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17 December 2009

Last entry of the year

The last entry of the year. A strange combination of slow and overactive, that happens sometimes. Not a sign of miss-spent time or of nothing done, just not yet evident in practice.
The image of our seasonal garden decorations, made by spiders and we had to do nothing except provide the environment for them! In the nature of Slow Making they are transient and seasonal and use sustainable materials. Contrast to the neighbours' bright lights, fashionable, brilliant and energy thirsty, I thought somehow Christmas decorations should be in harmony with the Creator they promote and celebrate, especially as we are currently trying to promote the Copenhagen agreements and cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.
I have started a Flickr site to collect images of Slow Making with others, the first images are of these spiders' webs.
The New Year promises many things which
offer new places and challenges. Looking forward to them always conscious of seasons and timings not of my planning!

05 November 2009

Drawing with willow

Planning for a workshop at WWT Welney Swan festival, I planned to set the task of drawing a swan with one piece of willow. Surely a result of the workshop last week, I found myself drawing with willow and these are the first results.

They are almost balletic in form, the beginning of something new perhaps. Just realising the diverse variety of entries there are in this blog, the materials and processes; but the thoughts go along together in very similar ways all the time. The pace of growth, drawing and stitching have so much in common.

04 November 2009

Weaving conversation and baskets

Mary Butcher lead a master class at NUCA, a chance to play and reflect; 11 of us were invited. to take part. The opportunity to have conversations about the nature of making, the processes involved and the character of materials; it was both refreshing and hard work. Good to see the variety of work approaches.
I found myself taking more and more and more apart! Learning how to leave stuff out was good. Leaving space for imagination and thoughts, always a good idea. Space to breathe. Again it showed me how vital it is to STOP and work slowly. Slow Making includes the spaces, the time to look, not constructing, just feeling materials and tools. There are images on a Flickr page, so just a taste here.

23 October 2009

footprints and impressions of 350 Day of actions

Making simple actions in public, the theme was of footprints and walking in conversation. Sun and rain, together with hot cups of chocolate and generosity of spirit were overwhelmingly the feel of the day.
Most people are aware of the need to do something and want to change their dependence on oil products, I found a real concern but at the same time lack of knowledge about how to do that change. Now is the time to be informed and make a difference!

12 October 2009

350 International Day of Action

'Coat to cover the Earth'
This work I made 10 years ago. It has a list of endangered species, many of which are now extinct I fear.
I have brought this out again because the 350 International Day of Cilmate Action is coming up on 24th October and I am going to walk next to the river in Ely, inviting 350 people to join me to take part in an action and making transient work. See the facebook group page to see when and where.
Not easy to photograph, the fragility of fine cotton and copper wire crochet does not show itself well. I made it as a model of a much larger piece, where the space between the two layers would be big enough to walk between. Not yet commissioned but I do have a place in mind, so let me know if you are interested.
Again walking and conversation are the priority.

09 October 2009

Stitching and expression in Reading

Stitching and expression of community, cups of tea and cake shared by participants in the workshop and opening event for Fair Trade Material Matters at RISC. the Global Cafe is a hub for all sorts of activities where the work will become part of people's everyday lives for the month.
I found leaving the work in place hard this time, almost as if it had taken on a personality. The more relationships and faces collected, the more powerful the work becomes. I had not anticipated this effect. I need to reflect on Slow Making again, what it signifies and how the power of accumulative, collecting, repetitive work expresses Slow.
More details of the work are on The RISC website.

29 September 2009

A month with no rain

This month was so dry, the whole of September with no rain. I don't know the records for previous years, but sure I don't remember any September without rain and so warm. I have been outside most days working on the allotment, cycling has been easy in this weather.
Why so preocupied? Because I presented work at CRASSH seminar 'Vegetable Love' about being an artist who grows edible plants.

