18 April 2017

New projects, new collaborations

I met a group of scientists earlier this year, with 8 other artists I was invited to a networking event in Cambridge.  They were all Spanish speaking as the event was organised by SRUK. It was like a speed dating event! We were introduced to the scientists and had to select potential work partners to produce work for an exhibition, not much time allowed and they were all very interesting research projects.
I was most intrigued to work with researcher Ana Lopez Ramírez who is working in the dept of physiology, development and neuroscience in Downing College Cambridge. Her research into Alzheimer's, observing Zebra fish has the potential to transform lives,.I don't even start to understand it, but each time I have been to the lab I learn a little more.
The link between our work is through recycling of materials, which the cells of zebra fish can do in remarkable ways. I hope to express something of this in using my recycled materials and am starting to look at my making process in a more systematic way.

16 April 2017

A long pause after going too fast

It seems I have had no time since January 2015, this pause has come after far too much doing and travelling.
Today I am trying to sit and plan very little and achieve a bit more.
Life is never as planned when working with living, growing, natural materials or people.
The long gap is because I have been working with people in many different settings and demands. I have had no time to reflect or sit and watch.
Here's hoping that life will be less frantic, no guarantees tho and I still have regular journeys to make and demands to answer.

After 18 years the willow 'Fedge' seen below has been cut down. A combination of disease, beetle attack and fungus meant there were only about a quarter of the trees still living. It was a feature of the garden, conversations and learning have happened because of it. Removing it has brought a light and openness into the garden that is needed for other plants. I am taking this approach into studio work.

Remove old, damaged pieces that aren't helping me to see or make new work.


I am aware that habits of short attention span of screen and social media don't help with making or relational activities, in fact they prevent both from developing well. In the world of Slow Making the tools and techniques are controlled by being responsive to seasonal products, natural materials and cycles. This means that conditions are available for a short time each year, with preparation and skills in place to achieve and create the best results possible.

This season I am focussing on preparation, making myself aware of the potential both of materials and tools in season.

30 January 2015

Slow making, using fast technology

I have been learning how to draw using ProCreate, a drawing package on the ipad. The process is very like learning to draw all over again, it is frustratingly slow when I know how to make some of the marks on paper.
In conversation with someone who uses digital drawing for work and is very proficient, he says....life drawing on the ipad is very strange, you don't really decide on the size and scope of your surface before you have made a mark.
When drawing on paper the drawing is placed in context, but somehow this is completely different, you can construct the context within other drawings or make work that can be repeated.
Beginning to enjoy it tho and I hope to use it more for idea and planning

Making it feel like spring

Beginning changes for a Quiet Garden for a Family Therapy unit, the overall topic is changing horizons
Parts of plastic bottles are being used for a temporary installation, it begins to feel like spring and the effect even with cold winter sun is a it like stained glass. 

15 January 2015

Extending and finding new materials to use

Plastic bottle tops can be used for so many things! 
Last autumn I started to use them in workshops. It has proved to be more successful than I could have imagined.
They are great for all ages and abilities to make large scale pictures, and if cameras and skills are available they make great animation projects.
Everyone who has been involved has been intrigued and then completely focussed on making.
The variety of topics are only limited by imagination, I am sure there will be more images soon

31 December 2014

New Year Plans

Moon rise at Welney just before Christmas was the most spectacular sight for me. It stays with me very vividly, so something of that experience must go into work I will make.
The feeling of involvement and participation in universal life is what I hope other people experience when handling or seeing my work

Looking forward to making and meeting in 2015, there are already dates in the calendar and deadlines I need to keep.
This is the plan, I will post something here at the end of each month during 2015, not necessarily what I have made or achieved, maybe experiences and conversations. One post a month is enough to commit to, but there may be more.
I will encourage others to join in, because that is what I do much more now.

05 December 2014

After a long pause

In the nature of living, things sometimes happen very fast. It is over a year since I had time or energy to reflect on the process or product of my making.
Preparation and planning is everything, the process has become far more important.
I have taken a  turn in making, baskets have become more refined which means the overall process is often slower, but at the same time more efficient.
The selection and quality of material has such an effect on the final result that it is always better to discard anything that is damaged or of poor quality.

This means I take more time and look more often in selecting the right pieces. Sometimes it may look to others as if I am not doing much in the workshop. 
Bending and feeling pieces of willow or hazel to judge whether they are in the right condition to use is a bit like working with people. If you force them into uncomfortable situations they often react in unexpected ways

relationship between elements

Knots, twists and weaves of joining elements 

03 December 2014

A long silence online

I have been working, walking and making so much that time ran out to do online updates.
I have just been working on the now regular Christmas decoration with Ouse Life Drawing group at The Phone Box Gallery Prickwillow. It was great fun to do and is still a work in progress and will include carols and decorating on December 14th 2p.m, 'Bling and Sing' all welcome.

02 August 2013

Walking aware and making

On a very hot day I led an exploration in the grounds of Anglesey Abbey. We walked and listened, lay on the ground looking at the effect of wind. It was so hot that the air seemed thicker and things felt heavier, sounds seemed quieter or maybe there was less moving around. In warm weather it is easy to experience materiality in the created world, when the air is blood temperature the body relaxes and senses are heightened.

It is the same in the studio, in heat materials become softer and more pliable, spaces in between seem easier to manipulate. Initiated by new storage space, shelving and for the allotment studio a delivery of this years white willow I have recently spent time organising spaces that have not been touched for months.
The visual distraction of debris from previous projects or work have to be cleared so they don't interrupt thinking about new and developing work. Drawers are tidy and table top and floor areas clean ready for a new phase of making.

08 July 2013

A Basket Maker, sometimes

I have always denied being a basket maker. That probably has to change as I have refined the bark basket I invented in 2008 and I am able to make multiples of similar sizes. This is the first using white willow and will feature at Open Studios this Saturday. It is very strong and light, not yet tested how much it can hold but it is at least 2 kilos.