Dancing delay

Bit of a set back with dance drawings - dancers down with colds - probably caught from me so can't say much! I was hoping to get all 5 drawings done by the end of December - but may have to accept that's not going to happen. Have lots to be getting on with in the meantime. Plasterer is just finishing off today - the dust has been a real pain but set me thinking about marks in dust which then become dusty marks......a kind of negative/ positive transition from one set of movements.....Too many ideas, too little time!

Current work

I've just uploaded drawings currently in progress - shall try to update a bit more regularly in the future (seem to have heard that before...). I am also working on my dance drawings - 3 down, 2 more to go - but I'm not going to post them yet (details only) as I don't want to influence my dancers! Hopefully the next dance will take place tomorrow and I'll be on target to finish all five by Xmas. One more week and I'll be able to spend extra time in my studio which will be good. With no proper studio for 6 months and various other intrusions this has not been a good year for making work but hoping 2009 will be better.....

Natalies's Dance (detail)

I've just completed my third dance drawing (detail above) - thanks Natalie!

At last I'm back...

After months of builders, noise and dust I'm back in my studio and able to do some work. Have been busy booking exhibitions at the pub, working far too many shifts and trying to get the house into some sort of order. Hoping to put in some proper studio time now I have my beautiful new studio.......

The builders are back!

Builders are here working in my studio - dust everywhere! Suppose it has to look worse before it looks better? Found another coal shoot in the cupboard to go along with the huge one we found when we did the garden. Have no idea why there were 2? Having a deja vu moment - same situation as a couple of years ago when I started this blog but this time the basement instead of the attic!

Really miss having my studio space and finding it difficult to concentrate properly in the upstairs bedroom. Feels as if I'm camping, but no alternative as every other room in the house is full of stuff from my studio - think I shall have to accept that I won't get much done over the next couple of months. Probably a good opportunity to organise all my paperwork, maybe work on some smaller drawings?

Trip to Liverpool on Friday as my drawing wasn't accepted for the Jerwood and I've just stepped on my glasses and completely smashed them so not a good day today !

Jerwood drawing delivered and studio update

Took my drawing to Liverpool today for submission to the Jerwood - so now the waiting game begins.

Looks as if work will begin on my studio on the 21st July. Dry rot has been treated - luckily I store my work elsewhere and it wasn't too bad so I suppose I was lucky. However, the rooms are now plaster-less and the damp is much more noticeable so I'm having it waterproofed properly. I can use another room until late July, but then I'll be studio-less for a while. No studio and frugal living for years to pay for the work needed to make it useable - great!!

Washing - and dancing!

Writing about cleaning made me think about washing (?) - and has encouraged me to document some of the other ideas I'm currently contemplating.

A while ago a did a number of stencil/ ink on canvas which I washed off to leave an echo of the original drawing. Didn't really get very far and I stored it away for the future. Then, recently when my parents were clearing out they found some old re-touching inks. I was really interested in them because the water had long evaporated leaving the residual pigments. I decided to do a series of drawings which I would document, then wash off and collect the water in a bottle. Today I decided I should get on with them - having limited space at the moment has meant I need to work on smaller stuff. So I have just ordered some clear bottles/ corks and I'm going to make a start...

The other series I want to do is one based on sound/ movement. Ages ago I tried to draw from a recording I made of me drawing - but it didn't work as there was a gap between me hearing the sound and then making the mark. Thinking about this I decided that the only way to draw in reponse to sound without any kind of delay was by dancing. I have done one piece for this series - myself dancing to a song, capturing the marks made by my feet in response to the sound with wax and then drawing over the marks with pencil to reveal them. I have a number of people lined up to do a dance for me (you know who you are!) but can't actually do this until I have my studio back. May try to find an alternative space for this if my studio situation isn't resolved soon?

Two Previews

The first preview is a proper one. Last night I went to the opening of Skimming the Surface - Natalie has been living in Derby for the last year as the Vickers artist and her show was fantastic. If you get the chance make sure you go and see it.
The second preview is a glimps of some of the ideas I'm currently mulling over. Until recently I've been concentrating on marks made by the direct touch of hands/ feet through touch and movement - but lately have been thinking about other marks - specifically those made by repetitive actions. Above are some examples of marks made when cleaning (scrub, scrape, scour) - this is still at the 'thinking through' stage. As cleaning is one of those things I seem to think about a lot (but avoid doing if at all possible) this may be an incentive to participate as well as contemplate?

New packing case!

At last I've sorted out a case for the Jerwood drawing. Because the surface is quite delicate and the corners vunerable I don't want to transport it in just card/ bubblewrap - so a friend made me a mdf/ wood case (thanks Rob). I could have reused the New York one but it is pretty substantial (and therefore heavier!) so I am much happier with this new streamlined version. As it is travelling within the UK, I don't need worry about any import regulations so it has been relatively straightforward and quite a bit cheaper. My hallway is now officially designated as 'packing case storage area' (until I can find somewhere else to keep them).

