Working from my studio at home and my painting studio just outside the village of Stonegrave, North Yorkshire, I am a painter, occasional print and artists' book maker. Drawing is important to my practice.
I have not begun to make any final works for my AA2A project yet; I am still busy collecting material to incorporate into it. My aim is to combine text, image and mark making to create a visually interesting surface in three dimensions. The use of print and paint on Chinese paper will have a beautiful way of diffusing light and creating shadows, depending on where it is shown and how it is draped or hung. This will mirror the hoped for quality of the acrylic piece I am planning as part of the trio of free standing pillars. I am already thinking about other venues where the work could be shown but not approached anywhere as yet.
I am planning to make at least three free standing pillars that represent the qualities of earth, air and water. (This is the working title of the piece). These are the "holy trinity" of our life support system that will be threatened if fracking is allowed to take place. One pillar of steel sheet (homage to Middlesbrough steel manufacturing as well as a nod to my original ballot box piece), one pillar of ply wood and one of acrylic sheet, all painted and printed upon with a variety of text, imagery and mark making to produce an interesting surface. The work is not meant to be polemic; it is my personal response to the threat that fracking poses to the land, water and air where I live, and beyond.
I put out a call last Friday to local people fighting fracking to provide me with a few sentences each about how they feel about it. I have had ten responses back already and am hopeful of a lot more; this community engagement aspect has grown out of my continued thinking process about the whole body of work.
I am also continuously surprised at the connections I am making with ideas within the project; I have already mentioned textile construction, its relation to "taking a line for a walk" in drawing and recently the ideas of darning to repair holes has become a metaphor that I have begun to speculate on. Recent research into chemicals used in the fracking process or those that are brought up to the surface of the earth as a result of fracking has startled me; the diagrams of the different chemical bonds looked very similar to crochet diagrams!
Attending the recent lecture at Teesside University by Alice Fox was interesting; her method of collecting, refining, thinking and producing, have certain parallels within my current work. Also; her absolutely beautiful artists' books (I have been lucky enough to own one for a few years now), constantly inspire me. Alice self publishes books as well; kind of catalogues of each body of work she produces; this is something I need to seriously think about too because, like her, I simply do not manage to sell many of my original pieces and as Alice pointed out, everyone can manage to buy one of those for a few pounds.
I may not be around Teesside University campus very much during February; my daughter is due to have her first baby in about a week. I will however continue to collect material together and to make small drawings so that when I am able to be back, I can get going with producing the final works.
I am beginning to feel excited and a little daunted!
The works illustrated here are part of the interim exhibition at Teesside University that illustrate my research methods during the early stages of a project and reflect my studio wall during this phase, hence the tape rather than nicely presented work!