I decided to take part in Open Studios to 'show what I do'. I remember my old friend and mentor, Colin Scott, insisting on the importance of this when we used to meet to chat about painting back in the 1990's. I signed up for 4x4 hour days (rather than 9x7 hour days) and yesterday, my first day. It's been an interesting time meeting people and hearing how some of their life experiences resonate with what I'm doing. A man who used to work at Camborne school of mines, a couple who used to run a garden centre, a woman who made a living from producing garden compost and a textile artist who uses natural dyes, some of which she grows on her allotment in Cumbria. A former student of geology, an artist who also works with self-designated systems and a man with a gift for language. Thanks to them all, and others, it was an inspiring day. I went onto my allotment afterwards to do some digging and share afternoon tea with an allotment neighbour on his plot.
This spring I am continuing my collaboration with couch grass. It has made its way from my allotment to my studio in preparation for Open Studios that's taking place at the end of this month. My respect for couch grass began when I was reading A Thousand Plateaus (Deleuze and Guattari) a few years ago…
"Eventually the weed gets the upper hand".
"The weed exists only to fill the waste spaces left by cultivated areas. It grows between, among other things".
I am interested in things and processes that are often overlooked or spurned as irrelevant. In 2006 I began working an allotment in Derbyshire that became my field for research and working the ground has been important ever since.