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'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 .....
So on day 2 of me trying to talk about my work I realise I need to start dismantling everything due to moving out of my studio in Marazion. I've been aware of this for quite a while now, just been in a state of denial, not so much sad to be leaving this space, but more what the hell am I going to do with everything whilst I seek a new studio?!
This studio is damp and cold (whose isn't?) but with that the outside seeps in. Ivy and brambles crawl through the walls and doors and I often walk in to find swallows up in the rafters, or sadly more often then not, dead ones tucked behind all my junk.
I think this studio environment has inspired my work over the years. I'm fascinated with mould growth and the intertwining forms connecting living and dead matter, where ivy grows through a building wall, where dug up roots begin to re-shoot and where fallen trees quickly become covered with crawling plant life.
I have recently been using a combination of synthetic and natural materials to construct hybrid sculptures, this has also involved melting some plastics (not good I know), mainly scraps I've found around the studio, both inside and out. Toxic environments are intriguing, out of decay and destruction life form usually finds a way. I wanted to continue 'growing' this work so it sprawled and hung and took over my studio.
For now at least it has to be all packed away.
Four long days at the beautiful, spacious and steeped in history, Porthmeor Studios, St Ives. So short a time but it felt like a luxury, a holiday away from the norm, I didn't have to rush off each day to carry on with all my other duties, I stayed, immersed myself and made the most of the space.
It was an opportunity to work in an empty environment, away from the chaos and clutter of my studio back in Marazion. An opportunity to see works in progress clearly and develop ideas and experiment with no set agenda or outcome.
Most of the pieces I'd been working on were destroyed at the end, mainly due to the ephemeral fragile nature of them. It felt good, it always does.
Mould studies using biro ink ....
Developments of my mould imagery, by having my works on paper and wood arranged I'm able to have a constant reference point with the sculptural work I'm currently playing with. Fascinated with mould growth and the intertwining forms connecting living and dead matter, where ivy grows through a building wall, where dug up roots begin to re-shoot and where fallen trees quickly become covered with crawling plant life, is where I'm gathering inspiration.
I always love a peek into fellow artists studios, seeing work in progress and ideas being played with.