Posts Tagged ‘keeping a record’

From The Series Of The Same Name Comes Ebb&Flow – #24.

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Ebb & Flow 24 web

Ebb & Flow 24,  2014. 

A bit erosional in character.  Despite some real differences with others preceeding it, this one defnitely belongs in this series much more so than I felt while making it.

There has been a bit of discussion on the SAQA and Quiltart lists about working in a series, what might be the importance of working in a series, how you go about it, what are the guidelines to working in a series, how do you set up a series., even some asking ‘Should I be working in a series do you think?’    Some people get so analytical over this stuff that I don’t think needs much analysis; while others write books and teach courses on working this way.   Everyone knows when the work of another artist, contemporary or historic, falls into a series(s)    Working in a series is nothing new, nor does it guarantee that your work will be accepted or acclaimed if you do!  But everyone knows a series when they see one – it could be loosely described as a group of art works linked by some theme or technical factor that underlies or defines a cohesive body of work.  From personal experience I know that to be involved in one is enriching and satisfying.  I don’t seem to plan mine as in set out a plan, they just lead from one to another, and I just find myself in one after 2 or 3 related pieces.  I continue with a theme until I feel I’m done with it.  One or two I feel I’m finished with (Colour Memories)  others not so at all even though I may not be working in that group just now  (Ancient Expressions) : I reserve the right to say something more some time!

How thrilling was the announcement the other day that the Rembrandt portrait at Buckland Abbey in Devon UK has been shown to be a self portrait dating back to 1625 when he was in mid 20’s.  Until very recently it had always been thought to be in his style but done by one of his students.  It’s suddenly worth a heck of a lot of more money in nominal terms – but, of course, the abbey will never offer it for sale! But the larger amount is relevant for insurance purposes; and confirmation of the C17 Rembrandt selfie will bring a large increase in visitor numbers and revenue, I imagine.   Anyway, Rembrandt painted over 40 self portraits, quite a series you’ll agree – and many other artists painted the Old Master, too, so there are a lot of images of him – we must have a pretty good idea of what he looked like in pre-photography days.

From Deeper In The Samples Box …

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

holes samples

So at one time you can see I was pretty full on with the leather punch – and a few years ago looked into buying a secondhand laser cutter, but various real considerations and practicalities finally prevailed, and I didn’t go ahead with it.  I think I’d have had to do a lot of trophy engraving to pay for it ….  Well, I like the organic, hand-cut look, anyway 🙂

Patterns Of Holes – Current Exploration

Monday, October 28th, 2013

These couple of beach photos show why I find patterns on the sand inspiring – although I have only just connected them to my current ‘holes’ focus.  They are of sand ripples and drainage lines of course; but to each photo I have added some sketch lines to highlight the potential of such patterns as ‘holes’, which to me mean ‘lace’ of a freeform kind.

In this first one,  I sketched in some lines to show how I see irregularly edged fabric with cut holes, and stitch on patterns suggested by the drainage lines, and knotty things of some kind like the little lumpy bits on the sand.

sand lace 2 web

 

And in the second, I have quickly sketched around shapes to show you why I am thinking ‘free form lace ‘ of a kind.

sand lace 3 web

And, if I made some holes with a crochet hook or knitting needles,  both those would provide additional textures …hmm, possibilities.

I’ve already hacked various sized and shaped holes into a variety of fabrics this morning, and now they and some of the cutout bits (these in a mesh bag) are all  swirling around in the long wash cycle.  After a spell in the dryer I hope some interestingly frayed and inspiring pieces of fabric will take me to another step in what I have in mind.

 

 

Taking Notes

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

I just watched an interview on BBC World with American writer Donna Tartt whose work I don’t know but must read soon.  All three novels including her just released “The Goldfinch” are available on kindle and audio.  Recorded books are a great help to me, as I can ‘read’ while doing other no-brain-required stuff like walking the dog or quilting.  Interestingly Tartt was talking about the pre-writing stage of a book, which termed evanescent and exciting as she gathers up ideas, and consults the vast quantity of ‘notes and bobs’ she constantly puts into a note book.  She always has a notebook with her  to jot down ideas and observations as she experiences them.  In this planning/designing phase of a book she can write absolutely anywhere including a friend’s couch, in the bath, in a public library, and on the bus.  The interviewer countered that many writers would balk at writing in a public library as being too, well, public. Tartt responded that to her its wonderful, as whenever you need a character there’s a passing parade of potential to choose from to flesh out a story. 

The next phase, which can last a long time is the hard work of writing the story, for which she didn’t use my term ‘hackwork’, but mentioned the hard work to be got through once her planning or designing has been done.  In this phase I usually put on the headphones and listen to a recorded book or favourite.  My hands are busy but my mind can be elsewhere.  She talked removing an 80-page passage of writing from her recent book in this phase. The reviewer was aghast at the thought of removing 80 pages from a draft, as after all, that’s a high percentage of an average modern novel !  To Tartt a particular piece of writing had to be done, if only to then show her where she should really be heading with the work; and if it meant ditching a chunk to improve it, then so be it.  I don’t often ditch large sections of quilts I’m working on, but have, and for that same reason.  And occasionally a problematic work might take a spell in a cupboard, and emerging appear fresh, and redeemable.  Writing a novel is not the same as planning a textile work, but there are definite strong similarities.  I know people who’ve cut up sections of a larger work and presented them as small works, and I have one or two that I’m tempted to ‘reshape’ this way, being OK because its still the artist’s hand (and eye) at work.

