03 February 2016

Starting on "the void"

It's high time to start my piece for the CQ challenge, "On The Edge" - April will soon be here! There's a sort of tradition in CQ not to talk about the challenge in the online group ... progress is shrouded in secrecy, perhaps through fear of not being selected for the exhibition. But blabbermouth here is about to break that taboo, and perhaps others of whom I know not are doing the same on their blogs.

Last week I received this card* (thank you, Helen!) and it clicked in to an idea that had been swirling round in my thoughts -
...hmm, not swirling: I had a very clear mental picture of what "On The Edge Of The Void" would look like ... the sort of "clear" mental picture that is actually very fuzzy, a concept not a picture. It would be the edge, with no middle. A void where fabric usually is. The quilt size is 60cm x 100cm and my thought was to have 10-20cm of fabric round the edges, a nice straight outer edge and either sticky-out-bits or maybe a cliff-like thing for the inner edges, shapes to be decided (or evolve). Both inside and outside edges would be crisply faced, and there would be adequate room at the top for the regulation 4" sleeve at the top (and maybe a pocket at the bottom for inserting a rod that would help the quilt to hang straighter). Maybe the Void would be represented by an extra layer of fabric (an extension of that wretched 4" sleeve, left to flap at the back?) or maybe there would be ... nothing.

Those are the practicalities. Now for the arty bit! I knew it would have to start with drawing, and here's the first one getting going - again, the coincidence of receiving something through the post played a part - the exciting unmatched socks (thanks, Erika!) were wrapped in a nice big sheet of newsprint.
Void#1 getting going
About drawing on newsprint ... flimsy, cheap, expendable - but it's there, at hand. I have other paper of various sorts, but cannot bring myself to use it! also, dread the task of having to find it. (yesyes, I know this means I have Too Much Stuff...)

So ... so what you can, where you are, with what you have. I taped the newsprint, smoothing it as much as possible, to my "easel" - a piece of hardboard on its way to somewhere else, eventually, as are the trestles, still in my room after shelves needed to be painted. They made a useful place to put the little dish of various crayons etc.

I simply started making marks, arm outstretched, and before long a charcoal-mark "nest" had developed. Or maybe a tunnel?
Charcoal rubbed off, graphite added.
Rubbings in charcoal and graphite

The smudgy marks are white oil pastel, dabbed with the paper
used to rub off the charcoal earlier; they hold the charcoal (no smudging!)
and feel soft and oily

On the left is the stick (under the paper) that was rubbed along
to make a nice straight mark

White conte over graphite and over those oil pastel/charcoal marks
 Adding some ink ... too much void, not enough edge!
And the size is wrong... but these are research drawings.

*The card is based on the work of Anne Wilson, as seen recently at the Whitworth, Manchester.

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