letting the ‘making’ ground me

3 Apr

WEEK THIRTEEN (march 27- april 2)

This week, my strong priority of ‘making’ has felt like a real treat. There are still decisions to be made on this particular project but I really appreciated making the time to settle into the headspace/ the physical space/the groove of the processes – of letting the ‘making’ ground me.

The week started down at our ‘little house’ with the electricians powering up and lighting up both sheds. Whilst there is still a mountain of work for the bloke to do, with help by me when I can, this step forward is huge.
With the days shortening he can now keep at it a bit longer, plus we’ll both feel better with the safety and ease of having regular sized power cords plugged in where needed. Begone snakes of power cords criss-crossing the yard!

On Monday morn I sat at the kitchen table with my now constant, though still occasional friend Richard Fidler keeping me company. I traced and cut, traced and cut, traced and cut then fused pieces in preparation for stitching on the morrow.
It was really pleasant being in repetitive mode, listening and doing without a thought to emails, the household, to the juggle of tasks and priorities. I was physically far away and my mind was similarly set.

On Saturday I attended another Friends of the Art Gallery of W.A event – this time an Art tour of the Fremantle Prison.
The photos this week illustrate some of the art we saw.
The prison runs these tours about once a month but the ‘friends’ had booked three sessions for the afternoon. It was fascinating. Full of history and tales and intrigue and characters all mixed up with crime and prison guards – just like a TV crime series that hooks you right in but this time it was for real and local!
Add varying levels of art from graffiti to amazing.
It was terrific, the guide was perfect, and time flew.
The bonus was receiving a little book as part of the tour – “Art Behind Bars”.

In between the days and nights were centred around trying to complete Knit One Purl One. Having this as a priority was a real treat, a tonic. It was completed on Friday night apart from the mount which needs to be constructed and painted.

As always, the first viewing of it on the wall brings disappointment. It is not what was in my head but how can it be with so many variables and problems to solve?
As usual, I now realise, that the original vision is gone…faded away…ghostlike.
Unless I start drawing these ideas complete this will always be the case but I don’t want to be a painter, I prefer the construction.
Still, my reaction always astounds me and it has finally occurred to me as I write that I usually then apologise to the early viewers of the piece, indicating that the vision was magnificent but the physical manifestation is lacking.
Slap, slap, slappity slap!!!! I need to correct that skewed mindset and the negative behaviour right now.

In a way this piece is a departure for me. The puzzle of it, the technicalities, were a challenge – so much so that I would like to do at least a couple more variations to play with it a bit more.
Of course I want to launch straight into them and brush all other commitments aside.
I am in a flow but the oncoming week with very little studio time available, may knock it out of me as another, more urgent priority jumps in meantime.

There is also the need to purchase more materials – woollen fabrics and fabrics prepared for digital printing – as I have cut and stitched my way through much of both with this project.
Waiting for fresh supplies may indicate a need to switch back to another thought/stream and back-track to one of the many works-in-progress. I am keen to continue in the making groove.

My reading this week has included a devouring of Danica Maier’s Grafting Propriety – essentially a set of catalogues from her various projects.
I read a review, quickly ordered it online and was briefly disappointed when her work was not as I expected ……though sneakily, it was much cleverer.

She reinterprets old stitched pieces from museums (samplers, willow ware and crewel embroidery) but where I incorrectly assumed she was working in stitch, she was actually writing WORDS with pencil, on mylar.

Political, and quietly confrontational, whilst hidden in women’s work.
Love it.

I tried last year to machine-stitch works to reference etchings, but failed on my first attempt and as usual hurried off in another direction.
This is what lead me, with excitement and anticipation, to this book.
Her interpretations are miles away from my thoughts – which pleased me.

Now though I have to add more books to my list – I will need to reread Rozsika Parker’s The Subversive Stitch.
Sigh…

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Jan Mullen

B. Ed. Act/Craft (Textiles/ Sculpture)
Living in Perth, Western Australia
Artist, Fabric Designer, Author, Teacher.