This month after almost one year of being a Handshake ‘mentee’ I made the immensely tough decision to retire from the project due to personal and family reasons. This past year working Sally and the group at large has lead to many breakthroughs and uncovered new strategies and ideas that, when the time is right I look forward to developing further. I may no longer be an active participant in this wonderful project but I remain dedicated fan and look forward to following the work of the project over the coming months.
Nga mihi nui
March 15 2015
Catch up post
This is what blogging looks like, at home at night with wine glass and skype notes.
In some ways my first blog post of the year feels like my first blog post ever. Since the Handshake project started 10 months ago I have defaulted to posting only images and have found the blog and its mystery audience foreign and quite unnatural. Additionally I often repeat the excuse that I only write when I feel like writing, and the longer I have left this blog space empty of text the harder it has been to start.
I’ve never considered myself to be much of a writer, I find it nearly impossible to commit to a word or sentence and often rewrite emails and text messages many times. It is quite mad, a bit obsessive and doesn’t always equal better writing.
While my blog voice has been somewhat muted behind images that I hoped would speak on my behalf, my computer keyboard has in fact been banging out emails to my Handshake mentor Sally (I recently calculated that we have shared more than 55,000 words over email, which is allot). In these emails and via skype we talk about; the weather, other peoples work, our own work, books, mentors, friends, children, family, galleries, Munich, time, what is there, ways of describing/looking, method, technique, rhythm, seasons, holidays, success. Sally’s correspondence is generous and considered and I am inspired to respond with as much honesty and attention as I can translate onto the screen and across the sea.
Sally offers pragmatic and unvarnished feedback on work that I present as an image or held up to the screen, sometimes finished and sometimes barely started. These conversations push me, with care. Responding to Sally’s questions and considering and discussing making decisions has revealed things about my work and method that I never would have discovered otherwise.
The distance and technology that assists and confuses our communication has been new to get used to. Sally and I have never properly met and sometimes when I write to Sally I feel like I am talking to myself.
a small selection of more than 90 emails between Sally and I.
When I first applied for HandShake I had a tiny baby who slept a lot and lay still on a sheepskin mat. I felt certain this was the perfect time for applying for a two year programme like Handshake, as it would surely keep me in the game through a time of change and reorganising priorities. However as any parent will testify it is possible for everything to change in such a short time with a newborn and the last ten months my family, rhythm, priorities, and goals have been reshuffled a number of times already.
Up until about six weeks out from the Toi Poneke exhibition last year, for fear of sounding resentful I stubbornly refused to admit or discuss the links with maintaining a practice and maintaining a small child. The two were obviously and unavoidably affecting each other but I was scared to admit it, I didn’t want my new life and new baby to take over my practice. After one particularly sleepless night in September I gave up denying this connection and in the same moment, a breakthrough came. From here I began to form the structure that I would make to for the Toi Poneke show in november last year.
The concept was simple and honest and involved a completely new way of working. I would give in and embrace my situation and make within the dynamic, stop-start rhythm that I had found myself living with. I made pieces in small bursts sometimes as short as five or ten minute intervals, late at night and when the baby was sleeping. Time became the challenge, structure and method.
After a number of years of following a method that included months of material research and play, trials, expensive material acquisitions and complicated findings I found myself letting go and jumping in, selecting a material, gluing, or soldering it with another, folding some steel and fixing a back in 5min, 20min or 40minute sessions, making to the clock for as long or as short a session until the baby wakes or I am called away to some other life event.
Below is a roll of images of the work that followed.
1. One hour. Brooch. foam, paint, silver, stainless steel. 40mmx40mmx13mm
2. Two naps. Ring. Copper, solder. 35mmx2mm
3. Five minutes. Brooch. Cardboard, paint, stainless steel, glue. 100mmx80mmx25mm
4. Four hours. Brooch. Tin, silver, paint, stainless steel. 45mmx18mmx33mm
5. Four days / tealeaves. Brooch. Silver, copper, paint, stainless steel, resin. 90mmx25mmx70mm
6. Four hours. Necklace. Tin, paint, cord. 65mmx55x44
7. July-Oct. Brooch. Silver, copper, paint, cardboard, thread. 140mmx125mmx40mm
October 25 2014
September 17 2014
June 20 2014
This is a small brooch I made for Vivien Atkinson’s Salon Rouge performance during the opening weekend of Wunderruma