February 2019

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Feb 1: The day began well, but turned frosty later.

Feb 2: Induction as a member of Leeds Print Workshop, one of my fieldwork sites.

Feb 3: When writing up field notes, things to remember float into my head like bubbles, and, hopefully, pop onto the page.

Feb 4: Using wax modelling tools in my ceramics class then going to the dentist and seeing remarkably similar tools.

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Feb 5: Snow-capped Pyrenees, seen from the plane on the way to Lanzarote.

Feb 6: Much to my delight, it turns out Lanzarote is riddled with remarkably friendly cats.

Feb 7: An afternoon spent floating around in the green-tiled hotel spa pool.

Feb 8: Exploring the volcanic landscape of the Timanfaya National Park.

Feb 9: Fish in the harbour at Puerto Caleto. This one’s also about spending time reflecting on PhD progress: feeling like a very small fish, worrying that I’m not progressing as I should (a lack of conference presentations, papers being prepared for journals, that sort of thing). At least it served to focus my mind – a red flag of sorts.

Feb 10: This one’s about the curious agricultural arrangements on Lanzarote, whereby the vines are planted individually, in little dips, and each is surrounded by a low circular wall – presumably to protect it from the wind. Again, perhaps an analogy for my studies, feeling somewhat isolated as I’m a slightly odd fit in my department. Much to reflect on, but I returned home full of strategic thoughts about making the most of things.

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Feb 11: The ceramic box I made has been biscuit fired, and is an odd caucasian flesh tone before glazing.

Feb 12: After a lousy, overthinking sort of day, I threw myself a life ring in the form of a lovely swim.

Feb 13: Comradeship and opportunities from the academic Twitter community.

Feb 14: Walking across St George’s Field, the green space in the middle of the Leeds University campus. I believe one of my relatives is buried here.

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Feb 15: Snowdrops for a lovely spring day.

Feb 16: This one’s via a comment from my friend Lucy – despite a degree in art and having maintained some form of creative practice, waxing and waning over the last twenty years, I still struggle with giving myself ‘permission’ to pursue creative activity, despite it being where I feel most fulfilled. Much to ponder.

Feb 17: Middle-lane rage at the swimming pool. Again.

Feb 18: I’m trying to draw more, and, intrigued by ‘urban sketchers’ using watercolours and ink, I bought myself a little set. Very excited by my first experiments!

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Feb 19: Starting to analyse data from my fieldwork. The more I stare, the more I notice themes starting to emerge… like tentacles.

Feb 20: I ate a lot of digestive biscuits today.

Feb 21: One of those days where one’s mood develops according to the proximity of the deadline.

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Feb 22: The first ladybird of the year, spotted far too early.

Feb 23: A lovely local walk in the unseasonal sunshine, on a much-needed day off.

Feb 24: Sticking and making on a brilliant zine-making course at Leeds Print Workshop.

Feb 25: Nitrile gloves for handling poisonous lead oxide glaze at today’s ceramics class.

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Feb 26: Reflecting on the fact that I’m almost halfway through PhD (well, the funding for it anyway). Time is slipping by so fast.

Feb 27: Another worried day where the still-undone outweighs the done.

Feb 28: A day full of useful conversations, including one about artistic research (and how it’s not always the same as practice-led research).