So in the cab back from the art in the park picnic, I started talking about post exhibition slump and how to avoid it…it is an odd feeling, all this effort (and now I have fibromyalgia, I’ve skimped on so much to free up energy spoons for the xhib) around one outcome…that is now winding up.

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The tree monkeys will deliver big bags of fibre art and signs etc to me, I will hand them vegan treats and later I’ll go through making sure stuff is dry and ok to store until its next outing. Keith will send me more photos and I will make the slideshow and ponder how to use it to catch the attention of art venues. And while I’m very glad the chores are over, there’s always been an after-the-party feeling, a Christmas tree going back in the loft feeling after a show…because I only exhibit once every couple of years for a solo show. I feel that may be changing, that now, ironically, when I have less energy for it, I may have acquired the promotion skills/mindset to springboard better and set installations on mini-tours 😉

It feels different this time, that I have kept the faith with what I want to make next AND where I want to show next, that while I feel tired, I still have momentum. My computer skills are enormous compared to after the 2011 showing of  ‘Pushing Buttons, Ringing Bells’ and that makes me more confident to approach the Council, having jumped through the hoops for the H & S this time, I can do it again…

There is a process of embodiment that goes into making art/craft, an idea becoming physically present in the studio, and then when it is seen and shown, in the world. And the urge to make it  and the question it answers are satisfied, so it starts to separate from me and the more it is shared, the less attachment I have to it, maintenance and organising more exhibitions are almost a distraction from the next ‘real’ thing, the next question that is being asked and answered in the process studio. It became its own thing, can’t it do its own organising?  😉  And the ‘chores’ are dull by comparison with making, though the birthday party bit is fun 😉 so part of the slump can be the list of shoulds and oughts, this piece deserves to be seen more widely, all that work…even the praise that pleased me so much can become a burden! Because the new shiny thing is in the studio!

But then going in the studio is often quite hard straight after an exhibition, because all that praise was for that answer to that question, this question is new and tricky and has to be thought about and felt about and not answered slickly or later it will show up as shallow…and the temptation to repeat what got praised or to repeat “so they get it THIS time” any pieces that felt missed or undervalued, all that has to put to one side…it can all feel a bit sticky…

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So what works?

What works is work!

Turning up at the sewing machine…getting my hands all painty, running my fingers through yarn and fabric, working on what I never stopped working on, newly tinted by what experiences the show has given me 😉 watching the tree monkeys climb up among the branches, trying to take good photos under the thick canopy of blossom

sc04-001and new leaves, the smell of fresh mown grass and rainy soil (so different from hose watered) the sound of the traffic and tramworks, the smell of tarmac, the overpoweringness/fibro-fog/agoraphobic  jostle that only an exhibition would make me face, the interesting chats blurring into babble on the super tired way home on a bus when all I wanted was to be back in bed….

all that will be in the next piece

All the help I got from my lovely friends, and then the new friends I made on Contemporary Conversations, and through see more and sea change being installed the same day (looking at you Anna R and Clare C!) and reconnecting with Jay H through facebook promo stuff, the chat with the family in the park about slow living, the way I felt telling visitors, “yes, I made this!”…. all strengthen my conviction that art is what I do best and that fibro isn’t going to stop me…

and will be part of the strength to negotiate more showings of sea change…

while I get out the components for Cradle for Stones that I have been looking at, thinking about and planning for but not allowed to touch for a month 😉

I didn’t set out to re-write my relationship with post show slump, but it seems to have happened, very wu wei 😉 daoist sages laugh near me 😉

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