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.


Felting lesson

  I had a go at felting again last weekend. Fun, made a cute handbag. Probably not going to make another.

No fault of the tutor’s- he was excellent: skillful, supportive, extremely well organised. 

I simply don’t particularly want to make/have/give/sell many objects made with that process, which although fascinating and versatile is a little too hard on the skin for my liking.

Why did I do it then? 

  • To test my original impressions
  • To have a refresher/reminder
  • To spend a day learning outside my current focus area
  • To observe another artist/craftsperson teaching

Alhough I don’t think I’ll “be a felter” i did have a rather delicious idea about how felting might work with another material I’ve been collecting…

Home from Ohio

Two years ago I was lucky enough to go to Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio.

It was a wonderful week with famous Australian artist Judy Hooworth, exploring line, form, colour, scale, repetition through small speedy works. I made about 10 textile things and many drawings. None of them “finished” in the presentation sense – because it was about “doing”, not about completing.

While I was there I used a design wall to mock up future works. Carefully pinned, they came home to New Zealand in my crammed suitcase.
Here’s one: some rather ho-hum hand dyeing, pleated to increase the intensity of the colour.

I’ve been unpacking that metaphorical suitcase ever since, still finding goodies in it. All learning is worthwhile,  though it may take time for the value to shine forth.


The legion of teachers

I’ve learned a lot from books but more from humans.

Almost every skill, piece of knowledge or strong memory has a person attached.
Maybe this is a result of my gratitude practice http://stitchsarah.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/gratitude-again.html. Each time I exercise a skill, use some knowledge or review a memory, the person arises from my memory and I thank them silently.
Chris, who clarified depreciation accounting; Annette, who gave me the key to perfect mitred bias binding; Julie, who taught me how to find my “head voice”. There must be hundreds of others. 
I think of you all as the benefactors of my life. I honour you by using your gifts as well as I can – and by sharing what I have received.