3am how familiar we have become.

Abstract. Am I right in art that abstract means having no meaning? Or have I got this wrong. Abstract Expressionist. How can this be? Symbolism? Gestural?   Eurghh…. Where does my work fit in? 

Nothing more deep than deciding what to tag my work with on instagram but oh how my mind enjoyed this at 3am!!

Also- if you mixed brusho with pva what happens? Would it dye beautifully or marble. Would it drip like the drip you’re supposed to avoid when painting interiors in gloss. Would it be to hot to experiment today? What happens if I put the painting in the fridge – weirder things have been found in there before-?

Oh 3am. How I love you…

Stage 4: Sorting Part 4

In this section I intend to consider Part 4 leading to selecting pieces that have really worked for me, continuing to be tight with my choices as per feedback previous to this part. Furthermore, I intend to clarify key influences for this section of my work.

Firstly, I made a dramatic change to how I record thoughts and ideas and turned to a journal. I wouldn’t say this transition has been easy and at points has marked a separation and discomfort with my process and progress. However, I can understand the need to simplify the blog for assessment purpose, but I have felt myself as someone cut off from the usual poetry and philosophy that emerges when I consider my thoughts through the medium of the blog. I would also say it has made the coursework seem somewhat impersonal and too consciously formed. Therefore, I continue to work on how to resolve a happy medium in this matter. Notably, I have found instagram a useful resource for brutally selecting which works I share with a wider audience and which remain for the blog/sketchbook/journal. It has been much easier to sort my visual responses with this tool. Now, I need to consider what resources might help me sort my written thoughts more concisely.

Commencing Part 4, I was able to put into use a very recent workshop on using the gelliplate as printing plate. I love this process. It is fluid, immediate, rapid, uncomplicated and immediate. I experimented with positive and negative images, a variety of found objects and early on I believe I was using the gelliplate to undertake collatype (more on collatype in a moment). Furthermore, over the course of this part I attended a workshop with Cas Holmes that again reinforced and introduced new ways of printing with found surfaces and materials and embellishing this with stitch (which I have loved and continue to investigate). It is important to add that I do recognise the key difference between the ex3 collatype is its ability to be reproduced – you are creating a printing plate from which many prints can be take – the collatype style process on the gelliplate is more likely to create monoprints – ironically at the start of this course I do not get the point of a monoprints – now (except for the painting on a plate which I still don’t appreciate fully) I most certainly do; it is this spontaneity, chance, fluidity and surprise that I search for.

In amongst the significant successes there has been monumental failure and I have had to work through the disappointment and disillusionment that accompanied Project 2: collatype using filler and pva. These methods did not work for me. As detailed on these parts in my blog they were an almost insurmountable dislike and I was confronted with a total inability to surprise myself – the unexpected being something that I look for in my work as necessary.

I think what was a blow too, was having to work through exercises just as I had found a combination of print and other processes which were enabling me to create intuitive and expressive work and thereby providing me with a fascinating line of enquiry. I very much hope to resurrect this abandoned strand of ‘Not All Wounds are Visible’ in Part 5.

The printing part has been timely in that my local area holds a print festival over the Summer, which enabled me to enrich my visual knowledge of this field. I attended a number of galleries to seek inspiration. As it was, the best inspiration emerged from my prints themselves.

The key question that I’ve been exploring has been a development from part 3 where I was asking: ‘What if I cast the inner surface of me – what would that be like?’ in this part I’ve modified it to ‘What if I print the inner surface of me – what would that be like?’

The first piece that begins to investigate this concept with the added value of ambiguity as well as developing in process skills, is the green heart that I posted for crit on the forum. After this piece and the pushing of it further and further for depth, the printing exploded as I printed using brusho on acetate combining layers- finding that the usual single layer for print surface did not offer me enough of a platform to say what I was trying to feel.

This was a joy. The work was evolving and finding its own momentum. New lines of enquiry in research opened up and coalesced – I learnt about visceral wounds, the impact of trauma on the physiology, Porges research into the polyvagal nerve and I was excited and animated and enjoying the experience of creating, then putting the work out to speak for itself and convey its own message interpreted by the audience at will. This work led into a far more in-depth study of the monoprints of Tracey Emin and she has become a significant influence as a result of this, her sketches have led me on to look at the drawings of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt as well as trying to redress my intense dislike of the prints of local-t0-me artist Billy Childish (unsuccessfully I may add). My other inspiratrice Elzbieta Kazmierczak continues to encourage and challenge me with my expression and healing. She has kindly responded to my work by email, exploring the concepts and conditions with which this investigation of my inner surface has taken me. I continue to respect and admire her work and words (thank you Elzbieta). Working alongside Cas Holmes again in workshop, has reassured and reinvigorated my exploration of the surface and I owe Cas a huge dept of gratitude for teaching me how to free-motion embroider on the machine and furthermore how to change the weight of yarn in the bobbin (thank you Cas) which I immediately employed in the next ‘wound’. As a result of being reacquainted with my machine and free-stitching with different weight yarns it occurs to me know that it might be possible to use this surface as a print base for further works in part 5. Lastly, Louise Bourgeois. Ever on the perimeter, ever fading in and out of focus in her influence.

