jan17

Goodness! Almost a month has passed.  I'm really not sure where the time goes.  What with  pre christmas travel and birthdays that I came home for and Christmas itself and the wonderful airline cold that always appears... and New years and new years cards that I send out when I'm too late for Christmas ones...  grin... a Long.... tradition in my house.   Was there any time for ART? 

Yes!  More of the small pieces ,I'm rapidly getting a lot of, and more of them planned and lined up ready to sew and playing with photos, especially the VERY grey ones of my travels in Germany.

And all the cooking and all the ...

Then there is the reading I love to do at this frigid time of year.

 The book that I loved this season, and  am continuing to reread, was called ART & fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland.  There was loads of food for thought here, starting with this, on Page 3,

    "Here in the day-to-day world (which is, after all, the only one we live in), the job of getting on with your work turns upon making some basic assumptions about human nature, assumptions that place the power( and hence the responsibility) for your actions in your own hands."

and this from the last bit of my travel journal... "I do wish I'd gone into that tiny old paper store in Basil. I have this picture stuck in my head and it will  always just be that...  "  It was in the kind of old building that has foot thick walls and cobwebby windows with wiggly glass that you can hardly see through but in the one tiny square window, there was a  small array of pens and nibs and if you peered really closely you could see thick paper draped over rods of a rack and.. the doorway had huge hand cut beams that one would duck under even if you were short enough to enter the shop  standing  your full height...  the brass door knob was tarnished and loose but when tried did not give....  There were no light inside so I believed it closed...  

and left with that... I began to muse on the words ...holding space ... I am left holding space in my head...

And likely this will continue to stir me as I negotiate another new year, made up of old things.

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speaking of connections

My last post was a long treatise and I hope this one will be a little shorter. but again from "Textiles, the Whole Story"

When  Beverly Gordon was initially talking about the fact that textile creation in the past has lots of connotations with the spiritual, often in homage or as a result of a ritual for a particular deity. She had a chart of various cultures and their respective deities that are most often credited with  the creation of cloth. The one that caught my eye was  Spider Woman  sometimes called Spider Grandmother  from the Native American cultures.  Spider Grandmother is the "goddess who creates from the great galactic centre and apparently every living being is linked in her web.  She is said to have given us fire, taught us how to weave and is also a protector."

So can you hear my poet brain humming.....  "O" and "oh my" remind me of a galactic event, of the myriad of stars that circle us and  give us inspiration.  I don't intend appropriation. no I just enjoy the words come after the fact of making.

 And that fits with another artist, Kathleen Baker, (I think, I forgot to write a specific reference down) who was struggling to begin making things because she had  studied art history and its countless symbols and movements. When she tried to make something the potential symbols stopped her work cold.  She was advised to NOT read too much.  To make first, then find the philosophies that fit her work instead of trying to make her work fit a philosophy... 

I said Ah HA!!!  MY thought exactly. Play then talk. Go with the hands that position things into a whole instead of starting with a whole that then ,to me at least ,duplicates itself.

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This one was some random colours painted on pellon that I turned and twisted and looked at  and re looked at until  I saw some faint trees and a waterfall and my black pen made the dots and lines that encourage you to see the trees in a coloured forest as the cool water tumbles from the top of the cliff. 

textiles and words

 I've been reading a wonderful book, "Textiles the Whole Story" by Beverly Gordon and this has led me on a musing path I thought I'd share.

I love how thought connections are made.   The most amazing ones make you feel differently after you have made the leap.  My brain loves the leaps and often ,I find, the leaps are not clear until I write things down.  I do a lot of writing in a paper journal and only a fraction of those words makes it here for , to be frank, a lot of the stuff I think is just that... stuff that I think and has no real interest to others but occasionally thoughts present themselves in a way that makes me excited and I wonder if others might get excited too. 

 There is an awful lot of thinking going on through the airwaves about the importance of making things and being creative and how it is important to put that something that is unique to you out into the world.  I agree but I also have a few reservations.  How much stuff that we make actually needs to be seen by others?  Would our  art be more articulate if most of it was meant for us alone or at the very least, a small intimate audience.  To that end I revisit every time something is finished and wonder why it insisted on being made.  And why that particular size!   If you drop by here often you may wonder why there have been no more additions to my Painting gallery. In fact I have thought to delete it, for the wisdom goes, it is not new and there has been no more new paintingso does it make sense to leave old work up.  Doesn't it simply emphasize the fact that I am NOT painting?  Yes, and why is that?   In my mind it boils down to the storage, there is only so much physical room in my house and do I want that storage taken up with paintings or is my art better in another aspect, say textiles. So I returned to painting fabric and fashioning those wild abstract splashes of colours into something different with my scissors and threads.

My two favourite large pieces are called "O" .

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 and "oh My"

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I have talked about how I made them before, and have asked myself why they manifested themselves the way they did. I don't plan work ahead of time. My head works with colour and shape and places the two together seemingly at random. 

Another book I re read recently by Jan Massent " World of Embroidery"  was suggesting how ideas begin and how we can systematically work though the ideas and find the plan that might create the best embroidery from those ideas.  I sometimes think my work would be taken more seriously  if I could articulate the plan that was executed to create the work instead of saying I just play around. And she unfortunately reenforced this notion in her next statement about what happens if you don't really think as you do the work

" before you know it another facile embroidery has appeared demanding nothing more of the viewer that an appreciation of it's prettiness. "

This really sent me for a loop.   Was I just making pretty art?

 There was all sorts of self chat about that idea.  And I stepped back into making small... the wee patches and pieces I've hand stitched over the past few months. 

I've always wondered why quilters, especially, come to say that working with fabric the way they do reminds them of the connection to women of the past.  I can understand if you recreate old patterns or adapt them in new ways but was I missing something by doing my own play.  As I sewed my little pieces without intention about what they might look like or be in a larger sense I realized just how relaxing and absorbing hand stitching can be. it made me relax andsimply stitch patterns and individual embroidery stitches I knew fromthe past but for one reason or not had not occurred to me to use.

Reading ' Textiles the Whole Story"  has informed me. Beverly Gordon has shown me that textiles are important in their beauty and fullness and that pattern and colour with its own placement creates visual excitement and thoughtfulness .  Stitches were used to inspire, to make things unique and to create, sometimes, a symbol of solidarity.  It was the hand not necessarily the brain that fashioned the work first. Often the stitches were placed in such apattern because it simply pleased the stitcher to do it that way. 

that,  "the fact that textile designs come through the unconscious reinforces both the importance of the creative impulse and the idea that textile making is deeply embedded in the human experience. "

What is important for me to remember is that it is the impulse to make that carries me forward, and my impulse is always to play first. Thinking and talking about art comes after it is made as views and thoughts and connections collide in a viewer's mind.    Often I also have a viewers mind in my head as I revisit a piece I've worked on and my poet brain loves to manufacture connections and ambiguities that make me smile but may be illusive to the work except though my own eyes. So the less I talkor think about what or how my work actually wants to say the better.  I leave that in your hands and hope that even though it may simply be pretty, or it has been posted for more than a while, it is also enough to keep you looking again for I never know how a piece might speak with a new voice until it does.