Thursday, 26 January 2012

You yellow-bellied, Lily-livered....DRAW!

Drawing. It's difficult, isn't it? That's why, in my forever increasing naivety, I decided to take a drawing module this year. It. was. tough.
We didn't really have a drawing instructor, but we had lovely trips out with Kevin Petrie who did landscape drawing along a freezing river, lots of drawing with your 'wrong' hand, one line drawings (love those) and other left-brain right-brain activities were great fun. Then we were left to our own devices. I drew my (poor, foolish) friends.

My brief was an investigation into tribalism, which, meant I should have focussed on earrings, and haridos and whatnots and fandangs. Oh, dulling, ornaments are so very, very dry. So I continued to draw my poor, deluded acquaintances.

The wodnerfully large-headed Mike Holden, there. This, although obviously delightful, wasn't...well it wasn't very good.
So what should one do when one has tired of drawing ones friends? Obviously photograph oneself, photocopy the image a bunch of times and draw over the top. I'm surprised you even had to ask.

I have approximatley two thousand photos of myself as tribal warrior/queen/shaman and I enjoy them. But I had the same problem most of my compatriots had, we see drawing as actors see a script. No actor would march out on stage and simply show the audience the script, it's not the thing, the play's the thing. Although, I'm sure Brecht or one of those geezers would probably love such a play.
So I mades stuff. It was rather like Christmas Eve, I was trying to convince myself that this was a stepping stone to drawing, but in the back of my mind I knew I was trying to fool myself much like on Christmas Eve I would have a conversation with myself along the lines of;
'Now don't be upset if you don't get the life-size barbie you wanted, they probably couldn't get it'
And then a little voice would say 'But they did, didn't they? You can't fool me!'
'No, no, now, don't get excited'
'Too late! I'll keep saying I'm not going to get the dolly and then I'm definitely going to get the dolly.'
'You're not getting the dolly'
Perhaps that's not as familiar a conversation to people who have siblings but that's how I felt. And inevitably, I didn't draw my sculptures. I didn't draw on them. They're lovely, and I'll photograph them with an actual camera, not my poor shoddy mobile later today. I intend to continue in my vein of drawing for the forseeable future, it makes things (images, people, ideas, plans) clearer. Huzzah for drawing!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

A few thoughts on cemeteries

My dissertation is due in soon so naturally I'm writing a blog.
I could tell you about how I hate academia sometimes and just wish I could sodding well make pots but truth is, I like research. I like reflection and somehow this year I've been able to use my research time as a way of making my work better. Huzzah! Ultimate success!
My dissertation is about how Christian approaches to representing the figure have affected how artists approach the figure. And one massive thing I've come to see quite clearly, is that art in cemeteries is amazing. True fact. It's full of passion, soul and personality.
I sort of fell in love with Oscar Wilde's tomb, it was designed by Epstein and it's gorgeous, in a very Wildian way. What I enjoyed so much about it was all the pilgrims who came to the tomb and left lipstick kisses, and then I read this article, and found out people aren't allowed to do that anymore.
Which seems to me to be totally missing the point of a grave, they don't stop people leaving flowers at other graves, Wilde's fans just happen to be a bit bonkers and want to kiss a massive stone angel. Where's the harm?
I'm sure Epstein would have minded this much less than when plaques were attached to cover the angels genitals or when it was simply covered with a tarpaulin because it was considered too risque.
Poor romantic fans, they just want to show that Wilde is no longer the outcast, or if he is, he is king of the outcasts! King Oscar!

Wonder if anyone will kiss my gravestone for me...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Year of the House

Happy new year! New starts! New you! And for me and my beloved- a new house.
Kind of.
Some of you may know that my mother is planning to give up work and move to Cumbria to look after my grandparents. The house she bought in 1999 is a two storey Victorian terrace and I basically grew up here. She's always seen it as my inheritance, and so decided that if we were to sell the money would go to me and Daniel.

But that's both too simple and too difficult. Even if we had a hefty deposit, we'd be paying masses for a mortage (and who says a bank would bet on two recent freelance graduates?) and we'd probably have to buy somewhere run down. So change of plan, my mother is going to give us the house. We'll essentially be her lodgers but when the mortage is paid- the house is ours. And until then (sometime around 2040) it'll be our house to do as we wish and raise our family and buy curtains and...gosh.

So this year is going to be difficult. I have to find a job, I gave mine up when I started University, the hours could never have been forgiving enough for me to have not gone mental. And my beloved works for the council, which is being squeezed and squeezed. And we have to get the house in running order, my mam's a tough bean, she doesn't mind the cold, the drafts, the boiler sometimes not working, etc etc. We kind of do.

But all that we're doing is very delicate, because although we sat down with my mother and decided what we could and couldn't do, there's still a chance we could massively offend my mother by repainting a door she's always loved or throwing out an ashtray or something. It's still very much her house, and all that we do offends her, no matter how many times I say 'It's not criticism, we just want it to be our house' she can only hear us tearing down the house she's built.

The upshot is that instead of kilns and terracotta being on my mind sanding, plastering and other such delights will be on the agenda. Last month we put in new windows. the electricity is basically shot too so we need to rewire, the bathroom is a sort of aubergine type-suite with no shower and some of the carpets were seemingly bought from offices by the last tenants so, lots to do. And a dissertation. And a degree show. Who's stressed? Not me, no way.

Usually this blog is about why I make work, as of now, the why is 'because otherwise I'll be homeless' hopefully I'll still be inspired and still be able to make ceramics but there may be some DIY here too. Especially when we build my studio in the back yard (I cannot wait for this, I have such high-felluting ideas about my pottery shack it's unreal).

Right now I have a dissertation to re-write.