This week has been one of intense experience and activity. Firstly, I received the sketchbook that I share with Louise back through the post; I am inspired and energised by her additions and am once again suffering from broken nights as ideas come dropping into my brain in the small hours. I am keeping a notepad by the bed so that I can catch them and then get back to sleep. Louise’s additions included a page of measuring charts from an apothecary; this took me back to GCSE English Literature lessons and Romeo and Juliet. Juliet drank the potion brewed by the apothecary, which led me back to the references to Alice in Wonderland I made at the start of the book, Alice and the bottle labelled ‘Drink Me’. My brain is wandering off in all kinds of directions with this starting point, including Harry Potter, the witches in Macbeth, theatre and costume (this also links in with Louise’s collaged addition of some dresses)… hence the notebook by the bed. Watch this space.
Yesterday I went to Birmingham to the Practice Imperfect CPD for artist educators. It was informative and stimulating to share ideas with others, to meet with artists who are employed in arts professions, and to meet some fellow Sketchbook Circle participants. I attended an immersive drawing and mark making workshop with Sarah Goudie, which was lovely – peaceful and meditative; working collaboratively with other participants on huge rolls of paper, I really enjoyed losing myself in the physical process of drawing. The second workshop was printing and pattern making with Sarah Bagshaw. This was lively and enjoyable; I am always impressed by what you can achieve with basic materials and techniques such as plastic cup or cork printing, mark making with plastic forks and collaging with chain store craft materials. Art isn’t and shouldn’t be something expensive and inaccessible to all but the divinely chosen few; there is beauty to be found in the everyday and the ordinary and I love art made by using stuff everyone has lying around the house. Personally I am a particular sucker for cardboard, old books and other discarded ephemera, and these elements feature regularly in my personal work. I love the tactile qualities and smell of paper, and the abstract shapes and patterns I can make by ripping and cutting old magazines, flyers, books and packets. I also love the process of making them into something new – making a piece of art by recycling and reusing the old and discarded – beauty in the everyday and the ordinary.
The other exciting new idea I received from yesterday was the information about the Artist Teacher Scheme. I had the opportunity to discuss it with some of the course tutors and current students, all of whom were very positive and encouraging. I think that this is going to be the next step in my artistic journey and am eagerly awaiting the opening of the enrolment for the course. Although the start of the day was slightly fraught (I always get lost in Birmingham), I think my day was summed up by an awesome piece of street art I saw behind the town hall. A huge eagle looks out from a concrete corner, a banner streaming from his beak which reads ‘Todo es posible’. Everything is possible.