Having launched my Spode residency at the end of last month, I have to confess that this, the 18th October, is my first full day on the project. This tends to happen to artists; different projects, (both speculative and live) and multiple obligations rise up and draw back, simultaneously sometimes and in no neat fashion. This leads to bursts of frantic activity and times when everything is on hold, ticking over.
I applied for this residency back in early November. It was one of those speculative projects that I applied for during a frantic period where I was juggling multiple jobs. It is only now that prior obligations are fulfilled (somewhat) and the time and headspace has opened up to allow this project to begin in ernest.
TUES-SAT by the hour:
To make up for my late start, and helpfully to experience the Spode Studios day to day workings, I am setting up here (preliminarily from 9-5 Tuesday to Saturday this week). As well as observing the studio and getting to know its inhabitants, I plan to get to know the site better- its professionals, guards and guides to inform the historic portion of my research. I’ve also got some mapping to do and some experimenting with an unusual print technique (watch this space).
I have agreed also- in the spirit of charting the working lives of artists, to tweet my activities for these 5 days from when i began today at 9am until I finish on Saturday. I am now just over 7 hours into this process and I can tell you that it does make you question the use of time- how much today could I portion to learning? socialising? doing manual work? doing admin? thinking? experimenting?
What has it all been worth? and to who?
280 abstract line drawings:
Perhaps the answer has been staring me in the face all day long. I have been making an A1 map of the town of Stoke. The idea of drawing this freehand was unthinkable- I had no idea where to begin so I set out a grid pattern and copied the map, square by square, from google maps. I decided to do this in rows- starting at the top and working left to right, moving down one square, and then moving right to left all the way to the bottom. To pencil in the map it took me around 3 hours. I created 280 4cm square seemingly abstract drawings that together made up a readable, comprehensive and useful document. I take comfort in the possibility that my residency could be successful this way also.