Saturday, September 17, 2011

writing process, process writing...

This week I've been digging my garden out of an abyss of neglect and planting some spring seeds...

and talking of neglect - I've also been back manhandling my exegesis into shape

I need to complete my chapter on 'process'

Basically I have to write about how I operate in my studio research.... how I start, maintain momentum and continuity, deal with errors, edit, seek resolution and closure in my work.... how I research and use materials... and my favourite (insert pained expression) "how process relates poetically to the concepts" (sigh)...

I find ALL writing challenging - (including blog stuff) - but in my hierarchy of 'difficult stuff to write about' - a chapter all about my inner workings is WAAAAAY up on top of the pile.

how DO I start?

(ummmmm i get up in the morning and .... welllllll.... BEGIN....)

how DO I maintain momentum?

(ummmmmmm - i just keep going.....)

deal with errors?

(ummmmm..... eat chocolate? swear? chuck a tantrum? all of the above?)

.....see what I mean.... not the stuff of Higher Degree Research writin'

For such a non-writing gal, to my utter surprise this week I actually came second in the annual Gippsland campus-wide research poster competition (oh please don't ask me to explain what it is..... but I DO know that in first and third place were HDR students from the science faculty..... shock horror - there's an arty student on the medal podium!)

(click for monster embiggen... you might even be able to read what I've written....gulp!)

This unexpected small moment of research glory gave my confidence a much needed boost.

Sooooo back to writing that exegesis chapter on process...

here are a couple of things I've scribbled down to get my writing started....

'choice of materials is driven by concept'.... 'I do my best thinking with my fingers'....  'process often IS the work; the end product serves as merely artifact'... 'process extends beyond the studio'....

(my supervisor was rather amused when I told him I wanted to explain how working in the garden is an integral part of my art-making.... and how permaculture connects to my process... 'planting seeds is part of your process? are you SURE about that? the exegesis is meant to be a discussion about your ART don't forget....' )

Despite the healthy scepticism of my supervisor, I have to believe that I'll find a way to express how interconnected the myriad, seemingly discrete aspects of my life/art practice actually are: I regard the whole of my life/practice operating just like a diverse and complex ecosystem - where each element plays a vital role in making whole system work... take one bit away and you risk systemic failure....

ahhhh well - I'll just keep slugging away at it.

(that's my process for writing about process)



  1. nice to hear a bit about the writing side as I have just written something too; a review of this years MA show which is going to be published in the next issue (Nov) of the UK Book Arts Newsletter... eeek! anyway, its always seems a struggle, I love writing and can write in short bursts but lengthy essays etc... take me days and days, and then writing about yourself and your practice is even more of a struggle in some ways, but also frees you in others, don't you think? I like 'process extends beyond the studio'... anyway, I will read your poster thing.

  2. Of course all the other things in your life are part of your art making, and gardening is a very important part of it, hot sweaty and thinking other thoughts. Some times I think some people just dont know what real life is all about!
    Sorry this is badly expressed but I think you understand what I mean.

  3. this sounds EXactly like you, rhonda, at least the you we know. i haven't yet read the poster, but it looks quite beautiful, enticing one to read. for those of us who make without huge "thinking" before or in, just working and being, the writing can seem daunting, or just plain silly. "here's the work, it's talking..."

  4. I can see why your poster was chosen! It's very good! I've only done one before and thought the whole process was a nightmare, so I'm in awe of yours... Well done! Now you can come to Melbourne full of confidence, and gather lots of material for your further studies and writing! Sara x

  5. Hi Ronnie - congrats on the poster, well done you! I also enjoyed your reflection on process. It talks a bit about how everything is connected - and artists sure know about streams of consciousness that take us here and there and connections that do this and that, so that makes perfect sense. And I also like that you just get on with it, work thru, keep doing and it will happen kind of thing - that tenaciousness and head down bum up attitude works for me! oh and the chocolate helps too!

  6. Hi Ronnie, Thanks for the great post, I've been contemplating it and the idea of explaining process/concept. Why do thoughts come when in the shower, or driving a car? Writing lists of words, that gradually become titles for works but at the same time explain (to me) in some way deeper thoughts and concepts about the work and once decided can then lead to more refined and focused work.
    How can I explain the way that jumbled events, experiences, readings, conversation, spread across time somehow come together to spark a combined thought and whether at the start middle or end of an artwork can then direct of resolve the finished piece? I don't think there are any step 1.2.3. explanations of how artwork develops, not for me anyway. I guess I have become more aware of experiences and processes that can assist? or provide potential for more thoughts and you say much is process.

    Congratulations on your poster which looks great, art and science are not so far apart, both based in detailed observation I think.


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx