Saturday, 31 October 2015

As a late birthday treat my friend of many years Sally took me to the beach. We walked from Eccles to Sea Palling and then back again. It was warm, the sun was shining and the sea was turquoise. We chit-chatted and gazed and dropped our heads to beach-comb, looking for sea-glass and witch stones (stones with holes) and small scraps of drift wood. Then we ate chips outside the cafe/chip-shop in Sea Palling, and dark chocolate truffles. It was a perfect day. We even saw a couple of butterflies, raggedy peacocks making the most of the last days of this year's sunshine, and a dragon-fly.  

Friday, 30 October 2015

In the spirit of simple, I've been turning long leaves into twine. It's creative but not challenging which allows my mind to soften and close down a little as I focus on an easy repetitive task. 
I had bunches of dried sisyrinchium and daffodil leaves kicking around my studio as clutter, now they feel a little more useful. The daffodil leaves made a fairly neat and rather lovely honey brown and green string. The sisyrinchium stained my fingers and the string which is black/dark brown is fat and thin with bits sticking out every which way. I like them both for different reasons and it's interesting to see how differently two fairly similar materials respond to the same process. I am rather regretting putting the crocosmia and flag iris leaves on the compost heap now but they will grow again and next year maybe I'll be more diligent in my gathering.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Autumn is here and it's gorgeous, the leaves are turning and whatever the weather the skies are full of moisture which makes them glisten. This is all good. The turning of the seasons, year on year, is a quiet rhythm, a beat that holds steady all the lives that live upon the earth. 
But art-wise I'm feeling a little out of sorts. It's not long since I graduated, two years is a fair while from student-hood but it's a long way from being an established artist. I am essentially one drop in an ocean of artists. 
Sometimes I look at other people's work and I wish that had as much presence and drive as they seem to have. I wish that my work was better. I wish that I felt more sure of myself. I wish I felt more sure that what I am doing is the right way forward.
I think to myself "this is autumn. I am pulling in the harvest". And if I think over the course of the year and evaluate what I have done I think I've done o.k. I have banked experience and created one piece of work of which I am fully proud and also made some successful experimental forays into other ways of working. 
But I am still so very far from finding out who I am, and I am still making horrible amateur ugly work. Maybe that never goes away. Maybe my mistakes, my malformed babies, are the dark matter from which the good stuff eventually appears but while I'm doing that how do I pay the bills, how do I keep motivated when I feel useless and weary.
In the age of the internet there is a flood of images of other people's work, it's inspiring, and wonderful, but also somewhat daunting. A part of me believes that all these other people who are striding forward, making brilliant work are doing this all the time. But is that for real ? Or maybe they too spend lots of time, plodding, keeping on, doubting, hoping, holding on by the skin of their teeth, just making ends meet. Maybe they are doing that and what I see is the "here I am", the "look at me" because I put that out too. In reality I'm just a hopeful nobody. My hope is that I will make work that feels honest. And that sometimes it will speak to someone else. Once in a while I do but perhaps those moments, those meetings are actually as rare as real friends.  
Maybe that is what is so dispiriting about the work that fails, like messed up conversations that took two, or more, people in the wrong direction. Maybe that is what is so hard when work I love gets passed by, disregarded or rubbished, it's like giving my heart to someone and being told it's not good enough. 
I'm thinking out loud, musing because I cannot see a clear way forward and I feel a great need to be still and do nothing. Living in an active, fast paced, performance culture just being is never quite enough. There is little patience for passivity, for waiting. Is it is o.k to be quiet ? Is it o.k to fall into emptiness and take comfort from the silence and beautiful darkness and rare light of winter ?    

Friday, 23 October 2015

This morning I looked out of my window and three stars were lined up. Well, I think it was venus, jupiter and mars, so planets really, rather than stars. My sweet friend Colin said it was probably lucky given that it was my birthday. And I have had a very gentle, lovely day so maybe he was right. I took a photo tho' the bottom star is not really visible unless you zoom in and it's not a good photo but just to remind myself I thought I'd post it. 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sunday, 11 October 2015

On saturday I took a trip back to the Waveney River Sculpture Trail. The event is now over but the managers of the site have kindly agreed to me leaving my piece up over winter so that I can observe how it fades and deteriorates. 
Years ago when I used to walk this landscape more frequently I was able to really tune in to the season shift which I loved. Now my visits are more sporadic, so I arrived in a well begun autumn - leaves just turning, hedgerows thick with fruit, the ground and air damp and fungal. 
I was pleased to see that my patchwork gate - Bigods Way 2 - is standing up well to the elements. The colours still pretty, and the whole is generally intact tho' a little shaggy in places and some of the fabric is greening. The back-side is considerably brighter having been exposed to less light.  
The site felt very peaceful after all the hub-bub and to do of the trail. A few other pieces are still standing and there are traces of other peoples work which gave me a warm feeling, a sense of invisible companionship. 
The pair of swans were being swans and the stripy snails were being snails. And I was very lucky and saw two kingfishers, well first one and then two flying back a moment later. 
Later still on my walk back to Bungay a fox was running across a field. It felt slightly shocking to see a fox in the middle of the day, the countryside is a little wilder in winter, a little less comfortable, a little more naked.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

I've been a little casual about writing my blog this summer, that happens, stuff happens, and I think to blog it, but then more stuff happens, and then before I know it I'm on a catch up and I don't know where to start. 
So, to make things easy, I'm going to start with today, and forget what has happened over the past few weeks. It may be that once I'm back in the swing of scribbling and recording my doings I will pick up some of the summer threads but for the mean time, I will focus on today. 
Every six months or so I turn my compost heaps, sieving the end heap so that the beautiful, sweet-smelling, friable earth is separate from any un-rotted twigs and clinker. I cannot put into words how much pleasure this job gives me. 
Often I am joined by a robin but this years visitor was much shyer than in previous years, or less hungry, and watched and whistled at me from a distance. 
I use the fresh compost to top dress alternating flower beds in the garden which allows me to get to know what is growing and to really feel the earth as I move and muddle plants that are in the wrong place, or new to me. 
A few weeks ago my dad gave me a viburnum layer which he had potted up for me, so that has now found it's place. And I've been moving clumps of iris foetidissima about. I started with just a few of these some years back that they have self seeded liberally, which is good although the leaves really do smell bad. 
It's autumn and although we've just had a week of that beautiful golden sunshine that comes with the season. It's the kind of balmy weather that makes a body feel like summer is still hanging in there tho' the light is different, more slanting and in many ways more gorgeous than summer's more fearsome glare. But there's not so many flowers, and not so many insects either. 
The hydrangeas are now a dusky pink, fading as they go over. The fuschias and persicaras are still in bloom, and the cyclamen have started to come out. 
And various seedheads - columbine, honesty and red campion - are ripe. In a better managed garden I would leave my grasses and seedheads to weather the winter, some gardeners manage to make that look very nice but unfortunately my garden is too much of a shambles to have good looking untidiness, so most of them get cut back after they have shed their seed. Gardens are an ongoing process anyway, one day, maybe, my garden will look just so all the year round and in the meantime I'll just live in hope.