Larger Samples

 

Having looked back through my drawings, as the task requested, I chose two different pieces to work from: a large ink drawing and a small etching on an inky background.

I thought one was interesting because of the different opacities I had gained – using the ink in a number of ways and I was interested to see how how I would translate this into stitch.

 

I prepared my paper by creasing and folding, based on one of my earlier paper manipulation samples. I thought this would achieve some of the dynamic qualities of the piece and create movement. I used a mixture of black threads and wool to create the variety that the depths of marks show on the paper.

The watery diluted geometric shapes in the corner of my drawing I translated by using plain cotton thread and created long line stitches side by side. I think this is the most successful of the stitches/marks I have interpreted.

I noticed with working on this exercise that I did get bored and fed up with working on them. They are not completely finished, but maybe that’s because I felt like I ‘got’ what I needed from them.

I finally decided to honour my unlinear way of working, and despite not having fully completed this task, nor spent much time ‘planning’ the assignment. I nonetheless decided to dive straight in.

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Radical Craft and Itinerant Quilters

Living in a smallish town in mid Wales, it’s not every day I get inspired by exhibitions! We do have an Arts Centre with two galleries that curate often interesting shows but they are on for some time so I can feel culturally starved once I’ve seen whatever is on.

However I recently went to visit the ‘Radical Craft: Alternative Ways of Making” exhibition at Aberystwyth Arts Centre which really blew me away. It is rare that I visit an exhibition that I find so inspiring I want to keep going again and again. I took some students on my second visit.

I drew drawings and made notes and even bought the catalogue!


What I found so inspiring about this show was how I noticed nd it was focussed on artists who work intuitively with their process and don’t necessarily know what their outcome is going to be. Interestingly I found their work so powerful and inspiring, like really the most well curated and inspiring exhibition I’ve been to in a long time!

So as I heard myself say these words to my students, something clicked for me- that I need to work intuitively too and trust my own process….trust it will lead me down the right path.

And then yesterday I heard that Ceredigion Museum were hosting Two Itinerant Quilters so I whisked my daughter and I off wearing one of my most loved and oldest dresses to be ‘mended’. IT was a really fun experience, it felt great to take part in something, to offer a piece up to a quilt and to have my dress ‘up cycled’ at the same time.

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I thought it timely since I am due to work on Research Point 1 and begin to consider artists and designers who work with the theme of mending, re-using and recycling.

Both the exhibition and the quilters have made me think about this even more. Using and re-using materials, using what is around you. The effects that you gain when you leave some of your making to chance, to working with what appears before you.

 

 

 

Sharing

My approach to this course has not been as dynamic or fast moving as I have wanted it to be. There have been many times when I have considered giving up.

I have been reflecting and wondering and pondering over why it is hat I can’t seem to give my creative making the same value I can give in other areas of my life.

Is it because I’m a fake? Is it because I am ‘going against the grain’, so to speak?

I  am aware that some of this is a vicious cycle: I need to turn up and make, the more I do this the more I’ll put value on what I’m doing and therefore the more I’ll turn up and make, the more inspired I’ll get.

I am finding the making path a lonely one and have come to realise that I crave mentoring and more dialogue around my work. More sharing. The blog is obviously a great platform for some of this to happen. But this sometimes feels like I’m writing and putting it out into space!

So how do I move on from here?

I need to find ways and people to talk to about my work in progress more. By giving it airspace, time and energy, it gives it the value- the nourishment it needs for it to grow….

Stitched Samples

 

As a follow on from my previous post – these are the images, some of work in progress others that are complete of my stitch samples. I struggles with these because I found it hard to keep up the focus in order to capture the marks.

I think I was still working (still am!) in a ‘literal’ way of trying to recreate the marks themselves and this means I sometimes lose sense of the aim to capture the actually qualities of those marks.

In the end I have had to accept that this is not my strong point but I have had to move on as I felt like I came to such a state of inertia with it!

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I did select from a number of threads (see title image), but when it came to it worked mostly with the black. I gathered black wool and different cottons and black threads. I doubled them up in some instances.

As suggested in the course book. I did indeed like the back just as much as the front of many of the samples!

I did select from a number of threads (see title image), but when it came to it worked mostly with the black. I gathered black wool and different cottons and black threads. I doubled them up in some instances.

The irony is that I really like the aesthetic qualities of these samples! Maybe they are ‘unfinished’ but I like these. I liked leaving all the threads on, especially with any machine stitching I did. They add another layer, a delicate and fragile quality to the work that I feel suited the images and close ups I chose.