The action, my allotment drawn and stitched onto a tablecloth, together with some of the vegetables grown there. Conversation about the process of growing, relationship with human and non-human neighbours, I found myself performing in a way that became poetic, lyrical and characteristic of the place.
Again the pattern is

04 August 2009

Slow to keep up

I have been pre-occupied with trying to keep up with all the different aspects of making work. In the nature of Slow Making this is not always bad and as Salt Trails at Salthouse 09 has been the main reason it has been productive and enjoyable.
The pace of work is not always to do with the making, the spaces in between when no work is physically made is equally important. Finding space and time when no-one interrupts and nothing else has priority on my time is hard. Not easy to explain that sitting, being, listening and watching is part of the work that is not yet apparent.
I need the time to absorb what has happened, what will change and enable the work to form.

25 June 2009

From Salt Trails in summer to stitching in winter

Walking at Salthouse with a group from Contemplative Fire was a journey in a different direction, or at least one that took a new path. A progression maybe, crossing pathways and carrying baggage from other events and communities. Do we share the baggage or help each other to let go? Which ever it is I learned that it helps to have the right pack, walking aids and companions, and to know how to carry the load. I enjoyed the fact that this was seasonal work and intend to demonstrate more of this in my work. Seasonal fits with Slow Making.

Making space, clearing surfaces is like making a pathway to walk and work in, so that is what I am doing until September, when not keeping the allotment clear of weeds and picking fruit and vegetables. A similar activity I suppose.
Preparing the studio to do concentrated work includes removing all traces of other activities, they are like background noise, or muddy water!
For me story sharing and stitching go together, indoor activities, so stitching work for Fair Trade Material Matters will start again as the summer disappears, it seems to have taken on the character of autumn and winter activity. This autumn it will go to RISC in Reading and make new relationships and connections.

definitions, words and physical actions


All coming closer together, having relationship, beginning to form a pattern of making and being.

People and places, exhibitions and walks, allotment sheds, studio and garden, computors and drawings, thinking about the relationship between growing, stitching and weaving patterns, making marks in land, fabric and lives.

Origins of the word stitch come from Old Saxon: stiki Old English: stice Old High German: stih Gothic: stiks
Definitions of the word stitch:(noun) A prick, puncture or stab inflicted by a pointed implement. (verb)Fasten together or join pieces of fabric
Phrases: A good stitch - a considerable distance to walk. A ridge or baulk of land, especially a strip of ploughed land between two water furrows. A narrow ridge in which potatoes grow. To stitch: Set up sheaves of grain in stitches, stooks or shocks.

14 June 2009

Field Theatre

Littleport Field Theatre walk is planned for June 27th, a Mid-summer event and an opportunity to make more Green Corridors work and invite others to take part.
Physical textiles are taking second place or are the metaphor for field trips and walks. Interlacing people and places, weaving walks between communities. Salt Trails, Landline Arts and The Field Theatre - here is a strong theme that I hadn't planned.
Well that was the plan, but things change and the walk is not taking place. Summer is hot and apart from keeping the allotment free of weeds and with a succession of crops going, I have been spending time doing more stitching for Fair Trade Material matters. The online quilt is growing and currently has about 160 portraits.

14 May 2009

Sheds and working places

Fair Trade Material Matters is installed at Shed and a Half Gallery, in London. The web site is relaunched, a really significant step for the work it is able to grow without me, an entity in it's own right. Being involved with developing the site I have considered it more as an exhibition space, more than just an information hub. This has made the process seem visual and physical. The sheds at Shed and a Half have taken on the character of the work as a whole, comments already about the atmosphere being calm and spacious, while still full of work
I like the way people respond to the invitation to draw their self portrait, there have been some very strong, unexpected reactions to the process.
There will be a mid show event, so if you are looking at this before June 5th 2009 get in touch to find out more!

09 May 2009

Walks and conversations

Developing a work pattern and walks with Liz.
Salt Trails website published conversations about land and places. We chose Hapisburgh - pronounced Haze-br-e as our first practice walk with participants. Dramatic and unsettling, difficult to comprehend what it might be like to live there.

