irrevocable deadlines

31 Jul

WEEK THIRTY (july 24-30)

I had long ago decided to head to Launceston to the OZQUILT conference in September whether or not I managed to enter a work, and whether that ‘possible’ work was selected or not. I did manage to work to the deadline and I am very happy that the artwork Knit1Purl1#2 – my current yarn has been selected into Art Quilt Australia.

I loved being involved two years ago in the Ozquilt Art Quilt Australia Conference in Geelong. Memorably I produced the big/enormous in size and hefty in time-taken work, Feathering the Nest #1-beautiful values. It was the first piece completed in this ongoing series/exploration.

I was also very lucky, honoured in fact, to be able to speak at the event and run a design class. The conference is small and friendly and should be much better attended – which would also make it bigger. The coming exhibition, I daresay, will be just as extensive as the previous AQA exhibition which had a very large amount of entries hung.

By the end of the week I ….(now WE:)  have finally booked to visit Launceston and Hobart with the AQA event the major focus for me at least.

But back to the start…
The week started very early – I was out of bed at 4.15 am to head to Geelong/Melbourne.
As this was to be a creative/work trip I watched a Yohji Yamamoto documentary to get me in the creative mood. I was heading to stay with my ‘uni’ friend Helen to plan for an exhibition together in December 2018.
We will work to a theme that will be broad enough to allow us both to follow our interests.   Our challenge for the next few days was to think and talk the premise through.

It certainly takes all the time we have to both define and refine our brief.
Helen will start work straight away, in fact she has recently completed work that helped set the scene.
I will remain in planning mode and not start any new work for this exhibition until next year.

Helen set a lovely agenda for the few days together. A bit of time in her studio and a few outings. As we talked together in her studio I worked on the next K1P1.


All the time we were catching up and moving backwards and forwards refining, refining, and still more refining of our thoughts.
How closely do we need to be aligned to our basic idea?
How much can our work differ in style, material and technique?
Neither of us should need to compromise in any inhibiting way so our brief will not be too restrictive. Very likely we will be constantly re-aligning over the course of the next eighteen months.

Helen’s home and studio are a treat to visit as always.
Hers is a neat and organised studio that is really well set up for her popular mosaic classes and adjacent to a contained, sustainable, organic, rambling and productive back garden that houses chooks and the three guinea-pig brothers as well.

We visited Point Lonsdale where my summer holidays were spent, in the caravan and then at our holiday house. Such a treat to visit – especially as I am continually working in memory mode and  K1P1#1 – my summer yarn was totally based around time spent in Point Lonsdale.

Whilst there we walked, lunched and talked…working at refining our ideas all the while.
We also found an Op Shop and much to my delight I left with a book,’ A Stitch in Time’ that is not only ‘right up my alley’ but could perhaps help with our exhibition together?

On the long way to the airport we spent some time in Melbourne. I still needed to look for woollen fabrics….thank you Tessuti and The Fabric Store for adding weight to my suitcase. Luckily, perhaps, there was not much time and little winter stock left so reduced choice also equaled reduced prices.

There was a quick duck into The Hill of Content whilst we waited for a tram. My speedy choice was Identity Unknown – about seven women artists – which will continue the theme of my recent reading. One of the artists, Lenore Tawney, was well know to Agnes Martin but I also know Lenore as an innovative textile artist in the days when textiles as an art form was nascent.

Two books, woollen fabric and an exhibition planned. An enormously worthwhile Art journey that was capped by watching ‘Whitely’ on the way home.

Last week I mentioned irrevocable deadlines as a way for me to concentrate on artwork as a major priority. Part of this idea is to pro-actively avoid making work ‘to order’ for exhibition entries as I have done for many many years. This timeline/pressure of creating always leaves me feeling out of sorts. I know that I need to work in a better flow to advance or complete each series of thoughts/works rather than continuing with the ‘firing bullets into the night’ approach of entering a random work into an open entry group exhibition.

My first irrevocable deadline is coming way too quickly.
What started as a little thought early in the year has slowly, in a very considered and conservative manner become ‘a thing’.
This work-in-progress multi-pronged idea/thing….. is unofficially named ‘the December Gallery’. Which simply means that my studio is to be emptied at the end of November each year and to reopen as a gallery space for the bulk of December.

The December Gallery is;
My answer on how to force an annual artwork deadline.
A way to show family and friends what I do – as I do consider myself my own worst advocate (though I am getting slightly better:).
A place for me, and for others, to see my artwork displayed together for a good amount of time.
A place that will be open to the general public to view, consider and perhaps even purchase works.
May also reduce my Christmas performance anxiety as Christmas will surely have to now shrink in importance?

Integral to the plan is that I want to be working with another artist each year and I am thrilled that Annie Shelley is as keen as I am to get this underway.
Working with someone else is healthy – it both broadens thinking and narrows choices in a very good way.
We will also get to grow our work together and to share the experience with our friends associates and strangers. Double lovely….

I am very excited by the prospect of all that I have taken on in even considering such a course of action. At the same time I TOTALLY think that it is proactive/suitable solution to the difficulties of making and showing work generally.
I have a beautiful studio in a prominent location – why not welcome others in once a year?

With such a short prep time it will be nose to the sewing machine/pencils or whatever tools and materials take my fancy.
Meanwhile I will keep at K1P1#3 with a dose of extra panic…and I will keep on painting walls.
Then, in turn, time will fly and there will be the next irrevocable deadline of December 2018 when Helen will fly over with her new work that will join with mine.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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.