It’s a busy old life that is fulfilling and rewarding. I feel independent,
enriched and happy. I’ve spent the last nine years of my life juggling
a family single-handed, working and studying for a Degree and
then a Masters in Fine Art. Through art I have found a new pathway
that resonates within me, taking me forward by adding meaning
and purpose to my existence beyond my responsibilities. Attaining
a Masters Degree in Fine Art from UoC in September 2015 was an
absolute high point in my life, my greatest achievement after my four
children. Life is hectic but I always manage to fit in my art practice as it
is what defines me. My art is an extension of who I am.
Collaboration and the artwork
Authenticity within my art practice is paramount to me. Art is such a
personal pursuit. How can two artists with divergent practices come
together and still stay true to themselves? When making work it has
to feel right and true for both Yvonne and I, and this is where the
challenges of the collaboration were discovered. Working together at
the University on concertina books, we practiced our mark making
that would inform our separate works. We responded to each other
by embracing our differences in scale and technique, and this became
the form of our collaboration. I responded by producing an ‘Inkscape’
outside on a cold but sunny winter’s day on top of my regular haunt,
the Iron Age hill fort at Cissbury Ring.
The ‘Inkscape’ is an enormous ink drawing created on a huge roll of
paper. It is a gestural, expressive, intuitive and free piece of work, a
celebration of life being lived, engaging with the past, thinking to the
future but really embracing and being in the now. Working outside was
exhilarating and a highlight of the project as I created an immediate
response to being in the landscape at that particular moment in time.
In contrast Yvonne enjoyed working small scale, in tiny boxes, indoors
in the warmth and safety of her own space at home.
Yvonne and I agreed to line our kitchen floors with paper as a record
of our lives over the period of the project.
The paper that has lined my kitchen floor, capturing the marks and
traces of everyday life in my home for over two months, was then
taken outside to “The Trundle”, an Iron Age Hill Fort at Goodwood,
and here I made a second kitchen shaped ‘Inkscape’. Taking what had
been inside my home outside, I reworked the floor piece, layering
it with a new landscape of charcoal and ink. With Rachel working
alongside, it seemed the perfect climax to the project. This worn,
torn, multi-layered and fragmented piece of work reflected life
lived, enriched by time and embedded with memory and knowledge.
Having the freedom to express ourselves through whatever form is
appropriate unearths truths far beyond words. The realization that
collaboration can mean separate works in response to each other was
liberating and allowed us to work individually, taking this new work to
exciting and contrasting scales.
I began this project one year after completing my Masters degree.
Having experienced collaboration during my studies I thought I had an
idea of what to expect. How wrong was I. This collaboration has been a
challenging, interesting, stimulating, eye-opening experience. At times
I have felt frustrated, inadequate and quite ‘the outsider’, but at other
times I have felt epic and liberated.
Perhaps this reflects life, anything worth living has tides, highs
and lows, and phases. It also has an end, an aim and a goal to work
towards. The roles have sometimes blurred, who was the facilitator,
who was the artist, who was the outsider? As an intimate small group
of three we have wrangled with big issues that have been revealed
through trust and respect and we have all responded with some rich
and loaded work. Learning of Yvonne and Rachel’s past trauma has
been emotional and I feel proud to have worked alongside two strong
and gifted females. I believe the influence we have had on each other’s
practices will inform our work for a long time to come. We have all
gained confidence in our abilities and I have felt valued as an artist.