personal resolve
March 12, 2011, 1:31 am
Filed under: Bijou Dolly, BLOGS

I have been working in the basement for one week now and it seems useful at this point to reflect on how I came to acquire the basement residency.

It was in October 2009 that I started receiving help for personal problems and had access to an art therapy room at the Crisis Recovery Unit, Heath Hospital , Cardiff. With materials at my disposal, time on my hands and believing that I was artistic person I was still struggling to do anything creative. Trying to focus on why it was I couldn’t seem to do anything, I started to think of words rather pictures and wrote down words and phrases that were playing on my mind. The words that I wrote down all had something to do with identity, which was unsurprising as it was feelings of personal failure and perceived persecution that I was receiving help for. I then chose to illustrate the words as a way of getting my pencil moving but there wasn’t any sense of relief from the creative block I seemed to be having.

A year later in October 2010 I volunteered at “Made In Roath” arts festival, a weekend long celebration of art held in the Roath area  which was started by a small group of women in 2009. In the run up to the festival  a meeting was held at Milkwood Gallery for all of the volunteers and I discovered the basement project. Having plenty of experience provided by creative education  and thinking quite literally on the spot I told Milkwood of my interest in applying for the space. I discussed with them my ideas to turn the space into a ‘mock shop’ selling clothing. Interested in the idea they asked that I send in a proposal.

Whilst helping to promoted Made in Roath  at UWIC’s Howard Gardens I came across Brett Alexander’s piece “My School Days” at the “Material Matters” exhibition. His piece featured a series of school jackets with text beautifully embroidered into them. I was immediately disheartened because it seemed my idea had already been done. I felt annoyed, even pissed off but gave it some  thought and decided not to get deterred. That I was on the right path. With that I sent in my proposal to Milkwood and it was accepted.

Until just a few weeks ago I had completely avoided the project itself, guiltily refusing to make a start on it and still unable to get past feelings of a physical creative block . There is however something in the pressure of having little time, in the confines of personal limitations that allows for certain kind of creativity. A type of freedom in being able to realise and accept what it is you can and can’t do and working under a positive amount of pressure. Having failed to complete my fashion and textiles degree two years ago due to the same personal problems and feelings of inadequacy, this realisation has had a galvanizing effect and the block itself seems to have lifted.

After one week of working in the basement I’ve started to get use to how isolating it can feel being down there. I’ve worried a great deal about how my ‘work’ will be received but it seems the experience itself has already given me personal resolve to realise my own ideas and become a creative person again.


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