Monthly Archives: May 2011

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My posters and pamphlets are getting printed today. This morning I prepared the last of the clothesline poles by hacking off bits, adding hooks and stain. Now they are looking less than pristine, which is the look I’m aiming for. Tomorrow is going to be rather hectic, I should think. I’m ready. Bring it on.

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Filed under Exeter/Ivybridge, the process

684 days

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I was listening to “Spell” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

The day was windy and full of big billowing clouds. The colours outside my window were light blue and silver and many shades of green.

It was 11:57am, May 30th, 2011, when I pulled the thread through its last loop, tied a knot and cut the string.

This project started 684 days ago.

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Filed under a good story, Dudley, Edinburgh, Exeter/Ivybridge, Nebraska, Newcastle upon Tyne, the process

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One more sentence to stitch and that is it, that’s the end of creating the work.  Just one small sentence about the birth of Guy Green in 1893 on that farm, in that house of mud, all those many miles and years ago in Nebraska.

Now that the work is nearly finished, I have had time to free up a part of my mind to give it space to think back on the months that have passed, months spent in planning, dreaming, worrying.  I remember the first few days in the life of this project.  I didn’t really want to say it and spell it out in words that could be used against me should the plan not come to fruition.  What if I say these words and they just disappear into the air, with nothing to show that they even existed.  So, I took a chance.  I wrote it down.  I shared my ideas and received both positive and negative reactions.

Ideas are fragile and to have a plan questioned before it has even taken its first few steps can have horrific consequences.  It seems that some people find it easier to kill an idea than to try to help it along, nurturing it and helping it to grow into something wonderful.  It wasn’t just my own doubt I had to overcome, but the doubt of people so close to me that I had to question whether they knew me at all.  My Dad asking me why people would want to see the artwork at all.  What do they care about our family.  Dad, it’s not just about our family, it’s about  everyone’s family.  There was concern about how disappointed I would feel if the project didn’t happen after so much dreaming and planning.  What if no one comes to see it?  How was I supposed to respond to that?  Oh, you’re right.  Well, good thing you brought that up now because if I continued to run with this, I am sure it would have all ended in tears.

It seemed like there was a rather large chunk of months when all I was getting was negative responses, or at the very least, an unwillingness to stand beside me and help to march this forward.  It was during those beginning stages, those lonely moments, when I knew that I had to call on other things than my inner reserves because I tell you, my inner reserves were being sucked dry.

I found great inspiration in a TED video clip of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” and her take on the creative spirit.  My friend Sarah directed me to this.

I found inspiration in quotes and would write them out and tack them onto my studio boards.

“Imagination is the beginning of creation.  You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” – George Bernard Shaw

The following gem I found in my Matisse Biography.  Here he is telling another artist to keep working, to not think, but work, because there is no other option:

“On the contrary, if you lose your nerve and stop working, you justify your detractors, and compromise your own future… All you have to do is work.  If you’re in trouble, it’s through work that you will get out of it.  If you know clearly where you’re going, if your ideas are solidly based, it’s through work that you will make them succeed.  Forget everything except what I say in these last two lines, and don’t hold the rest against me.  It’s the advice of a true friend.”

And of course there is my very favourite quote of all:

“Now let’s do something beautiful for God” by Mother Teresa. Isn’t being the person you were created to be the most beautiful thing you can do?

So, with all of this bloodymindedness, perseverance and cheering on of people I don’t even know, I am happy to see that in three days I will ride on out of this town and find my way to Exeter.  The word has gotten out, thanks to the help of Diarmid and his amazing press release of great introduction sentences and perfect punctuation.  This is Devon, This is Plymouth and This is Exeter have all run the same story online.  The heart of Devon have also added me to their page.  And the Arts Council team have found my exhibition worthy enough to add to their What’s Happening daily summary.

So thank you friends, family and people who I haven’t even met yet, thank you for coming alongside me and believing in this project.  Honestly.  I cannot show enough gratitude.

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Filed under a good story, Dudley, Edinburgh, Exeter/Ivybridge, Nebraska, Newcastle upon Tyne, the process

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The last, but not the last.

