Singular Art

I found your work strangely unsettling, yet very engaging, says Kitty, Singulart, Art Development Officer

I get an email whilst flat packed on the sofa, after a very hot summer with an endless time of exhaustion and seemingly no way out. The post is from Kitty at Singulart, saying she has seen my work on the RWA website. She asked if I would like to exhibit my work on their on-line gallery. Yes, I say. I begin eventually to re-find my energy and I begin the process, of unearthing CV, artist statement, images etc. I email back. I ask Kitty, where in the world are you? Paris, she says, it is unbearably hot. My world opens out as I decide to join this vibrant and electric collection of artists with their dynamic work. As the commercial element is not my main creative drive, I find it uplifting to create a series of drawings/prints and see one’s work in a new context. She asks me to also send images of me in my studio, which friend Chris kindly photo documents. There are so many collections, curiosities and things going on, a challenge on where to place the focus.

Photograph: courtesy of Chris Durrant

Photograph: courtesy of Chris Durrant

Identity, Journeys & Journaling

I am so looking forward to meeting everyone at the co/Create workshop for artists and health practitioners interested in the playful and poetic therapeutic intervention of creative journaling.  I decided to be really professional and start preparing for leading the day by making a Power Point Presentation.  However, this is a totally flatpack thinking medium, but decided to stick with it, as a good reflective part of practice which allowed for trawling through an array of lush images of moi, people, place and stories,  The question was how to edit down relevant stories?  Decided this time I would focus on IDENTITY & JOURNEYS, but I forgot to mention that in the joining instructions which Creativity Works have kindly sent out to participants.  Instead, talked about not being able to travel light and packing lots of creative mixed media STUFF to bring to the day, and would folk like to bring STUFF that was relevant to them.  We are meeting at the BRSLI building in Bath, the Lansdowne room, with a giant Dinosaur glued in the wall.  Well, I suppose if the PPP fails, we could use that as a found object to start journaling ideas.  Alternatively, I could reveal a bundle of STUFF from my cloth bag which I took with me on my journeys around the grounds of Lacock Abbey when I was installed as a Sociable Hermit by the National Trust, living inside the wooden enclave of a hut transformed into a Camera Obscura. In going through my project 'legacy' for Curious Narratives, a one year artist-led project, a quest inspired by women storytellers, I found the scroll I had made when evaluating the process, so will take that, as it was an inky reflective storytelling thing what happened on my journey in search of Sybils & Self.


Curious Narratives Scroll

Life Drawing into Death

Bring your dolls, she said, and so I did.  We became an installation amongst the monochrome artworks of the Drawn exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, Drawing School's unique event, All Souls Eve - Life Drawing into Death.  I sat surrounded by my offerings, and small groups of visitors would find a seat and materials, and began to respond creatively.   I talked of the finding, wrappings and mindful stitching of this and that, the power of totemic objects, hope in healing for others, the ritual performative events to mark the loss of loved ones. There was mention of creative exchange with other artist friends, gifting of materials and sharing process.  The story dolls listened on, whilst in the quietness of the gallery, participants quietly drew, observing and responding in detail, whilst real life stories unfolded.  There would be sometimes question asked, did you ever find the lost cat, oh no, I replied.   How can you bear to sell your dolls when they are so personal to you, was another question.  One woman on entering had cried out, oh no, I don't like dolls, but at the end of the process she had been captivated.  The space became filled with quiet attention, sadness and laughter, acknowledgement for... the never to be baby resting in the herb filled colander, the pilgrim doll adorned with giftings of this and that from around the world, the doll with her world on her head, and the seekers of the light, wrapped, bundled and ever present.  At the close of the event, the diversity of drawings were inspirational and showed profound feeling, delicacy and sensitivity.

How to become a journaler?

Is that actually a word?  was asked, when my latest journal opened at a page with face of an inky splodged spotty woman and badly scribbled question "How to become a journaler?"  Well, who knows, but I like the fact that predictive text hates the word, so I probably made it up.  The process of journaling for me, allows random questions, spiralling thoughts, worries, anxieties, showing off bits, some facts, but mostly badly behaved free as you like talent to ooze across the pages.  This small gifted leather bound journal, took me from my desk, to walk part of the Il Camino St James pilgrimage trail, Spain, to a costal enclave retreat gathering in Cornwall, back home.  Then another part of Cornwall again, this time documenting the mindful cloth stitched and bundled cradle in which to let go of my sister's ashes in the autumn tide.  The pages become a space in which to reflect and mindfully record relationship to myself and others, with stories unfolding.  I love noticing small details of place and surroundings, plus mapping a world between real and imagined experiences. In this journal, I had decided to limit my use of and document materials used, as journeying, so travelling light with a pencil, calligraphy /colouring pens, not much collage or stitching this time, and mistakenly art bars.  Rubbish idea that bit.  At end of day was my time for journaling, as noticed I felt more self-conscious in writing/drawing in my journal pages when in public, so usually in the evening, just loved surrounding myself with objects I may have collected along the way, creating temporary assemblages, time based museums of myself, which in themselves become 3-D journal pages.

Journal Page / Cornwall

Pop-up Gallery 9 December

Just preparing for my once a year event, a great way of welcoming folk to share my world.  The day is a great way to meet up, exchange ideas, inspiration and news, plus have a peek at a collection of fine art, with quirky artworks and gifts for sale.  This year will be introducing Lu with her Neals Yard Remedies, organic feel-good products.  Raffle & refreshments to support the charity Brighter Futures.

pop up flyer.jpg

Life Drawing into Death

I was invited to take all my dolls on a journey, to install them in the Royal West of England Academy's gallery, as part of a new  drawing event.  On All Soul's eve, visitors had the opportunity to explore the theme of death responding to famous paintings recreated as life drawing tableaux, and to draw my collection of still life assemblages, whilst I recounted my stories of how they came into being.  The act of bundling with found, gifted and gathered materials began as part of my residency at Lacock Abbey, National Trust project, when I was installed as a sociable hermit.

Doll Offering Bundles, Lacock Abbey