Stumble danceCircus

Building this site

Swinging Machine

Swinging Machine

Welcome to the new look

It has thus far been an invigorating process, re-configuring how I would like Stumble to interact with its audiences online and live.  I approached Jan Scott Nelson to build me a new site that would enable people to interact with the actual creative concepts and processes being engaged in Stumble’s projects (read what Jan has to say about building the website here).  I was (and am even more so now…) keen to find a new way to share my own work, my experiences and the learning that happens along the way.  To share it in a way that would invite others to similarly engage with me and each other.  One huge question has been about how to make work that addresses climate change that audiences might realistically engage with.

So.  This website seeks to talk about my own practice reflectively.  To share images and thoughts as they gain priority in my daily creative endeavours.  To be working with students, performers and other artists and allowing the reflection this inspires to resonate into the varied areas of life.  To allow conversations to continue without feeling that there needs to be a specific answer, or a right way to express them.

I was inspired a while ago by a present from a friend, Lauren Hendry.  She knew that I was struggling with my confidence, struggling with how to present my work and navigate my way through the need to attract support in order to be able to continue.  She sent me two books Steal like an Artist and Share like an Artist as a surprise gift.  At first I was totally put out.  I was actually offended.  I have worked as a freelance artist since 1993.  I did not feel good about someone suggesting that I needed a self help book on how to be an artist.  It was almost as though someone had slipped ‘The Artist’s Way’ into my bag to suggest that maybe I needed to understand the creative process.  Eventually I picked up Kleon’s books and, yes, they are great!  It is so refreshing to read something that is about how to engage in your own creative journey, to feel comfortable in your diverse inspirations and to put aside worrying about ownership, originality, funding (to a certain extent) and just get on with artistic conversation, interaction and most importantly the joy of playing with images, concepts, movement and other artists.  So thanks, Lauren. A timely wake up call for my ego.

You may wonder at the image that I have chosen to accompany this inaugural blog post.  It is a representative of the discoveries I have made above.  It is a sculptural representation of the dynamics of a swinging action, that I made 22 years ago.  I made it in my small studio and had just managed to get the motor to initiate a swing from static until it was flying across the space.  I was completely delighted – as I have long been struck by the beauty of bodies moving in the air.  At that moment my ‘enterprise allowance officer’ (people younger than 50 years might need to ask someone what on earth that was…  Suffice to say it was a government official checking up on my claim to be running my own business – in this case as a sculptor) arrived at my studio for our interview.  I made her sit and watch the motor go from completely inert, kick start its swing and build itself up to horizontal liked a crazed bat, the officer squashing herself against the wall to avoid the metal object flying past her head.  She loved it and we never got around to going through my accounts.  I like remembering that day right now.  It makes me feel like I need to go and build a machine.

I hope you enjoy this site and I hope to meet you on here in a future conversation about..  well, let’s wait and see.

Jan Scott Nelson‘s thoughts on building the site
This is exactly the kind of project I love – working closely with a creative individual to develop a website which they love and which has grown from their vision. It is always an organic process with moments of doubt, moments of delight, times when things stall and times when everything shifts forward at the speed of light, transforming what we see and what we believe possible.

It was important that the new site was a vehicle for Stumble’s back catalogue of work, but the emphasis was always intended to be the now; we continue to strive towards finding ways for others to enage with the site, with Mish and with each ther. So, it’s a work in progress, as all good websites should be.

Above all, this project has been, continues to be, FUN. With laughter. And joy.

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