Practice - What is giving your life meaning this week?
So far, cleaning and oiling the decking upon which my shed stands. I have neglected it. And looking at my garden and my neighbour's garden, both of which I worked on last week.
What do you see as the most important and the most overlooked aspect of your work?
Humour and irony
Do you think your work would be different if you knew no one was ever going to see it except you?
No... and yes! I try to produce what I consider to be my best work without having an audience or a show in mind. But I have a stern inner critic, which begs two questions: firstly is the inner critic me or does it belong in the outer world? And, secondly, without subjecting the work to wider exposure, would that inner critic be crippling? I suspect that whilst I would still work, I would quite possibly be constantly unhappy with what I produced. In fact there have been very long periods when no one saw what I did and I think I sabotaged a lot of work through a sort of sense of shame and self-hatred generated by the inner critic.
Describe your dream studio situation and what is the biggest thing you think you took for granted about working in your studio ?
Fortunately I can still work in my studio, which has been great. My dream studio would be huge and have one side of well-insulated sliding glass, opening on to light mixed woodland. There would be an area for sitting and reading, an area for preparing and eating food, fantastic storage and a huge working area. It would probably be in Germany or Scandinavia. A robot would tidy and clean it early every morning.
What is your best time of the day or night to work and why?
It seems, whatever I try, I always end up working best in the afternoon and early evening.
What is your studio staple snack?
I'm not a snacker (wrong generation!). But I'm fuelled by tea throughout the day.
Tell us about something you saw on your one walk of the day
I saw too many people feeding bread to the ducks, which makes me angry!
If you had to live with one vice for the rest of your life what would it be?
I would like to have the opportunity to live with many more vices. Perhaps the vice would be Vice-greed.
What is your favourite podcast?
Something new for me to listen to is not a podcast but an app which plays ambient sound for sufferers of tinnitus. In my studio the other day I had waves on a beach playing and it was gorgeous. I could still hear the machinery noise and bells of my tinnitus, but there was something about the lapping water that seemed to send me into a sort of reverie.
What is the best gift you've ever given or been given, vs the worst?
Long ago a boyfriend made an Advent calendar for me. Every day from December 1st to Christmas Day he would give me a note with a clue in it. Solving the clue would lead me to a gift. I remember one day the clue led me to a little post box in the wall where I found a tiny 1920s cup and saucer that I had seen in an antique shop and coveted. I still have it.
It was a spectacular present. Looking back I'm still puzzled as to what motivated him as he wasn't in other ways romantic or demonstratively fond of me.
What is the best film you've ever seen vs the worst?
Not the best or worst, but I found 'Lost in Translation' unbearable. I recently watched The Souvenir by Joanna Hogg and was very moved by it.
What's the most inspirational place you've been?
Maybe it would be Lithuania
Which era would you like to have experienced /experience again?
Being a woman and coming from my background, any other era most likely would have offered me very few opportunities. But I would like to revisit my youth and live again with the knowledge of hindsight.?
What are three trivial things you are missing since lockdown and three things you are enjoying?
Missing: dancing, human touch, spontaneity
Enjoying: peace, simplicity, the hawthorn on Wanstead Flats
What is your favourite hour of the day now? Are you aware of each hour/time more or less now?
There seem to be more hours now, and individually they matter less. I don't have a favourite.
What have you learnt, what are you consuming, what are you now expert in - since lockdown?
Reading: 'Echoism' by Donna Christina Savery; 'Iron John' by Robert Bly; 'The Body Keeps the Score' by Bessel Van Der Kolk; and 'Dispatches From Syria - The Morning They Came For Us' by Janine Di Giovanni.
Please pick one of the three following prompts as a starting point to make some work using an A5 piece of paper/cloth/whatever you like. There is no restriction on media and feel free to try something different and new.
Draw the last dream that you remember
Draw a self portrait as a favourite animal doing your favourite daily thing
Draw the last text you received
Check out Eleanor's Exercise Three piece here!