Sunday, July 31, 2022

Fragile Gains again

 I am preparing work for the exhibition 'Vessel' to be held at the Old Ambo Gallery in Nambour in September and have two out of three works completed - the other is taking the time it takes.

There is also a bit of a shop at the exhibition - where artists can sell small items linked to the exhibition theme and/or their work.

My main Fragile Gains eggshell piece is pretty much there and I am just photographing and documenting it; but along the way I also thought to make some small pieces for the shop.

As you probably know from previous posts; this work is all about the gains women have made, that I think are very fragile including: choices, safety, education, feminism, equality, leadership and liberation. 

I spent most of Friday making the boxes by hand, having previously prepared the eggshells with their many layers.

And then it was down to getting the Letraset onto and inside them.

Each letter cut out of the sheet by hand and placed gingerly with tweezers and other tools; then held down delicately and firmly, yet gently, rubbed off. I hold my breath.

But I am very happy with how they worked out.

I look forward to having them in the shop at Nambour, but if you might be interested in having one now, please let me know and we can chat. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Thursday Thoughts...

"Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things".  

Georgia O’Keeffe

Realism. The literalness of things. Replication versus representation. 

I am doing some work at the moment which makes me think about representing something rather than replicating something.  In there lies the interest I think.

This quote and my own realisation of what I need to do has really made me think about realism, replication and reproduction. How marvellous to acknowledge that nothing is less real than realism!  

The quote makes me think of withdrawing things, moving away from exactness, trying hard to retain the essence of things rather than the absoluteness of them.

As a mostly self-taught maker I sometimes come to knowledge like this late in the game; but can also see that it may be something I have understood yet not know that there was a name for it, or that an art discussion around exactly this thing has been happening through the ages .

From this quote I shall carry with me the words: Selection, Elimination and Emphasis. and am sure that they will whisper in my ear as I make, reminding me that realism is not necessarily real.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

One more Women Friends

 As I have been completing things and setting the work aside, I have begun the process of tidying up my spaces in the studio.  It feels as if I had literally taken over every available surface and things were really somewhat out of control.

I sat at my desk and started to put things away. and then I got distracted... I was planning on putting some tiny type away until I looked at it and wondered what it was. It was Women Friends again, ready for blind embossing for one of the first of the books in tins that I made, way back here. That blog post is dated 17 August so the type has been been sitting on my desk for almost a year...

I thought, maybe not yet, and went to start putting something else away - these small round cardboard pill boxes. Until I thought oh my, they could go together and I was off with no further thought or effort given to tidying - I just had to try and do this funny little book idea I had.

Tumbling out. 

The poem is only stamped on every second page.

Fully laid out.

And also hanging...

And Barry took this wee video of me lifting it up and popping it down.

I was very happy with how a random idea worked out so well. 

The type is now packed away in its own lovely rusty tin, ready for one more outing I think.

And the best news is I continued afterwards, to tidy up and the studio space looks wonderful and I feel so much lighter for having tidied it.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

No idea sometimes...

 I honestly have no idea sometimes why things pop into my head.  I was working away on important other things the other day, and into my head popped - burnt holes with thread dangling.

Now what did that mean? And did it have a purpose? Was it supposed to mean something? Should I pay attention?

I chose to pay attention and after I had completed another step in the important task, I left it alone for a bit and went and played with incense sticks, Japanese paper and thread.

As ever, I started with words, but decided to go a'wandering too.

I burnt from behind, and enjoyed the little tufts on the front. Sort of like a slow motion photo of a drop of milk hitting something.

The challenge is always how to handle the burnt charcoal-y flakes. Still not sure - thinking maybe vacuum them up? Could prove entertaining!

And then I did part two - dangly threads. You can really see the charcoal bits here. If I want a pristine look, I have to work it out. If I am happy to have a record of burning, then I could leave them. 

I reversed out of dangling, and went for straight and steady and tried to stitch the lettering as it didn't feel as if it would work with dangles. A couple of options.

And I left it on my desk - making me wonder what that little interlude was all about, and with no idea (once more) about where it might go or what it might do.

However, because I have been working on exhibition pieces and commissions, I really enjoyed just heading off randomly for a bit and seeing where it might take me.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Thursday Thoughts...

“Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.” 

Jeanette Winterson

When I read this I wondered what to think about the word 'doses'. It sounded a bit too much like worming a cat or a dog; and in my mind I turned the word into 'tonic'. Tonic definitely feels like it is doing you good; that you are being made to feel brighter; that you re being uplifted in spirit. So apologies to Ms Winterson for my edit!

That moment aside, I agree wholeheartedly with the premise that both poetry and fiction can help heal you. They can restore you, and they can uplift you. Some folk might say they can save you.

A really interesting part of this quote I think, is what she suggests they are healing, 'the rupture that reality makes on the imagination'.

From this, I imagine a sort of slap in the face awakening. A rude shock.

I wonder if it comes from her childhood where she withdrew from some of the harsh realities she lived with; that day dreaming, imagining and reading looked after her; made her feel safe and real and whole. 

