Day 6: 3rd August 2022

There’s one big drawback to working with balloons as a mould – as long as they stay inflated, they’re excellent; but as soon as they pop or shrivel (which they quite often decide to do during the night), they take the damp cardboard mâché with them and the result is a wizened mess. I try to relax about it. But I can’t. I have to do a lot of remedial work – which is what I spent the first hour doing today.

Things looked up when Chris arrived again and the second taproot became vertical like the first. It’s attached in a different way – it’s actually hung from screws on a joist using fishing twine. I then had to slit it down the middle in order to pull the stuffing out; I had to get my hand right up inside there, and Chris said I looked like a vet.

Because I think I have had my fill of working with balloons, I started another pillow-stuffing taproot instead. Maybe I’ll go back to balloons in a few days when I’ve forgotten how difficult they are. But right now, I can’t forgive them.

Laura, Barbara and I discussed the workshop that is part of the residency. I want the children to create strange beings out of clay, to be covered in cardboard mâché. Each of these beings will later be connected together in some way, to form a circle; it’s a children’s version of posthumanism, in which each entity on the planet is interlinked and equitable, with no one entity being more dominant or important than the others. My dissertation was based on this philosophy, and I got very inspired by Timothy Morton, who proposes a mesh of strange and interconnected beings and a respectful contemplation of otherness. He says that art can give us insights into what might reside in alien and liminal spaces: it can ‘allow us to glimpse beings that exist beyond or between our normal categories’. Weird is good. So I will try and make a child-friendly version of this and call the workshop ‘Strange Beings’.

Savanna came back to help after her day’s work, and we chatted while covering the roly-poly pudding together, then stayed after everyone else had gone home and chatted about finding one’s tribe, healthy workspaces, therapy, etc..

All of which are fulfilled just by being around Courtyard Arts!


The original taproot is joined by another, as it were, taproot (misquote from Winnie the Pooh)

The first taproot is looking good (these are Barbara’s photos, much better than mine!)

Isabelle and her grandmother came to help, and along with Barbara and Sandra, made quite a few new snakey tendrils.

Here they are, looking like church bell-pulls

Making a roly-poly pudding (this is how I make sausage rolls – one long one before cutting it up)

Covering it

And with Savanna’s help


4 responses to “Day 6: 3rd August 2022”


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so enjoying your thoughtful processing of our current and great inadequacies – how to mitigate a future sense of disaster by collective endeavour. My younger child is currently transgender or more authentically for her trans sexual and Strange Beings resonates strongly. I think that we are already these Strange Beings if only we could acknowledge this without fear and alienation. Much love dear Susie xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The naming is so affectionate and playful and attractive – snaky tendrils, strange beings, rolypoly puddingsasitwere taproots. Beyond or between our normal categories is fluid and freeing. And the whole process a birthing xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the lovely and perceptive comments. Any pieces of writing/poems which you think might be inspiring for the children’s workshop would be gratefully received! I remember there was a Jackanory story decades ago which was about an alien child in a strange world. All I really remember about it was the shocking twist in the last line which was something like, ‘he was a human being’. Does anyone remember it? xx


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