Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Considering Series Again

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

In response to yet another question on working in a series, on which I have written before,  I wrote a  few comments on the Quiltart list this week, including:  “I think it is important to write about each work. I don’t mean how you made it – those technical details aren’t the important part of a series. I mean writing your thoughts, ideas, inspirations, concerns, fears maybe – anything about your work, put onto paper, or into a digital visual or artist’s diary of some kind.  This writing, in whatever form, is not for publication but for yourself; the act of thinking about why you are doing what you are doing is part of the series process.  And when a meaningful artist statement is required, you have already done the groundwork! I’ve occasionally had what I felt at the time were one-offs, and yet with some, hindsight, there are really only two that don’t fit in one of my series.  But, even as I wrote that sentence, it occurred to me that those two almost forgotten works, made almost 20 years apart, have something strong in common… perhaps I need to think about that and write something about what links these two very different looking works…”


Life’s Rich Tapestry 2,  1990,  160cm x 160cm

I can’t find anything I’ve written about this old quilt, although if you have a Visions 1992 catalogue handy you’ll find something in that –  that artist statement would refer to the role of chance, in how our lives weave through highs and lows, as nothing stays the same for ever – we exercise skill navigating the swings and roundabouts, but there’s always temptation, the quirky hand of fate, the wheel of fortune, and so on – all these things are alluded to in the images on the quilt, which itself is a patchwork background of brights and darks signifying highs and lows.  In many ways this  contains the germ of the much later and still current ‘Ebb and Flow’ series.

 

Arbol de la Vida,  2008,  approx 150cm x 100cm

This morning I went back through my blog posts (aka something like ‘artists diary’) and read here what I’d forgotten about this second quilt I called Arbol de la Vida.  It was a exhibited in some exhibition I was invited to take part in – I just don’t remember – and I didn’t write much about it at the time, perhaps I didn’t think it was important enough, I’m not sure.  But I can tell you that in the preceding few months or weeks I had seen a fabulous exhibition of the ceramics of very important Uruguayan artist  Jose Gurvich  some of whose works can be seen today in a dedicated museum in the old city on Plaza Matriz. I love his work which is literally everywhere here.  Note the Life theme, and the pictographic symbols on the leaves – I was definitely on that same hand of fate/role of chance track 18 years later.

This morning I watched an interesting profile of Egyptian jewellery designer Azza Fahmy whose beautiful dramatic modern jewellery references her nationality and cultural history – she commented that while designing her Pharaonic collection over 10 years she was constantly combing through museums and archeological sites all around Egypt re-familiarising herself with all elements of ancient Egyptian decorative design that she was using as inspiration.  It can take much time and thought to build a series!

I think it’s time to have a palm reading.

Something Spherical, Continued

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

On October 10th last, I wrote in this  blog about a new work, and showed the left part of the photo below:

Untitled work in progress:  machine piecing (left)  machine quilting (right)

 

Progress has been intermittent, but apparently like a phone app, my mind has been quietly working on in the background looking for a good title for this.  My custom is to start a list of words and phrases that could become titles, and add to it as I go along.  The list for this piece already includes Moonlight Sonata and Dark Side of The Moon (both really famous musical works already, so not hot contenders for this) but there’s Lunar Eclipse, Night Light, Lunar Grids… and about 20 more.  As I got into the shower this morning, the phrase “…Tears of the Moon” popped into my head, and I knew it followed something about the sun, but couldn’t remember the other part of the metaphor.  So I had to look it up – and where else but Wikipedia, that excellent starting point or, in this case, aide memoire ?   I quickly found what I’d forgotten – that the Incas referred to gold as Sweat of the Sun and silver as Tears of The Moon, and remembered that was the title of an outstanding tv doco series I saw years ago (before I ever came to South America) and I will look for it now to watch again.  As you can see by this extract from the Wiki page, this section of text alone could take me off on a full day at the computer, following interesting links and having a fascinating time learning new things, but I really want to finish the quilting on this piece while I consider a possible companion piece, plus, I’m listening to a fascinating audio book “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, A 500-year History” by Kurt Andersen.

“Mama Killa (Quechua mama mother, killa moon, “Mother Moon”,[1] hispanicized spelling Mama Quilla), in Inca mythology and religion, was the third power and goddess of the moon. She was the sister and wife of Inti, daughter of Viracocha and mother of Manco Cápac and Mama Uqllu (Mama Ocllo), mythical founders of the Inca empire and culture. She was the goddess of marriage and the menstrual cycle, and considered a defender of women. She was also important for the Inca calendar.

Myths surrounding Mama Killa include that she cried tears of silver and that lunar eclipses were caused when she was being attacked by an animal. She was envisaged in the form of a beautiful woman and her temples were served by dedicated priestesses.”

It won’t be Tears of the Moon – that’s been done, but something good will come from this I know … Silver Eclipse ?…Silver Moon ?… and the app churns on.

 

 

 

Textile Exhibitions Montevideo, 4

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

On the top floor (no lift)  of the recently restored original Cabildo building Museo Historico Cabildo on the Plaza Matriz is a lovely small exhibition I’m glad I went to this morning.  Entitled From Within – Outside and Beyondthis invitational exhibition was curated by Beatriz Schaaf of Uruguay and Germany, hence the inspired, evocative, title.  I must confess it, I know little of felt making.  I have seen wonderful felt here (Siv Goransson) and in my home town Perth Western Australia, (Nancy Ballesteros) for example; I own a couple of fabulous scarves, and sometimes buy something made in UY to take overseas as gifts.  But I’ve never watched anyone making felt. I believe wool felts best of all because of its fibre characteristics, and I believe water plus your hands and arms are greatly involved.  Prominent felters in Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands and Uruguay were given Uruguayan wool to work with, to which most then added other wools from their own regions, plus in many cases incorporated other fibres, papers, cloths, natural materials and metals to produce their creations for this show, a lovely idea.  Here I present some of my favourites.

