A lesson in not having structure:
I arrived at the Slade today for a meeting I wasn’t really obligated to go to. In fact, I recall that on the time table, it siad that you should only go to meetings for your department. Anyway, I attended the meeting for fine arts media. I basically stood in a very cold room listening to things that had no direct effect on me for over an hour. As I was listening, I justified my presence in two ways:
1) I want to know what goes on here and this is definitely one way to do it.
2) If I hadn’t gone, I probably would have been panicking about not being there and would have been distracted all day about what I might have missed.
After the meeting ended I wandered about the building and found the workshop! So many machines! So many tools!! Ah! I can’t wait for our inductions tomorrow. Then I made my way towards the entrances unsure of what I was supposed to be doing or where I should be. I get that the Slade is an independent program but when it’s the first day of the term and I don’t have a studio space yet, one could feel somewhat lost. But mostly I just wanted to be sure that I didn’t really need to be anywhere. So I went over to David, the tutor who oversees the fine arts media department and said that I was aware that I just spend an hour at a meeting I didn’t need to attend and before I could even finish my sentence he said: “Because you weren’t sure where you should be?” And I’m like yeah! Can I just roam! And he said roam! So first I roamed back to the science library and got in line at the IT help desk for a problem I wasn’t sure I even had, but the line was so long that it pai to wait on it while I figured out if I needed help or not. Turns out I didn’t ! I managed to connect to wifi all by myself despite the trouble it gave me last week. And now for a few more technological victories: I managed to log in to my UCL email successfully, change a bunch of UCL related passwords, and put myself on the the wait list for a book I almost bought at the Tate gift shop yesterday. I get it next and it’s due back from the person who has it now on the 14th, Should be enough time to read my current book. The book I reserved is called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. The UCL higher-up that spoke to us during orientation mentioned it in his talk and it appealed to my creative tendencies, specifically my inability to draw/resistance to drawing/avoidance of establish a drawing practice in my process. I’ll describe it further once I start reading it.
Then I went back to Waterstones, the bookstore near school. It’s no Barnes and Noble book emporium with lots of places to sit and read or a trendy store like the Strand or a cozy independent place like the fictional Shop Around the Corner, but they had London guidebooks and that’s what I needed.
I had a breakthrough as I perused through the titles. Whenever I am between projects, as I am right now, I tend to spend a lot of time browsing through blogs and art/craft books usually feeling bad about myself for not thinking of all the brilliant projects I come across. Some time ago, I decided to accept that as research–what I browse through ultimately fuels whatever inspires the next thing but I still don’t like how it sometimes makes me feel. It’s like looking at cookbook after cookbook hoping to find something worth making but then 6 or 7 cookbooks later you sigh and decide to get a slice of pizza instead.
However, as I looked through these various guidebooks, my perspective changed. As I left the Slade this morning I felt that “ahhh I should be doing something! I have all day! But what?!” feeling. And then I rely on myself to think of something. But this isn’t new york. I don’t have London on the back of my hand (but I’m quite close. It’s just me and my map). If I want to know what to do, if I want to explore the unfamiliar or unknown, I need a destination and a guide to get there.
So to: I want to make things, new and exciting things that I could never have seen coming. I think this is something all creative people will find familiar. If you write you must read, if you make music you must listen to music, etc. Creativity comes from your mind and experiences as it all interacts with whatever it is you’re taking in. The next novel, sculpture, award winning film, does not come from a person in solitary confinement (however, it should be noted, that that does happen sometimes as solitary confinement can be a very defining experience). But for you and me, people who run around and do things, we are inspired by the sum of our experiences. So embrace the blogs, the cookbooks, the guidebooks to London or NYC. You use them to create a custom made map to who knows where.
Back to my day. The Saturday night before I left, I was at Anthropologie with my dad and saw a great London guidebook that was way too expensive so sadly, I left with out it. Then the girl sitting next to me on the plane over was reading it and that just wasn’t fair. Fortunately I came across this same book on the shelf at the bookstore and sat down on a chair in the midwifery section, opened my little all purpose red notebook and jotted down everything that interested me by geographical location. That’s how the book is organized so it wasn’t really that hard to do. The book covers places that are are off the beaten path–places that artsy locals like so I was incredibly excited to read it. Now I have so many half-day and full-day excursions and I know how to get there. The next time I have hours and hours I’ll know how to spend them! Here’s my list–hold me to it! These all come from London Style Guide by Saska Graville. Also, I jotted everything down pretty quickly and didn’t start including what these various establishments were until close to the end. I guess it’ll be a surprise when I go! So forgive me if you can’t infer what the place is from the name. I can’t either. Feel free to google. Many of them have websites.
Fandango (cool stuff store)
Labour of Love (more cool stuff)
Chelsea and South Kensington
Green and Stone (art supplies!)
Natural History Museum
Clerkenwell Tales (bookstore)
EC One (on site jewelery makers)
Columbia Road – THIS IS WHAT I’M MOST EXCITED FOR!
Elphicks (print shop/gallery)
Nelly Duff (gallery)
Ryantown (GALLERY OF ONE OF MY FAVORITE PAPERCUT ARTISTS)
Laird London (HATS!)
Jones Dairy (not kosher, but definitely a photo op)
London Fields (Good for a Sunday excursion)
Broadway Market (for people watching)
Our Patterned Hand (sewing workshops!)
Cat and Mutton
Stoke Newington and Dalston
Pictures and Light (style and design stuff)
Dalston Roof Park (a bar with film nights, events, etc)
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
Tow Path Café
Labour and Wait (clever retail merch displays and general fun stuff)
The Book Club
Howie and Belle
Queens Park Farmer’s Market
The shops on Golbourne Road
Olle and Bow
Phoenix on Golbourne
Les Couilles Du Chien
The Museum of Everything
Hoxton, Bricklane, Brixton
Andrew Nebbet antiques
The Façade (chandalier store)
VV Rouleaux (Ribbons!!)
The School of Life (COOLEST THING EVER)
Drink, Shop, Do (ALSO COOLEST THING EVER)
After each section of London, the book features a local from that area and there favorite place to see and things to. These are some of things that appealed to me as well:
Hammersmith vintage fair
James Smith (umbrellas!)
Postman’s Park near St. Pauls
Hyde Park-speaker’s corner
Covent Garden Flower Market (to channel my inner Doolittle)
Vymer St. Galleries
Wilton’s Music Hall
Redchurch Street, Cheshire Street,
Borough, Portobello, Broadway, Brick Lane (Markets and shopping)
Victoria and Albert Museum
Sir John Sloanes Museum
The Wallace Collection
Boris Bike over a Bridge!!
Royal Opera House
Shoreditch and Dalston
Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral, followed by a trip to Whispering Gallery
Congratulations if you’ve made it to this point. That was a very long list. And with that list I shall conclude. I’m tired and I keep meaning to go to bed early, but it gets late before I manage to get into bed. Also, for those of you who read my Poland blog over the summer and are used to a regular dose of pictures, I’m really sorry for the lack of images to accompany all this text. Poland was a very visual experience–or rather an experience that was best documented in images. I think there will be plenty of pictures on this blog in the future, there just haven’t been proper opportunities yet and I’m liking the writing element of this right now. Soon (being the operative word) I’ll start making things and I’ll eventually get around to posting the pictures I took this past weekend….the internet here is a sick joke.