Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Nearly a week on from the European referendum in the U.K, and what a week it's been. I voted to stay in, I looked at coming out, I know that there are valid arguments for coming out but not one of the main proponents for leaving mentioned these. Their vision was not for a caring, sharing society it was for more grasp, more greed, more nastiness so in the end it was an easy decision for me. I voted to remain for environmental protection, freedom of movement, human rights, workers rights, for the sake of peace and stability. 
As it happens, when the majority tipped by a whisker to the leavers, I found that I am actually more attached to being a European than I thought, that my continental blood ran angry at the petty parochialism of people fixated on a "British" way of life. And that the briton in me baulked at the notion of belonging to the same nation as those that follow the repulsive Nigel Farage.
It could be argued that my desire to maintain my European status is also petty parochialism, that we can make new alliances now all over the world and not just with those countries that are our closest neighbours. But there was another way, put forward by the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, to remain and reform. 
There is no doubt that the European Union is a flawed machine, that it has become greater than it's parts perhaps. As a member of that union it seemed that we could have helped to bring about a change for the better, not just for ourselves but for the whole union, for the whole world. 
Here in my town, Norwich, it is all strange; people don't look at each other; who voted in, who voted out .. most of us will have friends and family who voted against us .. do we stop loving those people ? no .. but do we see them differently, do they see us differently ? I don't know. Was this what it was like when Hitler came to power in Germany ? Small seeds of mistrust turned citizen against citizen. I hope we are better than that. 
The leave campaign are very keen to say this referendum result is a done deal and for the Remainers to now, shut up and put up with the new order. But that wouldn't have happened if they had lost this vote. Farage would have been on tv whining about another referendum and so on and so on. And so, why shouldn't thousands of people mass outside Westminster calling for their voices to be heard. Why would Westminster not listen ? 
So the division in Britain continues, those that would normally hold the status quo are also most likely to have voted remain and so their motive for holding the peace is no longer there. There is a tension in the air and it is hard to know how it will be dissipated. 
So I watch and wait. No day is the same. Some days I feel numb, some days I feel hopeful, some days angry, and some days - most days - ambivalent and anxious. 
And what can anyone do in that space but carry on with their work, whatever that work might be. Today I am making paper from recycled envelopes. It happens to be grey but it's not a statement on my mood, other days I've made blue and pink and green. The paper is for my piece for the Waveney River Sculpture Trail which I did last year too. 
In the midst of the craziness post referendum it is nice to fall back into making, particularly as this piece was always about change and release and response and movement so I can use the making as a chance to reflect. Deep inside of me, the part of me that knows itself to be creature not man, I know that whatever must be, there is a way through, even if the death of my body, my being, is a part of that way through. 

Thursday, 9 June 2016

All across Norfolk and Norwich artists are opening their studios again, some do it every year, and some on and off. I did it a couple of years ago and it was alot of fun and interesting talking to visitors and seeing what caught their attention and what didn't. 
This year, my good friend Janet Cranness opened up her studio for the first time. We met while we were studying together in 2008-2010 and over the years since have built up a relationship that I value highly. 
Janet's work is gorgeous, she is an illustrator and printmaker who dabbles in textiles so we kind of overlap as I am a textile artist who dabbles in printmaking and illustration. Her eye for colour is exquisite and her drawn line is easy and sometimes comedic. She has some lovely images on her website
It's a joy and an honour to be able to see someone else's creative process, I'm sorry to say that Janet has finished her open studio stint but there are still lots open this weekend and I'd highly recommend visiting if you are in Norfolk and have time and a small inclination