Jan- skates on time people!

As I write it is 4rth Jan. A lifetime since last post, indeed. With Christmas done and kids back to school imminently and gaff now more or less liveable in, feel the feverish need to plan.

thinking about

First quarter I have to get the Artist in schools residencies done. did a reccie on these today, feel now more that I have things a bit under control.

Negative Space collective idea with Robert. Started and conceptualised last year- kindred spirits with similar artistic vision but we have not done anything yet. try to put on a show? invite artists to contribute? Also this summer to try for a one day performance art festival here in Ennis? Venues- Ronan’s dads office but not ideal.. no access for a start. Old Ennis cinema- must find out who owns and if could get access..

get new website sorted. asap. working on this so all good.

sweden trip to Gavle, Sweden to do a performance and see marten. and hang with my sheilas.

Portraiture project- once a week to to make a portrait. anyone. thinking of melding the idea of the greek gods who move amongst us idea with just generally people I see around. Like, Champ the man who walks about the town smiling at everyone and waving. Brendan the man in wheelchair who rolls about on connell street. The old gardener in the pink top and hat who lives near Madden Furniture. Some of the old ladies I see out doing their shopping. Nicole Norton. Lady whose name I always forget who works in the sewing shop I go to for alterations. I always think its Stella but it isn’t. Is it Agnes? Do these in a similar vein to the portraits I did of kids and of T and his music collaborator.

Going on a bit- Re-Vision Festival 2021

I drove up to Belfast this am- I left at 10 and got there just after 3- the trip up was un eventful but I was late arriving because I spent the last hour driving around Belfast city centre negotiating the traffic trying to access the car park.. this seems to be a recurring issue for me with these trips..

When I arrived, just a tad stressed, Day was finishing cleaning up his performance and I just had time to go get a coffee and get ready. In a way I would have liked more time but really I would have just been hanging around getting cold so probably just as well I arrived last minute.

I’d practiced of course, twice, and felt ok-ish about it, and had asked Jen to signal to me when it was 30 mins in and then again at 45 mins. Performance things didnt go quite the way Id planned, but I that is always the case Ive found, to date anyway. Id practiced the multi tasking aspect of things in particular as I was a little concerned as to my ability to talk non stop and go about miming my tasks as well. I was worried I would forget my stream of talk while trying to remember to make the task movements. I did manage to keep up the stream of talking but it was less abstract than I had planned, I ended up being more personal about my life and less abstract in the verbal stream than I had planned and I feel a little exposed as a result.. i did succeed in talking non stop more or less, for an hour, and my only hope is that the stuff I talked about was not fully taken in by any of the audience in attendance, There were about 20 people there which was just right for the space. I ended up talking ‘to’ the people there a lot of the time as opposed to to myself. There was laughter at times which I had not anticipated but I didn’t have the time or more the capacity to change my plan of action in order in increase/decrease chances of more laughter. I didn’t mind the laughter as such I simply had not anticipated it. I think the intimacy of the space and the people there were what made me talk ‘to’ them as opposed to them witnessing me talking. I did move around but again not quite how Id planned- Id planned to go through the actions of my day and then whittle out some and bring it down to maybe 3 movements which I was going to more or less repeat.. but I ended up haphazardly repeating them erratically. again the live aspect and the relatively unrehearsed nature of things was what resulted in this.

I wore a black dress which id bought in London in the charity shop in kensall rise when visiting Annie and fam- its a beautifully made dress and actually fits me- i knew I wouldn’t have to think about how I looked while wearing this dress.

I got to see the last performance by SineadOnArt which was a very powerful audio piece. Then I had the unexpected pleasure of Day Magee coming home in the car as turns out he lives near my folks- so I gave him a lift home. Nice to have someone to talk art to on the drive home. Jen and Chloe clearly put a lot of work into revision and are nice people- another reason as well as the sheer opportunity to make the work and to meet other like-minded people- as well as how much I always derive from these performances- why a 5 hour drive up for a one hour performance, followed by a 4 hour drive back, was worth it.

Clare Haven Opening Night

OK yesterday was the opening of Clare Haven- Behind Closed Doors- Hidden Truths

Here is the speech I wrote for the opening night. I don’t give many speeches 🙂

‘Hello and welcome etc etc. I am one of the project managers for the installation. Paul Corey is the other project Manager- he and I have worked together on various projects over the last few years and he first contacted me about this particular project in February 2021.

These words from the initial brief sent by Siobhan resonated with me throughout the project:

“Domestic abuse is not a newspaper story or tv news bulletin, it is not something that happens to those kinds of people or to other people, It is not something that malicious women make-up to punish an ex or get a free house or benefits. It is something that happened to you, to someone you love, to someone you know, to someone you meet daily. It is happening now and our societal structures and systems enable it, allow it and encourage it. “

It was the ‘ordinaryness’ and normalness of domestic abuse that struck me as compelling and awful. As artists and creatives we wanted to use our skillsets to set out the facts and the information surrounding domestic abuse in a different way. We wanted to use the power of art to get the message across in a way that people will understand and remember.

