I started this year with an irritatingly repetitive thought; is my second year as a full time woodturner going to be a repeat of the first? At times interesting, frustrating, confusing, uncertain, and seemingly endless questioning; then after six months ideas began to emerge.
But then I am no stranger to steep learning curves, I love them and they all have these characteristics! I am consistently drawn to new challenges, new ways of seeing and engaging with the world. It became clear eventually, that the best way forward wasn't about me, per se, but about working closely with others. But who might they be, why might they go along with it, and how might they be persuaded?
Having been a professional researcher, I spoke to lots of people about what they do and why they do it, and a new form of collaboration slowly began to take shape. The traditional approach where a design is agreed and production processes are distributed in some way between different makers felt wrong. What emerged was a more open and exploratory approach, and I began to realise that it was crucial that interactions were based on trust, not contracts and the outcome shouldn't be limited by anyone person's imagination.
Call and Response (see webpage, coming soon) became the framework through which to 'go' somewhere new; by way of illustration for the first piece in the series, I gave an otherwise finished bowl to a graffiti artist (Gavin Kilcommons) to ponder. Neither of us had any idea what he would do with it, or even if anyone would buy such a thing. We agreed that it felt like a good idea, that we would both take the risks and if it sold, we'd split the proceeds 50/50. It sold on day one, it was given a loving new home and we found our first collector! The piece continues to speak to people and provoke interesting responses.
Several connections with more artists, makers and writers down the line, loads of new pieces in development, it seems this year is definitely not simply a repeat of the first... and I am loving it! Trust is the way forward and to get it, you have to give it away.