I'm starting a residency in 42 New Briggate Gallery, Leeds tomorrow.
It all began when I got an email in March 08 saying my application for a joint international residency at The Art Factory in Bialystok, Poland was accepted. Straight away I rang my friend Jaanika to share the news. After that I couldn't keep my mouth shut and I started telling everyone I knew. Wow, it was such an amazing opportunity!
I had to get funding for it though, so I sought the advise of experienced and trusted colleagues and friends when putting together my application for funding. After several meetings and several drafts I sent it off. Six weeks of nervous anticipation ensued. I really started to visualise the experience. It was all I could think about. I cancelled all plans for July and August as I would be away. For my birthday I got a book called 'There's and egg in my soup' about an Irishman who goes to Poland. I practically had my bags packed.
Then on the day I was to find out I waited for the post. Nothing. I made a call and they said it would be just a few more days. Well, I had waited this long, whats a few more days? Then Wednesday came. When I woke I just had this feeling in my stomach. I didn't want to know anymore, what if it was a no?
Then at 4.30pm I finally got myself together and called them up. Gave my reference number and waited for the result. Silence, and then 'Miss Strain, I'm sorry...' I didn't hear the rest. I went for a walk, came home and cried whilst I hung up my washing.
After a long sleep I woke up and knew what to do. I would tear up all the paperwork to do with this residency and make new paper from it. And while I was at it I would tear up all the other rejection letters and those of my colleagues and those of anyone who's put their heart into something and been knocked back.