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Reflecting on work so far – transferring marks into stitch samples

I am recognising that part of this creative block is probably due to the need to transfer my drawings and marks into stitch. I love stitch. I enjoy free motion embroidery. But was aware that the task was emphasising the practice of spending some time on hand stitch. I own and indeed enjoying reading and rereading my copy of “Slow Stitch” by Alice Kettle. I love the idea of it. I have thought about this and finally reflected that what happens is I have all of these ideas. I know what I want to explore, but hand stitching slows everything down so much, and then I once again experience this huge gap between what I am making and what I am envisaging. I guess because my time is so tight, I am a single mother to a two year old, and working too, I have very little time when I have the energy to focus on my own creativity. So I want it to be productive. I want it to have some pace and to feel a sense of achievement. If I think back to the Introductory assignment, I had a few drawings on the go at all times. I know I can get bored easily, so I have found a successful way around this in everything that I do, where I have lots of jobs on the go, where I can leave one task and put my energy into another so that I don’t spend too much time in some sort of unproductive inertia. I need to find a way of working with these stitch samples faster. I need to keep them on rotation and consider working in layers….

Paper Manipulation

I need to crack on and write these up. It’s been some time since I actually did the exercise of the paper manipulation – over 6 months ago! Luckily I did photograph at the time and wrote some notes, so this post is a quick summary – to bring myself up to speed.

I’ve found that sometimes, the process of writing the blog has slowed me down. It’s only recently that I have been thinking and having conversations about the creative process with different people – that I have to remind myself that the reason I am studying this course is for me – so it needs to be a pleasure and not a drag or a drain! I am conscious that I am writing some of these posts BECAUSE I am studying online, and for the ease of assessment and for my tutor to keep track of what I am doing. So maybe this sometimes struggles with my real working process. I have discovered, and this has surprised me; that I do have perfectionist tendencies and this can sometimes halt my progress completely. So this post is a letting go and an acceptance of my limitations and what I am able to do.

As a result it is less polished, and more a presentation of images and notes. This is important to me as I hone my blog as something that works for me…

PAPERS:

I chose a variety: brown paper, thick printmaking card like paper, carbon paper, sugar paper, tracing paperOut of the drawings and images I chose, I linked up papers that I thought might lend themselves to the qualities.

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Brown paper three ways: loosely scrunched, wetted, scrunched and punctured, punctured with needle and hammer. The idea was to emulate the gritty, but soft marks made by the drypoint.

The other images I chose (see Exercise 2.1 Selecting  for images):

My ‘dynamic’ collage – that had strong sharp direction – slashing/cutting/strong folds and diagonals were my focus

My large ink drawing of the still life flowers – these had qualities of boldness to them

My small watercolour square: there was a playful quality I wanted to create so I chose to puncture and scrunch many of my papers with a randomness

A small mono print: inky, linear, textured, patterned – I folded, cut, used tracing and carbon papers

The fine liner close up on watercolour: crispy, edgy hard lines

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Slow Progress…

I am chasing my tail with the blog. Weeks and months behind, doesn’t feel good.

I was speaking with a friend yesterday who has reminded me that the best way forward is to think of what will ‘feed me creatively’ instead of paralysing myself with my inner critic by continually listing what I haven’t done.

In that vein, I have slowed down and pulled right back. I seem to contract when I think of / walk past my little room cum art studio… I just don’t want to carry out the exercises. I think I have finally figure out why, but I’ve saved that reflection for my post on my samples.

So I have spent my one day a week that I do have to myself (and my only chance to get on with ATV doing other things. One of my other great interests is filling my house with plants, so I have been spending time reading up on caring for the plants I have, going to the garden centre and treating myself to a whole new lots of plants, and propagating and potting up some of them. Because of this, I randomly decided to research these two interests combined. This was due to having read a copy of “Steal Like and Artist”. In fact I had read somebody else’s blog (and apologies as can’t remember who’s it was!), who had been inspired by it, so I thought it might provide some light relief to my ongoing creative block! One of the suggestions is to go Google crazy. I like this idea. To make connections and expand and widen searches. To go down different rabbit holes.

So I Googled ‘Plant and Textiles’. Inevitably it produced a stream of websites, blogs and images mostly connected to dyeing plants / and eco printing. I am interested in this topic, and have it as one of my Pinterest boards , but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I don’t know what I’m looking for though obviously I seem to think I will know when I find it! This search led me on to looking for “Print Textile Artists” in general – because my background is in Printmaking, I thought it would be interest to widen my investigation into how these two mediums mix. Textile.org came up with a really good article on Cos Ahmet and a list of artists that I want to look at in more detail. I’ve also come across Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor and am interested in how she combines screen printing with textiles. I have recently got back into screen printing. The more I think about it, the more I think I am interested in the surface design aspect. I guess I need to play with mixing these ideas more?

Interestingly, just by breaking free and writing like this, rather than only using the blog to ‘write up’ my progress through the tasks feels better and more authentic.