Friday, 20 August 2010

Economy Drive

There are only 2 weeks left until Urban Baskets opens at Walford Mill Crafts. The last couple of weeks have been particularly intense for me as I had several pieces to finish as well as all the work to pack and document for the tour. Despite the aching hands and arms there are always benefits for me of making under pressure. It forces me to think more analytically and each process is then considered in terms of how much time it will take for the results achieved. Some of the techniques that I have developed to save time have been discovered in the last hours before the work has had to be posted/ delivered/collected or displayed.

Christine Lawry, who is the Chief Executive at Walford Mill and a person with huge amounts of
energy and passion for her work hired a van and drove the 600 mile round trip to Charme on Tuesday with Paddy, the man she married last weekend to collect the work! What a star! The 7 large boxes were whisked away on Thursday morning and my studio suddenly seems very empty. I am very grateful to them both because it took away the stress of posting the work with the hideous spectre of the work not arriving in time for the opening.....

As well as the actual baskets there has been a lot of work on the catalogue but now, finally, it has gone to the printers. Richard Broadway at East Dorset County Council has designed it and has come up with something that I am very happy with. I have had many experiences of my work being represented in print in ways that have not been appropriate or sympathetic so it is a real delight for me to be able to say that I think this catalogue does the job very well.

One of the things I wanted for this catalogue was to have other people write about about my work. Artists and craftspeople are constantly asked to write statements to explain what they do but often they are not very good at using words, they are, after all expert visual communicators and I am indebted to the following people who all generously gave of their time to write about my work from their perspective: Martina Margetts, Senior Tutor in the School of Humanities Department of Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art, Tony Hayward Artist and Publisher and fellow student in the Sculpture Department at St. Martins in 1975, Carlos Fontales, Author and Researcher into the Spanish basket making tradition, apparently the only person reading this blog!) as well as Michael Norton, Social Entrepreneur and Alice Meynell, Designer and mother of 4 children, who are both much appreciated patrons.

Still labels to do and documentation of the other smaller exhibition of baskets from other cultures......

Friday, 6 August 2010


This week I have been photographing my work for the catalogue that is being produced for the forthcoming exhibition, (see Exhibitions for details).

It is always the same, with nearly three years to prepare for this exhibition everything gets squashed into the last few months including the photography.

It has always been my job to photograph my work and a challenge that I have enjoyed. In the beginning I had to do it because I couldn't afford to pay a photographer, I still cannot, but now I would not consider employing anyone else because creating the images of the pieces at least gives me some control over how my work is presented. It also helps me to see the work, the good bits and the bad bits and draws attention to anything that doesn't quite work on the actual piece.
The pieces that are easy to photograph are usually ( but not always) the ones that work best in reality. In this instance I took over 800 photos to arrive at 32 that I was happy with, something that was not possible for me prior to digital cameras because of the expense and time delay.

The accidental photos or the ones where I am just 'playing' with the piece the light and the camera are often for me very interesting, although they don't necessarily show what the audience for these images is wanting to see - a dilemma.