I woke before sunup this morning, and a couple of ideas came to mind. I have no time today to do anything more with them, so even before my first cup of tea I dashed to the sewing room to do this little sample piece to capture their essence. Samples are like diary jottings – a message to me. This silver mylar coated stuff is great – I could a have those 8m x 1.5m used up in no time!
William Shakespeare’s character Juliet Capulet asked “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
This morning on Pinterest I found mixed media abstract art by US artist Jeanne Myers There were several lovely images of her abstract art on that page, and looking closer to see if they involved stitch, and wanting to know more, I went to her website. I was immediately struck by her current work titles, seemingly plucked out of thin air, like these examples – ” Sparkling Cider”, Frayed Edges”, “Mr. Dodd Said”, Collapsible Landscape” and “Dressing For Dinner”. I love the works, and I love the titles. There is a cohesiveness about her vision – but the titles don’t coalesce into any meaningful ‘story’, at all, or do they by their unrelated strangeness? And does this matter? No- but it’s highly relevant when you know how she thinks, as they do tie in with Jeanne’s vision+process outline in her artist statement. It begins “Alchemy – a power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious way” This driving concept underlies a description of her process she likens to archeological excavation, of digging through layers, peeling layers away to reveal something which is mysterious, not known or understood. (It does not involve stitch, by the way) She knows that when the painting has finally been revealed – the collapsible landscape has emerged – and that excavation is complete. I wonder how she chooses a title. Does she open a book and just choose a phrase from that page? Does she choose a favourite word and put another with it – like ‘Collapsible Landscape’ for instance? Perhaps she shuts her eyes while reading the newspaper and takes a pencil stab at some text? The possibilities are infinite.
I recently wrote of Richard McVetis who gave the collective title Units of Time to a group of 3D cream wool covered 6cm cubes embellished with fine stitchery, and each one had the subtitle, if you like, of something like “20:45” – this being his record or estimate of how many hours and minutes it had taken him to make that one. I thought that was clever. You could use the same rationale with completion date, perhaps. Either approach offers unlimited possibilities, but what happens when you make two or more works that each took 43:15? Do you then go to 43:15 #1 and 43:15 #2, …. ?
One of my series of art quilts I call “Colour Memories” some of which are here,
“Ora Banda” 1992. 127cm x 150cm. Collection Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden CO.
Most are named after a particular place that I’ve lived in or visited that I associate with that group of colours. It was reasonable at the time, but as my focus, chosen techniques and colour palette changed, it seems no longer applicable. With later series I’ve gone with for example ‘Tracks’ and then added the sequential number. A bit boring maybe. I really feel its time for a new approach to the challenge of finding or devising titles for new work.
When talking of inspirations, a fellow art quilter wrote today “I have a million ideas and only a few are taken to the next step”.
Just yesterday while looking through old photo files for something I couldn’t find, I found and actually labelled these two pics as “things that didn’t go anywhere” #1 and #2 , and it doesn’t matter which is which!
In the immortal words of Kenny Rogers’ song The Gambler – “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, know when to run.” though I’ve never done anything so awful I had to run!
Brick mosaic pathways, New Zealand 2006.
And really, when you think about it a lot of patchwork designs are a bit like mosaics, aren’t they? With that thought, I looked further in the old files and came up with a few –
I also noticed this blast from the past, “Hidden Messages”, which hung only once at a solo exhibition I had in Perth, Western Australia, 1997. I have no recollection of what the hidden messages were ;-0 but might remember if it was in front of me, perhaps. It was not one of my greats, and yet finding it today gave me pause to think about it again …
Hidden Messages, 1997. 86cm x 120 cm
Mosaic Pathway, 2016. 12″ x 12″ SAQA Online Auction 2016.
With the silver mylar stuff I mentioned last post, I’ve since begun a reasonably large piece, 90cm x 120cm It is feather light, compared to what something similar using leather, obviously! One thing about this stuff is, that when ironed from the wrong side after being attached, the cut edges pleasingly sort of round off, as if trying to turn under, which gives a nice smooth finish which you may be able to pick out on the sample on the very left side of the collage below –
If it all turns out satisfactorily in accordance with how it’s going so far, I could enter it in Quilt National, so that’s probably the last you’ll see of any of it until it’s exhibited somewhere.