Again links with people and places, the ones that amaze me are the ones who are already so busy and knowledgeable and have given the ideas and work so much respect. It is very special to share walks and conversations with them.
Littleport Field Theatre and Landline Arts are also exploring ways to express the significant and meaningful sense of places which make them special to communities. Values of property and people are so different on the coast, especially a moving and unstable one. like the East Anglian one. Coming across a Ringed Plover's nest on the beach was also very moving. How delicate and 'on the edge' is that existence!

25 April 2009

Spring 2009

I am aware that I have been too pre-occupied with cultivating and maintaining the garden and allotment, as always I get far too over focused. This may be because there has been no rain for three weeks, but before that it was because I want to re-establish my relationship with growing food as well as providing a better environment for the cultivated plants to grow in.
I saw the willow structure made earlier in the year in Ely today, it is developing happily, with only a few straggling parts not showing new shoots. It was good to see it in use by small children

I feel as though the crossing paths are making links and bridges between people and places which I have not been relaxed enough to do previously, working more locally is sometimes harder. But now is the right time for me.
I have also had time at Welney Wildfowl Centre one of the first places I used willow and made a large structure, so this year I have been restoring the shape of the Swan Shelter, now eight years old. The sound of bees all over the willow flowers was quite overwhelming, especially as there is such bad news internationally about bees dying of mysterious disease.

26 March 2009


Being visiting artist at Fact, Foundation for Arts and Creative Technologies, Liverpool for a few days, was busy, inspiring, thought provoking and provided me with a place to see responses to Waterways maps as they happened.

I always had the idea that they would extend my walking relationships. Conversations with audience, visitors and participants in workshop sessions revealed the power maps have to aid conversation and relationships between people and places. I will now be able to develop the work further and more effectively.
For more images see GaiiaL@tE project

05 February 2009


Installing exhibition with Landline Arts, at Haddenham Gallery
Gave me the chance to hang Waterway maps in a different way and response from other artists was very affirming. From general visitors it seemed to be they were somewhat mystified. The venue is not one for 'Slow' art perhaps and as always I am learning that the relationship between the work and the host is crucial.
It was a good place to move the shelter from Holt, especially as it snowed and gave it new character. Inland it is a different being.

27 January 2009

Crossing pathways: materials, people and places

A new phase in Slow Making, a new relationship to work with. Accepted for Salthouse 09, I am working with Liz McGowan on Salt Trails. A joy to be thinking about this work with the knowledge that I will not be building or creating a structure, no materials to be manipulated. Quite strange to be in a place time where I feel that this is a good way to work. Salt Trails will be a series of conversations and walks along the North Norfolk coast. A piece I have been weaving in the studio will also come to conclusion this year. Originally made to help my thought processes when I started to think about Slow Making, it is also used in an animation by Tim Drake.
I think the nature of this year will be reflective and Slow, but who knows what people and places my path will cross and what will be made from them.

23 January 2009

New Year, a slow start

Creatively this year has started slowly, each step taken with a bit more time and consideration. Is it age, or is it just that I don't want to be rushed into making decisions?
Marmalade has been a real marker for the start of this year, even more this time because I was away when the Seville Oranges were available last year. One of the few seasonal fruits remaining it serves as a marker, like a punctuation, or breath in the over abundance of food.

While taking time preparing the fruit I became aware of the relationship between this activity and Slow Making, So here are some images of the process. Unfortunately you can't smell the wonderful overpowering citrus fumes or hear the family conversations, which seem to be integral to making enough marmalade to stack on the shelves and supply friends and family for the year. Not quite the same conversations, but similar each year, drawing people and places together. The colours, the reflections, the tactile elements. Sticky, hot and sweet. So much a part of childhood and yet so much my decision to continue the activity. Making this seasonal produce helped clarify thoughts about planned Slow Making conversations and how they might develop this year.
It really is a sign of the new year, the reminder that the sun and warm seasons will bring colour, fruit and food once more.