(September 1 and 2’s entries are on the August 2018 page)
September 3: in London for an introduction to video production course at Learning on Screen. I’m very much a country dweller so I find being in London quite an intense experience.
September 4: Day two of the course, learning about the mysteries, complications and magic of video editing. Video will form a significant part of my research, so this was all very helpful. The key is to put everything into practice before I forget it!
September 5: A very informative day of learning about copyright for video.
September 6: Every day is a problem to be solved – as with stitch journal entries, so with life.
September 7: I had a conversation with Scott McLaughlin in the School of Music at the university about music students’ reluctance to share developing or ‘imperfect’ performances, and the contrast with the crit system in art schools. The conversation provided a lot of food for thought for my own research, in considering false starts and stumbling whilst learning new skills.
September 8: Muchos tooth pain in anticipation of a visit to the dentist.
September 9: This one’s about clothes: buying fabric (for a new raincoat), making them (dungarees and a new top), and washing them – sharing the load (if you’ll forgive the pun) across the family so it isn’t left to older family members to sort out all the time.
September 10: Today I stared into the abyss, and the abyss stared back. I swear the dentist used a masonry drill. The rest of the day was spent embracing the heady delights of co-codamol.
September 11: This one’s about presentation skills training that actually made sense! The key takeaway for me seemed like the best option for a journal entry.
September 12: A day of working from home invariably involves quite a lot of dog management. This one is the view when walking back up the field to the house.
September 13: As PhD life is as much about the life that surrounds the PhD, here’s one of the Jacob sheep who live in the field next to the house. This one’s particularly friendly, coming baa-ing hopefully every time I take vegetable scraps out to the compost bin.
September 14: This is some of the glut of tomatoes that emerged this summer from two tiny £1 tomato plants, via some uncharacteristic sunshine and the protection of our neighbours’ greenhouse. When I shared this entry on social media, it received a lot of positive feedback, despite feeling quite far from the intended purpose of the journal – mostly because it looked like a clearly identifiable thing.
September 15: I’d been making dungarees out of some quite heavy denim cloth, and decided, as an experiment, to Hong Kong the seams. This method of seam finishing is most often used on unlined tailored coats and jackets – it provides a very neat, professional finish, the theory being that a garment can be as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. I hadn’t used this technique before, so it took a bit of fiddling around to get right. This entry consequently felt like one of the closer points to the subject of my research, but interestingly it didn’t seem to resonate with those who follow my daily journal entries online.
September 16: The entries for the 14th and 15th, and the online response to them, prompted some reflection on the purpose and direction of the stitch journal.
September 17: After a long absence, that familiar though unwelcome visitor anxiety came knocking at my door, and despite me trying my best to studiously ignore the hammering, I found myself letting it in.
September 18: Vida Midgelow spoke at a Documenting Practice Research event about choreographing movement through space, and I found myself thinking about Richard Sennett’s description of workers navigating a ‘cello repair workshop in Together (2012).
September 19: This entry was stitched whilst filming my actions using a GoPro body-worn camera on a strap on my forehead. I went back to the original idea that sparked the stitch journal, of a red thread guiding the way and providing a running theme through the PhD.
September 20: More experiments with the GoPro, this time using a chest strap.
September 21: A surprisingly challenging day undergoing PhD resilience training. I don’t think my anxiety levels helped, but I found it very hard to reconcile some of the advice on offer with my own life experience. I left early.
September 22: A week away in southern France, flying into Nice – hence the biscuit.
September 23: Dangling feet in the water at the limestone canyon les Gorges de la Méouge.
September 24: Le Rocher de la Baume, Sisteron. We did a swift 600m+ of ascent up the side to crawl through Le Trou d’Argent.
September 25: A huge black and blue carpenter bee, a veritable cargo plane amongst bees.
September 26: A conversation with some donkeys and a mule. Hee haw!
September 27: Swimming in a lake above Laragne, and also doing some drawing for the first time in a long time.
September 28: Mistletoe seemed to grow everywhere, so here’s some stuck in a rucksack pocket.
September 29: Ongoing problems with focusing in my leading eye, and having to hold my camera to the ‘wrong’ eye, meant I went on holiday with the word ‘cataract’ hanging over me. A very thorough examination today revealed nothing more sinister than astigmatism, developed since my last eye test six months ago, and easily correctable with a different contact lens.
September 30: Back to the grindstone – the new PhD cohort have joined the School, and I’m now a lofty second year.
October 1: This one’s about feeling folded in on oneself. Sometimes things that are hard to express in words turn out to be easier to express through stitching.