I have set up this self-led project to provide some structure and discipline to my creative making as an artist. As I find myself often judgemental and fearful about not quite getting things “right” this is a chance to explore my creative process with the starting point of the question “What do you notice?” and getting enveloped by the process that ensues. As I turn 28 on the 23rd of May it felt like a significant number of days to work with. I shall then present this process, my creations and documentation at my exhibition at Easton Art’s Trail on June 30th and start the conversation of “What do you notice?” with the people I encounter there.
Day 1 is Sunday 13th May, 2012. I shall present my diary of documentation here, along with some documentation images. The full presentation will be found in my front room on 30th June and 1st July 2012.
Day 1: Making the most of the sunshine – Trip to Barry Island for all things 2p machine and ice-cream. The joys of having a vintage convertible. I love feeling the wind in my hair and meditated on the odd shadow this brought to the leather interior door. The transience of a sunny Sunday spent by the sea.
Day 2: Today I am beginning the Artist’s Way course with 3 super women. Stimulated by some stream of consciousness creative writing I produced this short piece about a ventriloquist. Letting my mind and my hand work together in unison I am non-judgemental of what is produced. What a super place to be!
Day 3: Spending an evening with tea, catching up with my favourite radio show I was inspired to create some more handkerchief sewing with words of motivation. Royally getting stuck into a practice of process led noticing and disciplining time to create, I found this creation very fulfilling.
Day 4: Meeting with my sister and a friend for the Alain de Botton talk on “Religion for Atheists” at St George’s Bristol ( a starting point for some future creative exploration), I spent a glorious hour before hand sitting and pottering about in the sun. Listening to others’ conversations and noticing what I find humourous, absurd and surreal is a process I have thoroughly enjoyed this week. This led me to engaging with a conversation had on the waterfront which started with the sentence “ I met a girl called Barry last night…”. Perfect. I was also visually turned on by a selection of beautifully coloured and textured leather jackets on a rail in one of Bristol’s vintage shops. I find vintage clothes wonderful to be around and it gives me a great thrill to spend time simply perusing the bizarre and beautiful finds. Noticing the joy this gives me is a wonderful thing.
Day 5: Today I am caught between work and the birthday celebrations of a friend’s 1 year old daughter. I get caught up in the flow of being with others and avoid time to myself. A fear of facing some uncomfortable feelings that arise around some health concerns. Noticing this fear and my avoidance is an interesting insight in itself.
Day 6: Today I spend the afternoon in my studio. I am surrounded by all of the things and bits that I have and I’m messing around. Nothing particularly jumps out at me, I am just playing with encaustic painting and dribbling, feeling paralysed with self-doubt and a niggle to express something I can’t quite put my finger on. So I have settled down to organise writing up 28 days notice so far. I take some photographs of my artist museum of oddities, curiosities and beauties that I have in a old draw on my wall.
2 dice I have had since I was a child
A piece of found beach glass, from a bottle neck
A piece of found beach ceramic with a beautiful old paisley pattern
A photo of me when I was two taken in Kuwait where I lived for 6 months
A Polaroid that my Father took of a road at sunset in the 1970s.
A found passport photograph that had been burned
A Vanguard stapler that used to belong to my great uncle.
A compass and it’s heavily sellotaped box that was my Father’s
A cup and saucer I found about 8 years ago in a charity shop.
A terracotta pebble I found on a beach in Wales
3 different coloured grave glass stones
A selection of small dried leaves and flowers that I have collected over the years on solitary walks
A shell given to me by a friend who brought it home from a holiday to New Zealand
An Chinese stone jacket fastener, given to me by on a performance writing weekend by a fellow artist
A fabric name tag cut from a bed sheet that was donated to me by my great aunt
In the afternoon I spend an hour in the Bristol Aquarium and find the small jellyfish, in their pink and blue lit tanks, wonderfully hypnotic. So I shoot some small films and take some photographs.
Day 7: Today I ran the Bristol 10k. Aside from noticing a lot of people running, the excitement and the burn in my legs, the morning went by in a wonderful blur. This photograph I took at lunchtime when I had settled to enjoy a well needed roast dinner. One area I find real beauty and inspiration is interior design; the colour, texture and use of space in indoor and outdoor spaces. The colours of the Lazy Dog pub in Horfield soothed me this afternoon and I took great pleasure in noticing and savouring the light and dark contrast of a glass of lime soda and deep claret of wine on the deep magenta tables. Two small objects that I have kept as mementos from this day are the brown paper luggage label with my race number on it (attached to my bag in lock-up) and the rusted, broken piece of metal my partner took off the exhaust of his 1971 Ausin Healey Sprite while having a tinker on Sunday afternoon. Noticing the colour and texture of rust gives me great pleasure.