 


Margarete Warth, Germany, Vessels (Recipientes) variable sizes, max length approx. 20cm

To me these looked ceramic, but of course they are felt, and beautifully as-if-casually-arranged on an elegant marble mantle-piece in the grey-walled gallery.

 

Esther Weber, Switzerland/Italy, Revelation full (perhaps 90cm x 75cm) plus detail

I love the textures on this one, Revelation by Esther Weber, suggesting something growing and hatching or emerging from beneath the top layer… something organic and a bit disturbing perhaps, so I’m not going further down that path! (see post 3 in this series for my comments on statements and titles)  This is a perfect example of a brief title giving freedom for the viewer to mentally explore responses with minimal direction from the artist.

 

Gudrun  Bertenberger-Geyer, Austria  Hidos humanos / Human nests – silver (front) and gold (rear)  height perhaps 1.5m each

I managed to photograph these so that they hid the security fellow sitting behind them 🙂   They look so solid, like rocks or cement, but knowing they’re not, I really felt I’d like to climb in and see how nesty these feel.  As I say, I know little of felting technique, and it surprised me that someone could make such large forms -feeling sure that this comment proves my ignorance.  So I googled ‘3D felt shapes – how large can they go?’ and, well, I’d need to know how to crawl before walking this one, but clearly there’s a lot of interesting potential.

 

Claudia Fischer, Germany, collection of bowls, individually approx. 20cm diam, 15cmH

Each a bit different, with textural variations on the inside and outside, plus different edge textures (rims), these bowl forms were placed low down so you could easily see inside many of them, too.


Christine Rummel, Germany,  selected textural pieces.

Christine Rummel of Germany provided a large installation of panels of textures and a table to which were attached several little pieces people could touch and fiddle with, always a wonderful experience for viewers of all ages.  Textiles and fabrics are such an important part of our lives from our arrival in the world to our departure, and we expect to be able to touch them, but so often cannot.  (refer to the right hand panel of the top photo)  I just loved the grey and cream texture in the upper right of the panel, with little lips or protuberances of 0.25-0.4cm filled with something darker grey.  In the lower panel, very, very fine forms suggest something almost papery, like wasps’ nests or something very organic, and quite fascinating.  No, I didn’t touch them, but was very tempted.

As I write this, I realise this exhibition in particular has been very inspiring to me personally, and for that I send my thanks to ALL the exhibitors, including even those whose work I haven’t commented on.  Felting is very organic, somehow very ‘environmental’, and I will not forget this exhibition.   But there were a couple of negatives – the signage was tiny, often poorly lit and positioned way down close to the floor.  Good grief organisers, think a bit more carefully about making it easier for all people to access the relevant information – use larger signage, placed close to works at heights that don’t require visitors to almost kneel on the floor. (In another museum today, Museo Andes it was exactly the opposite)  And, further, I was stunned to find when I got home and consulted the biennial catalogue, that not only were not all images of pieces in this show included in the catalogue, but none were attributed at all – how very disappointing for everyone involved, and unprofessional to say the least.  I could not have written what I have if I had not taken photos at every point in this lovely exhibition.

 

Something Spherical

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

On July 22 last I blogged of how in a little demo to visiting artist friend I had come up with a small group of samples of half circles inset into a contrasting background (there’s a pic in that link)  I kept them up on my board for inspiration, not knowing what I should do with them but wanting to do something, definitely.  And then I went off travelling.

Visiting USA family and friends in August, I was in Greeley, CO, the day of the recent Solar Eclipse over North America. Out on our daughter’s back lawn, equipped with eclipse viewing glasses, eclipse pizzas, gorgeous eclipse devilled eggs, solar eclipse vodka, sunkist raisins and lots of other appropriately named or labelled refreshments, we enjoyed a solar eclipse brunch party with some of her UNC Botany Department colleagues. Though we were not in the zone of total blackout, the effects were dramatic enough, including a temperature drop in a few minutes of eerie ‘dusk’ at about 11.15 am.   The whole event was awesome.

After returning from my travels, it all clicked into place – I needed to do something ‘solar’ using these samples on my wall as a starting point. I have always loved these scales or dome shapes – which first appeared in my work 20 years ago, eg Pahoehoe 1 and 2Afterglow and recently in the Kimberley quilts. Here they have become the dark and light sides of spheres, in the loosest sense possible, mis-shappen and mis-matched. There’s no such word but there should be a made-up one I can’t get out of my mind, ‘ecliptical’.  I found enough of what to me are moonlight, nocturnal coloured fabric pieces and scraps – not my usual palette at all – and envisage lots of hand quilting in pale gold thread …   

 

You know I love grids – and these units are trimmed to 4 1/2″. A new project is underway, positive vibes so far, it’s lunar rather than solar, and the list of title ideas contains interesting possibilities.

 

 

 

Following A Trail – aka Making Samples

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Earlier this week I had a studio visit from local textile artist Lilian Madfes, and while she was here I gave her a demo/lesson in the basics of freehand patchwork piecing   Next week I will go to her studio for her demo of the basics of silk painting, at which she is a master in a very creative way.  When I had given her plenty to use to explore the technique if she wishes to, I talked about the dome-like shapes I often use in my designs and showed her how I do one.  Sewing it up therefore made it a sample – and my readers know I’m keen on samples for trying out any new ideas and materials!

That first one is on the RH end of this pic.  I liked it, so made more, and love where this is apparently going.

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