Wednesday, 21 August 2013


There are two things that make me want to spend 24 hours in my studio, one is the desire to experiment with a particular material or technique and the other is the prospect of an exhibition. Of the two, I think the latter is the more powerful motivator, perhaps that makes me an exhibitionist?

Money has never really motivated  me to work, though occasionally selling something can.  But selling, I have found,  has its negative aspects in terms of creative autonomy and,  if it involves middlemen/women  they invariably  make more money out of your work than you do.  It also impacts on how viewers perceive and value your work, (I will come back to this another day).

Trusting that life will bring what you need when you need it has, therefore, been my guiding principle for dealing with the uncertainty of never knowing when or where the next opportunity to exhibit or teach  and, possibly earn some money,  will come from. Very occasionally  I feel this philosophy is failing me but then, out of the blue and usually from a totally unexpected source, comes an invitation to participate in something or other.

At the moment I am working on pieces for two exhibitions (see side panel), neither of which were anticipated and there are not enough hours in the day. I want to spend all day in the studio but there is a house and its garden that also demand  some engagement on my part. Now it’s  plums that need stoning and drying whilst the sun shines. Housework is basic at these times and the spiders are content that I have a deadline to work to and they are happily creating delicate lacey multi-storey palaces in every corner of the house.

Sometimes the collected and donated materials in my studio build up to a point where I know I will not ever use them all and some discriminatory clearance has to be done. This can be a good way to discover what I want to use so, for the current work,  I have employed this tactic.  It’s hard for me to throw out materials  but knowing that I can take them somewhere to be recycled in other ways makes it tolerable. This time I disposed all of the bits of dead computers and cameras that I take to bits just because I am curious to know what is inside. Consequently I now know a lot about the trickery that goes on inside these things, for example the £300 computer that has its vital connections held together with rapidly deteriorating sellotape.  I also got rid of  some  things  that I didn’t really love because, although it is sometimes possible to transform them into something that  I do love by really working hard at the relationship, it is much easier to start with something that immediately attracts me… a bit like people really!

During this clearout I came across a large roll of white polypropylene tape that I acquired in about 1988. Its time has come now and I decided  that I either had to use it or bin it.  I couldn’t see it being used well once it had been deposited at the rubbish dump, there is a lot of it and in mint condition, so I felt obliged to try and honour it by using it to make a big piece. I have taught a lot of people how to do hexagonal plaiting with this tape, because it is a perfect combination of material and technique, but I have never really exploited this mix myself. So, having been reminded of its possibilities by Susanne Whittingham, who was in my class in Denmark and is a master of this material and all plaiting techniques, I  decided to work with it, but I am mixing it with other materials. I am not going to show you what I am making until I have finished, but the picture at the top is a hint. It will be a large modular piece, either free standing or wall mounted, and it will  pack up into a very small flat parcel! It won’t use all the white tape but the sack of coloured tape will be almost empty when I have finished.

As there is only  a month  until the exhibition opens  I am off.


  1. Hi Lois
    I look forward to seeing your finished piece, shown on this site.

    I must admit that I also find the finding something which "I could use" more motivating than the possibility of a sale. If/when you visit Shetland next, I look forward to learning the hexagonal pliat technique (if you run a workshop that is)..

    1. Hi Kester, will definitely do a workshop, and the plaiting is a very good idea as there is plenty of tape washed up round the isles. Looking forward to seeing what you have made since the Spring. L

    2. Thank you Lois. I look forward eagerly to your workshop.

  2. Bonito exhibicionismo de exagonal técnica!!

  3. Gracias, pero son muchas otras tecnicas cesteria 'exhibicionista' se peude hacer !!

  4. Tienes razón, se puede hacer técnica exhibicionista de 'coroza', por ejemplo. El artista se exhibe delante del público vestido con su coroza y se desprende de ella para aparecer 'desnudo' de toda 'técnica'.

  5. Si, y mucho mas divertido que el curso coroza.