Posts by Catherine Jack



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

Today was slightly different as we headed straight to the mill in the morning and continued with our projects immediately, which is great as there was longer in the natural light. I decided to edit a book page in the style of Tom Phillips, who creates new sentences by connecting words on a page and covering the other words with pen and drawings. I’ve been inspired by him for years but never worked in this way before, so I’m glad I tried something new for me as I enjoyed the process. I’ll probably use it as part of a floor tile collage or just leave it somewhere in the mill.

Using items found in my coat pockets I created a rough collage made out of train and tram tickets, receipts, post-it notes and other ephemera. I then attached this to a floor tile and further collaged on top with wood, pen, chalk and paper. I typically try to keep my pieces neat, polished and simple but in this dusty, wet, and old environment I think it’s more authentic to let the piece just happen and work quickly, creating compositions based on my initial gut reactions rather than spending lots of time considering every little detail and over-thinking it. I’m happy with what I’ve made and feel like I’ve learnt a lot about my practice.

Later on I got to participate in the mass movement performance again, organised by Alice. It was so much fun and I liked that we all made suggestions as to how it could be smoother or safer, working together to direct the piece.

The afternoon’s talk was brilliant, just really interesting because Thiago looks at topics I’ve not considered but that fascinate me. I will definitely look further into his work and the collective.

We left the library with the view to consider what we’ve learnt over the past week and what we’ll take away with us, particularly how we will approach developing our professional artistic careers.



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY03 No Comment yet

This morning we had a great talk from Paul Kelly about his work with the housing association and artists.

The mill:

It was really bright today and that meant light was streaming through the windows, which was very beautiful and encouraged me to tape the found book pages to the window (as there are images on both sides of the paper) and photograph the combination. Then I used coloured chalk to roughly draw over the pictures – abstractly and gesturally. I will cut and tear these out as part of my collages.

I thought about the marks on the walls, mainly numbers and phrases such as “Row 3”, and it made me think of how builders will chalk an area, or how developers (or possibly electricians) will chalk the pavement as a code to their colleagues, so I went round the mill and labelled random bricks with numbers, arrows and crosses, which I phptographed. As I usually work with text, I decided I would add some words to the building – in this case song lyrics. I chose sentences which could be read as from the mill’s perspective, if the mill were sentient. Phrases include; “I’ll wait”, “where was our luck when we needed it?”, “And I don’t have to learn from everything”. Obviously this text is quite personal and only I know how they sound but I wanted to explore the place more rather than stay in one room. The colours of the chalk our quite pastel-ly so are hard to see in some lights – almost as if the building is trying to talk to us but we can’t hear it.

The performance:

As Alice is looking at the space from the perspective of a dancer she wanted volunteers to join in as part of a mass movement that she would direct and film. It was so much fun to get involved and then see the result on the camera. Her idea was really clever and I think we achieved what she had envisioned. It made me experience the space in a new way, so I’m really gald I got the opportunity to be part of this.

The collages:

Again I gathered some floor tiles and wooden sections to build up collages with further found imagery and fragments of slate. I’m really happy with these pieces as they are different to my usual practice and they still look quite cool!

The discussion:

Back at the library we had a brilliant discussion about what we think “socially engaging art” is, and we all had varying opinions about this concept. We were reassured that we can work with each other as the direct community throughout this week-long exchange, and don’t have to speak with the community if that’s not part of our typical practice. As we are only here for a week we can’t be expected to get fully involved with the local community in order to make a change that can last, although we established that this would be the goal for an artist working in an area for a long period of time and get immersed in the community.



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY02 No Comment yet

Today we had a talk from Joe Fletcher Orr who created a gallery space in Liverpool called Cactus. He advocated using social media to share images and details about shows to reach a wider audience. He was very entertaining and insightful, so I appreciated learning from him and speaking with him after.

In the afternoon I found a magazine from 1977 in the library and photocopied it (black and white ony, size A4), and we wrote down our initial ideas. Then I went into Brierfied town to find some postcards but unfortunately couldn’t get any, so I bought a newspaper as an alternative. I headed back to the mill to find a space to start working and I collected fragments of materials, including paint that had peeled off the walls, slate and wood from the roof, cardboard and insulation foam. I then went to the in-situ garage where a lot of books are stored, and collected some with images to tear out. By the end of the session in the mill I had started 6 collages plus 1 large gestural wall painting made of geometric shapes in thick black lines. I really enjoyed the process of working with new materials, as I’m used to focusing on paper as a base upon which to build the piece. It’s unpredictable working with heavier fragments as the glue I’m using might not be strong enough to hold everything in place, but I’m not put off by the impermanence of this. I decided to film myself working to document the process, but I may have to remove the sound as it will be very distorted and feature echoey conversations with the other artists.

I’m keen to bring the magazine imagery into the space, possibly leaving the works directly attached to the wall. As my practice is mainly about changing contexts by removing people or “characters” from one (the original image) and placin them in a new one. I’m not sure if I would like to use text yet, as I could pick some sentences from the poem book but then I don’t know how to reproduce them as I don’t like my handwriting and I haven’t got any dry letter transfers with me. If I can print fonts off at the library I could potentially make a stencil.

Another idea I’d like to explore is speaking to Paul the on-site manager and ask if I can photocopy his photographs of the mill before it was gutted, in order to bring the past into the space.

There are lots of exciting projects happening around the space so I’d like to get involved with them, especially the performance pieces.




January 6th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY01 No Comment yet

Today we had a talk by Kerry Morrison where she talked about ethics in art and her practice. I learnt more about the difference between “participating” and “engaging” with art, the former relating to artists actively getting involved in a particular project, whereas the latter could be as simple as a fleeting conversation with someone about your practice.

We then went on a tour of the mill, which is absolutely huge! I will definitely need to get my bearings through another visit as there are many fascinating and inspiring spots to explore, including a pitch black basement with a n ancient safe (plus the sorry remains of many a dead pigeon adding to the haunted abandoned house vibe of the building), as well as a shop space with an open till, a lobby area, and of course the vast expanse of empty space full of pillars.

I started experimenting through photography, using a digital SLR for shots I can look back on whilst I’m here, as well as 2 film cameras I will get developed after the residency and (hopefully) use to build up a body of work/continue with what progresses this week. As a collage artist who works with paper I am interested in where the wallpaper and ceiling paint are peeling away. I’m not sure if I will look into assemblage this week as there are so many fragments of materials I could use to build a sculptural or 3 dimensional drawing. I would like to bring some postcards of the area into the space and alter them, although I haven’t worked with postcard imagery in a long time (this could be quite exciting). I spoke with lots of people about their practice and initial ideas, which has definitely taught me a lot already, and I’m rally excited to work with them over the week. So far my ideas are quite flat/narrow and involve a drawing of some kind but I’m interested in creating something socially engaging, rather than personal.

  • Drawing on floors, leading up to the wall.
  • Using diagonals, circles, triangles and straight lines.
  • Altering postcards; cutting them up, painting over them, merging them together, attaching them to building.
  • Collaborating with others, thinking of the wider context of the mill and the local area.
  • Taking photographs of everything I make.