The piece inside may or may not have any connection to what is written on the envelope, though one thing is for sure none of the envelopes contain a live cat or any other sentient being. Neither has an albatross that has been in contact with this piece or its envelope nor has it been made intentionally wet by seawater from such a bird. It could be argued that there is no completed artwork inside until the envelope is opened! Did Schrödinger use a cat in his problem to shock or cause us to think in a different way? Have I put live artworks in these envelopes along with a small radioactive source and a vial of art poison (carefully shielded so the artwork cannot tamper with them)? After an hour will any of the artworks be dead? By the time the installation opens in March 2015 will all the pieces be dead? If so will they have died of natural causes, starved by my cruel confinement of them or poisoned by the experiment. Were they dead to begin with? How can we tell if the art is dead or just sleeping?
I used “Don’t look now” as the title of this post because it is written on a Post It note on my desk, because the whole idea of the project is that you can’t look now, but most of all because once again I’m late getting this blog updated and our cat, Henry, has set me a puzzle. Henry’s puzzle is “how do you catch a mouse while holding up a sofa?” So the full title perhaps should be, “Don’t look for the mouse now you have a blog to update.” Henry was not interested in helping me sort the mouse problem.
Henry’s mouse is a rather lovely, scared-but-unharmed field mouse which he brought in while I wasn’t looking, whereas the Post Office brought me a brand new mouse while I was out. They didn’t leave it under the sofa but took it back to the sorting office. The mouse it is to replace is not scared but it is a bit harmed. It is old and worn out and no longer able to scroll at speed or be relied on to carry out basic mouse funtions. Henry was not interested in sorting out these mouse problems either.
Poor Bramble had to be put down today. She had cancer of the tongue and it had spread to her kidneys. She seemed ok in many ways but was unable to eat comfortably. Yesterday evening it was clear that she was uncomfortable and a little distressed and although she ate something this morning it was clear she was not going to make it. She had a nice last day in the garden and we were both with her at the end.
Because of this I do not feel able to make today’s piece available for sale. It is too personal and too painful, but it will be opened at the installation.
After a period of popping my offerings in various mailboxes I posted today’s back at my local post box. I am just so tired I couldn’t be doing with breaking my journey and all that palaver. I really don’t want to be doing this blog, I didn’t want to do the envelope, I didn’t want to do the photography and if I am honest I didn’t want to do the artwork! I used up an idea I was wanting to develop elsewhere and in fact it worked pretty well and I was prompted to experiment a little so it was all pretty positive. But now I want to sleep. Well I have wanted to sleep since I got up at 7 this morning. Our poor cat is not eating and I am grieving. So that is all.
Because I have been busy today, mostly nursing and fretting over our sick cat, I didn’t get to do the #Letter365 piece until this evening. I am so pleased that when I bought the photographic lights I got a set that had a soft box on a boom – and that I set it up the other day – without it the studio is not very bright.
It is really satisfying when things go well. I was unable to get to the studio until this evening because we had the BT engineer coming to connect our fibre broadband (woo!) this morning and had to take our poor, sick cat to the vet for her steroid jab (boo!) this afternoon. So I didn’t have long and I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do – and I think that is an important factor. I didn’t have a clue but was open to inspiration and confident that something would come. In a way it is not even confidence, well not in any bullish way. It is just a calm assumption that it will happen. Because time was limited I discarded the first couple of things that occurred to me on the basis they would take too long to dry. So still not having a clue what to do for #Letter365 I decided to work on a piece I had prepared a substrate for yesterday. It started well and then got twee and then I ballsed a bit up that looked ugly then tried to make a bad bit better and made it worse instead then altered the bit that went twee and it became one of the best bits and….and essentially it all went really well. When that piece needed drying time I did think I would do my #Letter365 but just thought I could play with something else while on a roll. In the end I just had to start from scratch and amazingly it all came together brilliantly for me. In a way it was even better than I hoped and has an element or aspect that I didn’t predict – a happy accident?
I spent last night and most of today nursing our poor cat, Bramble, and am pretty drained yet strangely creative. I have loads of things I want to play with but am too tired and short of time. Stuff is going in the sketchbook and getting tried out as and when. Today’s piece is just such a one and thankfully it worked well.
The end of a sealing wax stick is always fun and today the little piece I had speared on the tip of a scalpel fell burning on to the envelope. I blew it out and picked it up and it stuck to my fingers and left lovely, fine strings of red scrawled over the envelope, Sadly they didn’t stick to the paper.
I am still struggling to come to terms with our cat being seriously ill, but I managed to get on at the studio for a while today and started a big drawing as well as preparing some substrates. I was a bit concerned that my #Letter365 piece was more device than content and didn’t commit to it fully straightaway and left it hanging around for a while before I was able to see it with objective eyes. Now looking at the photos Ii am happy all is well.
It’s been a very emotionally trying day for me and I have decided that today’s piece is not for sale, but is dedicated to our cat Bramble who may not be with us much longer. She went to the vets to have a dental treatment today but we had a call to say they were unable to give her the anaesthetic because her tongue was swollen with what is probably a tumour. It was that and not her teeth that has been causing her discomfort and difficulty in eating. We thought we might lose her today but she has had a shot that will take away some of the inflammation and discomfort and we have some time to love her until the inevitable time comes when we must decide to have her put down.
I have been pretty distraught and today’s piece is a personal response to the imminence of her loss and as such is not for sale, though it will be displayed in the #Letter365 installation.