It's been a weird day in studio 6.20 today - my charcoal coated creative sanctuary was invaded by shopping trolleys, power tools and flying techno drones.
I have to be honest and say that there's been no drawing done there for over a month now, other than doodles over photographs of empty gallery spaces and graph paper plans of exhibition layouts. I've really missed getting into my 'grey zone', immersing myself in the pure joy of line, tone, proportion and light. However, I have set myself the goal of curating a sizeable group show with an adventurous concept and that won't organise itself now will it. So, with twenty other artists taking part and only four days to build it in the gallery, I've been putting all my time and effort into preparations and publicity for Make yourself @ home.
I began today by transferring most of the useful and interesting things from the shed to my car, then into a shopping trolley to take them up in the lift to my studio, which meant that the trolley was cluttering up my space. A happy hour or so was spent wielding my power tools, making shelves and brackets and other fixings for the show - very satisfying also because everything was made from materials collected and retrieved over the years or 'buckshee' as the Scots say.
Then Costas and the film crew from Wolfstar Pictures came in to have a look around and see if it was suitable for the wee film they are making to promote our Open Week at St Margaret's House. We had a good chat, they said a lot of technical things I couldn't understand to each other, then we agreed how I should set it up for the filming. Here's a quick snippet introducing their idea, which involves an 'Artdrone' snooping round the studios after hours - slightly creepy but in a good way I think! Other studios are being filmed over the next few days, then we shall see the secret life of St Margaret's House.
Want to know what an Art drone is? Have a look here »
My newest challenge has been consuming all my time lately, hence the long absence from my blog. I've ventured into the realms of curating for the 'Make yourself @ home' exhibition which will be part of the St Margaret's House Open week programme of exhibitions, open studios, workshops and events, launching on Friday 11th October.
The idea has been brewing for quite some time and is largely based on my experience of running my own shows, combined with my years working to develop creative approaches to community engagement, the rationale being:
- The conventional ‘white cube’ art gallery environment can sometimes be intimidating to those not used to it
- People want to buy art but aren’t always sure how to go about it or find it hard to imagine in their homes
- Potential buyers often like to know more about the artist as well as the work - we need ways to bring artists/makers and buyers together
- Create an environment which suggests the domestic, which makes visitors feel comfortable and ‘@home’
- Set the scene with furniture, props, lighting and sound throughout the gallery, evoking different parts of the home – e.g. a bed you can lie on to view a digital gallery projected on the wall, a sofa to sit on with a tv to show artists’ and makers’ images, a dining table where you can sit on handmade chairs, displaying ceramics, textiles etc., a desk with PC to view artist/makers websites, displaying handmade books, shelves etc.
- It’s not the intention to create a ‘showhome’ in the gallery, more to allow participants to show their work in an environment that hints of home but celebrates the original and the handmade
- Be open and clear about selling and buying, make it easy for visitors to buy, easy for artists/makers to connect with potential buyers
- To enable visitors to relate to fine and applied arts as something they would have in their homes
- To showcase the work of some of St Margaret's House tenants and to hopefully sell some artwork to people who will love it.
So those were the ideals I set out with and I now have a selection of works from over 20 artists and makers to feature in the show. I also have loan of a bed, a sofa and even the toilet, which I'm hoping will create some hilarity as visitors perch on the pan to admire the 'view from the loo'!