I have tried to bring forward processes from previous parts to continue to explore them in different context: e.g. burning, suprasemic writing, use of the 3D printing pen, multi-layering surfaces, using a plaster cast form from part 3. I believe I will take these forward again from here. I haven’t included resin during this part but that does leave it open for exploration in part 5 if I wish.

Overall, if I were to exhibit based on this part I would chose the following pieces for their voice, use of printing technique and potential for development.

Although I had to end this part on a down note after struggling with exercise 3, by sorting through I can focus on the learning and progress that has actually occurred and which I will reflect on fully in Assignment 4.


Existential dilemmas never come at the right time do they. Neither do they come with any great pronouncements, and for me they take me right to  the edge of giving up. Giving up on my work, giving up on other people, giving up on my art, giving up on myself. For me the existential crisis is a familiar beast when I reach the other end. It can make me angry, sad, careless… it comes to me in so many forms over the years this ‘what is the point of it all’ crisis. This time it came with such loneliness I cannot describe. I felt the only thing holding me to the planet and stopping me floating off into oblivion, unnoticed and unmissed, was the weight of my children needing mum.

Why do I document this? Because I need to make a cairn to mark this point so if I stumble in the fog again I can find this and stay on the path. I place a large stone atop my cairn here. It marks the edge. It marks this point for me and it stands as a guide to others who may come this way. There has been someone before you. That someone almost lost their way, they stumbled and found the very edge. My edge is not a tumble down a hole. It is the floating off into endless space – no end , no bottom, no touch, no sound, no light. They talk of a bottomless pit, that never-ending fall waiting for the bottom to collide with. What when you watch everything recede from you instead. How lonely can that be to still see it all further and further away and out of reach and no-one looks up to notice as it was such a quiet thing letting go.

Anyhow. I emerge. I need the blog to act as intermediary. The journal… I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. I become too maudlin. I need the focus of the blog. What doesn’t the course need? Well, I need more from the course than the course needs of me so this is how it has to be. If I fail for saying too much, I think I can live with that. If I am confined to the page and succeed with a watered down version of myself I will feel I’ve sold out; betrayed  myself to a need for proving to another that I can. I’ve stared loneliness down this month. She’s  soulless ghoul. Behind her stands grief, grief has no eyes but is all wound.

And wounds… you don’t scare me. I see you now and I’m ready to do battle with your insidious invisibility. You will be visible.

Oh! Moment…

I’ve just been emailing my inspiratrice explaining the importance of my ‘bloody textiles’ series. And in the mail I made a comment along the lines that this is all coming to the surface as I evidently can’t stomach it anymore!!

I’m so slow!

No wonder that’s where it’s felt right to place the wound. Because I can’t stomach it any more. I cannot tolerate it being inside anymore – it makes me sick to the stomach. No wonder it felt instinctively right. When  you get a feeling ‘in the pit of your stomach’ its the location of a visceral response – in other words a deep inward feeling rather than related to the intellect.

Clever, clever subconscious!

Response to tutor feedback ass.3

I have annotated my feedback and been dwelling on it before I consolidated my ideas in a post.

It has been really helpful to have a critical eye cast over my work as my tutor has not only been able to give me direction and refinement advice, but is noting emerging themes.

Emerging themes/ lines of enquiry noted in feedback

‘ a focus upon the inner landscape, gestural expression, and the inner form or writing or expression.’

‘unraveling the inner machinations of our minds or souls.’

‘relating to the inner landscape, unexpressed, inner language or workings beneath the text.’

‘the interpretable, jumbled, fragmented, hidden language…what to reveal or conceal, giving glimpses, enticing te viewer into wanting more.’



It might be advantageous to go back and look at areas identified as requiring revisiting:

The paperclay odds and ends pot: ‘A great experiment, perhaps worth extending, with refining, taking the most successful elements and recasting. Making a mini-series.’

Look again at labelling: ‘I would recommend that you clearly either label photographic images or list components. Example@ Sample 2, resin, 3d pen, plastic water bottle, frozen water.  This makes it much easier for me, and assessors to locate and identify experiments tested.’ Duly noted. To action.

I need to look again at the post I wrote concerning gestures and marks as I have evidently expressed something that is presumptive. ‘Remember validity is in the eyes of the viewer.’

Areas to take forward and develop:

Continue to explore medium of resin due to successes in this assignment.

‘Consider testing other materials, I can imagine free falling strands of words, slipping language, squashed vocabulary, spiky, harsh, curses, there is so much more to explore.’

Continue with investigation of ‘music informing mark-making.’

‘Extend your testing of materials. Perhaps explore traditional materials against unconventional properties. Keep pushing the boundaries.’

Immediate action

With Part 4, I have been working immediately on what seemed to me to be the most critical part of my feedback: ‘Be confident in your self-analysis, and analytical abilities, take time to access exactly what you want to express.’