Part of our research for the project included talking to members of the Clare Haven Team, and these conversations ended up being the basis for a lot of the ideas that you will see in the show. Every time we spoke with the team we would come away pretty overwhelmed by what we would have learnt. We realised that this is a standard reaction that the ‘public’ will have to domestic abuse as it is hard to comprehend the many complexities of how people find themselves in a domestic abuse situation and also the sheer scale of the problem.

So our challenge was to reinterpret this information into a creative, multi-sensory experience that people would understand, and also be artistically inspired by and emotionally impacted by. We realised that the people who would come to see our show would likely be the same as we were when researching this project- unaware of the realities of domestic abuse today. Therefore we decided to highlight the elements that we felt would best educate and open people eyes to this reality.

It would not be possible to illustrate every element of domestic abuse and who it affects and how, so we decided to highlight some of the commonalities that many people will experience through exposure to domestic abuse. For example; we chose to show domestic abuse through the eyes of a child, another theme was what sustained verbal abuse will do to someone, also the reasons why someone doesn’t just leave an abusive relationship, and the endless red tape that surrounds a woman when she tries to leave an abusive relationship.

We have tried to show the resilience and bravery that it takes to stay functioning when in an abusive relationship, and have included a ‘room of hope’ to remind people of the incredible work that Clare Haven continue to do – and that they are there as a service 24 hours a day for those who need them.

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work on this project and Paul and I want to thank our team and all of the Clare Haven staff and all of those people who so generously helped us throughout the project.’

I will post again about the process of making and my experience later

Going on a bit

since FIX21 got the opportunity to perform again, this time in glór, with Emma Breadman. We called it Chop Chew. It was discombobulating but also very convenient, given that it was a 10 minute journey so I could get the lunches made etc before leaving.

More of that later. Now I am going to Revision Festival again. I think it was some time early this morning, like 3am, when I woke up with my proper idea for the perforamnce. I do realise that even though I am now calm as I have set myself tasks (therefore I simply have to complete the tasks) I have yet to find out if I an actually do the tasks I want to do.

What I submitted to Revision:

Performance title: Going on a bit.
Performance Description: Durational performance.
Estimated length: 90 – 120 minutes
I want to put on my nice clothes. I want an occasion. And in my nice clothes I will talk, and talk, and talk until the words become meaningless. I And at this occasion I will keep talking. I will talk about myself, my deepest insecurities, shit that’s annoying me, how I feel about the world, my favourite colour, why middle ages lady hairstyles fascinate me, I will talk to the audience, I will talk to the other performers, I will keep this up and I will go on and on and on until it gets uncomfortable, a little unpleasant, and more than likely boring, and the whole point of communication is getting questionable and the meaning of the idea of language and how we use it has become lost.
Sometimes performance art very clearly cordons off the audience to play their role as ‘the audience’ when they are required to simply watch. I want to make the audience question their role and what is expected of them by switching up the job of performer and audience.
I want to get into that space, that uncomfortable space, and bring the audience in too if
they want, and allow ourselves to reconsider society’s expectations of how we should
There’s always one person who won’t get off the phone, who will stand a little too close to you when they are talking at you, who goes on and on about their problems, sucking the life out of you. There always one person who is hilarious at the beginning and gives off a light that you want to feel the glow of by just being near them. I want to investigate what happens when that light stays on too long and overheats and starts to warp the lampshade, and the burning smell emanates out as it all goes too far, too hot, too bright, too much. That one person who won’t stop talking on zoom, when every particle of your being is screaming at them to shut it, but no they are still there going on about shit that seemed interesting for a millisecond when they first opened their mouths, but Christ, not any more. I want to make the audience think about what is ok and what is not ok. What behaviour is normal and what is not normal and why does society ask for ‘normal’.

My idea (as written down at 3am)

Ideas for going on a bit Going through the motions of what I do each day, doing the actual actions, all the time keeping up a stream of consciousness of talking non stop. So get up, find slippers, go to toilet, wash hands burst teeryh, etc go to kitchen let out dog make coffee etc and keep going through each stage of day whilst keeping up my internal dialogue throughout 

