Hello! I'm laid up in bed with a dodgy shoulder (I've dislocated it a few times in the past so need to be extra careful) after going for a bit of an over ambitious yoga move... So I've been advised to take a few days rest, ice it every few hours and take pain killers... no drawing for a little a while. Today I've taken it *super* easy and slow, read a bit of my book, napped and watched some rubbish reality TV. Hoping tomorrow I'll be able to do a bit of light work or at least go for a little walk.
This week I've gotten one drawing done. My parents have a very lovely garden, which I miss since moving out, and every year they get quite a lot of honey fungus around old tree roots etc. I find fungus quite fascinating; it pops up so quickly it seems slightly surreal and magical. Last year I took quite a few photos of the fungus that I found throughout Sheffield and saved them up for drawing. I tried playing with a black graphic shape behind the very soft, detailed drawing - the idea was to experiment with how I use negative space and play with marrying a bit of a matte, basic rectangle. I'm not sure if it has worked particularly well, but I am pleased to push myself into some very, very small experiments!
Another thing I've been absolutely loving is 'The Great Pottery Throwdown'! I enjoy the series every year, but this year I am particularly loving it (mainly because I'm desperate to eek any tiny bit of enjoyment from the day!) Clay, sculpting, modelling and the 3D in general are not my strong points; I feel much more comfortable with flat surfaces or a bit of fabric at a push... But I'd really love to do a ceramics/pottery course after lockdown and try and improve my skills and stretch myself a bit. This week I ordered some air dry clay and just had a bit of a play with an old Pringles tube...
I was in the process of playing with some different paints on it, but have taken a break to rest the old shoulder! Hopefully by next week I can show you the finished experiment.
So, it's Blue Monday! Never an easy day, no matter the year, but obviously it has hit 10 times harder this year. I'm feeling pretty low and under the weather - hasn't been helped by the fact that I've just had to undo 10 inches of crochet after realising I'd followed the pattern totally wrong... If you're feeling a bit rubbish and miserable, stay strong - know that you are not alone and isolation is only physical - reach out and give someone a call!
This week I've had a bit of a play with a new medium - I've never used expanding foam before - in fact, I've really avoided it, because it seems to have become such a cliche in art school. However, I've been seeing lots of expanding foam experiments in a more domestic setting recently (such as mirror frames and vases) rather than the classic art school enormous sculptures. So I ordered some and started playing around.
I've also done a bit of drawing - I'm quite obsessed with turkeys - my partner described them as looking like their "heads are crocheted out of flesh", which really sums up their weird fleshy faces in a suitably grotesque way. This one lives at our local inner city farm, which I enjoy visiting when it's not lock downed... My 2 favourite pigs live there, they're called Alan and Nigel and they're absolutely huge and hilarious.
I quite like marrying the texture of the turkey's head with the 3d brain-y vibes of the expanding foam and the added texture of the crochet background - it's definitely not a 'finished piece', but I'm quite happy with it as a starting point.
Nothing else I've worked on this week is ready to be put onto the internet just yet, but I have been doing quite a bit of reading.
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to go to Australia and saw the absolutely incredible Patricia Piccinini show, "Curious Affection," which completely blew my mind - Sam bought me the show catalogue for Christmas and I've delved into that this week. Patricia's sculptures are absolutely bizarre - surreal, tender and challenging; they play with ideas of genetic modification and the possibility of where science could take us in the future. There's a 'Frankenstein'-esque vibe to them, but they all have such exceptionally soft eyes. I also really enjoyed seeing a couple of her drawings in slightly closer detail - they didn't interest me as much as the sculptures when I saw the show, but looking at the catalogue, I was really drawn to the ideas of bodies and birds; it creates a really magical sense of fragility.
With the madness of the pandemic continuing, lockdowns being brought back and studios being closed, I thought I'd add a little blog section to my website. The idea is to have a place where I can keep an online journal of the work I'm making, keep anyone who is interested updated, and use it as a way of holding myself to a bit of accountability, when it is all too easy to stay in bed doomscrolling the day away.
My plan is to post the work that I've been doing, and perhaps a bit of research, updates and other things floating around in my brain every Monday evening. It's really tough to find motivation at the minute. I've found it very hard to stop obsessing about the news, and find any space in my mind for creativity. January always hits as a particularly cruel month, and the winter feels particularly bitter this year, particularly for creatives.
Like all freelancers, and all in the creative and hospitality industries, last year was really, really tough, and sadly this year doesn't look like it will be any better. We all lost work, money, security, opportunities and in many cases, a sense of creative freedom and inspiration. It's a really scary time to be in a constantly changing and uncertain industry. But! All the amazing creativity I see around me gives me so much hope - I know social media can be a double edged sword, and we all sometimes allow ourselves to get into Instagram stalking holes, but the creative output I've seen over the past year has really lifted my spirits. We are a resourceful and resilient bunch of people, so we will reimagine our working habits, and come back refreshed and renewed, hopefully in a more accessible and welcoming art world once this has blown over.
Till then, I've been trying to make myself laugh by doing stupid songs with Fernando...
And I've managed to do one drawing... This tiny dead chameleon was sent to me by Tonja Grung who runs taxidermy courses in London - in 2018 I made a taxidermy crow on one of her weekend courses.
The other thing I've been working on is my Etsy shop - advertising and promotion is really not my strong point, so I'm trying to be brave, put my work out there and hopefully sell a little bit. It's been so important over this last year to support independent businesses and start ups, so I've been trying only to buy from small shops and artists, and have my own shop up and running. You can find my shop either at the top of my website, or through this link - www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JessicaHeywoodArt
Finally, one of the things I really enjoyed about being furloughed last year was having a lot of time to read - I got through about 90 books last year, and I'm hoping to keep up with a lot of reading. I'm currently reading Emma Glass' 'Peach', which is a short, sharp book. It's a difficult read though and comes with a Trigger Warning for Rape and FGM, so please proceed with caution if you're interested in checking it out.
Next update will be Monday 18th Jan.