I think I am just about reaching the top of the big loop on this particular roller coaster; not sure if I am upside down or the right way up, but I am certainly on a high relatively speaking!
Since my diagnosis of the breast cancer coming back with large and numerous metastases in my liver and lungs, I have mostly been upside down in the darkest and wettest of loops on the ride. But today I had some good news. I have definitely been accepted onto the trial for an immunotherapy drug which will be administered alongside my chemotherapy. I won’t bore you with all the details, but it does offer me the best chance of more quality days on this glorious planet.
Another reason for being on the top of the big loop is that my little sister from Australia is arriving today and staying for 4 weeks. I cannot begin to express how excited I am by this. She is one amazing person. Full of creativity, talent, practicality, the ability to make me laugh and so much love. We are going to have a ball. I have loads of things planned to do together , quite a lot of them involving art.
Speaking of which, I am really happy that another of my projects for the upcoming Nolitex exhibition I Exist In Two Places (Here and Where You Are) is almost finished. A bit more waxing and polishing, and some levelling out with little feet, and the job will be done. These little people are extensions of my Internet Icons on the Mouse Mats that you have all been sending me. they are not based on anyone, but I have picked out random features and applied them to the hand carved wooden shapes to create individual characters with mismatched facial parts. I wanted them to be having conversations: after all, the whole exhibition is about communication and connections in our modern world
There are 8 of them. I was planning on only 7 but I could not decide which one to leave behind, so they are all there.
My skillful friend and carpenter / joiner brought his band sander along to the house and between us we carved, shaved, whittled and sanded until we had the pod shapes I wanted. The bare wood was then primed with gesso to give proper tooth to the ground for painting with acrylic paints. Each one probably has 15 -20 layers of paint on them. I build up the layers and the textures slowly. They develop on the piece. I did not have any clear concept of how each one would turn out, or what character they would have before I started. That is one of the zillion things I really learnt by doing Nicholas Wilton’s Art2Life course.
Textures are visual – pens and scratch marks, but also I used some modelling paste in places too. The finish is wax buffed to a satin sheen.
These little pod people represent real people having communications and connections in virtual worlds. All of them are slightly wary, and all of them are presenting a side of themselves that is only part of their truths. They sit on an old block of reclaimed wood which represents their real lives. They stick their necks out into the virtual world on shiny new galvanised bolts which anchor them firmly, but also take them to unknown new areas where they wobble around trying to find their place in a new environment.
Because everything I am doing for this exhibition is all about social media and making connections on line, I decided to ask people for ideas for naming the piece. I got so many very good ones on Facebook. It gives me an insight into how people look at my work and what they see in it. Ultimately though, I have chosen The Chat Room as the title because it makes people think a bit more about the work rather than just being words that describe what they can already see. The name adds to the piece rather than describes it. But thank you for all your great suggestions.
Having made this and my other pieces, I have no guarantee that they will be in the exhibition because as a group we have a strict selection procedure with the aim of putting together the very best Nolitex exhibition we can, given the choice of work and the space we have to exhibit in. However, we do tend to move the exhibitions to new venues so there is always a chance of getting work in to the second venue if it missed the first.
Most work gets to go in though. As a group we meet every month and we show each other what we are working on for the exhibition and we have regular critiques. This means that we can head off mistakes or things that are going out of the remit before they go too far down the line. This makes the work more cohesive and also helps us to feed off and inspire each other. Great for morale, great for creativity and great for developing each of us as artists in our own right.
I Exist In Two Places – here and where you are.
An exploration of connections and communication in our modern world
Begins 22nd July and runs until 2nd September at The Steel Rooms in Brigg.
Check out the Nolitex post for more details.
We have a Meet and Greet the artists on 29th July 12 – 3pm. See you there!