I avoided missing the deadline, of 31st January, for Art House Co-op’s 2012 Sketchbook Project by 28 minutes. I can be that precise because I looked up at the huge clock in my little local Post Office just as the dated stamp was being attached to the packet containing my entry.
I’d had it fixed in my head that the deadline was the end of February. It was only by chance – in the form of an email from a fellow participant – that I discovered my mistake.
Instead of just over 5 weeks, I had only 8 days to meet the deadline. Not even that. The 8 days shrunk to 7 as one of them fell on the day of the London Art Fair for which I’d bought tickets - for 2 – and I wasn’t about to miss the event or waste the price of the tickets. Then my time shrivelled up a further half day by the stop motion animation workshop I was booked into, led by artist Reza Ben Gajra. In reality, I had just 6.5 days to do work I thought I had 5 weeks to complete.
The theme I’d chosen for my Art House entry was Travel With Me. As soon as I started to think about this theme and the places I’ve traveled to – whether on foot, or by train, plane, bus, taxi, or boat, for work or pleasure – I had a realisation. Out of this realisation came the title for my entry, The Books of the Dead.
I couldn’t face throwing in the towel on this project, yet all I had, with less than a week before the deadline, was the concept in my head. Luckily, what I had in my head turned out to be a whole suite of inter-related projects. Even so, it would still mean working flat out and often into the night, in order to get it all together. On D-day, I did quite a bit of deep breathing! When I closed the front door behind me after posting off my entry, I admit to a short fit of hysterics – the sort where you alternately laugh and cry uncontrollably!
I didn’t just chuck anything into the sketchbook. I may not be an artistic genius, but I’m not dishonest. Integrity must be part and parcel of artistic practice. Otherwise, what’s the point? And I’ve amazed myself at my focus. And the appearance of that mysterious smoke-like energy we call flow that came to speed me along. Also, the even more mysterious manifestation of Presence (the force that is more than inspiration) that placed ideas into my head beyond my own ingenuity and turned my hand in the direction of materials which I would never have had the guts to use.
The photos presented here are of the wreckage of my studio the day after D-day. Most of the rooms in the house were similarly wrecked! Hence the header of this blog Aftermath. Aftermath also relates to my Art House project. I’ll be writing about that soon, and setting up a slide show but if you can’t wait (!) I’ve uploaded my pages to my Art House Co-op web page.
The photos here are also a mini-tour of my studio. The room needs updating, but I enjoy being and working in this space. It’s an attic, small, intimate. I once had a vast studio in a wonderful setting – the image that heads all of my blogs is derived from a photo taken from one of its windows – but I could do nothing in it. After I lost the space, I realised that its size and importance had intimidated. My attic studio equates to my mindset – it is full of doors to new spaces and adventures waiting to come alive.
The piece of furniture is a set of drawers from a printer’s office. At one time the drawers (it has 32) would have contained sets of type. It’s solid pine and heavy. Originally stained orange and coated in a treacly varnish I painted and distressed it. It still needs knobs. I spent maybe a week organising the contents of the drawers. But I didn’t keep to the plan and so I have to pull open every drawer to see what’s stored there. A bit like 32 Pandora’s boxes (but not so dangerous).
I’d be fascinated to do a tour of your studio/writing room/creative space.