Wednesday, 14 June 2017

What the real prize is


It was my last class last night before the summer break begins: two months of thinking about the books and bindings I've stitched and glued and what I might use them for. With a stonkingly stimulating class a week many of us felt there hasn't been the time to think how we might put to use what we're learning ... although learning manifests in odd ways. Just going to the weekly class I've been thinking about my new writing in terms of three dimensional shape and form, how it occupies space and will be carried into a new place. Folds and territory are plentiful in my thinking.

The piece I mentioned in my last post has been bedding in - on the paper, in my imagination, and elsewhere - to the point I made a simple origami whale to hold some of the lines from the poem. I spent one afternoon of great obsessional fun deciding on the right whale (as it were) shape - the more complex origami whales weren't so suitable for printing text on - and then faddling about with layout of the text. And whenever I thought, I really ought to stop and get on with some work, I remembered this was work.

It's only the last class for me because I've been short-listed for the Ivan Juritz prize and there is a party in London next Tuesday night to announce winners and for everyone to meet the judges and each other and hopefully have a jolly nice time feeling experimental and creative. I have an ambiguous relationship to competitions - notwithstanding the cost of entering them (although this was free) I feel uneasy about setting ourselves up in competition with each other. I'm not sure it is necessary in life - I prefer a more cooperative style of considering ourselves in context and amongst each other. Each of us feed and bounce off the work already made/written. Ideally (or idealistically, you decide) we are each producers in the creative chain that stretches in four dimensions (including the apparently invisible), without any of one of us another link might not be made.

And how can we compare such different things as individual artwork? However prizes are great ways of creating interest in what is being written or made. Because people have engaged with my work who may not have already come across it I already feel a winner. Since being long-listed I've felt a surge of confidence in my work that I've not really experienced before - in that I trust what I want to write or make, I trust that someone else out there might enjoy stumbling upon it, I trust that those ideas that just pop into your head and I say Oooh yay! to are actually worth exploring because they might just turn into something that works. I think most importantly, the channel for those ideas has been greased by this and I'm hearing more and more of them. What more of a prize is there than that?

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