Expectations. 1, Process

Altar : found polystyrene. Temporary. Disassembled… and what I’m learning from them.

I expected to make a huge body of cohesive, location-influenced work to bring home and exhibit.

–instead, scraps and snippets, very little of which will come home. Some of it is too organic to make it through the bio security cordon at home. Some pieces have been temporary : made, unmade, recycled.

Lesson: I have always loathed the idea of it being “all about the process” – it’s seemed like art/craft making as a filler of time, an amusing alternative to boredom. To consciousness even. It’s never that way for me. When i make, or even think about making, i always have a Big Idea, something inside me burning to get out and connect with others.

Now, I’ve had over 2 months intensive tinkering with no specific idea in mind. My Gallipoli/Çanakkale memorial work is a long way off. It deserves a really decent level of attention and engagement.

Here I have experimented with a new medium (watercolour) simply because I couldn’t think how else to get colour in the absence of my usual textile resources.

Knowing nothing of how to use them I’ve surrendered to the process of experiment and found I quite enjoy it.

The pleasant discovery is that the process-generated works are settling gently into conceptual groups, just as they would be had I begun with an Idea. They look like ‘my work’ too. Surprisingly, they don’t much look like ‘here’ Cappadocia, but perhaps I’ll see that later.

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Reflecting

Merhaba!

I’ve brought a few tools (needles, scissors, pliers) and a little handful of threads. Every other material must be found.

Here I’m patching together SHINY teabag packets. This in response to realising that my darling little stone house has no mirror to a check how fabulous i look each morning. A totally non-functional activity probably deserves a totally non-functional artwork.

Quite a few of the rubbishy things I’ve been gathering are shiny. I’m a magpie from way back! This is a fun way to use them for once.

There’s nothing like a change of location and lifestyle to bring to mind how much is automatic. I have no idea what will come out of this and most days that’s ok.

Packing for the journey, part 2

With the great encouragement of some talented friends, I have been making friends with the pencil. Drawing, or at least sketching, is slowly becoming part of my process.

It is helping me to remember things and ideas, and to slow down and pay attention to the moment. 

It’s also been useful when discussing ideas with clients. I’ve been surprised how a very crude scruffy sketch on the fly has helped us move forward together. 

A drawing kit for the journey, but not too much:

  • Visual diary in pretty cover by The Sewphist
  • Soft & hard mechanical pencils
  • Black fine marker
  • Gold & silver gel pens
  • Blue, red & yellow Acquarelle pencils
  • Square & pointed watercolour brushes (for blending pencils and washing with coffee etc)
  • A spoon for burnishing/rubbing

In Sevilla I added a green pencil. 

pencil case  lying open across notebookThis kit i have used quite often and with great pleasure. Whether or not it’s a “perfect picture” doesn’t matter a bit. 

sketch of a tower at Park Güell

Back to the bundles…

I’m house sitting (you saw it on the Plan!). Working away from the studio requires a bit of thinking ahead. I pack all of the usual sewing tools- and some Projects. While I’m here I’m going to make the Baby Quilt top. Assuming that doesn’t take all my time, I also brought the Basket of Bundles so i can make something else too.  

soft cane basket of rolled bundles of fabricric

Basket of bundles. lower left: baby quilt fabrics. Upper right: 2 bundles unrolled

 
This basket is close to being my favourite thing. It’s full of bits of fabric, none very large, all collected at random. I group them in delicious combinations and roll them up until it’s their turn to be sewn. Any bundle can be raided for the perfect fabric for the current quilt. Any fabric can be rejected and put back in the basket to be added to a later combo. Bundles are taken apart and recombined.

This seems completely unplanned; from the perspective of each quilt sewn, it is. However, from the perspective of creating a steady stream of interesting unique quilts, this fun process is the best plan I can imagine.

New Year = PLANNING

 wall planner chart with lots filled in 
2016 will be a big year for me, so PLANNING was right at the top of last night’s do-list

I love to wing it, be spontaneous, trust that everything will be all right on the night. It usually is! And much more exciting. I hate listing and planning and scheduling, and I think of them as workplace disciplines.

Now that my studio is my primary workplace, and i want to get a lot done…I have to admit I can use them here too. It’s been working better than Spontaneous Sarah likes to admit. 

I also have to admit that i spent most of the day scraping paint off architraves, which was about no. 8 on the do-list. But, just in time before bedtime, voila! The wall-planner hung & embellished with the known, suspected and desired elements of the first half of 2016. Whew.

Back to normal 

  I always press the fabric. Well, technically, I IRON it. 

Official Quilting Advice always says to PRESS, which means the iron goes up & down without sliding across the fabric. For fear of distortion.

I’m far too lazy and impatient to conform to that. But i do iron gently with just a little steam. More a stroking of the fabric. Getting to know it. Teaching it who’s in charge. Pretty sure I can’t stretch The Baby metaphor to that!