There’s still a lot swirling round my head about being in The Lakes and the swings and roundabouts of life but just as a last blog post for today I wanted to share my exciting news that I’ve started a new volunteering venture with Eden Arts- working currently on the C-Art project. I’ve only been there two weeks and already I feel a huge sense of achievement. At the moment I’m helping out with the social media and blog aspect of the project. Learning the ins and outs of programs like Hoot-Suite; setting scheduled facebook posts and tweets. But for me the real value of this experience is getting back out there, learning new skills, meeting new people, finding out that Cumbria actually does have quite a lot going on art wise and most importantly reminding myself that art jobs are available nationwide and I can do this!
Now I’m back home I’ve been visiting all those friends and relatives I’ve been missing so much- both in Manchester and Nottingham. Whilst I was there I managed to chuck some art in too. I was a little disappointed by Nottingham Contemporary’s offer; although there were many well-known names, there was nothing really that sparked anything. The most noticeable piece for me portrayed a map of the world drawn in flags by Alighiero Boetti. At the Manchester Art Gallery I was pleasantly surprised to find an exhibition on my favourite… home design. The piece here that caught my eye was Richard Hamilton’s Interior. Since doing by scrapbook collage has become more and more appealing to me. Even if it starts just as a way to generate ideas- I’m thinking this might be a starting point to begin making new work again for me.
As my own little project throughout the travelling adventures I lovingly created a scrapbook of memories. Saving each little ticket, receipt, map or boarding pass, I tore out, stuck in, sketched and painted the journeys. I really enjoyed this little task, it got me back into sketching again, I did a bit of water-colouring by the beach, and for the hoarder inside me, meant I got to keep all the tickets!
Whilst on the travels, as you can imagine, I visited a great deal of galleries and saw lots of amazing art. They were a great source of inspiration for me as well as being any travellers dream… a fantastic free activity! The most memorable visit has to be in Melbourne at the National Gallery Victoria. Being an extremely well established gallery; I got to see the likes of William Morris, Mark Rothko, Picasso and David Hockney, plus a really amazing piece of art by Jeff Koons- Puppy Vase– a real tribute to the working class objects of my grandma’s living room. But the piece which really hit home for me (please excuse the pun) was by Scott King- A balloon for Britain. The piece framed 10 grainy photographs of Britain’s 10 poorest towns and cities. Above each image was a brightly coloured balloon symbolising the gentrification/regeneration of these towns using public art. And low and behold was an image I recognised.. I’d passed that same building each day for 8 years as I passed it on my to school/college. There was my home town of Blackburn! Seeing Blackburn depicted, (be it not in the kindest of lights), in the National Gallery of Victoria was a mile stone for me. It symbolised where I’d come from and re-established that notion of working class roots within my work.
It’s difficult to know where to start after having a big break from blogging. Having said that, the ideas have not been thin on the ground- they’ve been constantly following me around on my travels. So I’ve got quite a lot to write about. It’s only now I’ve found time to sit down re-think these ideas and get them out of my head.
It was kind of strange for me, because my practice has always had a very key Englishness about it. It’s focus being- British homes, British objects and more recently- our social class system. That’s always been what I’ve been surrounded by I suppose. So how did being on the other side of the world affect my thinking? I think for some they may have felt swayed to delve into these new cultures; Australia, New Zealand and especially Bali’s unique way of life but for me I only saw it as a comparison to our British homes and lifestyle.
The main idea I’ve come away with is one that I touched on in Townsville, when we visited the remote village of Paluma, and that’s this: In truth it’s only our corner of the world that really matters to any individual.
Our sanctuary, our world, the world we know and care about, our family and friends, the place we find shelter and the place we know inside out. It’s the place we call home. Whether that’s in the secluded township of Otira (in the Southern Alps of NZ), or busy Ubud, or Watersedge Motel on The Strand or even in a caravan in Ullswater (the place I call my home)- It’s our corner of the world.