Packing for the journey, part 3

I tried and tried but I couldn’t get everything to fit into a carry-on. 12 weeks   spanning climates and dress codes from Berlin to southern Iran was too much. Here’s the luggage list:

For clothes, shoes, hygiene, health, art materials as previously described ; one small suitcase, purchased in New York when the previous one was wrecked in transit. 

For bulky stuff needed while out and about- plus occasional shopping; one daypack. I scored this one in an office give-away years ago. It doubles as the overnighter.

 For the essential do-not-get-pickpocketed items; a neck pouch.i bought this from its dyer/maker at a textile art symposium in Ohio. 
Unfortunately this has suffered on the journey and isn’t really functional now. I’m going to put it in the Art Materials stash and honour its good service.

Fortunately, I’m in Firenze, where finding a replacement bag is no problem at all


Packing for the journey, part 2

With the great encouragement of some talented friends, I have been making friends with the pencil. Drawing, or at least sketching, is slowly becoming part of my process.

It is helping me to remember things and ideas, and to slow down and pay attention to the moment. 

It’s also been useful when discussing ideas with clients. I’ve been surprised how a very crude scruffy sketch on the fly has helped us move forward together. 

A drawing kit for the journey, but not too much:

  • Visual diary in pretty cover by The Sewphist
  • Soft & hard mechanical pencils
  • Black fine marker
  • Gold & silver gel pens
  • Blue, red & yellow Acquarelle pencils
  • Square & pointed watercolour brushes (for blending pencils and washing with coffee etc)
  • A spoon for burnishing/rubbing

In Sevilla I added a green pencil. 

pencil case  lying open across notebookThis kit i have used quite often and with great pleasure. Whether or not it’s a “perfect picture” doesn’t matter a bit. 

sketch of a tower at Park Güell

Packing for the journey, part 1

Three months away from the studio!!! What to pack?
Never mind what shoes and how many changes of undies – art materials were high on the list.

 I love working with “found objects” so I decided to take a little bundle of somethings-to-stitch-onto: my favourite quilt batting and some pre-painted baby wipes 
Thread is handy too. A little kit of many colours and a few needles:


Some objects which places gave me:miscellaneous fibre-ish rubbishI’m especially pleased with the red tangle. It’s waste agave silk from the braid-makers in Fes. 

I couldn’t help myself and have bought a few items:

shiny floss on  skinny cardboard reelsReels of agave silk-which came in the most daunting array of colours-and some silk scraps from traditional weavers in Lyon. 
After all this preparation, I’m sorry to say that I haven’t done a thing with it except mending some clothes. Which was very handy!
I’m learning that I need a more settled space to do composition. Or maybe I haven’t yet established a routine that allows for stitching. That might happen in Paris…

The carnival is over 

The exhibition seems like a lifetime ago. Taking it down took a fraction of the time to set up. There was the great pleasure in delivering or packing and posting some works to their new owners (thanks! you know who you are) and a bit of figuring out where to store the pieces which came home. 

Still no work in the studio though, because it became Travel Admin Central – sorting out the schedule, the documents, the wardrobe and of course, the all-important “art on the move” kit. Of which, more later. 

orange shoes on blue suitcase

unpacking, creating order

I returned back to my flat after a beautiful week away housesitting.  That means unpacking the car and bags, and a lot of sorting out.  Creating order. Which is my very favourite thing among many others.

“Homecoming” is easy now – it’s the flipside of the speedy packing I wrote about earlier. However, housesitting is really different from a hotel trip – in so many ways. Focusing on just two elements:

I take much more stuff, because I plan to do some nice recreational things, and cook of course. This time I took sheet music (singing practice), sewing machine & fabric (finish a quilt top) and an assortment of edibles to complement the good stuff I knew I’d find in the pantry.

It’s bigger, and I use more of the space. I had stuff in two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, laundry, lounge, office, garage, bikeshed, deck! Pretty well spread out, what luxury.

You do your best when packing up to leave, but it’s inevitable something gets left behind. That’s where the orderly unpacking comes in – if I put stuff away in its proper place as soon as I get home, theoretically I’ll notice the gaps and realise what’s missing. So far, I’ll I’ve missed is the cheese (“Who moved my cheese?”) Hopefully the family will recognise it’s feta and make a Greek salad.

Hope there’s nothing else more significant …