It’s hard to look forward at the moment.
The things we used to do, if we are still able to do them at Christmas, will be done in a very different way. Impossible to predict which things we will return to, and which will be lost forever.
So. Deep breath… I’m looking back. But hopefully in a way that enables movement forward later on.
Today we start to clear out the shed in readiness for demolition. It’ll be more of a gentle push and a crumble than a big bang. But its still a momentous occasion.
Elevenish years ago… or maybe 12… I was taking part in the Artist Teacher Scheme. I had spent a couple of years trying to work out if I was really an artist, and if so, what sort. I was working with fabric and patchwork and stitches, and going through some sort of angst about the domestic and the feminine and real art. You know. Proper Art. Not fannying about with bits of old curtain like some depraved Maria Von Trapp. I was sat in the garden, pondering. The difference between fabric that got stretched and painted on, and fabric that got stitched. Decorative, useful, feminine, masculine. As I stared into the middle distance, my eyes rested on the garden shed. That traditional exterior, masculine space, full of masculine things like sharp tools and machinery. I hatched a plan, over a week or so, and then, while my husband was at a football match, I covered it in floral furnishing fabric. He thought I’d lost my mind. Whereas, I’d actually found it.
I spent the next few months covering other people’s sheds, in tucked away corners, and on allotments on the top of a hill. These small and useful buildings were becoming domestic, and feminine. At the time, they did cause a bit of a hoo-har, and a bemused local newspaper reporter turned up on the allotments to see what was going on.
In another part of the world, some musician (Dan Whitehouse) had the thought about these sheds being perfect for the backdrop to a video… wind forward a year and we had designed, built, decorated a flat pack shed for transporting as a mobile performance space. This shed featured in a book, we had a channel four production company in the garden, filming a bit of a pilot for what eventually turned out to be George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces (in the real show, it had a fleeting three second appearance!) It featured in a book review in The Sun. Dizzy heights! The LOAF mini arts festival was born, and a raft of wonderful performers have played in it, and have since become my friends.
The success of the mobile shed gave me the confidence to apply to BCU to do my MA…. Blah blah blah…
The point of this reminiscence is, as I pull down the very first experimental shed, is that you never know which moments are pivotal moments until you look back. In doing this, it helps you move forward, trusting that process, because if you don’t just bloody do it, you’ll never know.