It is wonderful what a calming effect this aquatic life is giving me. I have managed to make a load of work this week, despite the heat in my studio, which in August is normally enough to drive me out. It is just as well really. The pressure on me to create was growing exponentially. I had 4 more works to make for an exhibition in Cornwall at Tregony Gallery which starts in early September; I have a lot to do to prepare for Kew Gardens in October – it might seem ages away but I shall be in Canada throughout September; I had a commission to finish for a 70th birthday present and I need to restock my shelves at Klay London. So a wee bit of making was always going to be a good thing.
However, the desire to create is also an ephemeral thing – here one minute, vanished the next so it is always a huge relief to me when I turn up at the studio and find that I can get right on with it. The days when I seem to need to spend an hour or more on Facebook, wash the floor, tidy the shelves and still the urge to make does not come are really very difficult. Does anyone else have this problem I wonder?
Anyway, this week I have been churning it out. The kiln has been fired 3 times and the shelves are groaning under the weight of drying works. Phew, what a relief! But the best thing? At the end of the day, covered in dust and feeling tired, I can sit on the pontoon beside the boat with a glass in my hand and my feet in the water and watch the cygnets practicing their one footed swimming – and BREATHE.
This week I have done my last day of teaching ever. Yes, I know that some of my friends think that I won’t last. That I won’t be able to resist the call of the children for more than a few months. But this time I really think I can. There is too much to do now: boats to sail, gardens to create, journeys to travel, houses to love, homes to nurture. I am so full of plans and so many of them include playing with clay.
So over the weekend we are sorting out and throwing away vast quantities of our old life, shrugging off the chattels which we have lugged from pillar to post over so many years. Some will go into store to be lovingly unwrapped once the house in Cornwall is decorated and ready to give them a permanent home – I can’t throw out a single photograph and I am having difficulty with some of the children’s toys. Well, memories are important!
And then I become a proper artist. Included in my complete change of lifestyle comes a boat on the River Thames which will become our London home from now on. My days will begin with an exercise regime – well it is about time – and then there will be the trip to the studio, which will no longer necessitate using a car.
I already have one piece of work in Cornwall at Tregony Gallery but there will be more to come very soon. Then there is our Pop up Gallery which has been such a success that we are now in negotiations with the local council to make it permanent.
I have a number of commissions to work on in the next few weeks and I am keen to find myself some kind of artist in residence position before too much longer because I love the idea of doing some site specific work for a while.
So that’s it. Nothing to do now except box up the last few possessions and trundle off up the river to Thames Ditton which is about to become my wonderful floating home.