Day 12: 11th August 2022

Today was a little paradoxical: on one hand, I made many social connections, as I always do at Courtyard, with people seeming to be drawn there; and on the other, the nodes or synapses that I was creating, by slotting together the snakey tendrils and interconnecting them to the taproots, kept collapsing soggily. This was frustrating, particularly as a lot of the work was high up the ladder where the warmest air likes to concentrate. It was in the mid-30 degrees anyway so I was fairly hot and bothered.

An example of one of my many little disasters, patched up in a most unartistic way.

However, I didn’t give up but ended the day with some solid work having been accomplished.

The morning was full of children helping make snakey tendrils.

Isabelle and Eliza came back for more!

They were joined by William and Evie. More connections here – William is in Isabelle’s class at school, and his mum works at the Henry Moore Foundation, where my friend Mel works.

Morvern and her mum.

Luca and Harry came back one last time with their grandmother before returning to Liguria tomorrow. Harry brought a beautiful painting to show me. That expressiveness and spontaneity and freedom is what all artists aspire to!

They took two blank canvases home with them – unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get to see what they paint on them. (Photos please?)

Frances Wilson kindly brought a signed copy of one of her two poetry collections for me, and I ate my lunch and read some very moving poems about loss and absence.

The morning steward was Liz, with whom I talked politics last week. We will meet in September for an XR action in London. In the afternoon, it was Linda, who was an art teacher and in her retirement makes beautiful cushions and scarves (sold in the shop) using her own-design fabric. After hearing my anguish at yet another high-wire collapse, she used a phrase which I’m sure I will remember: ‘the innate bloody-mindedness of the inanimate object’. I think that inanimate objects are only resistant when they are imposed upon too much – and I think that is what I was doing today in the mind-numbing heat: I wasn’t listening to them. They didn’t want to do what I was making them do.

Low down in the room, giving some cool consideration to the fifth taproot

Things went very awry with this one when I got up the ladder and tried to fix it at the top

The final visitor was a publisher and art-lover with a Guardian under his arm, whose name remains a mystery. He told me about an Ai Wei Wei exhibition at the RA in 2017, which I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know about. Take a look at this:

Parts of trees fitted together to make new trees! Incredible!

This is how I left the gallery at 4pm. Fingers crossed nothing collapses or pops during the night.

Tomorrow is the workshop that is part of this residency. One of my philosopher heroes, Timothy Morton, says: ‘Art can allow us to glimpse beings that exist beyond or between our normal categories’. Watch this space to see what wonderful weirdnesses will be created by children and adults tomorrow – I can’t wait.


4 responses to “Day 12: 11th August 2022”

  1. Hello Anna, we have not met but I have been following your posts with great interest. I think your work is fascinating and am delighted you have the residency at Courtyard. Along with Julie Scarr I was involved in selecting quite a few Artists in Residence at Courtyard Arts, and I’m particularly delighted that this year it’s a 3D residency. I did see the Ai WeiWei installation in the RA forecourt, it was very moving. I am pleased you’ve encountered Chris and Frances, a scientist and a poet/artist. Please send them both my very best wishes. I like Chris’ comments about neural connections – that is in part how I see your work too, as well as the blood vessels which are visualised on examination of the retina. Have you looked at Magdalena Abakanowich’s work? I’m sorry I can’t see your installation in person, I moved to East Devon in January! With congratulations on stunning work and best wishes, Heather Jukes (Geneticist, Artist and Guardian reader!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Heather, thank you so much for the lovely comment. It has been an absolutely wonderful opportunity – so far, one of the best experiences I’ve ever had! I’ve just looked at Magdalena Abakanowich’s work because I didn’t recognise the name; I have seen Abakan Red before (and loved it!) but I didn’t know about all the other work, which looks like cardboard but I think is textiles. I shall definitely research her work – thank you! Geneticist, Artist and Guardian reader sounds a pretty awesome combination – I’m very sorry I won’t get to meet you! Best wishes, Anna (Violinist, Artist and Saturday Guardian reader)


  2. I love it all, the snaky tendrils with minds of their own, the bandages on the joints look somehow loving, and the gallery as you left it at 4 definitely has a mischievous dancing feel as if they’re waiting for you to turn your back.Have a wild time tomorrow- wish I cd be there xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, me too – but I’m looking forward to Tuesday! Sam will be there (I hope) and could you bring one of your books for Frances to see? The bandages could be loving – I like that. It’s when you put soppy mache on the bandages that they get very unhappy. xoxox


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