This is a long term project, begun August 2012, and lasting a year, where a group of artists make work inspired by each other. In this way are all acting as "Muses".
How it works
There are 13 participants and each one fills in a fairly detailed questionnaire the purpose of which is to give some insight into their interests, likes and dislikes and general feelings and views on the world.
Every month for 12 months each completed questionnaire will be rotated on to one of the other participants. So each one makes a work inspired by the answers to the questions, finishing up with 12x12 pieces of work, and perhaps a self portrait too.
The group taking part meet each month to swap questionnaires, and to show the results of their inspiration. The aim is an eventual exhibition showing all pieces with an optional commentary by the artists.
It is rather a leap in the dark to embark on such a long project. To make it more manageable, the group has agreed to limit the size of the pieces to A4 for 2D and similar for 3D, and to try and spend a limited time on each piece... in other words not to let it completely take over your life!
Of course the amount of research and making is up to those taking part, but it really is a good idea to try and complete each piece within the month, otherwise it might get out of hand.
The presentation of the final exhibition will present a challenge too, so it's important to keep to the suggested size, though there is probably going to be a big variation in mediums used, certainly in my own case, I couldn't think of doing each one in the same medium!
Tenth month, May 2013
This muse is exploring Buddhism and is currently interested in the significance of the colours used in clothing and imagery. I have chosen to represent the lotus flower in the colours and order descibed as follows:
The open lotus represents full enlightenment and self awareness.
The white lotus shows purity of mind and spirit.
The red lotus stands for compassion and love.
The pink lotus represents the history of Buddha and the historical legends.
The purple lotus shows sprituality and mysticism. The gold lotus celebrates all achievement in enlightenment, especially in the Buddha himself.
Ninth month, April 2013
This Muse is a literary person who has written and performed poetry and has trenchant views on the state of the world! I have used ideas expressed in "The Flame Alphabet" by Ben Marcus as starting points for this piece. There is no direct transfer of material from this book. The piece is set up to be lit and magnified so that it can be read. There is a deliberate attempt at obscurity but not illegibility!
My words in the centre box are a summary of the opinions expressed here:
Linguistic communication has been fatally corrupted by political or literary abuse and can only be rescued by totally dismantling and reassembling.
Eighth month, March 2013
This month's Muse seems to have a calm, composed and thoughtful personality. I noticed that we had many choices in common, notably as regards painters and music.
I have combined some of this Muse's preferred colour combinations, particularly putting lime green and blue together. I hope I have achieved a calm and peaceful composition! Acrylic on board.
Seventh month, February 2013
This month's Muse had many interests ideas and projects, many of these ongoing. I deemed that a long life was necessary in order to have sufficient time to fulfil at least some of them. I have therefore made a small hanging of an ancient Taoist magic symbol... a bird-headed talisman to protect the body and secure longevity. I hope it works!
Materials used: Pen on paper handmade by me at the British Museum (part of the Japan Exhibition) silk and thread. Addition-found tassels. Hung on copper bars.
Sixth month, January 2013
We are nearly halfway through this project, I have managed to keep up so far, though I notice that this has become increasingly difficult. The responses of the group have been varied and interesting, many have been based on one aspect of the Muse's interests, mine included. It seems to be more difficult to present a general overview, though on or two have done so. At least 2 new questionnaire pages have been added. I sense a slight slowing down...maybe Christmas got in the way a bit!
This month's Muse had many different interests, some of which we share, as I know this Muse quite well. I selected an expressed wish to have time to do some beachcombing and make driftwood sculptures, which would form the basis of a gallery venture and hopefully make a living. Be that as it may, I decided to proceed with this in mind. I was fortunately able to obtain some scavenged pieces of wood off the north east coast, and together with some sea washed green glass, put these together in a small sculpture.
Fifth month, December 2012
This month's Muse expressed an interest in the Constructivist artists, I tried to convey something of their energy and use of bold shape and colour in a small structure made of painted wood.
There are actually two pieces here, perhaps only one can be chosen eventually. The metal construction is not finished, there will be colour on that too as soon as the weather permits outdoor spraying to take place!
Fourth month, November 2012
I read that this month's Muse has listed the seahorse as a favourite creature, and as I have seen many of these, and admired them, when visiting the Sea Life Centre in Tynemouth, I decided to focus on this for the November entry.
I read that the seahorse is marginal to the list of endangered species. I had recently visited the excellent extInked exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery, so that seemed all the more reason to draw attention to it, though I wasn't sure that my Muse would want to go as far as to have a permanent tattoo of a seahorse done!
To date 47 different seahorses have been identified, from H. hippocampus named by Linnaeus in 1758 up to H. colemani in 2003 (Kuiter) and the list is by no means closed.
This is then a collage tribute to a resilient, widespread creature that is hopefully going to survive for a long time to come. The materials used are copper and brass shims.
Third month, October 2012
This month I read that my Muse has a collection of stones collected up when on holiday. I also know that this Muse is well travelled.
I have not seen the stone collection, but as I have also collected a few stones, I decided to make a small sculpture out of two of them.
The stones I have used are from Druridge Bay in Northumberland, and were picked up on a particularly beautiful day at low tide when the beach was endless and the waves endearingly small. I have been on this beach in lashing wind, and this day was a much pleasanter experience!
Second month, September 2012
Feeling a bit more confident (probably misplaced), I picked out my Muse's interest in books about sacred symbols. As I know that this particular Muse had spent alot of time in India, I decided to make a 3D representation of the first sound, AUOM, using a Gujerati symbol.
This was made in ply and painted re and covered in a gold type foil, to try and simulate something old and valuable.
I was tempted to add to the number of letters for this piece. There are so many and they are all visually exciting. So I have completed a larger piece of work with three letters, it is larger than the strict size requirements, but may well fit in with the display as a whole.
I really wanted to have more shine and decoration and I have got a little nearer to my goal with this construction. I can't promise there will be no more however!
First month, August 2012
I looked at the first questionnaire I received with some trepidation, feeling a bit pressured to choose a subject, given all the discussion we had about time restraint and size restraint. I'm really not good at working fast.
Actually it was not too difficult to decide as my August muse had replied to the question "Is there something about you that surprises people?" by saying that it was not generally known that bell ringing was an active interest.
So I decided to research bell ringing, about which I knew very little, and to try and do some work with this in mind. The research led me into all kinds of paths, notably Hamiltonian pathways, a kind of graphic representation of bell ringing and other problem solving, and to see some awesome 3d models on the internet made from these pathways.This piece is printed in acrylics and other media, using an original letter S template. I am hoping that the swings of the bell will be evident to bell ringers (and others) without using numbered sequences.