How to be an artist

I went to London at the weekend go have a last gasp meet with some girlfriends before one of them has a baby. Had some nice lunch in Covent garden and then a wander around our favourite girly shops (Cath Kidston and Orla Kiely) and then on into the two Magma stores to browse the lovely design object and design books.
While in the bookstore I found this wonderful book called How to be an Artist. I was pretty sceptical as those sort of things ares usually full of mumbo jumbo, stuff you already know or way over your head. This one was pleasantly refreshing though.

It’s witty, concise, practical and helpful. It is a more edible version of our first VE lecture. Some if which was so fast paced it was lost on me. It is also dramatically confidence building. Jo had already said to me that I should stop beating myself up and I will be sure to push this book in the direction of some people who i know, like me, feel desperately inadequate or out of their depth about their work on this MA.
It has all of the elements that we needed to explore on the take two piece written down with suggestions on how to overcome your blocks etc. It may seem a little like self-help in places, but I have read over half of it on my train journeys today – which is unbelievable for me. It is engrossing and enlightening and well designed – I did after all find it in a graphic design bookshop! It even makes me want to WRITE in the book to highlight sections – which I regard as sacrilege.

The biggest thing I think I will take from it (so far) is about comparing your work to work in galleries. And how many attempts and revisions those works have been through to get to the piece on show. The first work you produce is NOT going to be the one in the gallery!!!

Also the doing one thing every day is really useful. That bit sounds like some diet books I’ve had(!) but really rings true. I’m much happier when I’ve had a fiddle about with something creative in my head and put it out there in felt or electronically. As the book states, it’s going nowhere in your head! You have to create to be creative. So I will try to take that ethos through and try to do something, even really little, most days. Even if it is reflection.

Must also say, I got Bob back from the crematorium yesterday. While it is comforting to know where his physical remains are – it is odd that I was so excited about him coming home and then so upset when I got him here, because he just wasn’t here. He’s become an abstraction of himself. Refined into the base elements of his physical form – but his being is now missing. It is nice that I still get to talk to him and not have that constant nagging of what happened to his ashes, but it’s odd. I can’t describe it as more than odd. Still, my boy is now home and I think I have decided I’d like a sphere for his ashes. Dad is going to make me a container for his ashes, so I have asked him to make me a sphere from a beautiful piece of wood, such as yew. He says he has such a piece and we’ll look at that when Mum and Dad come over tomorrow.

And there are a couple of ideas I must write down lest I forget!

  • Squares. Then blended squares. Then bands. Then whole.
  • Elgol honeycomb. Made of felted with felted stones to move around inside and interact with and position where you like. This would be an interesting concept for the piece to enter in Fabric of the Land.

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