This year, I was inspired by the theme set by Dr Caroline Fisher, as I have an interest in Thomas Browne and in a moment of madness decided, with my partner-husband to make a submission. Why is this strange? Well, in spite of spending 5 years at art school some years ago and making work all the time, I have not done much at all for many years. I have spent most of my time facilitating other people's creativity, so I don't think of myself as an artist first and foremost.
As it happens, our proposal was accepted so now the challenge is down and we have to make the work - so here comes the unfamiliarity. The old 'groove', the instinctive 'making' thought is now rusty, untrodden for a while. But slowly, we are making our brains work. The initial idea came quickly but now comes the tricky bit - getting the message across and making it look good and interesting, not derivative, not a cliche - how do we best express it visually? It becomes problem-solving and decision-making after the initial idea.
It is hard work for us, that thing that should come naturally but slowly we are winding our creative thinking gear up, oiling the cogs of practice, refining the crude oil of thinking from big chunks to more subtle, flowing detail. We've a few weeks yet but the pressure is on.
Which shows the value and inclusivity of Cley Contemporary. The value is that it is making us make, rather than allowing us to get away with saying 'we should be doing some artwork' to actually putting our money down.
Anyone can apply and it is a great opportunity for 'occasional' artists - I don't mean those that like playing at being an artist (or maybe I do) but those, like me, who don't want to be making work all the time to try and earn a living but need a stimulus to make me solve a creative problem every now and again when the creative mood takes me.
Glad and slightly scared that we have committed ourselves and know that we will not let the side down in the end, even though it seems risky right now, and discovering how tricky it is to work on a creative project together (it took us 7 years to agree on a kitchen design) but looking forward to the artists' meeting on 4 February. Still a bit weird, that phrase 'artist' when applied to me!
Anyway, I will keep you informed of our process and next post, I will tell you a bit about our idea!
Marion de Mello Catlin