Can you keep a secret?

Normally my head doesn’t present me with such a complete gift, but a short while ago an idea arrived fully-formed. It’s about how we keep secrets and that fuzzy line between knowing something is safe within us and that chink of a thought that we could just eventually let something out…

Many years ago when I was but a girl, a friend and I thought we’d post little messages in cracks in walls and drains around the playground of our primary school. We were on a mission to leave surprises for future generations. I can’t remember what they all said, but distinctly recall writing one that said ‘at the next full moon you will die’. I hasten to add it just seemed exciting, not malevolent in our young heads. We had the most excellent fun posting these tiny secret messages around the place for people to find in the far future until some irksome busybody split on us and we were cordially reprimanded.

And now as a woman of a certain age, I find myself posting new secrets into my wall to photograph.

To my knowledge the words do not carry such distasteful threats but I can’t guarantee this as the texts are mostly in languages unknown to me. They are secret. They are wrapped by little pouches, some of which completely contain, but others start to open and to become a little more transparent. I want to make a lot of these and I am still working on the right shape. You’d think a simple square would suffice but it it’s not the case. The sides have to be shaped inward to pull up and cross over enough to catch at the top. If you have any advice, do let me know.

Life is busy and I work when I can on pieces that want to be born. I have been enjoying working on industrial decay and the story of a local mill which was recently burnt down for a second time. I continue to play with other ideas about this but many of my painted papers have become a piece encompassing a variety of visual elements.

Below are ‘pages’ containing snippets from a mill ledger, ghost images of workers, colours and stitch marks inspired by light and pattern on charred wood from the fire, wire from the wreckage and Roman numerals from the clock face.

The completed piece:

I’ve been playing with faux chenille to echo the charcoal

and rust on metal

We are fortunate to have Shelley Rhodes visiting soon, and I will take some more images from the mill which might find their way into a little something. Maybe a bit of this wonderful wall?

This year has been quite busy to date. I have a few local workshops taking place on Saturday mornings which are going well and it is SO nice to be doing something in my community. Having supplied the ladies with various papers for printing, I glanced down at one pile and to my horror realised that the contents of an old paperback I’d picked up to rip apart was more than a little colourful in its content for a workshop based in a chapel! I had to make a rapid switch to a serious crime thriller. I’m in Harrogate next weekend with a guild and a new one-day workshop where we will be going under the sea.

In other news, a friend and I have successfully applied to be part of the Maker Project 2019. This project has been developed to support PHD research into the process and language of making, with a view to adding to the body of research around creativity and the teaching of this. The progress of our making also has to be a secret for now as the notes will become research but you can follow the 9 artists from a range of creative disciplines at #makerproject2019. We are collaborating from a distance and enjoying exchanging and developing early ideas to respond to an iconic bandstand chair frame. The chairs will all be exhibited as part of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in the Autumn.

I have also taken a decision not to pursue a course I mentioned previously. It’s just the right decision for me. I am cherishing a relationship where challenge and discussion comes at a depth I have been craving. To be able to discuss work and ideas like that is a rare treasure when it is mutually welcomed.

I have one more little secret I hope to share next month. In the meanwhile, should you be interested, I Now have an Instagram account and am considering how to make said fame and fortune as an ‘influencer’…not! I’m actually just getting over a virus but it wasn’t influencer 😂


See you next month!

A winter hellebore

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