Show, don’t tell

Once we had settled on Touch to Reveal as the means by which we want gallery visitors to experience our work, the challenge was to dream up a form of engagement where the viewer’s action – of touch – renders something visible.

We wanted to somehow conjure for our viewers the wonder of that childhood experience of early life discovery; of using hands – rather than only eyes and brain – to explore the world.  Think of rubbing a coin:


(Can you remember the first time you did this? I can, vividly. I played a while with this as an idea:


and magic painting (wax resist):


and secret writing:


BUT HOW?.. how to make these workable in a gallery context, particularly when the gallery is far from my home town?

Unlike a materials-based practice where you make something, then have something tangible on which to build, with conceptual work you can have nothing for a VERY long time…

“ ideas come out of emptiness. In German this is called Einful. It means an idea just literally falls in a person.”
Berhard Schobinger

This has been my experience, but the problem is you can’t force it to happen. Regardless of your earnest and active research, reading, gallery-going,  it takes its sweet time. You have to wait, in the right state of desperation, for weeks or months, until one day, when the deadline looms and you’re cornered like a rat in a trap,

BAM!! the idea falls and you are saved, you can see where you must go.

This time, the path was revealed by this gift from my son; a mug I’ve used each day for a couple of years. Its heat-sensitive surface reveals the constellations when you make a cup of tea:



 Empty (cold) mug                                        Mug with hot drink


And yay! our work was born.





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