Day 8: After giving myself the OK to take this noticing project to the textural places of interior design, I am not ashamed to say the toilets in the new(ish) Boston Tea Party on Cheltenham Road actually took my breath away. I had not been in there before and when spending a sunny couple of hours reading outside with tea I savoured some short minutes (so as not to cross any social boundaries!) admiring the beautiful texture of old metal cell doors, the solid, worn, chunky wood of the mirrors and peeling paint of the panels. Beautiful. I also wrote a short piece, in my Artist’s Way group session, about “my relationship with my washing machine.” I shall that in this project too.
Day 9: During a lunchtime stroll I find myself noticing the shadows on the beautifully tiled floor of a shop. As the sun is strong today I take this opportunity to bring my attention to those small shadows everywhere as I walk through Bristol.
Day 10: Today I turned 28. I time for change. I took myself to the Relaxation Centre for a Thai Yoga massage and spent some time in the beautiful garden they have there. This was a real chance to connect to myself, relax and really take notice of the beautiful detail around me. The subtle shades of red tea, caught on the lip of my tea cup and the small pink petals, one for every year of my life. I took great pleasure in savouring organising the petals in lines of 7 in my notebook. It wasn’t until I started writing on the page overleaf later on that day I realised that I was actually writing onto the petals. The wonderful finds that come by chance – I am relishing having the time and attention to relish these within this project. As I find that text and image merge more and more in my process I am inspired by this find.
I also partake in some blind drawing of the forget-me-nots in the garden. This is a technique I often use within workshops but have never taken it out into my own practice. I am very happy with the delicate and ornate drawing that I create.
Day 11: Today I am caught up in work and life so much that I do not set aside the time to create anything. I notice how disappointing and fragmenting this is. The more time I give to nourishing creativity and connectedness the more I miss it when it not in my day. A motivating noticing in itself.
Day 12: Today I travel back to West Wales for the weekend. A long drive in the old car with the roof down is delicious. Sun on skin and wind in hair watching the landscape change from city, to motorway, to industrial plains, towns and then Wooden village. I finally sit down quite late on in the evening with some paper to make a collage and am absorbed in flow, letting myself be led to patterns and colours on the glossy pages and words that form a sentence expressing something that felt apt for that moment.
Day 13: Using wood and dried bamboo leaves as paper. Noticing the detail as I sit surrounded by the immense detail of the day. I try a different petal and notice the gloss. I enjoy taking short films of the shadows, the light and dark finding it’s canvas on walls, pots and wood. The beauty in the simplicity, the transience of that image. Collecting these moments makes me begin to think it’s an important and poetic element of my process. I savour photographing my findings and makings.
Day 14: Today is a day of rust. Now that I have voiced to people in my life that I love to savour rust I have people giving me small things they find. How super! This top of a lighter, and even more pieces off of the car, are added to my collection. I play with taking images in the car of the newly installed wing mirrors as we travel back over the Wales/England border. Looking back to my home and forward to the week ahead in Bristol.
Day 15: Today I spend a couple of hours in the late afternoon in my studio. I am on a mission to explore shadows, to make my own. I have been bringing awareness to how the beauty and interesting is in noticing the particular and the peculiar. I take the work particular and make a stencil of particular and attach it to the window as the afternoon sun disappears behind buildings. I have no idea where the shadows and words shall fall. I document the shadows that come and go as the clouds settle. Playing with light and language: how delightful.
Day 16: Today is a day full of work and home life. I crave for my alone time to reflect and create, but am stuck for it today. So I express something that I long to shout at the world: “ Oh do pipe down, would you.” Laughing at my irritation and annoyance, I am able to sleep better having voiced this.
Day 17: Today I spend some time in my studio but the block has firmly lodged itself in place. I feel heavy with thought and planning and trying to be something. Trying to make something. Trying to create and make it significant and all encompassing. I spend time playing with burning wax and splattering. The mess and fun and colour and smell of wax soon lightens me up… and this becomes the message to self for the day. Lighten Up!
Day 18: Only 10 days to go! Today is a rollercoaster of a day. Hospital and a funeral. I come away from the funeral with a clear desire…need… to be with those in my life that I can sometimes neglect. Noticing them, spending my time with them, this is the creation of my life. I am full of reflection, sadness, and life affirming pulling today. To have lived and not expressed to others, to have not let myself create, this would be a great shame. I spend time today writing up a very short story that I wrote on a train a number of years ago (*see A Very Short Story post). An observation about another passenger. I am moved to not let these things lie. To live is to create. I also find particular has a different shadow when I visit my studio. I document this.