Wordle and moocards

I have just been playing around with wordle - you type/ paste in text and it generates a word cloud. I used my last statement (the one I wrote for the Drawing Center exhibition). The more you use a particular word the larger it appears - 'drawing' I can understand but I didn't realise I used 'rather' quite so much! I was going to turn the above into cards myself but as I need to buy about 4 new printer inks, and would need to design/ print/ cut and laminate I decided to order some moocards instead. I like the idea of little business cards and I've also ordered a moocard holder which comes with a ring to attach to my keyring so I'll have no excuse not to carry some around with me at all times!

Jerwood Drawing and dry rot!

I've just spent the last two months doing a drawing for submission to the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2008. I've been using ballpoint pen on a fantastic aliminium panel from John Jones. I've been working night and day to get it finished and I'm very nearly there. Bad news has been that my studio is suffering from an outbreak of dry rot which has meant I've been drawing wherever I can lay my panel/ pen - currently my daughters bedroom. Not ideal but hopefully it won't be for too long.....


Things have been really hectic lately - New York was great and immediately on return I put up my show at The Crompton, so I hadn't done much work for almost a fortnight. Over the last week I've spent lots of time in my studio and it has been good to just concentrate on drawing and have some space to think.

Bespoke Recycled Paper from old shirts!

At the end of last week I received 10 sheets of SRA2 paper from Lez Paylor who makes it at a Creative Paper makers in Wales. They make paper from all sorts of stuff - one being sheep poo - and one customer had wedding invites of paper made from the jeans they were wearing when they met (ah!) I had a number of old shirts which I had worn until they were full of holes so I decided to have some paper made with them instead of just throwing them away. Not only did it appeal to my attempts to be as green as possible (flights to New York making this even more important!) but I also liked the idea of drawings relating to touch/ trace being done on paper which had once been worn. I spent months cutting up all of my old linen and cotton shirts. The fabric had to be cut into 1 x 5 cm strips, no seams/ fastenings etc. and I needed about 1.8 kg for 10 sheets. At one point last November I got very excited as I thought I had nearly got enough until I realised I had 1.8 lb not 1.8 kg - bit of a low point!! However, when the paper came it was worth every minute spent - it is absolutely beautiful. I was going to post a picture but I couldnt come even close to doing it justice. It is a cream/ off white with a deckle edge and a textured surface - similar to khadi paper but nicer. Can't even think about using it yet - still at the looking/ stroking stage - but I will use it for a series of drawing at some point.

Work all packed and ready to be picked up tomorrow. Filled in all the forms after a few emails to The Drawing Center for tax no's etc. and then emailed it all to FedEx to check for me!! As I haven't heard anything I'm assuming it was all O.K. Fingers crossed then until it's due to be delivered in New York on Friday.

'Reveal' drawings in progress

Shipping and Packing (part one) - light at the end of the tunnel!

Well, at last I seem to have made sense of how to get my work to New York. I've emailed so many packing case manufacturers and shippers that it's ridiculous- and also really suprising how many have not bothered to answer!
I go my packing case from acorn packaging eventually - they were really helpful and also reasonable - although delivery from Essex cost as much as the case itself. I tried to buy locally but no Derby firm replied. One thing I learnt was that any wood needs to be ISPM15 compliant and to be stamped as such - otherwise it will be denied entry by US customs. Luckily I am useless at making stuff, otherwise I would probably have made my own case and promptly had it returned!
The Drawing Center recommended either FedEx or Bax Global and I have decided to use FedEx - as they seem to be the cheapest and FedEx Freight has a number which means you can ring and actually speak to someone. (I did got a quote from a Fine Art shipper which came to around £7,000 so that was the end of that idea!)
The first thing I did was set up an account (mainly because it makes it easier to get the work back at the end of the exhibition) which was really straightforward and is linked to my credit card. Deliveries can only be booked the day before pick-up which is a bit scary (in my case I shall book on the 11th Feb for delivery in New York on the 15th) - but they have assured me they won't run out of space on the plane! One thing I wasn't clear about was what documentation was needed - I am not selling the work, it is on loan and will be returned - so I rang FedEx today to find out what I need and they have emailed me the documentation so I can go through it in advance and check I have all the information. It appears I need:
  • FedEx Airway Bill
  • Pro Forma Invoice (which will indicate value of goods)
  • Temporary Export Form (which has a tick box for 'exhibition')
  • Work of Art Declaration (which specifies work is original)

I shall go through the documentation over the next few days (and probably have to make a few calls to FedEx for clarification) - see part 2 for details.


I've been really slack recently with this blog - despite deciding one of my New Year Resolutions would be to post at least once a week. Christmas was pretty bad due to a family bereavement but I did move out of my studio at Bank's Mill and I'm now back in my basement!! I eventually managed 100 'squeezed' papers (see above) and still want to complete by doing a further 500 or so. (not sure when though). Shipping work to New York is currently my priority and taking a fair bit of time but hopefully it will all be booked by the end of next week. Then all I'll need to do is hold my breath between the 13th and 15th February whilst it's in transit.... I've just started the first of a two part drawing on the gampi paper roll I bought when last in New York and it is so fine I'm not sure whether it will work or not. Needs to be fine though as I want to layer 2 drawings so that both parts are visible.

2 new drawings started