In the weeks before Easter I was scrounging up supplies to make into art packs for my local foodbanks. This first time I did it, at Christmas, I was using materials I had bought to take to the festival I have done for the past few years, and had nowhere to store for the winter.
This time around, having tried and failed to get some art suppliers to donate materials, I asked around at work and people generously gave me all kinds of things, from new sets they had bought to things their children or grandchildren didn’t need any more. After a week or two of driving around town to collect them, and another couple cleaning and sorting and getting blisters sharpening many, many pencils I had put together about forty packs. It felt simultaneously purposeful and unsatisfying: at least I was doing something that might help someone; but it was a pitifully small gesture.
Since then we have been clearing the house to try and move, if there is anything left we can afford to move to. The conservatory, where I paint, is cavernous now that fifteen years of family detritus has been removed, but I don’t have time to use it.
Over the winter I have done some collage, using failed prints and painted papers, but it feels more like some kind of neurotic displacement activity than being creative; and since it has the side effect of strewing the house with tiny bits of paper that make it look like we have mice, that’s probably going to have to stop for a while as well. Since there is nothing like not being able to do something to make you want to, I have notions to paint and print all sorts; collographs, lino, some more wipe-back, maybe some drypoint…