Textures of Spurn opens tomorrow at The Ropewalk gallery in Barton upon Humber. I’m braving the snow we have forecast and hoping to be there tomorrow, even if no one else comes! I delivered the work on Tuesday and had time with Richard, Exhibitions Officer, deciding how to hang the work. It is such a different space from the lighthouse! I found the space quite daunting at first and was concerned that the work wasn’t going to have the impact it had in the previous setting. By the time I left (in the snow – North Lincolnshire was looking gorgeous) I was really pleased with how it was coming together and I’m excited about seeing it all complete tomorrow.
If you don’t have far to travel and the snow allows then do come along – it’ll be warm in the gallery! The exhibition is on until 24th February.
‘No painting is possible without poetry’
Po Kin Yi (9th C)
Eyes in the feet
Pocketed, brought home,
Shaped under tea’s chemistry
Left on paper sketchbook thin
Enough to register on both sides
Where the roller has marked,
Capriciously, a backdrop
Always different, pavement grey,
Mottled, complex as storm clouds
on a winter sky. Then, the stitch.
Marks of a bird’s foot
On the footpath’s mud,
We crouched close to view
In the last light of this fading year
My book is a record of things picked up in the streets around my home on everyday short walks during autumn and winter: on the way to the post office or back from school. The things I’ve picked up are insignificant: a rusty washer, a few leaves, a beer bottle top… They have come together with the help of the chemistry of tea to make marks on the pages of the book. I’ve then used rollers and ink to build up more marks and texture and finally there are stitches added in response to the other marks.
This morning I finished my book and now I can post it off to the Brooklyn Art Library for it to join all the other books from around the world. Eventually my book will be available online to view digitally, but for now here are a few peeks at the detail:
After a few hectic days with excited children and family coming and going I am having a quiet end to the year. I have a bit of space to catch up with myself.
In that strange waiting time between Christmas and new year I had two afternoons, two walks in Lincolnshire’s fields, empty of people and drained of colour but then filled with other colour, different winter colour, the earth gone to sleep.
One on the wolds:
gently rolling; lines of field edge and combed earth; hedge and pathway; footprints on saturated ground; a smell of the sea wafting inland on the stiff breeze, which then brings rain and stinging cold.
A second on the coast:
salt marsh keeping the sea at bay with a white line of breaking waves way out beyond the gullied expanse; even further away my familiar lighthouse clear over the water; a bitter wind; blue light in the gloaming and collections of birds forming almost murmurations.
Now back at home the memories of them intermingle.
My little tapestry weave samples are progressing slowly. The next stage for these is to be left outside for the winter weather to play its part and see how the rust marks the cotton.
I’m hoping that the rust will seep its way into the thread and stain the cotton in a similar way to my rust prints on paper. I haven’t yet added any agent to help the process as I’d like to see what the elements will do on their own.
I’ve had a couple of days of meetings, which have been really useful and stimulating. One was about the development of a new collaborative project (more on that another time) and the others were about my main project this year. As a result I have renewed hope about possible funding. I know I keep being vague in these posts about projects I’m planning and that is because I don’t want to announce things until everything is in place... hopefully that won’t be long now.
We’re in the middle of a cold spell here with snow coming and going. Yesterday was particularly wintery, with ice, remnants of last weekends’ snow and then rain just to make things extra slippery. I drove over to Hebden Bridge to see Angie Rogers, an artist who’s work I admire and who was kind enough to give me some time to talk through various aspects of her recent residency.
The drive over the water shed between the Calder and Aire valleys is one I love. You climb up from Haworth, through Oxenhope and then on the the moors that separate the two river systems. Whatever the weather is doing in the valley, suddenly on the moors it can be so different. It gets me every time! Yesterday it was shrouded in mist and rain with the residue of recent snow marking out the features in the landscape. It was bleak, cold and wild – bracing and breathtaking. The subtle colours of the grasses, rushes and exposed peat are interspersed with patches of snow, which make a clean backdrop for stark stems.
Persistent rain made getting out of the car to take photographs a fairly quick affair, but sketches in the warmth of the car were possible.
Coming down off the tops the fields were suddenly visible, but still through mist. A different layby, a different view. Snow drifted along the walls mark out a pattern, almost a negative of the land without the snow. Snow transforms the set of marks that make up the landscape; accentuates different features. It lingers in dips and hollows in fields, revealing something new about the surface of the land.
A trip to my parents last weekend allowed for some garden pottering, finding interesting shapes in the winter sunshine,
and winter sweet, which doesn’t look like much (although is better seen from below like this rather than from above the drooping flowers) but smells amazing.
Since then I’ve spent most of the week at my desk doing paper work or jobs around the house. Meanwhile I dream of what my garden might become. I currently have a patch of scruffy lawn and a small patio. It isn’t much yet, but it has lots of potential…
The weather has been so wild on and off for the last couple of weeks. There was complete chaos on the rail system when I traveled down to London last week. My train was delayed by 2 1/2 hours, although because of something completely seperate from the weather related hold-ups elsewhere. That evening, after leaving the gallery, the wet pavements reflected and multiplied the Christmas lights and the Olympic count-down thing in Trafalgar Square.
By Wednesday morning the wet weather had cleared and London was bathed in beautiful soft winter sunshine. It reminded me of similar conditions on visits to both Paris and Venice at this time of year. The buildings around Trafalgar Square looked gorgeous and I felt spoiled to be able to have an hour as a tourist before I was due at the Mall Galleries.
>Things have been a bit quiet on the creative side for a while, apart from some creative packing of boxes. I’m preparing to move house and so some things just have to be put on one side for a while.
I heard on Saturday that my application to Arts Council England for funding for a residency project I’m planning for next year was not successful. I was initially very upset, gutted in fact: a lot of time, energy and hope goes into such things. However, I’m growing more philosophical about it. I had some really good feedback, so I know that my application ticked all their boxes but that there just isn’t enough money to go around. Although they recognise that this is a crucial stage in an artist’s career, and that funding can give an almighty boost, I understand that it is also quite a gamble to give funding to a recent graduate. I am reminded that many artists take years of applying before they actually get anywhere with this kind of funding. I’m determined not to put the project in the bin yet, I have avenues still to explore and plans may have to be altered to make it all happen.
Meanwhile, I made a return visit to Runswick Bay, almost exactly a year after my first visit there. The weather was calm and grey (after a starry, starry night) when I first stepped on to the beach with the light changing rapidly, coming and going through racing clouds. Further along the beach the wind suddenly seemed to swing round and strengthen so that the tops of the waves were blown back out to sea and sand was blown in great fuzzy swathes up the beach.
Things were mostly in grey-scale, or in black and white when the light was strong: high contrast with reflections on water of land in black and sky in bright white.
The grey-scale was occasionally interrupted by gaudy scraps of washed up plastic or the brightly coloured boats that sit about the place.
The chance to get away to somewhere different for a few hours was welcome. To be by the sea is always a rejuvenating experience; to be out in the air and the wind and get so cold that it takes hours to feel warm again; to drink it all in – the light, weather, the constantly changing shapes and patterns of the water and sand. I was reminded of how much remains un-resolved from my last visit here. So much of my work and thinking is coastal at the moment and it looks like it will remain that way for some time yet…