Posted in process


Have you ever been conscious of the point when you’ve done something or thought of something or had the light shimmer of an idea that then made you think ‘Ah yes.  This is a game changer.’?

This is the thing that I’ve been waiting for.  This is the thing, and I don’t honestly even know what ‘the thing’ is, but this feels like it.

Tonight, Saturday night, Date Night for many, work night for me, and I have been creating a new print of a building I enjoy seeing slide into view when I am on the Edinburgh to Newcastle train.  It glints in the sun.  It stacks up then disperses.  I’m not the only one to have noticed it and if you think hard enough, if you’ve been on that train enough, you have probably guessed what it is I’m talking about.

The other day I decided to make an artwork of this building.  I popped over to the fabric shop, pushed open the door and went down the stairs to the corner where I knew the fabric I needed was displayed in a tidy rainbow.  With the image in mind, I looked at the fabric, waiting for something to make sense.  The colour scheme needs to be just right for this to work.  I pulled out a deep purple, held it, then put it back.  I took out three more colours, put two back, picked out three others then looked at them as they overlapped.  I thought that I should also choose a blue and possibly a gray, but I changed my mind.  I took my selection to the counter to be cut.  As I stood there chatting to the Lady With Scissors, I saw a gorgeous little basket of fat quarters.  For the uninitiated quilt maker, fat quarters are used for quilting.  They are tidy cuts of fabric of an enormous variety of colour combinations, with a mind blogging number of patterns.  Amongst the pile, I saw a little fat quarter made of the colours I had brought to the desk. There were other colours in the fabric that worked well together.

By this time my fabric had been cut and my bill tallied.  I kept looking at that little fat quarter, then looked over at the bolts of fabric on the shelf, then at my own selection. No.  What I’ve chosen is fine.  These are fine.  She’s already tallied my bill so no, these are fine.  It’s good.

But it bothered me.  It kept bothering me and just as I almost turned my back on the idea, I walked over the to shelf and took down the blue and the gray.

I think that was the right choice.  And tonight, whilst I was creating the prints to use for the artwork, an idea flashed into my mind.  It was like an epiphany.  Yes!  This is what I will do!  And oh wow, this is the thing I’ve been waiting for.  If this works (IF IF IF) then this will be quite something.

I’m trying to listen to that small voice, from the beginning of a project all the way through to the end.  Which colours feel right?  What about the size of the work?  How about the positioning of things?  What looks right and what jars?  What is mediocre and what zings?

I’m also trying to listen to my intuition when it comes to choosing which projects to go ahead with.  I’m trying to decipher which ones are going to add to my life and which ones are going to suck the life out of me.

Yes.  That small something that knows.  It’s like you already know before you start.

Posted in galleries and shops, inspiration

Whoop, there I am

It's good to have friends

Obviously, I’m the one with the bow in her hair, like some kind of unopened gift. I am currently celebrating a birthday.  Currently as it appears to have started on the 3rd, was birthday proper on the 4th and at the weekend there will be another installment to the celebration.  There’ll be joy, there’ll be fun, there’ll be an outdoor treasure hunt in the blustery January drizzle.  Not sure how wise that was to plan an outdoor event this time of year.  My friends are robust though; I think they can handle it.

This birthday session has been the best I’ve had in years.  All the necessary elements were there:  friends and activities that are very much me.  Some of us took in a movie, ‘Another Earth’, which was thought provoking and chalk full of beautiful cinematography (I think they say in the trade).  Claire did have a freak out and wondered ‘Why aren’t they freaked out about the proximity of the other Earth?  It’s getting closer!  It’s going to smash into our Earth.  And isn’t that going to change the gravity?!’ Oh Dr Claire, your scientific mind is a wonder. That evening a gaggle of us met up for drinks and hilarity at a pub and then I sauntered on home, feeling very content with life.

Yesterday, Steph and I popped over to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and mooched around the Sculpture Show.  Upon arrival, we were confronted with a hyper realistic sculpture of a newborn baby, measured at several feet in length.  A Girl, created by Ron Mueck, is quite a sight to behold.  It held my attention for 15 minutes as I tried to comprehend the detail. The creation by John Davies, For The Last Time, caused a physical reaction in me; it almost made me feel sick. As you walk between the suited men creeping around the floor, looking sinister, you can’t help but feel like you want to retreat into another room.  I found it alarming, which is actually quite a trick for an artwork to cause such a strong reaction.

Friend and I then scooted on out and over to a rockin good sale at Urban Outfitters and yes, dear reader, one did gift herself a rather wonderful dress for  a tenner.

So now here I am, ready for work.  All the festivities have passed and now I must get serious.  Seriously stuck in to making shit happen. Wish me luck.

Posted in process

Surviving your reflection

This time of year can be brutal.  Normality suspends whilst you are put into all sorts of extreme situations. My ‘normality’ stopped well into December, when I was busying myself with visiting friends, cranking out work at an alarming rate, feeding on food stuffs that aren’t exactly ideal.  Then with a resounding thump, Christmas Day landed on my doorstep.

As I walked Josey down the street to our favourite walkies place, I could see the Christmas trees in the big windows of my neighbours’ homes, lit up, inviting, waiting for a families to settle around them.  My family are all clustered over there in the states.  This year, I decided to expand the definition of ‘family’ and brought my friends into that category.

That afternoon I enjoyed good company and good food with a great bunch of people.  Even when I came back home to my dark, quiet flat, I could still feel the warmth of the day surrounding me. I want more of this.

After Christmas you are then faced with New Years and hours of excruciating reflection on the past year and hopes for the new.  You pick yourself apart, your life apart, think about what you want less of and more of.  This time of year forces you to look yourself in the face full on and see the imperfections but also see all the beautiful things that you should be thankful for.

Sometimes it seems that this time of year is the most difficult to survive, however, it is necessary to stop.  Just stop.  Look at yourself.  Look at your life.  What are you living for?  You pick it to pieces, examine the bits that amount to your existance…and then what?  You decide.  And then you step forward with purpose into your brand new shiny batch of months.

What have I decided for myself?  I have decided that relationships are key.  I have decided to also pare back down to basics and to not put incredible pressure on myself with a zillion things to accomplish this year.  My first priority is to find a teaching job, followed close by keeping my work and contacts  in the galleries up-to-date and happy with my output.  I’m thankful for the commissions I have already scheduled in for the year as this will feed my need to create and make me feel very much like me. Once the teaching job gets fixed into place and I feel like I have room for something more, I will move forward with my next big project.

And just in a couple days, I turn into a new year of me.  I’m hoping for much less of the bad kind of drama in my 35th year.