An artwork as a recipe

© Herding Fish 2022

an exercise exploring ways to write about visual art

select a completed piece of your own work to explore

Don’t worry about writing your answers as polished text.

Just click open each prompt and blurt your responses. Go in any order you like, and add anything you think is missing.

The intention is to reflect on your process and generate some fresh ways of thinking and/or writing about your work.

Tools and Equipment.

List all the THINGS you used to make this piece. Any machines, gadgets, utensils and tools.

And thinking about the things themselves…

  • Were they tried and tested or new to this piece
  • Are they your own or borrowed, shared or hired
  • How did you come to have access to the tools and equipment you needed,  eg did it need funding
  • Do these tools have an environmental impact 
Store Cupboard Essentials.

These are the basics you use in your work without really thinking about them.

These might be:

  • materials
  • consummables
  • a specific person or place you go to
  • an activity
  • a favourite cup

Were they fresh or dried?

Did you start with them raw or processed?

Did you make/grow any of them yourself?

Is there a ready-made sauce in there?


What’s the impact of this piece?

What does it taste of?

Is it sweet, salty, spicy?

As above – where did you source these flavours? 

Did you have the resources you needed to buy them, or did you need external support to purchase them?


What provides the strength in this piece? 

Could be physical or structural strength or conceptual strength.

Fruit and Veg.

What provides colour, texture and/or fibre in this piece?


How did you adjust or finesse this particular piece?

Did you do anything special to enhance any of its qualities?


What practical processes did you use?

How much time did they take?

Include everything. Sometimes a recipe looks quick and then it turns out you also need the ‘pastry’ recipe and to have picked seasonal blackberries last month BEFORE the Equinox.

WHERE did you make this work? What space did you need and how easily could you access that?

Did you need specialised facilities – print studio, editing suite, a kiln – any kind of techinical workshop.

Was this your own studio space, or on a Residency, or a shared/borrowed space?

Was there a transfomational stage (literally or figuratively)?  

Dishing Up.

How was the outcome experienced by others? (if at all)

Was it neatly sliced into defined portions, or was it pick and mix?

Was in formally presented in a gallery, or was it street food? A buffet, tapas, self-service, takeaway?

Were other people involved in this stage. What was their role?


What remained when the public presentation was complete?

Will it keep?

Was it sold?

Has it been preserved?

Are there any parts that seeded new ideas or other work?

Is it still fermenting?