If reality was harsh, then being forced to return to it from the imaginative and escapee-like world of the imagination and reading, and moving between the two states,  was experiencing literally as a rupture. A wound.

I sometimes feel like I am emerging from somewhere else when I finish reading and begin to take notice again of what is around me. Reality can come as a shock if I have been far away in my mind; but most of the time I don't experience it as a rupture, for which I am grateful.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

More Women Friends

 This little burst of activity came about through a dreadful mistake.  I had taken some of my Women Friends work to Scotland and sold a couple at the markets there.  As we gave a community talk, one of the attendees showed interest in the last one and promised to pop over and pay.  I hadn't heard from her before we left, so I packed it up and brought it home. On arrival home she had emailed to say sorry, but could we bring it with us the next time we visit, so I popped it in the box for Scotland and thought no more about it. Until somebody clicked on it on the online shop and bought it.

For the life of me I couldn't recall why it wasn't in stock (I blame jet lag, but possible also just distractedness) and with many apologies I refunded the purchase and wondered where on earth it was.

All that to say that I found it after refunding (of course) and it is now safely packed away again for the next visit to Scotland.  I did however think I should probably see if I could make another one just in case the online purchaser might want one further down the track.

And so I did.  I had enough spare prints to get 3/4 of the book printed and cut to size, and just had to set and print a few lines to complete the poem.

As ever, I had fun playing with the layout.

I also found I had pre-cut a whole poem at 9cm x 1cm and wen tin search for a tin that might fit, and much to my excitement, found one.

So that left me feeling pretty pleased - I have two now in case anybody wants or needs one (yet to go into inventory, but there you are, can't do everything all at once).

The late afternoon winter sun is delightful and I came home to find these wee buds casting lovely shadows...

Sunday, July 17, 2022

An amazing exhibition, Part II

 The last few rooms of installation at The Soul Trembles at GOMA in Brisbane brought enormous joy as well.

This piece Connecting Small Memories spoke to me of community and connections; of family and domesticity and the small things that bring us together.  Somewhere in amongst it, it also spoke of being bound, contained, perhaps limited.  It was really interesting to examine and discover so many many differing elements.

The next piece Uncertain Journey was bold.  A canopy of red threads above you tethering, smothering, red vessels. Astonishingly grand and amazing. A contrast to the small detailed viewing in the previous room.

Another piece of magical monochrome stillness, but with contained movement. Suspended movement. Bird-like sheets of A4 80gsm paper... with so many many beautiful lines and wispy shadows.
A Question of Perspective.

This final piece Accumulation - Searching for the Destination was another breathtaking wonder.  As you walked in you became mesmerised by the bobbing suitcases. I feared somebody had accidentally set them in motion and now they couldn't be stopped. An interesting response because the previous pieces had all been so still, and the motion felt somehow a bit illegal. However, the movement was deliberate and I could relax and enjoy it even more. 

From beside and beneath.

And we left in an almost trance-like state. How art can move you and transport you...

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Thursday Thoughts...

“I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.” 

Susan Cain, Quiet

In her book Quiet, Susan Cain really tooted the horn for introverts in an extrovert world. I oftentimes follow and read posts by introverts and nod along merrily. I feel heard when people say things like "I'm staying in today, it all seems too people-y out there".

To be an introvert; to have a tendency to internal workings; to seek solace and strength in time alone; to feel exhausted by large, active interactions, is not something that the world kind of expects or values at times. It wants you to be up, to be out there, to connect, to network, to promote, to blahh blahh blahh.

Introversion is me and exactly what I need.

I can support Ms Cain's notion that she is never bored and only occasionally lonely. I oftentimes think I need another lifetime or two to get through all the things I am interested in doing; in exploring, and in pursuing the funny little thoughts that come to me in quiet times.

There is great comfort I think, in knowing you can turn inwards as needed, to restore your equilibrium and and renew.

The risk of course is that you stay there and losing contacts and connections in not a good place to be either...

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

An amazing exhibition, Part I

 I thought I might blog about this exhibition we saw recently, but realised I didn't feel as if I could really do it justice without looking at in parts.

Currently on show at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) in Brisbane, is the exhibition The Soul Trembles by  artist Chiharu Shiota.

We had seen some snippets of images that were utterly intriguing, but I must say that nothing prepared me for the impact of this show.  We were both rendered speechless at different points, and I know that I struggled to find word to express my response and my feelings.  It was quite simply, breathtaking and stunning.

The first room we entered contained the work Where are we going?

I was mesmerised. The vessel forms, the grid of black threads, the interlacing and interweaving of white wool. You could walk around it, you could stand under it...

I could have left there and then and feel like I had seen all that I needed to see. It was so satisfying, I was full.

Amongst it, there was one, red vessel.

The next work to make me stand still, gazing, absorbing, feeling was called In Silence.

As a contrast, the next work I really enjoyed was inside-outside

And a smaller and more structured fibre work to finish, State of Being.

I'll complete the exhibition in another post soon.