Sunday, 4 December 2016


in London for the a.n Christmas party - great fun with lovely committed people from all over the country.  Who knew Elton John has such poor taste? I've been looking forward to see his collection of photos at Tate Modern as they are some of the images that have inspired and informed my thinking - but the choice of framing and the frames themselves somehow managed to diminish and overwhelm the images, this with the hang, where tiny images are above head height means that you actually cannot physically see some of the work - my advice get the catalogue and really see the work, it makes you realise the skill of galleries, what they do when showing work. meanwhile has an excellent group show - Looking at one thing and thinking of something else. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Tape Recordings is great fun, I love the work of Manfred Mohr so it was good to see it again but Between Simonetta is an outstanding technical feat morphing two images into each other - sort of! has a series of stunning photographs of bundles of documents within folded cloth by Dayanita Singh. has a very eclectic show called  Animality. it's a great show to get loads of inspiration around animals and their behaviour, for me stand out pieces are the octopus film and the joke/representation of the eye of the needle quote upstairs! A highlight of the day was The infinite mix the whole experience is awesome - incredible work in a great space - it's difficult to pick out highlights because they all had excellent moments but the trees in Cyprien Gaillard's Nightlife have a bewildering sense of otherness, taking on animal forms. the whole experience is a joy go and see otherwise you will feel that you have missed out! Popped into The Museum of London to check out their 'modern' displays - they have some excellent objects and some stunning imagery of London making sense of itself and often in the process poor people appear to come off badly! At the wonderful Toynbee Studios saw The People Show perform a poignant comment on the 60s and their work over the past 50 years. As ever with their work it takes you on a journey to a place you didn't know existed but when you get there it makes a kind of sense. Truly marvellous. If you want a fabulous experience I recommend getting a tube to Greenwich and then biking along the Thames path from Greenwich to Tate Modern. You can pick up a bike at a Docking station just after you come out of the tunnel on the North Bank at Greenwich - an experience in itself. The whole of London is laid out in front of you and at the same time moving through it you get a real sense of change. I can remember working with Four Corners filming the building works pre Canary Wharf (yes it hasn't always existed) and being tufted off the road by heavy security guards whilst being informed that the road was owned by Docklands Development Corporation and we had no rights to be on what was the 'public highway'.

Friday, 2 December 2016


A great session this week with Nicola Naismith and Dr Valerie Woods being interviewed for their collaborative Postures of Making project. I have a long history of art related injuries from lower back from printing to misaligned finger joints from cutting but you get on with it. I find myself constantly telling students on looms and print tables to listen to their body and timetable breaks and include yoga and pilates into their schedules.  Being measured, filmed and photographed in my studio sitting and standing enacting the multiple repetitive actions I engage in gave me pause for thought about my own practice. The work I'm engaged in for the nanoDTC work has some really nice links and similarities, the day has made me think about tools and how they are held as well as general ideas around collaboration. My family history of factory working was also an interesting issue to consider - the creation of mini production lines and the ergonomics of how this is laid out. The Ipswich Wolsey Theatre's  Panto was most excellent - oh no it wasn't - I'm afraid my dear sir it was - press night is always tricky, you get the nervous rather than the bedded in casualness but there was still some adlibbing from the more experienced members of the cast. As ever a mixture of all sorts of storytelling is thrown into the mix along with great tunes and some of the most outrageous Dame costumes ever. Timbad the Tailor along with the evil Sinistro really stand out but the whole evening is a real blast - get down to Wolsey for a great night out

Sunday, 27 November 2016


the latest exhibition at the Wellcome Trust is full of excellent objects from Bedlam as well as a number of contemporary interpretations the Curve at the Barbican has an intriguing show with some great tableaus Bedwyr Williams has constructed a number of spaces within what is a challenging space. Finally over to Vent in Hoxton which is a small space but has some excellent work from Sid and Jim. Back to Suffolk and a long walk on a beach.

