I had a doubt if I would be able to stick it out at the studio for long enough to do today’s piece and, as I noted on the envelope, I was prepared to bring my materials home and do it here. As it turned out I was inspired to create a piece to send to an artist creating a collaborative installation at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery which I was alerted to today by Paula Youens. The deadline is Tuesday so I needed to get it in the post. So I donned my thermal merino wool base layer and thermal sweater and went to the studio where I drew the infrared heater closer and kept on my coat and merino wool hat and was delighted that I didn’t need my fingerless gloves on! i was also delighted with the two pieces I created, especially the one for #Letter365. It went exactly to plan and worked out exceedingly well though it bears no resemblance to Mr Kipling cakes.
In a conversation I had last Friday with two artists it was suggested that having a studio that is not too warm and comfortable can help to keep you from getting to comfortable about your work. It was suggested that it can be a spur to creativity and keeping the flow of new ideas. I’m not dismissing the notion but as I am never short of ideas I’ll happily sacrifice some for an equable ambient temperature in the studio!
My first attempt at my #Letter365 piece today was, well, crap really. What seemed to be a good idea started well then quickly foundered. Despite many attempts to bring it back from the brink, sadly, it tipped off the edge! Part of the problem was my love of using mixtures of materials that are perhaps not designed to go together – sometimes it produces interesting results. There again another part of the problem was that it wasn’t a well thought through idea and I was experimenting as I went. As we all know not every experiment yields a useful result! If I am really honest, I would have to say that my discipline failed for a while too. It was cold at the studio and I had left it later than I intended and wanted to try out some other ideas not related to #Letter365. The lesson is, I suppose, you can’t win them all and get your ducks in a row first!
I don’t have a thermometer in the studio but it definitely wasn’t warm there today. This morning it was -6°C outside and when my son and I moved my printing press to the studio we didn’t stop. I just spent a few hours there in my merino wool thermals and hat, which I felt was enough time today!
It really hit me today when I was finishing off No221 that I may never see it again. Nobody may ever see it again. I rather liked what I was doing and wanted to share it and get some feedback and move it on with other versions, but I can’t do any of that. In ordinary circumstances if I sell a piece there is a finality to the transaction and I may or may not see the piece again, but then I am settled to it. Not knowing and not being able to talk about it is really weird! Plus I’m only 60%of the way through! And, of course, in the Spring it may all go on the bonfire! It makes me wonder even more about those people who create their work in a vacuum and who don’t share it, expose it, exhibit it and sell it. What a torment that would be!
And it’s not just this aspect of the #Letter365 project that is painful: I have taken on a studio that will be freezing in winter. There was just a sense of it this afternoon. Today was the first time I have worn gloves this season – albeit fingerless ones – but I can imagine that I will be wearing them in the studio soon! More self-inflicted pain!
An unfolding artwork created a piece each day for a year