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.
So great to be part of this exhibition and spend a little time with the Lisa Hirmer. Not always in my comfort zone giving talks but to be amongst soil scientists, artists who work with soil and other soil fanatics was comforting :)
Plans to host a ‘Dirty Weekend’ at Porthmeor to explore all things dirt with other artists had to be shelved so I wanted to bring some dirt to our farewell party and mud arm wrestling seemed the most manageable. It was interesting to witness various resopnses to the dirt (mud and water mixed up on plastic sheeting on a table) how some people embraced it and others were quite obviously repulsed.
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
I photographed a small area of mould in the CAST http://c-a-s-t.org.uk building before it was turned into studios and a wonderful cafe. I did print this up as wallpaper for the Darkrooms exhibition (held in the building) and placed the wallpaper in a cupboard. I've always wanted to see it on a large scale so was thrilled when I finally got a wallpaper company to print it up for me. It is my intention to one day return this mould back to the CAST building from where it came - I love the idea of bringing back some of the history into the building and in particular something that was scrubbed away and seen as a health hazard returned as something decorative and beautiful to be admired.
Open Studios is on my mind. This is a drag. I'm not very good at having people coming into the studio, it's such a private space usually filled with unfinished pieces, works in progress .... a mess. Strangely though once someone is in here it feels 'ok' like I can cope, especially if the focus isn't on what I'm up to in here, I usually end up enjoying the company.
I sometimes sense the discomfort people feel if they don't know my work, trying to find something to say about what I'm up to. Very early on I had someone in the studio ignore the dirt in progress that was going on around them (can't blame them and I was relieved!) and comment on the large empty wall "Ooh what are you going to put on there?".
The pressure of even the thought of Open Studios here in the prestigious Porthmeor Studios is an uncomfortable feeling. Will people pop in expecting large scale paintings? or something to buy? (neither of which they are likely to find here in Studio 9) So much of my time I've spent here has been research, process, playing and then wiping the slate clean again.
I don't want people to feel they have to comment or respond to work in here - perhaps because I often feel that I need to find something to say when I visit other studios?
I wrote all of the above yesterday after a particularly bad day in the studio, today I woke up in the studio with a slightly more positive 'kick myself up the arse' type approach.
Open Studios will be a good 'half way' point for me to reflect on the first part of my time here in Porthmeor. I've cleared the decks (again) and picked out work that I can feel is going somewhere, has the potential to develop. It will mean that this Open Studios will be very much work in progress but if I'm honest that's what I personally like to experience when I visit other artists studios, I'm not visiting for a 'curated gallery experience' or to go 'shopping' .
So Open Studios will consist of:
I am also hoping my wallpaper will arrive in time as despite wincing at the question "Ooh what are you going to put on there?" I've realised I've always wanted a large wall to play with to see what my mouldy wallpaper would look like ;)
There, it's down in print now. Got to get on with it now.
I will welcome you all, with tea, coffee, wine and a smile - time to come out of hermit land. x
I always love a peek into fellow artists studios, seeing work in progress and ideas being played with.