equal billing

23 May

WEEK TWENTY (may 15-21)

We are back to earth this week, back to a sort of normality….sort of in the sense that we are out of routine, out of provisions, and still not quite back in our time zone.

A return to normality also means back to my usual scheduling of fitting ART around life.
I have a busy week with a very unusual three babysitting sessions quickly slotted in, and a doctor’s appointment, booked months ago, just for starters.
Straight away I am time challenged and quite panicky about it.

I also have a deadline that I have been vaguely working toward for ages – an entry for Art Quilt Australia and also perhaps also the Wool Quilt Award?
I am now VERY KEEN to progress both of these projects – even if I cannot meet the deadline.
As usual I have taken ages to knuckle down, to choose my path and to actually start the making. Why am I like this? Is it procrastination? Not sure.
I do find though, that I am at my best with the thoughts, processes and materials well thought out BEFORE I start cutting or over-investing time.
By then I have thought through, and discarded, many ways of approaching the inspiration that set me off in the first place.
USUALLY I can then race through the piece with not too many hiccups.
So perhaps my hesitation to race to a new project is simply knowing that I work best waiting to be sure I’ve thought it all through as best I can?

Perhaps it is a throw back to how I designed and produced new quilts and quilt patternsĀ  regularly as ‘Stargazey’? I’d work it all out in my noggin and usually timetable only a couple of weeks from first cut to final stitch. Same with the pattern writing. The books with multiple projects were also tightly programmed as were the fabric collections I designed. The work was different from what I do now but not necessarily less difficult.
AND the time-sucking interruptions happened just the same!

I work HOPEFULLY. If I can push on, and if everything falls into line smoothly, the work will be completed. When that special/ wonderful creative energy grips me somehow the associated time-line panic actually/conversely seems to help? At worst it gives me no time to re-assess slowly and I find I can make quick and unemotional decisions.

So back to the week.
I need to make digital prints of hand knitted fabric for my second Knit One Purl One piece. There is much work to be done in turning scans of old knit photos into fabric and, as usual, with my slim knowledge of Photoshop, I struggle.
I am on the right track but still I feel a bit blocked.
I reread the notes I made to do the first Knit One Purl One fabrics and even though my outcomes will be very different they do help me to make headway.

The trouble with having a picture, THE PICTURE, of the work-to-be in my head is that I then chase THAT vision. I can’t quite get that perfect look at the moment but the problem is partly my source visuals and partly my lack of expertise in drastically altering them.

I do still have the need to learn these programs more efficiently. No doubt about that.
No time is still the response. Low priority timewise too. Hmmmm.

On Thursday night I have the eight fabrics I need….on paper only though.
I am working upstairs every night, trying to catch up, trying to get ahead.
I have to for my sanity!

At the same time I don’t want to make art this way, on the exhibition entry trail.
I do need deadlines but I also need to work consistently in making mode without letting interruption worry me.
My aim, as it has been for a while, is to be able to draw from a body of work to enter the occasional exhibitions and to build coherent bodies of work for showing as a whole.
But as you can see I am nowhere near that goal.

I am building works in series that should eventually be shown together but it will take a serious effort in one direction only before I can really seriously consider this path.

This week, in total time poor despair I also have, ironically, worked out the next step of the Sulphur Crested Cockie work.
Now? Why now and not six months ago or last month when I really wanted to????
Do I need creative panic to get me working quickly?
Is it fear of making incorrect decisions that slows me?
Should I accept that I work this particular way and that it eventually gives me results.
Hmmmm….not sure.

I did ‘spend’ nights catching up on the last three blog posts – and that was great for my soul. These little re-views of where we have been were an excuse to really look at some of my quickly snapped photos.
These posts tell a little part of the story of me – whether it is of this week’s frustration or the inspiring delights of those recent, foreign museums and galleries.
They have equal billing.

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Jan Mullen

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