Which order should I put the weekly work from that course? Does it matter??….

I found the first week 0f the Visual Poetry course almost unbearably exciting as it sparked off so many connections – every few pages of the Steven’s PowerPoint sent me off to collect something from around the house so collect something I might use in that week’s book – and I ended up with 13 items! Connections, connections, connections. The book was rather draft quality – I didn’t have time each week to work on the neatest/best presentation.

Can Can Poem Book (leaves, book, text – a past book I made, with poem by Clare)

Tree, Harwarden (mud, charcoal)

Punctuation (graphite rubbing)

Mayan text on seeds, Chinese ink blocks,

Rapa Nui Bird Man cult earrings (photo, graphite rubbing)

Moughton Scar wetstone (photo, graphite rubbing, text)

Moughton Scar wetsone with runes – ‘Mounghton Scar wetstone masquerading as Blue John’ (photo, runes)

Manipulated photo: cup and ring marked rock, Hangingstones Rock, Ilkley Moor

Bones, burnt, wrapped, text (photo)

Labyrinth carved on Welsh  slate (graphite rubbing)

Visual Poetry

Did a very interesting/stimulating online course last autumn with Steven Fowler – Visual Poetry. It got rather complicated at times as I felt that the definition of Visual Poetry was just too broad – all just seemed like Art to me – but hey ho, so what, Drawing now seems to include everything at all so why not poetry too …

I got the idea that for each week’s ‘theme’ I should make a book – that’s what I do, make artist’s books, which of course would mean more work that just doing an ‘drawing’ or whatever each week … but that’s what I should do … and what I did … and it was great – exciting, stimulating, hard work, troublesome and eventually very satisfying. So here’s the books that I produced for each week –

Just came across this past post on another of my websites – the depressing thing is it’s still so relevant ….

April 12, 2009

I was without my internet connection for 5 days last week – the first evening I thought it was just a temporary little problem; the next day I was busy anyway and accessed emails from the university; but when the next morning there was still no connection action was required – but I was hesitant about calling my broadband helpline at 25p/min (that lends itself to a whole other post about peoples relationships with money, which isn’t relevant here). My hesitancy became apoplexy when after 5 mins (what useful and/or pleasant thing could I have done with that £1.25?!) the woman on the end of the line hadn’t even managed to connect to my account – what is your postcode again please? LS7 … Yes, O for Oscar … No, L…. Yes, O for Oscar  … NO, L for Lima ….   Why is it that certain things, usually technologies, can reduce otherwise reasonable people to screaming monsters? (not that I’m so reasonable at the best of times……) Something about being at its/their mercy? I was beginning to question my own sanity, was I misunderstanding, was I saying the wrong thing – I felt trapped in a parallel universe – then exploded. The problem was diagnosed in the end (by someone else with better English) but would require an engineers visit and the earliest appointment was in 2 days. Nothing to be done, I had to wait. Should I fret and fume? Should I waste time going into the university when I should be getting on with knitting my garden spade (yes, you read that right…..)? Or should I just use this as an opportunity to see what it feels like to be unconnected for a few days? There was nothing really urgent – well not till Sunday night when that nipping press finishes on eBay…. How dependent am I on this umbilical cord to the online world (a metaphore too far? – the internet was born well after me) with it’s convenient answers to so many little queries? I have friends who don’t use it at all! I don’t like the idea of being dependent on anything.

The engineer solved the problem 2 days later. The sky didn’t fall in nor the world as I know it end. Actually it was all pretty painless. No part of my overactive life was actually held up. But what is given with one hand (convenient technologies; free phone calls) is taken away with another (nothing is failsafe; grossly inflated rates for all the calls that you actually need to make). Outsourcing to Indian may be all very well but if your’e charging an inflated rate surely you have to ensure that the staff are competent and properly trained? Well I can take my custom elsewhere, but not till my contract finishes – at least it’s only an annual contract whereas our power over our politicians has to wait 4 years – does that make the technology more democratic than politics? – ha ha. Where’s the blogs/forums/whatever for exerting people-power over service providers and phone charges?


David Honeybone and my installation in St Edmund’s church as part of Roundhay Artists Open Studios this bank holiday Monday and Tuesday – a completely collaborative site specific piece of work – a lot of work but great fun and very well received.

Come with us on a journey ‘From My house to Your House’: a familiar journey, a frequent journey, and an essential journey to enable us to meet, talk and work together. But this time stop, look and ask, ‘What have I not noticed before, what surprises me, what seems strange, what do I think of when I look afresh at such a routine part of my daily life?’

Start at my house, and look up above the leaves and see the telegraph poles we take for granted. Keep looking up and there is a world full of chimneys. The woods are full of light and pattern and possibilities but history is never far away – Dean’s Quarry and Gipton spa, the thrill of posting proper letters – and who remembers the Astoria, and whom you danced with there? The world of today presses in with its invitation to consume, the ever present infrastructure and detritus of urban life pushing back the natural world. Restoratives to body and soul: elegant art-deco fish and chips and much loved books and a library that has been an anchor in our lives. Nearing your house, look down: stone and incongruous tarmac tell a hidden story; then the end of the journey which is just the beginning of another. From My House to Your House is an experiment. It draws on the ideas of psycho-geography, investigating our responses to the rich urban environment between our two homes and using the journey as a metaphor for our friendship and artistic collaboration. Travelling between our two homes, we rarely stopped to think about the ordinary /everyday detail of the route. Walking it instead of driving, and sketching, photographing and collecting objects along the way, enabled us to respond to the familiar in ways unrestricted by the necessity of simply getting from one place to another. Our different responses to different sections of the journey led us to start developing a number of distinct pieces. Realising that this side altar at St Edmund’s had 15 separate panels gave us the idea of dividing the route into 15 sections and making a piece for each. The process of making them is at the heart of the project: we worked simultaneously, side by side, in the studio on developing and executing every panel. What you see is entirely the result of a shared process.