressing oh so slowly has gained some momentum and looks as if it requires its own blog while my work at St George's Arts helping to organise the 2009 residency is also developing apace. Unless this blog is for the bits of my practice which are outside both of these activities; in other words 'my own work'!
I decided that I needed a bit of time devoted to that particular area of my experience and so spent a wonderful day preparing for some paper-making by using a hollander beater to make gallons of pulp from linen. I really enjoyed just doing stuff without any rationalizing and with absolutely no typing. I have pent up so much of the practical 'making' side of my work recently that I am overwhelmed with ideas and want to run away from all responsibility and carry out some of this making. However, that's not to be; during the week I have a few days work on the Caterham project and some admin for St George's too.
I am really happy about how St George's is working out. We have not only secured our Grassroots funding for the next two years in addition to support from The Churches Conservation Trust but also heard on Thursday that we have succeeded in our application for a grant from local funders The R C Sherriff Trust.
It has been over a month since I last posted a blog entry. I'm not sure why it has taken this long. I've been very busy, I suppose. The last time I wrote anything here was before Christmas and the family were going down with various ailments and work was getting complicated. However the new year has started well despite a growing suspicion that I have too many fingers in too many pies. Just at the moment my own work is taking a back seat to more consistently money earning activities and my role co-ordinating the Art / Craft Residency at St George's Arts. The project at St George's is going very well, with the news the other day that we have secured funding from Grassroots over two years for organisational development. I hope that this will help us to weather the storms. Being involved in organizing the residency itself has proved very interesting. It's strange being on the other side of the fence. I keep wondering how I would frame an application if I was applying. One of our hopes is that people interpret the opportunity imaginatively and don't think of it as a community art project with a studio thrown in but take the twelve days stipulated 'outreach' in quite a broad sense and think about things that they would actually like to do.