So lets break this down: wake up, roll out of bed, find slippers, feel for glasses and phone, place these on window, stumble to bathroom, go to toilet, look in mirror, brush teeth, , come out, out on dressing gown, go to kitchen, meet dog, let dog out for toilet break, go into kitchen, turn on coffee, turn on kettle, do some squats, get dogs food, pet dog, give dog food, heat milk for my coffee, drink a mug of hot water, make my coffee, sit down drink my coffee look at my phone, go put lights on in kids rooms, come back finish coffee, go get Annie dressed, get breakfast stuff for kids on table, kids in to kitchen, go get dressed myself, make kids beds, get annies hair brushed and done, follow kids around and shout at them to brush teeth and hair get their shoes on, tidy up breakfast stuff, hassle kids in to coats, let whichever builders into house that morning, get kids into car, wave goodbye and hug kids, go get my boots and dog lead, take dog for walk, bring dog home, drink another coffee, get work bag, get organised, send emails, drive to ennis, park car, walk to studio, sit down and do emails, potter about, draw stuff, leave, come home, eat something quickly, go to toilet again, get in car and drive to get kids, senf a text or two, park car and talk to whoever is there waiting who I know, greet sna and Annie, greet Hec, help annie into car, put walker and bags in boot, make sure all kids are in, wait to get out of space and drive out, deposit kids, get home, bags into house, help annie into house, take out lunchboxes, toast bagels. get drinks, sort out food stuff, chat re day, take out books, sit down start homework, spend an hour arguing, checking phone, doing homework, picking up pencils, ruling red lines, finding rubbers, asking sums and doing tests, checking homework online, talking to builders, emptying dishwasher, sweeping floor, bringing annie to toilet, charging ipad, answering door, arguing with kids re music practice, sweeping floor again, prepping dinner, dropping connla to training, driving home, eatign dinner really fast, going back to pick up connla, coming home, making lunches, packing and putting bags into hall, getting pjs on, doing stories, brushing teeth, kids to bed, take a shower, put on trackie pants and t shirt, look in mirror at face, do facial exercises, clean bathroom, sweep again, talk to husband, hug older kid, put loads of laundry away, go to bed to look at phone and read a book for two pages.

Tsk: simplify the above, rehearse performing the tasks WHILE talking through them, non stop, a monologue of inner thoughts as I go about the tasks. Goal: to keep up the talking non stop whilst acting out the actions of going about my day.

Chop Chop- FIX21 Bienale Catalyst Arts

Thoughts on performance- catalyst arts, as part of FIX21 Biennale

Arrived in Belfast after a long train journey and a run through Dublin trying to find Connolly station and being too embarrassed to ask any one because I couldn’t remember where it was. I ended up arriving at Connolly 5 mins too late for the Belfast train but got the next one, all good. Arrived and wandered about till I found the hotel- like they’ve been taking inspo from Japanese sleeping pods- there was literally just enough room to move around the bed. It was the last room, no 630 of 1-630 rooms, which I liked, on the top floor, the very last room at the very end of the corridor.

So I got myself organised and went and bought some food, having of course not eaten yet that day. I was too nervous to eat much even though I know exactly what will go down, its funny actually the minds capacity to propogate stress and fear even when you know perfectly well you are not going to encounter anything dangerous. Thoughts of ‘ will this be shit? Will people think this is shit? Will I look desperate and a bit pathetic?’

Anyway I walked through the city and found catalyst- there were two directors there, Jen and Manuela. I had bought a briefcase last week in clarehaven horizons shop when I was picking up more stuff for the behind closed doors show, it is an old fashioned briefcase like the one my dad always carried with him when he worked as a credit card salesman. It felt, the briefcase, like it had lived a life also.

I had thought it would be nice to wear a suit and carry a briefcase, which would contain my onions and knife and chopping board. All were jammed into my old briefcase (plus my facepaints and brushes) and off I went.

There being no one there but Jen and Manuela helped settle me and remind me that of course this didn’t matter and it was just a moment in time and would of course pass like any other moment.

I sat in the resource room and painted up my face. I was particularly focused on trying to paint my smiley mouth in a neat black curve but was reminded from the last time that due to the undulations and faintly emerging but none thlese less emerging pouches on weither side of my mouth that this was proving challenging, as due to this my smile would not go on smoothly. I did my best and after 6.30, my start time, was forced to confront a less than perfect smiley smile and continue.

Of the performance I remember the engulfingly strong smell of onions and how tired my right arm became particularly my shoulder, from all the chopping. The table Jen had found for me was perfect, slightly rickety and thus made for pleasing audio reverberations as I chopped. These chopping echoey noises which changed around how much intensity I chopped with made the whole experience much more satisfying and lent another layer to the proceedings I had not anticipated. I stopped after chopping about 10 onions I think, stabbed my knife into the last one and left.

I didn’t cry this time either.

There was a piece of writing done for the event, for each participating artist. They asked some writers attached to Catalyst to do this. See the one written below for my work.

I needed a bit of time away from the house, after the week of relentless building and Mario the dog arriving on Thursday. Removing oneself from the middle of a situation can help with an objective view.

