Thursday, 21 June 2007

Red shoes and other things

Sometime in May Jade from the gorgeous spectrescope tagged me to name five things people don't know about me and while I almost decided not to spend time on this I felt bad about interrupting this chain of blogs (does anyone remember this chainletter thing which almost put a curse on you if you didn't continue it?) and found myself thinking about what I would mention, so here it is:

1. I love the colour red, in flowers painting yarn summerfruit sunset jewellery clothes anything. Once I tried on every single red item in a shop but just about managed not to buy it ALL. I also have a thing for shoes and red shoes, or better the idea of red shoes is pure bliss.

2. I am scared of drawing, of committing lines to paper. Did a life drawing course years ago and drew with pencil lines so fine they were barely visible to the eye.

3. My favourite smell is of freshly cut grass, the sweet freshness, greenness of it. At the moment I go through my small garden everyday, which is surrounded by bushes, and breathe with nose buried in the foliage, trying to sniff out each distinct scent. Some scents are barely perceptible, the ivy’s is the clearest, and with the other leaves I have to work a bit harder, but there is something there.

4. Words can hold such mystery. My favourite German word is Zitronensilber which literally translates into lemonsilver. It holds an elusive link to my dad’s childhood, describing a lemonade that he loved as a kid. I’m not sure if it was self-made or actually sold in bottles and can’t ask him about it as he died some years ago. The word itself, its sound and imagery in one stroke evoke the treat of a sweet and only subtly sour faint-yellow fizzy liquid tickling the child’s tongue.

5. I can’t tell jokes to save my life.

I in turn now nominate the following to do their bit if they want, definitely no curse involved: Under secret door, sighbirdrift, tattingmydoilies, diary-project, cally creates.

Back to (art)work: A little while ago I bought an old pair of girl’s shoes, red of course, maybe from the 50s. I’ve been working with shoes off and on for ages, more about that another time, and as I’ve lately been tired of the narrowness of my vision of what I do with - dresses, shoes, figures, dresses, shoes - I decided to try to use these in different ways. I see these as sketches, I’m trying to feel my way somewhere different and am intrigued with new shapes emerging; not sure yet where it will take me.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Still in crochet-flux

I snatch moments of energy during the day, but my activities have been pared down to a minimum. The worst is my impatience. I get manic in my head with things I would like to do, ideas for artwork I’d like to execute, blogs to write, books to read, places to go, people to see, and that’s very hard to bear and completely unproductive when you’re almost immobile with fatigue. Had a message from an artist-friend who was telling me about her planned co-operation with another artist and an exhibition coming up in the States and while I was happy for her, she so deserves it, I also felt almost sick with envy. Very unbecoming and not very productive either…
Wanting more finished work, NOW, doesn’t help. Wanting doesn’t help, although it’s important to want. A couple of weeks ago I heard something on Radio4 that made me think. It was a feature about Mary Denise Matthews, also suffering from ME, who has just been awarded the The Libri Mai Mai Visti prize in Italy for her art-book Over The Hill With Annie May. What is amazing about MDM and her glorious-sounding book is that it took her several years to finish the book, seven or nine, can’t remember accurately, but a long long time from inception to completion. She had the patience, she had the vision, she persevered. I’m sure there were times when it seemed almost impossible, but she did, and I’m trying to take my clue from there.

The red dress with very long sleeves coiling up like tentacles (mentioned here before) that I started crocheting early last autumn is now too heavy for me to lift, so although it’s almost finished I can’t work on it for now. No matter how infuriating, it can’t be changed. Have banished the idea of gargantuan work (well, I’m trying to, I’ll be talking about the question ‘does size matter?’ another time) and decided that I am going to work on small things, tiny things, light things, minutes at a time - for now, trusting that in the end it will all come together to form something beautiful exciting meaty challenging slightly off-kilter gorgeous revolting enchanting… Elements currently in crochet-flux: flowers and pods, a nipple, nets, small mounds of unravelled cotton, diminuitive bullion-stitch dress, curly hairy worms, buns, an uterus, an ear… As I said: my art grows around me, slowly, veru slowly, but steadily.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

A stitch here, a stitch there

Although ME has not clouded my imagination I have not been able to do much – so no writing for my blog nor could I continue with my newest hair-dress, alas. Have not stopped entirely though, my art-making is always the very last thing to go, I cling to it for my sense of self beyond illness and if I can help it I will at least hold my current weapon of choice, the lovely crocheting hook, in my hand, and attempt a few stitches. My garden has been my delight, no matter how tired, I could every now and then do a couple of steps outside and drink in the green glory of it. So no surprise that I’ve been crocheting wool-and-hair-flowers, very very slowly, a stitch here, a stitch there, but grow they did.
I’ve been thinking about how much to talk about my ME in my blog, not wanting to have my artwork being seen through that (distorted) lens and labelled, so I’ve kept it in the background, but lately I’ve felt so bad that it’s dominated everything. Obviously I’m a bit better now, I’m sitting here typing this, hooray, but a bit is the operative word. Relapses are hard to take but one of the things that has been quite wonderful was that wrapped up in cloudy ME-blues I received lovely messages about my artwork and my blog from artist- and other bloggers and I want to draw your attention to some of them as they’ve got really good blogs going too and my imagination has been sparked in new directions. ME can make you feel like you’re completely separate from the world, so thank you for finding me: cally creates, tatting my doilies, sighbirdrift.