Friday, 2 September 2011

A day off...

Today I had a day away from the studio, feeling a bit on the cusp of getting a cold, and spent the morning at the V & A. It doesn't take much wandering away from the beaten tracks of the ground floor to find yourself completely alone (except for the odd drowsing guard) in huge rooms and long beautiful corridors.

I don't know what it is, but being alone in this type of place somehow helps me to think more clearly about my work. I just think maybe it's as simple as it being nice being alone. Of course I have a look at a few things here and there and feel inspired, seeing excellence always fires me up creatively and when I leave I always have pages and pages of thoughts added to my notebook. I think the trick is to just

wander around aimlessly until you see something that captures your fancy and then have a really good long look at it, at least 10 minutes - it's all about the quality not the quantity!

One of the really nice things that they do at the V & A is to put sculptures on free standing plinths and not against walls as if they were like paintings, standing alone in the centre of the room you can walk all the way around them and see and work out how they were constructed, you really get the feeling from it's rear that this amazing carved wooden sculpture was for many many years before it was cut down, a small part of a giant living tree.

Seen from behind this pieta is just a bunch of crude rough shapes thrown together,

But on closer inspection you can see the thumb sized impressions in the clay where the artist roughly formed the shape he

needed not bothering to smooth over what he thought would never be seen by me hundreds of years later.
I met my daughter Barbara for lunch in the garden. Of course the best thing about any kind of gallery or museum visiting
is watching the other people, even the most amazing Canova sculpture is no match for the real living, breathing thing.

And being alive and feeling the sun on your face in the open air.


  1. I completely agree with you here. The V&A is a great place to have some alone time and be inspired :-)


  2. a bit of 'alone-wondering' is always good for the soul!

  3. I remember sitting with you in the garden in about 1984 and Sir Roy Strong came into the garden. Mustaches weren't as popular then as they are now.