Monday, 3 December 2012


It has been on my mind for some time to attempt to use text visually, that is to make text drawings, thereby effecting a return to the floor text pieces made whilst a student at Glasgow School of Art. The fragment above does not represent a fully realised drawing, rather it functions  as a sketch, and as such is purely experimental. It is tiny, around four inches square, made in wax crayon and graphite pencil on tissue paper, torn from a larger sheet upon which I was scrawling in something of the nature of desperation. The word thus inscribed is 'hopeless', written over and over until it is rendered illegible.

I have chosen to publish the piece because it emerged after a battle, during which I shed tears, cried out and hit myself about the head, and therefore marks a minor breakthrough in terms of my practice, which has been suspended for the past three years.

 For the present  I cannot trust myself to draw, or write, directly on the surface of the drawing paper. Instead, were I to repeat the experiment, and make a perhaps larger, more complex work, I would write in wax crayon upon tissue paper, before turning it over and placing it face down on the drawing paper, then transferring the image by drawing heavily on the reverse with graphite pencil. The image would thus be inversely transcribed, the text appearing as it may in the surface of a mirror. I hesitated before transcribing the above image onto drawing paper; it seems to possess an integrity which I would have destroyed had I done so.

I remember the process of writing upon the floor boards of my studio in the High School for Girls in Glasgow as one of liberation; after an initial trepidation, or shyness, the words began to flow forth. I felt a sense of ease and purpose, I was free to write whatever I wished, to obliterate, writing word upon word, or erase sections of the text. The texts thus came to speak of transmutation and loss, of ecstasy and pain.
I hope that it will be possible for me to proceed with the text drawings, that I may find a path through the mire of self doubt and destruction in which I have become as lost.


  1. I can't help thinking you've just answered one of your difficulties in acknowledging the liberation of writing on both tissue paper and the floor in the old Girls' High. It seems to me that precisely because these surfaces are not precious, you're less tentative with making marks upon them. Maybe expensive watercolour paper creates it's own barriers.

  2. Thank you for your comment. You are indeed right; there is on my part, a reticence towards attempting to make a drawing on expensive watercolour paper. It is not possible to experiment freely whilst using such lovely paper, at least, it is not possible for me. Perhaps scribbling on the inexpensive surface of tissue paper, when it is possible to waste paper without much compunction, is one way forward. You have shown insight into my difficulties, for which I am grateful. The truth of your words had not become known to me until you wrote them.