a week of small steps

23 Apr

WEEK 16 (april 17-23)

It’s an unusual week that starts with a day less – though the ‘lost’ day was pleasantly spent.
We were happily held captive at our ‘little house’ mucking around with two small girls and planting two fruit trees bought at the Pumpkin Festival.
A slow mosey home and a nice gentle start to the week.

On Tuesday I am back to the reality of my disjointed life in the Studio.
Do I choose the necessary chores of keeping up with office work and correspondence and splinter myself into the many parts of me that I am?
If I get chores done I will certainly feel altruistic but what of the cost of putting these tasks off…

Do I indulge and play downstairs with the ART gods – playing hookey down below and ignoring the very tasks that I have happily endured for years to maintain my business?

As always I am torn – but this week I feel empowered to ‘go downstairs and make art’. Bugger responsibilities!!!!!

Alas, despite having this positive attitude I am betwixt and between projects and still fumbling to move any more than fairy steps forward on the two projects that have held me captive.


The first is a ‘feathering the nest’ piece – the ‘sulphur crested cockatoo’ version started ages ago and revisited frequently. Finally I think I have the size and base materials but need to flesh out the work’s ‘raison d’ĂȘtre’…. why it needs to be made.
A pretty Polly/pretty Cockie work is not enough so I invest time, and yet more time, in research until I think I have nailed it.
My current themes of Birds and Domesticity are to be entwined here in a different manner  – the tale of domesticated Cockies.

The fabrics I have settled on are a pair of Silk scarves purchased many years ago. Where?
I dredged my mind over the week and hit the jackpot – Beautiful Silks in Victoria, which still exist though they have moved from Brunswick to the coast. I’m in luck and I spy my silk/linen scarves.
I don’t actually need more to make this piece but I would like to flesh it out with a few versions, if the first one pleases, and it is much easier to play… to be bold, if I know that I have a backup plan.
These scarves were the start of the resurrection of this piece and are helping me to move on with clearer vision.

I now have the background materials, the feathers completed, the story that will be stitched onto these scarves BUT the perfect thread in the perfect colour?
Hmmmmm.
I’ll need to chase around, or order some in, because I do not own it in bulk…yet.

The other project, the second Knit One Purl One – is still waiting for fresh digital fabric to arrive and also the ultimate decision of how I design these fabrics – scanned in from old books or hand-drawn versions of knitted patterns? The fabric does arrive on Thursday so I have no time left to play but I have chosen the digital play with old imagery – it fits better with my thoughts.

I have also added in some small projects to my list that will entice me downstairs for shorter time slots. I want to produce some sets of smaller works – so that I can play with ideas, and so that I can build a library of small artworks that group together well, and so that I have some affordable stock.
It is also lovely to have this sort of process work to do in the evenings.

In between my journeys downstairs I have kept myself busy upstairs and moving onward.
I am clearing out things that are ‘holding me back’….unnecessary things.
I need to be more minimal so that my head stays focused on task.
….so…..
It has been a week of small steps.
It has been a week of plentiful preparation.
It has been a week of much thought – I am getting closer to imagining how I want my future to look and I need to keep shedding…

The end of the week had me driving down to our little house to water those new trees.
It also had me finally returning to my paint chip drawings which I still aim to do regularly – and in solitude I catch up with three – looking at the etched glass of our inherited kitchen cabinet down south.

It had me finishing a wonderful novel that I want to read again straight away!
‘How to be Both’ is full of art and gals and clever stuff.

It has also been a week of packing slowly.
We are off to Budapest, meeting up with our Movie Club to see 1945 on Wednesday night.
It’s going to be cold and its going to be fun.

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Jan Mullen

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