3 Days to go to York Open Studios. I’m not nearly ready yet (but I have two full days of working time ahead of me so I’ll get there!). Check out the YOS website to see details of my and the other artists’ venues. Opening 6pm on Friday and then all day on Saturday/Sunday. Then the same again the following weekend. I will be ready (but I have a lot of work to do).
The last two days I’ve been in Sheffield for work – at a ‘Collaboration Colloquium’ organised by the LIFE-SHARE project, on which I have been working until this week. It was held in the Endcliffe Village campus of the University of Sheffield, in the west end of Sheffield. I’ve been there before, and it’s a part I like walking round a lot. It’s a mostly a Victorian area, similar to parts of Glasgow where I was a student (I’m thinking of places like Dowanhill, Hyndland and parts of Pollockshields). Big Victorian villas and terrace houses set on a varied, hilly landscape. The Victorians did space really well, somehow. I think that maybe part of the heritage of modernism is that we tend now to make places open unless there is a real need for enclosure. New houses near where I live have odd bits of space in front of them, perhaps a couple of feet deep. The current answer is to throw down some mulch or gravel and plant a hebe and a couple of cotoneasters. The Victorians would build a little wall around it, to create an essentially useless but nevertheless ‘nice’ space. I like Victorian front gardens and the walls that enclose them. For a child, they would be nice spaces to hide in, like the odd little corners that Victorian houses always seem to have. They are essentially mysterious.
I went the wrong way last night trying to get to our hotel on Glossop Road and ended up outside the Botanical Gardens. No big deal but I had to cut across to where the hotel was and this involved ascending this delicious, leafy, shady, mysterious street with big stone houses either side. Mature trees, including a yew and a huge 20′ magnolia made the place feel enchanted. I like odd architectural details; crumbling stonework; the way a house sits on a corner which is also on a steep hill; large windows with high-ceilinged rooms glimpsed within.
The gerbils are out. We let them run about the living room floor and they are terrorizing us and the room. Little acrobats, they scale the back of the recliner and run up our trouser legs. They have a fascination with my feet and nibble furiously at my slippers and socks whenever they can, even actually biting me. They play games with us, approaching to see that we chase them and then running away. Then they run up our legs and onto our laps, as if they’ve forgotten they were trying to escape from us.
This is the second in a series where I just want to record the dull things I do as an artist, because a lot of it is dull (but interesting, all the same). Well, here was today’s itinerary:-
Send out emails to my contacts list advertising my participation in York Open Studios
Create a little compliments slip with images to go with the brochures I post out. Can’t print it because I only have a black and white printer.
Write a list of people to send York Open Studios brochures out to. Can’t post them until I’ve printed the compliments slip somewhere.
Ring the bank
Go to Co-op and buy a ready meal and some flowers for Ioana (Romanian women’s day). Heat up the meal and eat it. Put the flowers in a vase and throw dead flowers away.
Bind one of the little books I am making to submit to an exhibition in Hungary. The exhibition is on the theme of the effects of digitisation on the culture of reading and I am making a series of small artist’s books using paper from discarded journals from the University Library, where I work. I made on inspired by a statistic I read in a report, namely that digitising all of the eligible (i.e. out of copyright) books in European Libraries would cost the same as at least 33 Eurofighter jets. I made a little book with 33 pages, each of which has the shape of a Eurofighter cut out of it, so that there is a Eurofighter-shaped hole all the way through it (see picture). I painted a little illumination of St. John from a copy of Tyndale’s bible in the British Library on the first page last night. Today I had to make holes 1cm apart down one side of all of the pages to sew through, using a small punch and a mallet. I did this while listening to a documentary about Peter Lanyon on the BBC website. Then I sewed it together and took it outside to photograph it. The battery on my camera died, so I only got one shot, which wasn’t the best I could get. I’ll have to do it again.
I’m planning to exhibit a large painting of a mad striding figure which I did a while ago at the Open Studios. I brought it round to the house from where it was stored at the weekend, but it was dusty (not properly stored, as I wasn’t intending to keep it – now I quite like it). Dusted it. Made a wooden frame to fix to the back of the hardboard, so I can hang it. This took some time to do. It was a nice sunny day, so working in the shed was pleasant.
Sandpapered the edges of some small hardboard panels I cut to size last Thursday, ready to prime them. I sat out in the garden to do this and pondered garden things.
Less than a month to go to York Open Studios 2011! I’m going to be showing new abstract paintings and landscapes, plus older stuff, too. I’ve got more space this time, as I’m at a different venue: 138 Beckfield Lane, Acomb. Put Open Studios in your diaries and come and see my work and the work of 118 other artists across the city of York. Two weekends: Friday April 1st 6-9pm; Saturday April 2nd 10am-6pm; Sunday April 3rd 11am-5pm; Friday April 8th 6-9pm; Saturday April 9th 10am-6pm; Sunday April 10th 11am-5pm.