Tartt writes her notes on paper.  I’ve blogged in a long post  here about my own use of a visual diary. In addition I use the notepad on my iTouch or phone for little lists, odd thoughts, snippets or ‘bobs’.  And as I always have some camera or other with me – pocket-size digital, phone or iTouch –  I can take a pic, each of which is worth a thousand words, they say.  I just ‘read’/listened to a marvelous book “The Mobile Wave’ by Michael Saylor which I need to listen to again, as I now understand the potential of smart phones much more and need to maximize the use of the one I just acquired.  I finally decided to abandon the pre-paid one that works only in Uruguay, because too many functions weren’t working well on it (um, I did drop it a few times )  And yes, I have got one of those impact absorbing cover thingies for the new one, JIC   ;-p 

 

From Visual Diary To Material Form

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Commenting today on the SAQA list on an issue we’ve been covering there, Laura Wasilowski’s comments reminded me I hadn’t dropped in on her blog in a while, and while I was diverted I found a thought provoking recent post on why an artist should have a sketchbook with her at all times.  Laura’s work is characterized by lots of lovely simple repeated shapes with crisp clean lines, and always in her signature wide-ranging colour palette of modern clear bright colours.  The few open pages of the sketchbook she photographed to illustrate her post show the firm decisive hand that graphically captures her favoured organic shapes and patterns.    Laura is a busy teacher across the USA, and commented that when she travels from home these days she regrets having to leave so much of her materials for creativity at home – we can no longer pack the kitchen sink to take with us on a plane!  However, creativity never really rests for an artist – despite what we might seem to be doing at any time, there’s always something going on up top, even if we are away from our own tools of trade.    Laura finds travel provides valuable time for sketching ideas in her book which she always has with her.

It set me thinking about my own process.  I thought I’d write a little about it, since I am always interested in what other artists do to get their ideas from brain to paper or fabric.  Lots of my ideas get to some note form on paper, a list, a sketch, an important word perhaps, and the majority of these jottings wait in limbo there for days, weeks,  months, years even, before taking on some form in fabric and thread.  As examples, take this collage of several pages from a blank page notebook I’ve been using on and off since my son gave it to me c. 1992    I  still use it sometimes – pencil diagrams are augmented with words, lists, quotations or a phrase of an idea, also in pencil – I keep my eraser handy but ideas no matter how inconsequential they seem at the time once jotted down tend to stay – its only diagrams that might be amended.

Collaged sketch book pages

All from typical pages, each group sums up the ideas in my head at the time. In the UL image, for example are diagrams exploring my ideas, and words suggesting approaches or possibilities which shortly after I put them on paper became the working diagram for ‘Ora Banda’ (1992)  my first quilt in Quilt National, 1993.  These diagrams are really as far as I ever go in making a’pattern’.  At that time I was using the ruler to cut shapes and precise 1/2″ strip inserts.  Some time I will explore the development of the curved wandering strips that appearted in much of my work 1993- 2002, when my strips became freehand, too.

Ora Banda

The LL photo was one called “Waterweave” which I think I only have on a slide back in Australia (note to self – get it scanned next time you’re there)   See the K1P1 annotation?  I don’t really need reminding of the image that set this one off, but in a very large ad across the bottom of the newspaper page there was a line drawing of one of our famous Antarctic explorers, Douglas Mawson I think, pictured wearing a really thick sweater with folded over ribbed collar/neck,  fisherman style – Knit 1, Pearl 1 ….  have I ever mentioned that to me a line means a potential seam?  These days that process also happens in digital form on my computer screen.  I don’t currently doodle with a Wacom tablet or anything – but I do manipulate photos I take, for even a ‘bad’ photo can be useful as an aide memoire – and I do a lot of deleting, too, once I have thought about what a pic actually says when I see it on screen.  Many saved ideas wait at that point, page or screen,  for some time, perhaps years,  before taking some form in fabric and thread.

Last year I blogged about a group of quilts based on the patterns of sand ripples.  It was for an exhibition for which entry was by proposal – my proposal included a couple of collages to show how the surface textures translated to image in  previous works:

Earth textures - golden textures submision, blog

I was proposing designs based on sand ripples – so here I collaged some of my photos

SAND-001

and then that collage was manipulated with an editing program to give the appearance of being pencil sketches:

sand-web pencil sketch

My point is that my visual diary, my sketch book in effect,  is in two parts – or perhaps it’s in transition from paper to digital form.  It really doesn’t matter – because as I wrote in a blog post last year  “Writing about photos I’ve taken….. helps ideas crystallise in my mind as well as provide a record, and so blogging regularly is probably the closest I’ll ever come to journalling.  Some artists put almost as much time into journalling as they do into their art and living itself.”    You can read that post in full  here .

 

 

 

 

 

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