04 February 2013

Transform, change, disintegrate - II

On arriving at session two of "change, disintegration" I had these two pieces to show, made the previous evening -
both sides
Six hours later, the collection included experiments with washing paper (stitched onto cloth, and stitched onto other paper) and rubbing paper (stitched either side of a layer of stiff net). The ink on my sponged tissue paper ran, so I'm glad I hadn't had time to wash the pieces made the night before. (There can be advantages to procrastinating!)
at the end of the day
The gold-coated kraft paper proved to be very tough, and sunday-supplement magazine pages proved good for rubbing together - the layer behind came through, which is nice if the top is dark and underneath is bright colours. I needed to find out if the various sizes of grid made a significant difference - the answer is yes, but it also depends on how vigorously you rub. 

What was missing from the homework, and what didn't appear in the day's samples, was any sense that this was about loss of language. The session had started with looking at everyone's work and hearing what they were working towards - a finished piece, or some samples - and their theme. What emerged from that for me was the question, what do you mean by loss of language? physically not being able to speak? ... so I told how my german-first-language parents seemed to "lose" the english they had spoken for 60 years, which made it difficult for their children to communicate - we could understand the german, but not speak to them in cogent german - a problem compounded by not knowing what other cognitive changes might be happening. The topic feels very dark and negative to me (why then am I pursuing it!) - but I hope through working with it to find something positive. Or at least face up to those scary end-of-life things that we, quite understandably and perhaps wisely, would rather not think about. 

Louise had brought in some books and I spent some time looking at them - not so much for inspiration but as a change of pace.  Though you never know, things have a way of bubbling up later...
From Gwen Hedley's "Drawn Stitch", work by Roanna Wells - I was amazed to come across her Cloudscape in a show a few years ago; her use of handstitch is (if I may use another i-word...) truly inspirational -
Use of long stitches for portraits (sorry, the photo doesn't include the name and I've forgotten it now) -
Stitching based on a drawing, then mounted in a layer in front of the drawing -
And from "Lost in Lace" (catalogue of the recent exhibition) - the work of Naomi Kobayashi (see more pix of her work here)
The third book was about the work, in "stitched" wire and metal, of Julia Griffiths-Jones -
"Stitch and Write" by Julia Griffiths-Jones (image from here)
Moving ahead ... with just one Saturday left ... where will this go? Perhaps I'm too attached to the idea of using a "book structure" - though it was out-and-out fun simply adding bits of paper, keeping on stitching, and seeing what happened. Feedback and reflection have clarified that, to be "read" in the way I'd hope, there need to be some disappearing words (a pall of erasure falling on the work...) as the pages of the book move along. Or maybe it could be a panel with the words in a layer at the back, obscured by disintegrating layers - that sounds so obvious, but the effect would of course be in the way it was done. We'll see.

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