Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A couple of days a week, when I'm in South Wales, I go to Cardiff to work at the new Central Library. It's a brilliant building with 5 floors of books, CDs and DVDs and about 100 computers all linked to the internet and with a useful suite of programs on them. I can do some research, type some notes and print them out. Job's a good 'un. I'm there now, writing this.

My favourite place to sit is in a comfy chair by the window on the 4th floor. That's where the sections on marketing and personal development are. I like to read them and imagine what it would be like if I ever did anything about any of it. I take sandwiches and a flask. I may start taking a blanket to put over my knees.

Much more interesting, though, is that from here I can see the construction site for the new St. David's 2 Shopping Centre. All day long people and machines are coming and going. It's a constantly shifting scene of hi-viz jackets and different coloured hard hats.

Over the weeks I've seen them dig a huge hole, fill it in, dig it again, fill it in again ... so many times. Now they've levelled it ... though I've seen them do that before so I don't really believe them.

The logistics are amazing with so many elements being co-ordinated (or not). It amazes me that if they need a massive JCB, one appears. If they need a small hand-brush, they get one of those too.

I've been thinking a lot about the logistics of what I do, and itemising the materials I use. When you work for yourself you have to provide pretty much everything yourself.

It occurred to me when I blogged before about the idea of a kaleidoscope. I realised that the randomness and the changing patterns are the result of numerous individual pieces of different shapes and sizes. They don't change, only their pattern does.

Previously, whenever I started a new job, I was given a desk and access to all the resources I needed. I used a lot of elastic bands because we used to have wars across the dividing screens. I customised a wooden ruler with 6 notches at one end so I could load it up with 6 elastic bands and fire an onslaught. I had a colleague who was a photographer so I also used a lot of elastic bands when I put them on my head for him to do a portrait of me.

Anyway.

To make art, I need numerous things. For example, as a base I might use canvas, wood, paper - and there are loads of different types. I've even painted onto slate, stone and crockery. To create images I use pencils, pens, inks, paints (of different types - such as poster paints, acrylics, enamels, emulsion), photos, collage and found items. I apply media using brushes, rollers, palette knives, string, paper towel, rags, cling film and my hands. Then there are primers, glues, varnish (matt and gloss), frames, fixtures, fittings, labels, packaging, promotional materials ... and so it goes on.

Making art can be a spontaneous, intuitive process. But it can only be that if the materials and equipment are there to be used as tools for getting the job done. With much of my 'stuff' still in storage, it's become more important for me to be organised. I need to know what I've got and where, and have ready access to it. I've never made so many lists and labels

Sitting in the Library, and watching other people work, is a great visual reminder that I need to be doing things EVERY DAY ... even if they are small, routine and repetitive ... and I need the resources to do those things ... otherwise nothing will ever get built. And sold.

Comments:
Stuff in storage! I know it well, just when I think I will get access to everything it gets hidden again. I have learnt to do some small embroideries as I don't need a huge amount of equipment to do that but I still dream of building an art studio. One day! One day!

Just curious what do you do for accommodation? Are you still moving about or do you have a base?
 
Joanna ... my stuff is stored in my Dad's garage, my clothes are in a suitcase and my art materials are in the boot of my car! I don't have a permanent base yet though for the last few weeks I've been based mainly at my Dad's.
 
All very true (the post). That was my favourite place to sit too (top of library by window and business books). Maybe your car is a great storage place and you could 'kit it out' with storage crates, drawers, portfolios - whatever you need so that you can always have your stuff with you.
 
Given that your ultimate goal is to alternate between North and South Wales (and all points in between) it seems to me that you should invest in something like a motorhome - and I'm not just suggesting this because I happen to have one to sell - but it could be one solution towards fulfilling some of your needs.
 
Jo ... my car is already kitted out a mini mobile studio ... a prototype of the bigger one I want to get one day!

Anonymous ... when I first started kicking this around a friend suggested a motorhome! I want to get one and use it as a mobile studio (see above!). How much is yours? And who are you??????
 
Don't know if the vehicle would be appropriate for you being a vintage Bedford CF250 - I bought it on impulse, forgetting that I'm not a tinkerer.
I paid £2000 for it, and I think I'd like to sell it for around that price - but I'm getting some work done on the machine at the moment before putting it up for sale.
I'll email you if you'd like and attach some pictures, it's quite distinctive and, if you're interested, you can come and have a look at it.
My name's Peter - we met on the craft fair circuit.
 
Don't know if the vehicle would be appropriate for you being a vintage Bedford CF250 - I bought it on impulse, forgetting that I'm not a tinkerer.
I paid £2000 for it, and I think I'd like to sell it for around that price - but I'm getting some work done on the machine at the moment before putting it up for sale.
I'll email you if you'd like and attach some pictures, it's quite distinctive and, if you're interested, you can come and have a look at it.
My name's Peter - we met on the craft fair circuit.
 
Thanks, Peter, but not quite what I had in mind!
 
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