Stuff I have applied for: an update

And spent many hours writing applications for despite having vowed not to do this any more..

project intensive project arts got email confirmation that this was received. Responses due early October.

revision festival got email confirmation this was received. Not sure when they are replying.


artist in schools- applying with one school at present. deadline due 17th October

performance art bergen got automatic confirmation when I submitted. Not sure when they are replying.


Arts council agility award– waiting to hear back re round 3

Virtual Artist In Residency Call got no confirmation bar an automatic one when I uploaded my submission. Checked website and successful applicants are due to be notified by today…


View of work for Eggs & Butter to date

Carolin Armada farm visit 1 and NewMarket On Fergus research visit
More Carolin Armada Farm visits 1 and 2 drawings
Women I drew form O’ Connell Street, Ennis, and Carolin Armada Farm drawings Visit 1
Large Scale drawings in paint of Carolin – brown paper roll
section 1 of brown paper landscape roll
section 2 of brown paper landscape roll
section 3 of brown paper landscape roll

I have loads more drawings, of Veerla, Kay, and I need to locate here in the studio. Thinking about ways to display these, or some of these.

OK here they are but might be more I think..

Maggie Quin
Veerla, Ennistymon

How to make a story of these drawings. And show the strength of the women. I want to lengthen the brown paper scroll to include more scenes, of the women below. I need to practice first.

Annie Nolan, Linnala


Lady in waiting (room)

Waiting rooms are a special kind of hell. Sitting here 4 hours now, trying to endure the hospital system, sat meekly waiting, as staff breeze by carrying clipboards and doors indeterminably slam.. with that wheezing air push that heavy hospital doors do. Old man sat next to me muttering under his breath giving out, very now and then emitting loud snorts. Father and son sat resignedly across from me, the poor dad looks in serious pain, hands crossed on his lap, eyes closed, wincing when a door slams. I make the momentous decision to leave my plastic seat and venture over to the glass window. I ask might they know how much longer I’d be waiting – the two ladies wedged into the small reception box looked up and explain, oh there’s a clinic here first, did they not tell you, that’s finished now so you should be seen soon. What, may I ask, does ‘soon’ actually mean? Here is a purgatorial polished floor hell. Around me are crossed legs, faces behind phones, slumped shoulders in other plastic chairs. It starts to rain, the stops, then starts again. This morning, at my GP I hear her say the words, ‘ I want you to pop into Limerick to see the eye specialists there, just to make sure’’, yes to make sure my eyes are ok and to allow my soul to slowly die in the waiting room, like a party balloon sellotaped to the wall, slowly shrivelling up a little more each day as the air leaves it.. but it doesn’t matter now, I’m here now with my red sore weepy eyes, blinking under the fluorescent lights, like a reluctant vampire who wishes they could go home to their dark cave. Only a few more hours to go. I’m in waiting room hell.

Lady in waiting (room)

Eggs & Butter- armada Kitchen garden More work

Worked more on this today
Multiple renderings of Carolin building a poly tunnel .

I wanted to work on some images which conveyed her movement. Her movement was constant and repetitive, bending, reaching, stopping, pulling, walking up and down. The other images are of her IN and AMONGTh her garden as she is the garden and who made the garden, the two entities go together in my research.

She went back and trained in horticulture and then started and literally built the garden herself, teaching herself as she went along.

Eggs and butter- site research revisit- Armada Kitchen Garden

How do you decide what to do each day, do you have a schedule? I asked Carolin today, and she said no, I just come in and decide on the spot, I go around putting out lots of little fires before they become big ones. I liked this description a lot.

I was in the Armada Kitchen Garden today which is now a lot more salubrious than when I first visited a year ago. Carolin is the chief gardener there- who a year ago responded to a call out I made for working women in rural spaces. She now has 2 large poly tunnels on site, and even a toilet. The hotel did up a cottage on the site to be a luxury weekend staycation space and so the surrounds were spruced up too. She reckons If it wasn’t for the cottage she still be just working in a field.

Today was super warm and sunny, no wind, an easy day to sit and draw.

Is brought more of my favourite brown banana paper to use, and coloured oil pastels. I was thinking the colour might be too distracting and take away from the lines. I did not set out to make nice drawings of scenery.. But It was ok, and I had time to do a bit of both.

I wanted to try and find a synchronicity between the crumply paper, the lines of the drawing and the colour. I wanted to spend time drawing the garden as this is her work, and she has made this garden. She is the garden.

I did some more motion based fast drawings observing her repetitive movements

Th first one is multiples of her building a poly tunnel. She moves around quickly and doesn’t stay in one position for more than a second or two. I’d like the develop the poly tunnel one more.

For some reason I like this one- the drawing above, the best.

I will look at these in the studio hopefully tomorrow and think about how they appear beside the images from the same venue, this time last year

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