Saturday, 26 November 2016


popped over to Coventry to see parents after a day in the lab at Cambridge - the folding bike is so excellent and allows you get around under your own steam which is especially positive after being at the mercy of 'public transport'. Journeys are cut down, there is a sense of engagement with the city and landscape as you move through it, it's also faster than walking and sometimes faster than a car when getting to work! As a young person growing up in Coventry I watched all the houses I had lived in be demolished, the places I played in be knocked down and levelled for what appeared to be no specific purpose and all the schools I went to turned into either a car park or business park but I hadn't witnessed them be constructed. As I cycled back to the station this afternoon through the centre of town I realised that I can now add a number of buildings to the list of 'buildings-you-watched-be-built-have-a-life-and-are-subsequently-knocked-down-and-then-a-building-is built-on-top-of-it'.
But The Herbert Art Gallery is still there and has the most extraordinary reliefs on the side of the building by Walter Ritchie - Man's Struggle to control the world outside himself and Man's Struggle to control the world inside himself. I can remember when they were originally sited under a walkway inside a structure in the shopping precinct facing each other with a fountain in the middle and so slightly obscured but they are so wonderfully visible in the new location In a spare room in my parents' house I came across some structures from my childhood that take me directly to the present with my work in Cambridge. A series of wooden puzzles made by my Uncle Reg who was both married to my Auntie Floss and a Pattern Maker at the GEC. They are part of one of those memories from the past that somehow post rationally enable you to make sense of the present. In my mind he always appeared to be uniquely other, sitting in his chair at a dark round wooden table, smoking revealing mysterious handmade tactile objects which defied logic. I never could return them to their complete original state after taking them apart. The smell of them was also of another time,  a musky wax polished solid hard wooden time of lace curtains and front rooms that were only used for special occasions.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


I'm in a book - the work I was involved in around archives and the fold has been published. It is in Futurescan 3: intersecting identities, the latest publication from the association of fashion and textiles.

an excellent session with the MA Fine Art cohort last night discussing and negotiating the creation of a collaborative, interactive (in a meaningful sense) web presence. when working online the idea of a physical room feels rather Victorian. I have seen the future of education and it is Open College of the Arts - OCA shaped. 

Monday, 21 November 2016


nanoDTC has taken over my life! - here is a link to the mass of work and thinking - I am supposed to be there a day a week but most weeks it's 2-3. I am learning so much and really enjoying the experience - especially the professional care that I encounter but other work is still continuing and am managing to find time to see stuff. Went to London specifically to see the physical incarnation of which was excellent - some great work and the beer didn't run out at the private view. looking forward to working with the Open College of the Arts work - their short project has at its focus the development of a web presence. Still reflecting on Make:Shift and making sense of the experience and in practical terms getting back to the contacts made. here is a link to the presentation I gave . students at NUA have started on their next project - fashion - my presentation was around extending ideas of the body and our relationship to it - I have been thinking about why and how we learn - I have been delivering this presentation - it is an attempt to enable the students to recognise when to change their thinking/behaviour to get results - influenced by Freakonomics. Often students have been bludgeoned around the issue of tests and succeeding within this context but have lost sight of their own goals, their intuition and the idea of learning itself and what they actually want to learn.    

got to see the Green Room - a chillingly dark film that left me with a general feeling of oppression - this was a good thing - but brutal. mainly the weekends have been about regenerating the body through long walks by or next to the sea. 

Friday, 11 November 2016


back on another train after speaking at Make:Shift in Manchester - delegates were very positive about my talk that had at its core in some ways a traditional yet erratic 'old school' approach to making through gathering - its always interesting to see what will happen when standing in front of images of one's work. The process of talking is always interesting (organising, sifting, sorting images, reflecting and clarifying) and it's rare to get feedback as I'm usually standing at the front in a position of 'sort of power' so the conversations I had after the session were so instructive and helped to place or locate my practice in this new terrain. My panel was full of people talking about fabulous new materials and ways of working - collaboration and hybrid approaching to understanding are the key - obviously. The Manchester Met University were running a collaborative workshop - they were such lovely people and I have some ace paper samples which I intend to explore in the nano project as they have different surfaces on each side so will fully exploit the haptic experience. Meanwhile in the Museum of Science I got the chance to see the textile history of Manchester be performed - the looms are set up and powered - the whole process from raw cotton to calico is show and it was just awesome - if my textile students are reading this you must go - in fact everybody should see it and listen to the people explaining the process's and the wonderful way they weave the social history and trade union activity within the demonstration. I had my bike so managed to get out and about the city - often a mixture of Escher like moments where standing on a steep cobbled street looking up a bridge which carries trains, there is a canal to your side and below that a dual carriage way, all the while surrounded by brick buildings built with civic pride, iron in the road, walls and sky, stone and warehouse regeneration modern sheet glass - I think that I loved it. Manchester Art Gallery had a show looking at Fashion - some good starting points for a discussion around a number of issues as the work was very theatrical, almost beyond catwalk. The highlight of the day outside the conference was the wonderful Rachel Maclean at Home - disturbingly excellent art, awesome space and really friendly, interesting, helpful people. I can't wait to see her work in Venice next year.