And so it begins…

Collaboration can be a thorny issue.

I’ve met many artists who say “Never again!” and I can understand why. It can be a nightmare, and it can be brilliant!

Luckily I had a few brilliant ones under my belt before I hit the real disaster. But there have been a few ordinary “oh well, that didn’t work!” ones too!

Anyway… to support my studios’ ever growing events programme, I signed up to PoArtry. It’s an event invented and managed by poet Rick Sanders and also for this incarnation Simon Meddings, the leader of our General Office pack.

It is a simple concept really: artists who sign up get their names put in one hat, and the poets in another. We are a real motley crew… I was daunted, but thought to myself “They are only words, I can use a single word or title as a starting point if I need to, if I cannot relate to the poems”… So with trepidation and more tension that the FA cup draw (so I’m told) 22 artists were paired with 22 poets. In May there will be an exhibition, of 22 new poems and 22 new art works.

I drew as my partner Leah Atherton

She sent me some poems and I sent her some photos… then we both went WOW! … and arranged to meet in my studio so that she could see the real drawings etc.


We talked simultaneously, and drank tea, exclaiming “YES!” and “ABSOLUTELY!” as we went. We talked about how people have an effect on each other, the glancing blows and the disregarded whispers… we talked of so many things that linked us.

Of all the poems sent, this is the one that made my heart leap instantly into my drawings… into the depths of those touches and strokes… the ambiguous nature of leaving traces, and NOT leaving traces… oh my goodness…


You follow the rules of Leave No Trace
better than anyone I know.

Determined to prevent damage
there is nothing to show that you were here

But an indentation where you stood;
so many soft footprints on my mind.

(Copyright Leah Atherton)

After about an hour and a half we became almost silent, staring at blank walls… “Time to go… time to think”… said Leah

So this morning I draw, and I write words to remind on my tablecloth…


And so it begins, Leah, I can’t thank you enough for tilting my view just enough to see things differently.

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