How I do it

People who
have visited me in my studio are probably surprised to see that as part of my
creative process I start with what can only be described as piles of papers, but that is because deep
down I am a collector.  For years, I have been filling boxes and
folders with saved scraps of paper that interest me. It is these papers that eventually
end up as the starting point for a new pot or collection of pots.   
Normally, in
my ordered folders things stay among their own kind.  Bicycles are with road markings and toy guns
are, at a push, with water pistols and ray guns, but separated.  Storing pictures and information for my
artwork is very important and this super organised system works, but only as a
depository. When I actually need to do something with them, I need a bit of
chaos.  The images and scraps that I have
gathered together are like the ingredients for a recipe that need to mix and
start talking to each other.  I think it
is when the interest in the collected subject (s) becomes overpoweringly
compulsive that I begin to move pieces from that pile to join another. This then
begins a new, potentially explosive, mixed pile that I might work with. However if a mix doesn’t work out then everything
gets separated back into their own folders for another time.

This is exactly
how it happened with the latest collection with the Zoom lollies and the peace
symbols, latterly joined by the ray guns. This mixed box is still active and is
on my work bench now.  All the original
colour copies are substituted by line drawings so that they can be replicated
and re sized and so that I don’t spoil them. 

See below the current mix, new additions are the eyes (best copies), used once before in the vase of 55 eyes 2009.
It is a
peculiar way of working that has evolved from my early days of childhood scrap
book making. This was an activity that I loved; Gloy glue that you oozed out of funny red rubber top with a slit (I once tried it on my lips because it looked like lipstick).
It all comes
full circle to my being a collector of information and material. Early
childhood conditioning showed me that to own the paper copy of the coveted item
was as good as the real thing and actually probably better.
So, it is
interesting how this early “hard wiring” of the personality is still core to
the way I interpret and manage all the “stuff” that is out there. 
Once things are in my scrapbook, box or folder they are mine and I lay
claim to them. Many of the objects I am attracted to now have been with me all
my life as memory, by collecting the paper versions I am sorting them out. They
are quite literally the fabric of who I am. 
Ironically,
in the end, the true collection is what remains in my mind. The pieces of paper
remain, but they become so disorganised once worked with it can take years
for the process to throw them up again.
According to
Susan Stewart in her book “On Longing”, a collection seeks a form of
self-enclosure where history is replaced by some form of classification. She
says; “The collection is a form of art as play, a form involving the reframing
of objects within a world of attention and manipulation of context.  Like other forms of art, its function is the
creation of a new context, a context standing in a metaphorical relation to the
world of everyday life.”
For me the
collection is a continuation, an intrinsic part of life and creation.