Seeing others

It’s really easy to let blogs slip when you have to work for a living.

Like most artists, I have to prioritise what I do on my days off.  For those non artists out there, that’s probably an easy decision – you see friends and family on days off.  You go out and enjoy yourself (hopefully anyway)  and just do stuff.

For those of us stuck in this way of life decision we’ve made, in between doing all of the above, you somehow have to fit in not only time spent on your own work (artwork that is) supporting other artists by going out to see their work and then letting people know what you are doing work-wise. Blogging…social media etc etc.

How do you do that if 5/7ths of your week is spent just earning money?

You probably don’t.

So this is a weird way of starting off a new set of blogs for this year I suppose , But what’s the point of writing about how wonderful and fluffy being an artist is…when it isn’t really. Is it?

Its day 29 of the year and I can honestly say that although I have thought a lot about work in those 29 days, I’ve done very little physically.  Its taken me this long just to work out a plan of action for an exhibition I will show my work in quite soon.   Being a small space with 8 other artists involved,  I’m limited to what I can do .

I wanted to do something with slate, as I found a stack of it dumped while out walking my dogs.  I’ve cleaned it and broken some down…. (actually, just realised that I have done something after all …hmmm…)  But then trawling though the internet for ideas, all I could find were cheesy images painted on slate. Blurgh.

So yes, hmmm… I’ve digressed, this blog was going to be about what things have inspired me, exhibitions I’ve seen etc etc, but then I got totally sidetracked.

Being honest, despite planning to see so much over Christmas while I had time off, the time just went. I didn’t see one single exhibition OR produce a finished piece of art OR blog about it.

So yesterday, I forced myself to go out and see some exhibitions in Liverpool . That sounds awful saying that doesn’t it?  Oh what a chore…It was cold and i’d rather spend the day wrapped up, watching TV. What if we all thought like that though? Would artists survive?

First stop was an exhibition by Michael Lacey at A Small view in Liverpool.  The exhibition had been on absolutely ages, but yesterday was the last day.  The space is upstairs in the Gostins Arcade. Couldn’t find a website, but you can follow them on twitter   The arcade is a really interesting concept with loads of independent shops and a couple more galleries opening ( as I was told by the Small View person) I hope more people go, as it was really quiet when I visited.

As the name implies, the gallery is a small room. Nothing else.   The best possible use had been made of the space though and it complemented Lacey’s work. I tentatively asked what else was coming up… partly because I was half contemplating applying for an exhibition..   I bottled out though.  I’m not happy with my work at the moment and I need to think it through more.

This ‘overthinking’ has been my downfall I think.  Especially when I visited exhibition No 2 at the Walker Art Gallery.  Looking North  is an exhibition of work by North West artists.  I recognised all but two names.  It is a really good exhibition, but it really made me question how artists are picked for these shows.  I didn’t mean that to sound disrespectful to the artists involved – all have work worthy of showing,  I was just curious. Is it that they work constantly so always have their work on show somewhere?   Do they know the right people? Mix in the right circles?  Or do they know how to get their work ‘out there’ by other means? Blogging, social media etc etc?

Do they work? Or are they supported and can spend every day in their studios?

I’m glad I made the effort to go out and see what is happening.  I’m not saying that I now feel happier about my work, but I have felt ever such a small spark triggering in the grey cells.




Treading in others steps

While out walking one day, I found a section of old lino sticking up from the mud. Pulling it up, it tore slightly, but the beautiful pattern was still visible.

I thought about the kitchen it once lay in, of the people sat at the table, drinking tea.

Tea design 004r

This piece is a design based on the found lino. It consists of layered tea

Heading to Sweden

I decided to to use the pile of tea that I’d emptied from the bags, before making them into the book.. Building the tea into cones, I found that it added to the relevance of  not only re using as much as possible, but left a  visible residue of drinking the tea.

This work is now on display at ArtMobile, Vesteras in Sweden

WW Tableau


artmobile invite

Finishing the teabag book

I’d put the book aside for a while as I really needed to think about how to finish it.  I’d  been experimenting with layers of teabags – finding out how strong they could be. How much could they stretch or bend without ripping?

With this information, I made straps and buttons, which were quite effective.

Other works with teabags…

Working with Teabags

WW teabag book 005.r My recent work came about while absent mindedly putting teabags to one side, ready to bin or compost them.  When trying to work something out, I make tea.

Realising it was such a huge part of my working life, I wanted to incorporate it into my work.

The first attempts were simply glueing them together and painting on them, but ideas are developing, the more I work.

I had already experimented with making pages of a book, but I wanted to take it further – making the covers and bindings completely out of the tea bag material.


Studio work

For the last few months, I have been making new work in the studio.
I’m still thinking about the insecurity of housing, whether it be for financial reasons, or the instability of climate. Can we work more with the environment and build our houses in the forests? Can our habitats be made more mobile to move us away from danger?



Searching: Unexpected Treasures

My work will be shown in the Searching:Unexpected treasures exhibition at The Bridewell, Liverpool.
More images of my book (shown on the exhibition poster ) can be seen on the ‘Books‘ page on this site.
The book is made from Rubber and contains pages made from tea bags, paper and textiles. Keys once lost, are nestled between the pages.

Searching. unexpected treasures