Oh no! Just when I thought that I knew where I was going, along comes a true fan and expresses a considerable desire for work which I no longer make and thought I was finished with!
I spent last Saturday at Klay London working a stint in the gallery with my friend and fellow artist Ranti. I love her exciting colourful work and I respect her opinions hugely. The gallery was quiet – everyone must have been south of the river at Wimbledon – so we got to talking about the direction in which our work is going. She was firm with me – go in the direction that you have set yourself. It works, it is what you want to do. I nodded sagely. She is so right and anyway, I have written reams about which direction to head. I have, as my devoted readers will know, made up my mind.
Sunday came and I was back at the Open Studios in Wimbledon. One of the early visitors to my studio was Dave. He is a bit of a fan of mine, although he loves my rebellious side and insists on continuing to call me Frankie long after I acknowledged that I needed to conform a little bit and call myself by my given name. He has a couple of my pieces already and had made a return visit for more. But what to choose? To my surprise he took relatively scant notice of my new work and headed for the older pieces, the bits that I am no longer interested in.
He also expressed a wish to see the final pieces that I made for my diploma – which I had not even bothered to bring in from the car!
I am left wondering whether this level of self doubt is ever going to leave me or whether, as an artist, it is my lot never to be absolutely sure ever again. Perhaps I just need to accept it and remember the words of architect Frank Gehry to get with my intuition.
Emotional leakage: That is why I am an artist I suppose. It allows me to grasp all the powerful emotions, which would otherwise leave me exhausted and wrung out, and turn them into something which carries different messages to different people but for me is somehow exciting and reinvigorating, sometimes at the most unlikely of times.
I love studying at City Lit. So much so that if anything goes wrong with it I feel doubly betrayed. Once because it hasn’t lived up to my expectations and once because I feel personally bereft. This week there was a minor glitch in the proceedings and, coupled with a whole raft of other stuff which was going on, I hit the buffers! In actual fact it was a wonderful week. A tiny comment from one of my tutors sparked an exciting trail of thought which, along with everything else that happened, had sown the seed for some exciting developments in my work, although it was much later that night when I realised it. I met the amazing Fred Gatley who generously gave me a couple of hours sitting on the floor of his office, looking at his work, discussing his ceramic journey, comparing notes and making me feel like an equal – Oh I wish! He didn’t see me leave, which is just as well because people in their fifties should not be observed skipping along the street!
The day then got progressively worse! One thing after another tipped me further and further towards the downward surge. There is only so much of a roller coaster that my mind can accommodate and so, eventually, when my phone rang to inform me of the next crisis, I began to leak: Quietly, inexplicably, all over the show! And so it was, that at 2:00 the following morning all these things came together and I discovered a little idea growing unstoppably inside me. In fact it was a passing comment from Fred which nudged the seed Robert Cooper had sown earlier into germination. Later that morning I scuttled to the studio and started making tears – they have a way to go but these are intended to be treasured things of true beauty – watch this space: – – – -So this blog in is honour of all the ups and downs we endure and in praise of tears.