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Filed under a good story, Nebraska, Newcastle upon Tyne, the process

5

The Exeter sheet was completed 5 minutes ago, so I am celebrating this with a quick blog post and flan. Not at the same time. Flan to wait for ten minutes. I made it myself, you know, asparagus, bacon, pre-made pastry. Yum. But anway, the sheet is finished. Oh yes.

This afternoon will hopefully see in the completion of the D.C. pillowcase, complete with William and Arline lovingly stitched into place.

I have been crossing things off my massive list and am now left with something that isn’t giving me a minor heart attack everytime I look at it. The list goes a little like this:

Post flyers to Dudley

Book Dudley hotel

Contact all Dudley volunteers with The Plan (Plan yet to be made)

Post info, flyers, etc to Grandpa’s cousin

Post flyers to Nebraska

Create small works for each region (Ha! Like there is time for this)

Pack first aid kit, hazard tape, clothesline, flyers, etc

Collect pamphlets and posters

Find cardboard to insert into pillowcases (suggestions, anyone?)

Add hooks to poles, saw off long ends

hm. Is this it? Is that really it? How can that be it? I am sure just as I am drifting off to sleep tonight a longer list will form in my head, will keep me away from the arms of Morpheus and will have me in a bit of a panic.

No word yet from Newsjournalist Person.

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Filed under Dudley, Exeter/Ivybridge, the process

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This post is coming to you from my messy studio.  Well, I mean, they all come from my messy studio, but as of late, I seem to be breaking records on the untidy front.  My inspiration boards are less image based and more list based.  With that said, you will notice that the Pete Hindle Postcards of Encouragement feature nicely in this space.  For those of you unfamiliar with Pete, you are truly missing out on his uhm, now how would you describe that sense of humour?  Anyway, it wasn’t until I received the beard postcard when I realized that our dear Pete functions on a level of hilarity and small insanity.  We like him very much for this and wish to encourage more of the same behaviour.   The space under my table is full of boxes and bags of clothes pegs, clotheslines, flyers, pillowcases.  As for my usually tidy-ish cabinet tops, well, they are being taken over by small tokens of love, artworks I can’t seem to get rid of and random bits that seem to not be able to find homes elsewhere.

Today I am completing the stitched sentences on the Exeter sheet.  This weekend I really must finish the DC pillowcase and put together the Plane That I Flew In On.  As for press responses, an Exeter and a Plymouth newspaper have posted my blurb online and a tourist information website is currently displaying the same.  So Hallelujah for that and the success of releasing my press releases into the wild.  As for the email sent to Newsjournalist Person, not a peep.  Je pense (?) there was a misjudgment on my part, ehe?  (That’s what I would talk like if I were French/American/Canadian).

That’s me done.

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Filed under Edinburgh, Exeter/Ivybridge, the process

7

My sense of humour is not always understood…or appreciated.  With that said, I am trying to employ the tactic of humour to try to gain a bit of interest/excitement/something more than apathy, for this art tour.  This is the email I sent to a press office in Devon:

Hello Newsjournalist Person,

Please find attached my press release for an upcoming exhibition happening in your neck of the woods.  I will be exhibiting a 15 metre artwork in Friernhay Open Space in just a week’s time.  As I am living all the way up here in the frozen north (Edinburgh), I am trying to like mad to get the word out to all the folks down in Exeter through various methods:  pestering locals on Twitter, Facebook, newspaper and now radio.  I may have to resort to semaphore and smoke signals if all this fails.

The artwork theme is based on the 200 year history of my family, which my FBI grandfather (yeah, pretty rock and roll that) traced down to Ivybridge paper mill and Exeter.  I’m an American (please done hate me) and have moved to the motherland, the UK, and am quite excited about the family line looping back. I have received funding from the Exeter Arts Council and I would like to make sure that they receive value for money, also known as, visitors to the exhibit.

Should you have any questions, queries, comments, advice please do let me know.  I can string together sentences and may possibly be good for interviews.  Or not.  I could be rubbish.  Who knows.  I will most likely call very soon from now to pester you about receiving this information.  I hope you don’t mind.

I’ll report back on the success/failure of this method.

Next Thursday we ride.

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Filed under Exeter/Ivybridge, the process