Wednesday, 16 May 2007
I am working with hair again, crocheting some larger hair-dresses, which I will probably hang from branches. Three finished so far, hope to do series of five.
I love and hate working with hair. The best is opening the long crackling plastic packet and taking out the (artificial) hair which is loosely woven into a plait. It feels soft and sensual, you want to stroke it. I almost don’t want to undo the plait, but need to separate it into thin strands for my crocheting. The crocheting is where the trouble starts, the hair is not really that pliable, resists being fastened into tiny loops and stitches, individual hairs escaping, knots forming. After every twelve double crochets a new strand needs to be taken up and joined. It’s painstaking, almost obsessive work, takes time, you need to look closely at what you’re doing although for thousands and thousands of stitches it’s the same and the same and the same again. Utter focus and the mind empties. The little girl learning to crochet, head bent over her work, sweaty hands clasped tightly around hook and cotton thread, is never far off.
Working with this material in the home-environment leaves strange traces - at the end a fine web of hair is spun all over my carpet and knots of hair reappear in other rooms like spiders.
Monday, 14 May 2007
My art grows around me, yes, but at the moment it feels like I’m looking at a garden with lots of green plant-life but no indication which is weeds and which is going to be something good, something worth pursuing. I’ve got so much on the go, several projects started, several more in my head, so many ideas and so little energy. But it’s not only that, it’s also a pressure from within myself to get things right the first time, a need to perform and achieve and never fail; to waste nothing, not energy, not materials, not anything. That translates into a fear of making mistakes, of experimenting, of getting messy, and yet I know that it’s there that life happens and that art lives from mistakes, from accidents, from unexpected twists and turns while doing. And it’s also what I get drawn to in some of my art, something wild and untamed and excessive, versus contained and controlled and reglemented. Maybe my biggest mistake is trying to sort the weeds from the rest before it’s time and also to overlook their beauty and purpose in the greater scheme of things.
Thursday, 10 May 2007
I just listened to Nina Simone singing I Want A Little Sugar in My Bowl and it got me I the mood for writing today’s blog. After a string of June-like days in April we had a November day in May yesterday: dark, cold, gloomy. If at least it had rained… Plus I felt crap and not up to much at all. And then a little ray of sunshine fell on me courtesy of Helle Jorgensen of gooseflesh, one of my favourite artist bloggers, when I found that she had nominated me for the Thinking Blogger Award. Thanks for that, Helle!
Apart from having an outlet for one’s own thoughts/concerns/images one of the most joyful and nourishing things about blogging is finding other interesting sites, creating links, starting to communicate. Five blogsites that I have found stimulating/inspiring/engaging/fun and which I in turn now would like to nominate for the Thinking Blogger Award are:
Welcome to my brain
All cupcakes, all the time
Have a look and you’ll see why.
And a special mention to Mandy of the gorgeous feltbug who encouraged me to start a blog. Thanks, I’m having a ball.
Monday, 7 May 2007
I am fascinated by the imperfect, in this case a body that isn’t perfect. The dress and trousers, the sculpture representing the figure, the little hunchbacked girl. The body is absent, seems to have slipped out of its cover, out of its frame. The sculpture a shell really, a hardened empty skin. Again a concern with difference and how it might be experienced, but also with the feeling of being different manifested in a physical way.
The sculpture is built up layer by layer, newsprint at its base giving a bit of solidity to hold up the layers of black tissue paper. The tint of the tissue paper fades with time and takes on a coppery glint, which makes the figure look heavy and substantial, as if cast in metal. Its lightness comes as a surprise. Making it was slow and tender work, the shape gradually growing towards its outer edges. Paper only (and glue), no other materials are used. The only solid thing here is the unexpected shape on the back, the extra, the different. Still this girl melts into her environment, comfortably so. She has a real presence. She doesn’t smack of difference, she just is.
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Last Saturday I went to a small storytelling event at a friend’s house. With my eyes closed I lay on the sofa and was transported into different worlds through words alone. No, not words alone, well-chosen beautifully spoken words, like poetry, like ancient songs, taking me right back to times when herstory/history was told orally and it mattered that you were there to hear them because it mattered who spoke them and how. Lindy Armah, the storyteller, (re)told four stories, one from England, one from Africa, one from Scotland and one from India. Journeys around the world, but with themes that are rooted and recognisable everywhere - love, longing, birth, death, hopes, dreams, tests and trials. Somewhere between the mouth that spoke those words and the ears that received them the lines were blurred between fairytale and reality, between imagination and fact, between what could be and what is.