Have just finished working with the Broadwalk over 50’s art group. A lovely group who meet every Friday afternoon to make art. I have worked with them before and was delighted when they took up my suggestion to try print and mixed media. We started with collage and then basic print techniques using polystyrene, and then using our own artwork as inspiration we mixed them! Some found it quite frustrating to start with, but by the end everyone created something they liked.
Have been really disturbed today by the image of the little Syrian boy whose body was found on the beach the other day. I had planned to do some monoprints of my own childhood to run alongside the drips from my dressing up clothes, however I spent the morning painting the beach where the little boy was found, and did a monoprint on it of the soldier/aidworker carrying him. There is something about that universal protective gesture of tenderly carrying a child. Spent a lot of time thinking about protection. Doing the monoprints of my own safe childhood was very poignant.
I’m not quite sure where I am going with this residency yet. I’m still exhausted from my “Secret and Sacred” installation and am only just beginning to get my head around it. A couple of decisions I have made is to try not to work in textile and to try a different approach to creativity, taking advantage of the space.
Up to now my work has been about transience, holding on to memory and the objects we use to fix memory to. In keeping with that theme, I’m starting to explore the boxes of my toys that have been following me around since they were turned out of the family loft 20+ years ago, which I haven’t yet got around to sorting! I like the idea of bringing them into a warehouse, a place where things are kept for a while and then moved on.
I’m starting with my dolls and I am going to play with my conceptual side and see what happens.
I had the most amazing opening night for Secret and Sacred. It was really special. The feedback was that I had really managed to create the feeling of stillness and contemplation found in the attic at Islington Mill.
My knitted glow in the dark reliquiries to abandoned art work really seemed to work and created a lot of intrigue, as did all the symbols I created. I had a lot of conversations about the human need to try to add meaning to symbols.
“Secret and Sacred” was an installation based on time spent in the Islington Mill attic on a recent “secret” residency. I created a pop-up shrine containing a collection of reliquaries devoted to the remnants of artwork I discovered up there.I’d like to thank Phoebe and John for helping me to set up, Islington Mill for letting me use the attic and gallery space, Maurice Carlin and the Islington Mill Art Academy, for guidance along the way, David Burrows for his magical photography and Uppingham Yarns for being the only place in the UK I could find glow in the dark knitting machine yarn.
What an interesting year this is turning out to be. While still working in the attic at Islington Mill on my “Secret Residency” I applied for a shared residency with the Islington Mill Art Academy which I got! So I am now putting together an installation based on my attic residency, which I’m calling “Secret and Sacred” AND I’m starting a residency with four other artists! Bit overwhelmed actually, but really excited.
We spent last week building booths for ourselves in the warehouse that the mill uses on the Regent’s Trading Estate. It’s been quite useful to have the space already as it has meant I’ve been able to work there this week on the giant hangings for my installation.
18 months ago I had never heard of Kurt Schwitters or Merz, and then all of a sudden he started cropping up in my research, and in conversations about modernism, collage and the Degenerate Art which Hitler mocked and despised. I seem to be developing an interest in the period between the two world wars both historically in my investigations of the Basque children in Salford and in the artists I admire such as Paul Klee, Jean Miró and now Kurt Schwitters.
Anyway to cut a long ramble short, I went away on an artists’ retreat this weekend at the Merz barn in Elterwater to celebrate Schwitter’s birthday. It was a wonderful weekend full of creativity, good conversation, good company, music and fun. On the Saturday we made costumes for a Dada procession. I’m not the sort of person who enjoys costume so I made a birthday cake out of sticks to carry which I later burnt on the bonfire!
I found I was drawn to this repaired window of the mill. It invoked a feeling of protection with its thick, chunky, mould and dirt encrusted repair and the wire mesh of the safety glass. I also liked the fact it is cobweb shaped too!
Here’s my A2 sketch done with wax crayon and pencil.
My prints are quite crude because I’m just learning but take a look at these amazing prints by Ross Loveday