I’ve neglected this blog …. Again. My last post was written in the beautiful Studio 9 at Porthmeor, St Ives. So, why can I not keep up this up to date. A weekly musing post? An update of studio practice (I’m forever taking photos in my studio) I guess it’s another role I’ve created for myself that I struggle to keep up with ... engaging in Facebook, updating Twitter, my accounts, researching worthy opportunitites, applying for funding/opps/residencies etc .. did I mention studio practice?
Looking back on previous posts I’m glad I’ve written them. They’re a good account of where I’m at what I’ve been doing and in some posts a reminder that I do get through the bad days!
I thought I would write regularly during my time at Porthmeor but I couldn’t. Being in the thick of it, immersed in it it was almost impossible to reflect where I was at and what I was thinking in a coherent manner. I did write (just for me) but I guess I’ve needed this time and distance to fully absorb what those 3 months meant to me and my practice. Time to back track.
I didn't expect to draw inspiration from the idyllic view out of this studio window but I have spent a significant amount of time at the window playing with different muds on the window, watching it dry, seeing how the view changes, creating peepholes, observing the patterns that the mud creates ... I am daily photographing the scenes and have selected 6 images (out of hundreds clogging up iPhoto) to turn into Dirty Postcards all of which can be bought here http://dirtworks.bigcartel.com/products
Not feeling this work at the moment, not getting excited about development possibilities so it's being shelved for now ..... I have 4 large sacks of plastic that will have to sit and wait till I'm ready to pick up where I left off. For now, the space has been cleared again.
I've recently been running some workshops for young people that have involved using mud. The preparation of the space (not by me) has been reminiscent of an alien autopsy lab ..... the floors and tables covered with thick plastic sheeting to 'protect' the room. At the end of each session I've bagged up the slightly soiled plastic sheeting with thoughts of sculptural pieces. Having brought them into the studio I've added dirt to them and began working with it on a large scale, something I don't often have the opportunity to do.
The view from the studio that has inspired so many artists is other-wordly - It's almost unreal. Every time I look up I am taken aback by the picture perfect postcard view of St Ives, every minute a photo opportunity, but is it really the reality of St Ives? I've decided to muddy the view, to cloud the perspective, to dirty up what appears to be so perfect. Echoing a project I did recently with artist Jonty Lees ( https://circuit.tate.org.uk/2015/04/popping-up-in-penzance/) where on the first few days of taking over an empty shop we played with windowlene on the windows, making patterns, doodling with our fingers in the white wash, viewing the street from a hidden perspective I've decided to do the same but with dirt. I feel a set of alternative Dirty Postcards coming on .....
The traces that other artists have left behind. I've spent most of the day photographing the floor and the wall - not sure what I will do with the images, just a nice record of who has been before and what I'm noticing as I take in my new surroundings.
Moving into the beautiful Studio 9 of Porthmeor Studios, St Ives at the very beginning of the Easter Holidays has meant I'm easing in gently. Due to other commitments I am unable to throw myself into getting on with 'work' in the studio just yet. Although at times this makes me feel a little panicky (time here is so precious - I'm only here for 12 weeks) it has also taken the pressure off a little. I'm just familiarising myself with the space, getting it feel 'just right' (sofabed in place, a fridge has been donated to me, an opportunity to relax in here with friends and family).
Re-reading my proposal to be here has been good purely from a reassuring perspective 'an opportunity to recharge and evaluate' lessens the guilt as I sit typing this intermittently staring at the sea. In my proposal I've focused on creating a 'Dirt Lab' - all things dirt. "2015 happens to be the UN Year of the Soil. Although my work is more about the Dirt and Soiled rather than the wholesomeness of soil, the 3 months at Porthmeor will allow me the space and time to explore the matter through reading, investigation and experimentation'
I have no idea what these 12 weeks will bring. I aim to host a 'Dirty Weekend' later on in June with fellow artists who enjoy working with not only soil, but dust, dirt and all materials that could be linked to Soil.
I've had nearly 12 weeks away from my studio practice, concentrating on an exciting studio project with young people which, when I have time will write up. It was time to get back into the studio to prepare works for the Soil Culture exhibition in Peninsula Arts, Plymouth https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/whats-on/soil-culture-exhibitions exhibitions. Having packed away my studio in Marazion I was fortunate enough to be able to book a temporary space at the wonderful CAST building in Helston http://c-a-s-t.org.uk It felt energising to be in a new space - I had been in the studios in Marazion for probably about 7 years and change felt good.
Some pieces going to Peninsula Arts were some of my early works in mud and just needed a little attention before packing up but I had also been asked to send my Dirty Pictures, shown in my last post. I like them - they're works in progress, I knew I had to work on them, live with them a little more before being ready to send them out to a gallery.
I always love a peek into fellow artists studios, seeing work in progress and ideas being played with.