Thursday, April 4, 2019

Four Legs ... an exhibition

Whats is red?   WIP

I have been working on pieces for an exhibtion "Four legs..." in May this year.   I was chuffed to be invited to add a few works to this exhibition.

As my fellow exhibitors work with wool I wanted to incorporate felted wool into my stitched pieces.   

What is red?  is my first piece I have got close to finishing so I thought I would post a little bit about my process.

Yep,  I am still thinking out loud about process.   I tend to work intuitively which is why process is such a hard this for me to understand.   I struggle to plan in detail.  I am inspired by colour and form.  I find a mass of tangled thread stimulating.  Trying to sample or work a number of pieces in a planned theme leaves me cold.   The idea forms and morphs over time in my subconcious.  I have now recognized that it's then that I can start conscientously working on the idea.

Well I didn't really have any ideas tio begin with.

First I got carrried away and tried felting some wool.   Yes, I forgot I wasn't a felter!   But  I ended up with a lovely red circle which I looked at for quite a while.  And, I had lots of thoughts about what I could do with it.  Cue - start thinking out loud and deciding what to do.

Well it looks like a flower.  Stitch into it.

Did that.  Well that looks a bit dull.  What will I do with it.

I know, I will make more flowers .  Nah.  Bad idea - note to self - remember I am not a felter!

I will add text to it.   Maybe a saying?

Look at stitched shape again.   Love the scalet red colour and the explosive flower shape.

What about adding flower names around it?   Like the look of that.   White stitching on black felt makes the red pop.

What next.   More text.  Not more flowers though.   What does red mean?    Thats an idea.  Google stuff about red: phrases, poems, meanings.   Jot some of them done on the nearest bit of paper.  Decide on what is associated with the colour red.

Think about them.   Is the order important.   How selective will I be?  I took out some negative concepts and the words lost their pizzaz.

Add to all this - what do I call the work?    I have to confess most times the title will be settled before the work is completed.   I then work to the title.   Surely this forms part of process?   Not sure when the name happened in the work though.  Save that the word red was always going to be in it.  :-)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Process - the Penny has dropped

Wall hanging - Penny Rug with a twist

As you will see from past posts, I have been trying to work out what process is and how process applies to my practice.  I think the penny has finally dropped!

Art students today are taught to keep visual diaries and establish mood boards. 
But I’m a wordsmith by training and I write daily.  

I record my thoughts on anything: personal highs and lows, my view on current politics, family matters and ideas about my art,  whatever occurs to me at the time.  In the course of my writing I see that I keep coming back to certain ideas.  

For a long time I was convinced I should write in one book and that my art ideas, images and drawing should be in a visual diary style journal.   As a result, I had no cohesive ideas about my art and its progress.   I tried to take the ideas from my daily writings across to my visual diary and that didn’t really work.  I thought I had a to have a visual diary to fully explore every idea.   Then I ended up with a heap of visual diaries with only a few pages of drawings on that one idea.

Looking for help, I did an online journaling workshop with Sharon Boggon.   She gave me permission to write and draw on the same page!    

Exploring penny rug ideas in daily writing

It took a while but now my daily writings include notes and drawings of my art ideas when they come to me.   When I have an idea that reoccurs and sticks, I move onto a visual diary.  And its not a special diary, I just keep adding ideas to it.  But, by the time I get the ideas into a visual diary I am working through the ideas and how I can make my own mark.

Rough drawing in daily writing
rough drawings in visual diary

In the course of my daily writings I realised that I like applique, I like felt, I like thick threads and I prefer a number of simple stitch techniques.   When I look at what I have done in the past I see lots of applique in various formats (from traditional turned applique to raw edge collage), lots of running stitch and chain stitch and spirals and circles.

Add to this mix an invitation to participate in an exhibition with five textile artists who work primarily with wool.  My thoughts jumped to penny rugs: felted wool, applique and stitch.   Ideas started to appear in my daily writings.  Then drawings and internet research happened in my visual diary together with drawings that has started as initial ideas in my daily writings.

With the Albury Wodonga Branch of the Embroiderers Guild Victoria exhibition looming I explored the penny rug idea and created a hanging. (Photo at top).  And I revisited and explored appliqued faces again. 


I have realised that for me, process is:
·         recognising recurring ideas
.     playing with those ideas that take my fancy 
·         working with those recurring ideas over a longer period of time.

Thank you for letting me talk out loud. 😊   

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

still banging on about process

Tyvek garden

So I think this is a bit like talking out loud.   

Not having had any formal art training I am now trying to embark on a method of working that is sustainable.  It has taken more time than it should to acknowledge that my habit of diving in with a good idea and good intentions is not enough.  Making takes time and it is so disappointing when it doesn't come off.

What it is I am seeking?    A way to improve and move forward in my work.   

I really enjoy experimenting with different mediums and different styles.   Can I keep doing this?  How much/Does it distract from actually improving?  Should I stick to only one medium and one theme? Do I want too?  

I want to understand what process in art practice is.    My research tools are largely limited to the www which produces way too much information.  I have had to whittle all that info down.

Wikki has a neat definition which helps -  The term refers to the ways in which an artist goes about his/her work. Artistic practice goes beyond the physical activities of making 
artistic products and can include influences, ideas, materials as well as tools and skills.

Bu then I have discovered there is also something called process art which wikki defines as -   an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft, the objet d'art (work of art/found object), is not the principal focus. ... Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product.

So  with this in mind I have had a bit of a play with tyvek to see what I can do with it.  Can I push it so it is something other then the norm?   Do I need to?  I want to build on my BEE happy project and was thinking of bee environments when I made some tyvek leaves:

Painted tyvek cut into a leave shape and machine stitched to show the centre vein
Then melted with a craft heat gun

And arranged on a background with flowers 
And there is room for more play : the tyvek garden at the top of the post and some earrings below. :-)

beads and tyvek made some cute earrings

In the course of exploration on the www I came across a link to senior school  arts resources which bears a close look .  Its really a cheat sheet for students but I found it an interesting view of what should be taken into account when refelcting on process.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


small wall plaque with some of the mediums I work with:  paper, fabric,
 contemporary clay, threads, beads and a small piece of tyvek.

I have been working on tidying my studio space and trying to toss what is not needed.  I find that  really hard thing to do as I like to work in mixed media.  (But I have way too much fabric which needs a new home and am patting myself on the back for actually moving some of it on).   A tidy space is easier to work in... and I need to work on being tidier

I have had a play with some tyvek and thinking how it fits with my creative practice.  Do I need to go there?   It has some possibilities as it adds texture.  But I am trying to keep in mind that I need to focus what I do rather than expand it.  How do I refine my art practice ?  Does continued play in new mediums add or detract to this experience?   To quote a good friend of mine:  I can but I don't have to... use that fabric,  pursue that medium, try a new technique.  (Thanks Wendy)  As I understand process ,it allows me to explore, make mistakes, make discoveries and grow.

peacock carpenter bee

And I have started to collect images for one of my three major projects I have in mind in the coming year.  I have a solo mixed media exhibition happening in August 2019: BEE happy.   At the moment I am exploring Australian native bees and contemplating where I go next.   Some drawing I think.  It will help get their shapes in my hands and head.  Hoping not to over think it and enjoy the whole journey.   I find the final push to complete the works is the hardest.

Not quite a self portrait

Not quite a self portrait
small 8' quiltlet with embroidered hair

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