Exercise Three Round Two // Kirsty Whiten

June 17 2020

Exercise One

Practice - What is giving your life meaning this week?

Finally seeing some friends face to face (even if not allowed to hold them) and have conversation with full body-reading real-life communication has been really moving.


What do you see as the most important and the most overlooked aspect of your work?

 The most important aspect for me is the empowerment of many identities within my imagary – but this question has caused me some head scratching and I finally have to say I don’t feel like anything important is over-looked in my work – I feel like the communication of my ideas is often reflected back to me, just as I have meant it – sometimes better! - I’m so grateful for these reflections.


Do you think your work would be different if you knew no one was ever going to see it except you?

 There is a whole part of my practice that isn’t seen by anyone but me. It does look different, and function differently; a wordless conversation with myself for the purpose of unearthing things just beyond my daily, conscious brain. I think if noone would see what what I made it would be more like personal spells and rituals, journeys and writing.


Describe your dream studio situation and what is the biggest thing you think you took for granted about working in your studio ?

 Ugh. I’m so lucky – my studio is in my house and I am all set up here. That’s such a blessing in lockdown! But conversely my dream would be to move my workspace away from my living space – it is the biggest mistake I made in designing and building our house – even if it was at the bottom of the garden it would be batter! I would like a walkable/cyclable commute to work. I need a phase-change between work and home.


What is your best time of the day or night to work and why? 

 It sometimes takes me nearly all day to sink into the groove of working, and I get really productive late afternoon if I hit that groove and can go on into the evening. When I have work in progress, I listen to long audiobooks so that the story pulls me into my workplace and tethers me there.


What is your studio staple snack?

 Tea and biscuits. Crunchy apples.


Tell us about something you saw on your one walk of the day

 My housemate has raised a pride flag – which seems to double as an NHS celebration too – in our small village in Fife. A total rainbow joy. (It’s useful to know which way the wind is blowing.)


 If you had to live with one vice for the rest of your life what would it be?

 Perfectionism is pretty harsh to live with, and feeds self-doubt/criticism, but it’s very useful for getting shit done. I’ll take that.


Exercise Two

What is your favourite podcast?

I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts but I found “How should we begin” by Esther Perel was a very good education for long term relationships. I also like Tara Brach for meditation.


What is the best film you've ever seen vs the worst?

 I just don’t know about best ever. But best this year was the Swedish film Border, which shook my core. Everyone told me I’d love The Witch but it did nothing for me because I tend to like witches. And goats.


What's the most inspirational place you've been?

 I’ve visited intentional communities in the mountains in Spain and Portugal, and something about the mythical landscape and the very different expectations of living that went on there lit a fire on my head. It’s fed directly into my work. It’s definitely my back-up plan to end up there.


What are three trivial things you are missing since lockdown and three things you are enjoying?

·     Tea breaks in classes

·     Icecream at the beach

·     Sinking into a cinema seat in the dark



·     Home yoga practice

·     Occasional sunbathing outside my backdoor

·     Making bread


What is your favourite hour of the day now? Are you aware of each hour/time more or less now?

 Bedtime or early morning, which is my alone time in a busy family house. Time seems like a big smooth object, or maybe a stirring soup? without much structure imposed on it.


What have you learnt, what are you consuming, what are you now expert in - since lockdown?

 I have been eating really well – by that I mean mostly healthy but also a lot, and plenty of treats! I think that food has become a focus of comfort, indulgence, conscious self-care and desire to be strong and healthy, and it’s always an important social glue in my family, especially since there are four of us having all meals together all the time.


I have learned to actively seek out good and deep conversation and connection to friends, as a medicine, succour and nourishment.


Exercise Three

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 Kirsty's Exercise Three pieces here!