On the Road Again.

It is the story of my adult life.  When I know the way around the supermarket, when I can confidently navigate the back roads it is Time.  Time to get the boxes out and say my goodbyes.  My daughter was only seven when she suggested to me that we were Travellers, although, given her creative imagination she was probably already referring to time travellers!

This move is a strange one in that it is very piecemeal.  First we packed up the house and put everything in store.  Then we started creating the house that we will move into next summer. Now I am packing the studio and taking on a temporary space at Lanhay and, whilst the new space will be bigger and cheaper and closer to the building work, I don’t like the act of moving out!  Don’t get me wrong.  I am extremely excited about going to Cornwall.  I have wanted to live there since I was about ten and this is a dream coming true. But Wimbledon!  I feel this is where I have come of age.

015
Regina at work on our studio.

 

It is almost exactly four years since my lovely friend Regina suggested that we should share a space at Wimbledon.  This was pre diploma.  My work was amateur and I was completely unsure of what I was doing.

IMG_8466for website
My work was amateur!

Regina, on the other hand was a skilled thrower who knew precisely how.  Four years on and so much has happened.  I have completed the Course at City Lit and what an experience that was!  If I had not had a space at Wimbledon to practice and develop, the diploma would have been virtually impossible!  Since then, I have had about 20 months of flying solo – Regina left for pastures new and, without the rigour of formal study , I have been developing my practice, honing my skills and getting ‘out there’ at shows and in galleries.

 

And always, in the background, a supportive group of ‘proper’ artists to whom I could turn for advice and support.  We have had great discussions about my work and theirs, they have helped me with my first approaches to galleries, we have held each other tightly when things were tough, we have talked over the kettle about everything under the sun and I have really appreciated their company.

This week I have dismantled my studio in preparation for moving out on Saturday and everything is one chaotic mess.

img_20170124_125628_069
The studio is in Chaos!

Well I can cope with that.  But what is more difficult to bear is the metaphoric drawing out of the tent pegs.  The hearing of conversations in the corridor about a future that I will not be part of.  The knowledge, which comes with experience of so many moves, that it is time to let go and get out fast – no fuss, no drama, just gone!

 

I hate this part!

And so I am stalling!  Not really going at all!  Having my cake and eating it!  Making in Cornwall but hanging on by my finger nails in Wimbledon. Thanks to the wonderful Louise Diggle I have a small corner of a studio in Wimbledon in which to lurk.  Somewhere to talk to clients and discuss my work.

bellmansknottclient1
Somewhere to talk to clients.

Maybe even take part in the future of WAS.  I realise that I won’t belong properly and I am aware of how hard that will be but I just can’t quite let go so, Cornwall, here I come but in Wimbledon. . . . . I’m still standing!

 

Once More to the Dump, Dear Friends.

Moving house is proving very traumatic.  It is not so much the sorting, tidying and packing that is getting me down.  It is more the trips to the dump.  How on earth did I accumulate so much rubbish in the short time that I have lived in London?

The scary thing is that so much of what I have taken down to add to landfill is as a result of my ceramical activity; not something about which I feel terribly clever.

122
Oh dear!

The problem with ceramics is that, once fired, they last for ever which is why they are so useful historically.  I wonder if, in the millennia to come some poor archaeologist is going to be subjected to sifting through a deep hole in south east England and will happen upon the efforts of my ceramics misadventures!

 

Fair enough, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs but when I think about the number of trips that I have done with car loads of experiments and errors over the past few weeks it drives home the responsibility that we all have to think before we fire.  I realise that the fact that much of this work was created as a part of my Diploma and from which I learned a huge amount mitigates this waste to some extent but at what cost?  I suppose there are a number of questions that we should ask ourselves each time we load a kiln.

  • What do I expect to achieve in this firing?
  • What is the likelihood of achieving it?
  • Which pieces already look like a triumph of hope over expectation?article-1104741-017C6CA2000004B0-617_468x286[1]http://www.dailymail.co.uk

     

I am not suggesting that we should not experiment, Heaven forbid!  Indeed I adhere to the view that every firing should include some kind of experimental piece.  I am simply suggesting that all of us have a responsibility to care for our planet and that as ceramic artists we are sending the planet a double whammy which makes it even more important that we examine our consciences on a regular basis:  We plunder our natural resources in order to make work which, if we are not happy with, we throw away where it adds to the problems of landfill.