I was reminded the other day that I hadn’t done a blog recently. “Where’s week 9 in your blog Jane?” the message said and of course the answer was I haven’t done it yet. That week was so mental and the following weeks similarly so that I am only just recovering and by recovering I mean, in the oh too familiar way of having to stop because I’ve come down with a cold.
So, week 9 was the week we were given access to Umbrella gallery in the Capitol Centre in Cardiff to start planning our exhibition. I got my work ready and pretty much installed it on the Tuesday 15th November. I had made the decision early on to take a step back and allow the other students to organise the exhibition because I have quite a lot of experience doing that, it is my happy place and I didn’t want to take over. As it happened I work in Llandrindod that distracted me anyway.
There was a lot of work to do for the Stiwdio Gallery/shop opening and I didn’t get my new work done for the window. I did get the bags made which I am really happy with and we got into the paper. There has been a steady stream of people visit but no big sales and it is the last week, which I am covering this Friday and Saturday(Xmas eve). The ceramicist is ace and a great addition to the network. Opening has also brought us new members which is great.
When I got back to Cardiff on Tuesday 22nd everything (not my work) was covered in a fine white dust as the others had spent most of the week sanding down the walls. There is lots of discussion and indecision, so I get them started by attaching Rosie’s batons to the wall. Things start to move now. I make the finishing touches to my installation interspersed with helping the others, drilling hopes for screws, etc. André is on strike on Thursday so he won’t be critiquing the show, but Paisley says she will do it.
I was back in Llandrindod on the Wednesday for work.
Final touches on Thursday morning and the show looks great. It’s not how I would have done it, but it works.
Paisley and Evelyn are really positive about my work and everything they say I have already thought myself, except they describe the central form as an ice cream cone and they’re right. If I had written this at the time I probably would have had a lot more to say but I didn’t so what I will say is that I altered my work as best as I could and when it comes to the portfolio presentation at the beginning of next term it will be very different.
I invigilated with Ellie on the Friday and we had a really lovely day getting to know eachother better. We had a few visitors and I bought some pens and a comments book.
The opening was great. I had done a leaflet with a statement about everyones work in. I printed 30 and they all went in no time. I had felt anxious because I didn’t have anyone coming but Kelly visited in the day which was nice and everyone was really lovely in the evening. I chatted to André about my work and he said “ Is it not meant to be an ice cream? It looks like and ice cream!” so I said it was a nod to Rauchenburg and he said “WHO” so I corrected myself and said “ the guy who made the soft sculptures” “Claus Oldenburg” “Yes that’s the one!”, lol! We had a right laugh about getting old and the menopause. Then I persuaded the stragglers to go to the winter wonderland and we went on the Waltzers. It was lush.
As tired as I was I was still buzzing on the Sunday. We took the show down on the Monday more than 50 people had been through over the weekend. I managed to get all the work in Vic’s van and took it all back to the studio. Then back up north for Artists Network meeting.
Now we are in week 11 and 1st December, I had a tutorial with Jenny about the redesigning of my work for the Portfolio display. Everyone is stressed about a context and methodology essay they have to do. I pack my stuff up and head home exhausted.
André recommended a book at the beginning of term which I am loving Suzi Gablik’s “The Re-enchantment of Art”. It is all about the need for societal change and Artists attempts to do something about it. From a sculptor who makes stands for raptors to help prevent them from being fried by electric cables, composers who perform work on a lake at sunrise and a guy collaborating with disadvantaged teens. It makes me think about the Portland street project in Stoke on Trent and the Bank project in London. Rosie told me about the Turner prize winners who had rejuvenated a street. Community Art. One of the reasons I’m here is to work out how my practice can become more relevant to my community work.
Week 12 and we have to present a draft of our Viva (oral presentation) which is part of our final assessment for this module. The rest of the class are frazzled from the Context n Methodology essay. I go first. I got a well done and some useful pointers to work with.
Vic was very supportive during the writing process but he doesn’t quite get it. Lucy tried to help too but was more concerned about presentation than content. My mate Jane Titley on the other hand totally gets it and after a couple of hours with her I feel so much better about the whole thing. A few tweaks and I’m ready to go.
I won’t bore you with all the drama that is ging on in the background of my life and the back n forth to the gallery/shop in Llandrindod. The day of the Viva arrives and I have spent days preparing and rehearsed it over and over.
I have to wait my turn. The others are also nervous and there are technical problems. I am still not confident that what I am going to present is what is expected/required. I am happy to go early when Pascaline has a problem with her powerpoint.
17 seconds short of the 12 minutes, perfect. André comments that it is obvious that I rehearsed it. The others say, in the group chat, that I have a really soothing voice that they could listen to all day, that’s a first!!! Jenny starts the feedback with lots of love. She really likes this and that, the way I romantically describe the making process. I am blown away. André wants to know more about bits and talks about post punk and the squatting scene and building alternative community, saying this is where I am from and he wants to know more, I should be building on that. “Very Professional” he said it was “Very Professional”!! I am bouncing with joy. So happy I miss Joe’s presentation completely which I regret because the moments I caught looked really interesting.
So I have a lot to think about. I am definitely learning and developing in the way I hoped.
I’ve got a project with the wildlife trust next month. I’ll be working with local schools to make lanterns to add to the final work the Rhos pasture project Artist in residence is presenting, which is exciting. I had a really interesting meeting with them. I hope that by the end of the course I will have more confidence and more focus so that I can develop projects of my own which will bring people together like his work does.
I am so glad I decided to do this course and I am looking forward to next year.
For anyone interested I have uploaded the slideshow and accompanying text below.