I walked into the pressroom on Saturday and looked around. When I moved into the pressrom, it was newly converted and pristine. Everything was cleaned and dust-free when I took it in and, for a long time, all was well. The trouble is that I am going through a busy spell. I finish one job and take up another without clearing up and the detritus was starting to build up. On Saturday, I had to grit my teeth and set to.
Everything that was out of place was put away or thrown out. I dusted all the equipment and surfaces and shook out the mats before vacuuming the floor. I tried to arrange things in a better fashion and then made myself a mug of tea and looked around again. Much much better. Now I can work again.
I need more shelving. Alas. At the last house, my studio seemed to have shelving on every available wall and it was claustrophobic. In the new room, I have tried to leave blank wallspace to give more of a sense of space - and also to hang works by some of my favourite engravers.
Sadly, I am going to have to give up a wall for shelving. I need to store blocks and small boxes and also free up the bookshelves for books and portfolios. I'll save it for the summer but I cannot escape it.
Sunday saw me driving to London to help select the SWE annual touring exhibition. It was a tiring but enriching exercise that confirmed to me the quality of work that is being made around the world at the moment. We have all had works rejected from selected shows and my experiences helped to form a few guidelines that might help in future submissions:
1. Always submit the maximum number of works.
2. Do not submit two works that are almost identical as only one is likely to be selected.
3. Do not think that a larger work is necessarily a better work.
4. Try to submit works that have an air of originality in subject, vision or technique.
At the end of many hours of selection, we had a great show. However, many good works were not chosen that would have had a greater chance if the above guidelines had been followed.
A lovely task at the end the day was to award prizes. This was suprisingly easy and there was a high degree of agreement between the three of us. Certainly, the two main prizes rewarded artists of sublime vision and great technical skill. The whole experience left me with a positive glow as I struggled through the London traffic, pointed my car northwards and headed back to my beloved fenlands.
I am exhausted. Its crept up on my over the last week. I can barely work and have to drag myself to a task, inevitably making mistakes. Looking ahead, I think of sleep - early nights and late mornings, afternon naps and lazy evenings. Looking ahead, I can only see work.