Monday, 3 September 2018

PhD-Ness Part 5 in a weekly series - thinking, sorting, doing, deadlifting

Todays picture shows a fairly empty post it note thing on top of work I'm in the process of sorting and taking to the framers so that it can be ready for my Once and Now exhibition at Kapow Coffee House Thorntons Arcade starting at the beginning of October. It's part of the Love Arts Festival and you can find out details about all the things that are part of the festival here - there are all sorts of lovely things on including performances, poetry and pictures.

It's interesting sorting through the images I've made in and of St George's Field, some of them I'm really pleased with as I have managed to capture exactly what it was I was trying to, some of them make me think of Roy Walker as in 'good, but not right' and some make me think 'plan and take the right equipment next time' or 'if I'd only stood a little more to the left' or 'a slightly longer exposure and I've have got it...' my plan is to review the space they're going in again this week, sort through the images again but this time with the helpful and more objective eye of my ever supportive husband and then decide which ones to have framed and show. 

I last updated this blog only 4 days ago so not much time to have done stuff but as I am trying to get back into a weekly habit of academic reflexive writing I decided to write it again today. Plus writing it on a Monday helps me both reflect on the previous week as well as prepare for the forthcoming one.

My note somewhat predictably contains the words 'difficulty concentrating' - twas ever thus and maybe I just need to accept that rather than difficulty concentrating I just have a kind of flitting brain and as long as the task gets finished does it matter if I do it in snatches of concentration rather than one big long tranche. Plus as I write this on the computer it's incredibly easy to get distracted, especially if I have to look something up.

Anyways on with the note - one of the things it says is 'horsehair in the post'. One of the things I am really interested in and hoping to make a version of my own is mourning jewellery that includes hair. Thanks to an international inter library loan I was able to read the very wonderful The Art of Hair Work Book by Mark Campbell which consists of patterns and tips on how to make them. One of the tips is that as human hair can be very fine it can be padded out with horsehair which is much stiffer and coarser and so easier to work with. I am lucky to have a chum who has a horse so I asked her to save me hair from each grooming session with her horse and a lovely packet of it arrived through the post last week. I hope to start working with it soon.

My favourite seasons are (and in this order) autumn, spring, winter - I'm not really a fan of summer as though I like the extra strong sunlight from a developing cyanotypes and anthotypes point of view, I do not like the heat. Nor do I like having to slather myself in factor 50 and so feel like a chip each time I leave the house. Autumn brings cosy nights when as the light fades you can close the curtains and light candles and read ghost stories without feeling out of place. Plus I love the half light of Autumn - especially when it is gloomily misty and atmospheric. Plus Autumn has Halloween - my very favourite time of year.

Plus as autumn is also the start of a new academic year it also fills me with excitement (as well as slight trepidation) as who knows what the new term will bring? apart from a very good excuse to buy new stationery - obviously.  I've not had any emails yet from the university outlining what if any the new enrolment arrangements are - will contact them by the end of the week if I still haven't heard anything and in the meantime slowly but surely plod on with my reading list. I've read a bit more of the Rings of Saturn (Sebald) and am still loving it and making all sorts of notes on the text.

This reading and writing malarkey is mostly sedentary though so I'm still having deadlifting sessions twice a week as it is helping me with my goals of not being quite so sedentary, getting fitter and increasing my stamina. Plus it is a very definite thing to do in lots of ways when compared to my academic pursuits and I was pleased last week to be that bit nearer to my goal of being able to deadlift 80kg by the end of the year by deadlifting 60kg. I am most decidedly knackered though.

Yesterday I went to see a film about Andy Goldsworthy and it was very good indeed but rather than talk about it here -I shall put it in the next section:

Programmes/Films Watched
Reidelshimer T (director) 2018 Leaning Into The Wind UK Filmpunkt Skyline Productions
A film which followed Andy Goldsworthy making work with his daughter Holly as his assistant, talking about his influences, researching and showing images of his work around the world, either in situ or in progress. It's many years since I saw an exhibition of his work at Leeds Art Gallery and fell in awe of it. IIRC it was the shapes made out of dried leaves held together with thorns which most impressed and intrigued me, as well as the use of brightly coloured natural leaves in situ in the landscape. This film also showed his pieces within a city setting too - think it was in Edinburgh, including his beautiful temporary pieces where he lies down on the floor as it begins to rain, waits til the ground surrounding him has changed colour with the rain and then stands up - leaving a splayed limbs human shape behind which quickly becomes spotted and disappears. Beautiful, simple, evocative, poignant and fun.

He talked about how for him being an artist meant he could ask the question - can you walk by something or through something as he was making his way through hedges - not from front to back but from one end to the other in a way that looked very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous should you fall. He did say that learning to fall is very important for an artist. He also talked of how his favourite kind of day is an overcast grey calm one as that gives him time to stop and that's a relief.

It also showed him revisiting the coffins carved into the cliff above Morecambe Bay in Heysham and the Sleeping Stones they've inspired him to make around the world. This made me especially happy as I went there in July and laid in one of them. How much time and weather changes things - in the film they were full of rainwater, when I saw them they were full of dust. Which also reminds me of the scene in Brazil where he was throwing and sweeping dust into the beam of light from a hole in the roof in an otherwise abandoned cottage. I also found the covering of a hand in thick black mud and washing it off under a waterfall very moving as it made me think of loss and the transience of all things though it could also be thought of as a revealing too.

As ever lots of food for thought and I really enjoyed the way he described his work and the motivations behind it. It did also make me wonder about health and safety as there was an awful lot of climbing, stone carving with power tools and being alone in the landscape and physical discomfort at a level I wouldn't be at all comfortable with. In my eyes - he really does suffer for his art.

Books Read
Ongoing reading of Rings of Saturn and Gaudy Night
the unread pile of books that I need to read continues to nag at me......

Exhibitions Attended
None - but definite plans have been made to visit the Victorian Giants of Photography at the Millenium Gallery in Sheffield later this month. 

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