I have therefore tried to implement some specific changes in the way I work. I have my sketchbook as usual, printing samples have been grouped into a portfolio labelled with the day of production – showing a chronology. But I have also taken a step back to reflect and understand what is being asked of me: in my making, on this course, in my reflection, through my research. I have been a little anxious to really prove that I’m doing all the things I do: the reading, the writing, the thinking, the questioning, the sampling – worried perhaps that others will be unable to see the ‘behind the scenes’ work. But, through this feedback I’m recognising that I can still do all these things, but it doesn’t all have to be blogged – so I’m experimenting with a journal – all the little research offshoots and tangents are gathered, but when the main shoot of work evolves, then I can blog this. I can keep a record of the reading by maintaining my Bibliography. Ultimately, the influences and critical studies should ‘stimulate exciting and varied lines of enquiry’ which will be evident in the progression of pieces.’It is on occasion difficult to identify the most important aspects of your enquiries.’ I need to signpost these in my blog, the journal writing can explore the paths to get there. ‘With heavy bodies of text it takes a long time to get to the main focus of investigation.’ This is of no help when assessors have 45 mins! A journal will allow me to combine text and visuals for more fluency. Asking for clarification from my tutor as to whether a journal would be an accurate means of investigating this feedback and development point she said something that made it all crystal clear.

‘I believe that writing is an essential element to your work.  It is key to unlocking ideas, concepts and personal philosophy.  Within your writing you are able to locate key factors that become drivers to create work.

Therefore, it is ‘a must’, that you continue to be able to express these thoughts and emotions.  Imagine that your blog will one day be your connection to the art world.  You decide how much you wish to disclose… Encapsulate those amazing feelings, emotive subjects and philosophies.  Imagine a song that really says everything you are feeling, how it touches us for that one moment – it is a direct hit!’

This makes sense. The song for the blog!

Meeting Sam Gayton

The day job took me to a presentation by Sam Gayton at our local library. What an inspirational and charismatic young man. He held his audience captive throughout (even drowning out the sounds of several police sirens wailing metres away from us, even the interesting smell of er… how shall I put it…not an e-cigarette, failed to penetrate the scene he had whisked his audience away to as he read the opening to his book ‘The Snow Merchant.’ He lacked all pretension and I caught in him an individual who notices. I sense he writes because the world sends him so much to notice and consider.

He talked about his writing process and demystified the entire matter by whittling it down to ‘questions and answers’. Bear in mind I had my day job hat on and my secret alter ego artist ears were pricking away – any more pointed and I think sparks would have started igniting. Anyhow, on the privacy of this my little blog audience who know me in my secret artist-shape and not in my day job form, I can divulge.

He was talking about how he’d found himself in a specific location which he detailed, consuming the hours and biscuit packets and cups of tea writing the pants writing that equates to the endless sampling we undertake until the gift of a breakthrough arrives. He’d looked up at silly-o-clock in the morning to find it had snowed and wondered, ‘Where did all the snow come from?’ applying his writer’s imagination turned this into a ‘What if…’ question and so the book evolved. (Needless to say I have ordered a copy as I was not satisfied with being left hanging on the first page). He mentioned that it was Einstein’s comment about his genius being nothing more that sitting with questions longer that most, which almost had me out of my seat cheering, “Yes, that’s how it is, that’s what we do when we’re creating.” But the day-job acting has been very practiced and refined and I can sit with my secrets too. This is where great ideas come from, whatever their final form: words, music, visual art, dance: we wonder and wonder and wonder and then consider what if… then follow the play.

It made me think. All those times when I daydreamed myself out of the hideousness I lived in during The Abuse Years, all those layers of myself I went and hid in-between, what if in this module on printing I could recreate that layering in reverse and piece myself back to a better new whole: fragmented layer by fragmented layer? Something somewhere gave me the knowledge that I had to ground myself by looking to the natural world for something beautiful to give my girls that couldn’t be broken or destroyed or tainted no matter what: a drop of water reflecting your face on a leaf, magnified and spectacular, the sound the waves make as the tide turns, the way a seabird dives resolutely and exactly…It made me notice. What if I turned my eyes back into myself and looked now in reverse. What if I looked for something beautiful inside of me that was never damaged or destroyed? What would it look like and how could I share it? What would the very fabric of the full sound of me look like? How could I write this language of the unharmed me? What colour would I need? What shapes, what movement? Again, what does the inner surface of me look and feel like? What does it sound like? What is written on the inner surface of me?

And what about the people still stuck there? The lost ones, the lonely, how could a piece of artwork help them read the secret writing and feel witnessed, feel really seen, feel touched. I think that was all I ever wanted. To be heard. To be seen. The surface inside is scratched and patched, buckled and worn, torn and stitched, taught and stretched, full of holes and crevices, but it is authentically me. The outer surface has been polished smooth and flat, and I suspect that is why I hold such an intrinsic distrust and dislike of 2D art forms that cannot be touched. They feel the false face.

Rather than wondering, like Sam did where the snow came from, perhaps my question to sit with is: where did I go to when the real world was wrong? Who or what can I find there to bring back with me to the surface. Project me becomes Project Rescue.

What if you could rescue something trapped in an inner layer and release it on the printed surface?

Looking out or looking in?20160611_111953.jpg