Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Experiments in progress

At the moment I can’t clearly formulate my ideas for/about my work, something which equally disconcerts and excites me. Looking over my blog-entries I realise that something is changing. Where before I almost exclusively showcased finished work about which I could write quite lucidly and coherently I’m now more and more presenting experiments, sketches, ideas, the path to … Coming out with things tentatively, it feels a bit like I’m stammering, searching/groping for words and blushing with the effort and failure looming. And yet this feels entirely right for me now. I’m using my blog as a virtual studio-space, posting images that maybe if I had a studio would just hang casually on a wall, roughly fixed with a piece of masking tape, and possibly draw a comment or two or not. With the format of the images here unless one leaves clues each one seems to have as much weight as the next one, no blue-tack, no scruffy pins or torn pieces of tape indicating that this is the way, not the end.

Currently I’m tieing/wrapping and crocheting doily-influenced nets/webs. Shoes and dresses still play a part but aren’t the end-product anymore - I’m trying to find different ways of using them/perceiving them/changing them. A net, a web, unless stretched taut and boasting its constituent stitches, is shapeless, or it can take the shape of what it is draped upon/around/over. You see here the crocheted web that I drew over my face the other day, formless now, and another one that I covered a pair of girls’ shoes with.

And I’ve been wrapping red thread around this dress with much gusto, but only during short bursts of energy, as I want this really tight. There is something about contained force and energy in that tied red column which thrills me, but it also holds the suppression of that force, both movements vascillating backwards and forwards in the process and in the image.

Saturday, 25 August 2007


Oh, the sun is out! I sit in the garden, my sunny spot near the door, still wearing layers and layers of clothing as this week has been more like October than August. I’m tilting my face towards the sun with eyes closed, feel warmth spreading over me and see pulsing floating undulating reds across which move darker cloudy flecks. Surprise: Rubbing my eyes turns the colours to green back to red back to green. Depending on where my hands move luminous oranges turn into yellow then red again, turning darker with brighter red webs moving across and dazzling green fields of light flaring up and disappearing again. Sometimes a shining red almost orange moves centrifugally across my field of closed-eyes-vision, then a fiery orange and purple-red with emerald-green coming up from below. Even just moving my eyelids (no hands) changes the colours: it’s best when frowning as a dark but very vibrant red (crimson?) appears with violet streaks. Oh what joy. And now my cardigan is off too.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Grey and red (one of four)

Made first but presented last: a dress of grey-brown hair, my favourite shade. I bought all I could get of this beautiful (because it touches me) double-tinted hair from two local shops a year ago, still have got some left, kept aside/safe for a new project. Colour of the present is red red red, I think red and crochet red (in wool and wire and hair) and write red, even dreamed red last week, but more about that another day. Grey-brown is the colour of ageing, of years turning churning, of memories accumulating and dislodging, of old age catching up with childhood remembered, of going back in time in mind while time seems to move forward faster and faster - towards the end. Hair greying and thinning on head and body, slowness and sagging of body but hopefully not of mind.
It’s also the hair of an old rangy cat the fur of which has been torn and shed and grown back unevenly. The tint of an old winter-coat that has kept its owner warm over the years. Of speckled bird’s eggs and the nest they lie in. Of ashes which brings me back to the colour red – the flames that consumed.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Two of four

I’m going backwards in time here - she was the second one I made of this series. After crocheting the dress and turning it inside out I plaited thin strands of hair, made coils and sewed them onto the dress. I wanted different textures for the dresses and was thinking of hairstyles from before my time, what we called Haarschnecken (literally translated: hair-snails, beautiful and gross) – hair-coils here.
Thinking about this today all kinds of associations come to my mind: good girl, neat girl, pretty girl, and a plethora of expectations and attitudes towards such a girl, a mother spending time to tenderly/carefully make up her daughter’s hair every morning, Heidi (you almost phantasise a dirndl), but also, more alarmingly, blond hair, blue eyes - Aryan ideals and all that entails. Different with the dress presented before – with buns stitched into surface: buns make me think of spinsters (which I want to reclaim as a positive term). On both dresses something starting to proliferate, like a beautiful fungus. There is an innocence here, mostly in the size of the dresses, and a fairytale character too. The hair, the material itself evoking in different degrees bodily things, instinct, desire, animal nature, wildness, untamedness. I like that all these diverse elements coexist here, the pretty and the disconcerting, the domesticated and the wild, innocence and animal nature. Like the complex beings that we are...

Friday, 10 August 2007

Just now, this morning

Wednesday was such a good day: I read in and delighted in and almost cried over a wonderful new book, made a couple of drawings for new ideas, did a bit of writing and some more crocheting in the garden, talked to some friends, all in small doses, but I felt good and alive to the world. Yesterday was entirely different, one of these tired days when my body just doesn’t function, limbs are leaden, things keep falling out of my hands, and worse: everything in me is dimmed by fatigue and I can’t think any new thoughts, can’t take anything in, even my imagination is mostly evaporated. Knowing what is good for me I still spent a lot of the day outside, lying on my sunbed wrapped in cardigans and wearing big socks which should be confined to the wardrobe in August but it was chilly. I was as ever surrounded by my tools of the trade: sketchbook, pens and writing paper, some Greek tales, some crocheting and a delicious pot of strong coffee, but no drawings were made, no words were written and I was glad that I could just follow some train of thought that had already been set in motion with the crocheting I’d started the day before.
Now it's Friday morning, I’m sitting here, writing this, still in my pj’s but feeling awake for now. NOW. So I’m presenting hairdress 3 of 4 without further ado, then I’ll have breakfast and go outside and I hope lateron I’ll be checking some of the blogs I like, of other artists, look at their work and read their thoughts and get inspired by their work too. This may well be a good day, if not, at least a good morning. The sun is shining.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Isn't she lovely?

I find it so difficult to put up something tentative, not worked out here that I've had my finger on the delete-button umpteen times since I posted 'Played myself a drawing' and only refrained from erasing it because I so much wanted to. So today is much easier, as I've finished a piece of work that is close to my heart. A set of four hairdresses, in work since last summer I think, each about 45 - 50 cm high, hung from branches. I'll introduce them all, but start now with the one I just finished. 'She' is the most furry one. I've crocheted 'her' from thick strands of ginger and dark brown hair and the fur is the bits that I leave hanging inside everytime I start a new strand. When finished I turn the dresses inside out. The texture here is lovely, the stitches dense and tight and contrasting with the softness of the strands' ends. There is a wildness about this one that cuts through the cuteness evoked by its size. I want to tell a story with her, a story that is only unfolding now that I see her.
(I found myself humming Stevie Wonder's Isn't she lovely... while I wrote this. It's true, I do feel strongly about some of my work, something like affection, love, pride, joy - I've made this one! -, esp. when the work has presence as this one does when seen in the flesh)

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Played myself a drawing

Actually drawing is such a frightening thing to me, not sure why, maybe it's the blank white paper. Have been trying out different ways to get around that and played myself this drawing: took a girl's dress, cut it along the seams and laid it out. Initially it felt a bit difficult to cut into something entirely o.k., felt like almost wanton destruction. Isn't that a funny word, 'wanton'? Of course I can't use an intriguing word without checking my trusted Thesaurus for further clues and found that it has much more meaning than I knew of and a lot of it referring to women, which of course interests me even more. You'll have to look it up yourself as I'm getting too tired to sit at the computer. Funny that, really only meant to post the pix and then find myself typing away, running behind my own train of thoughts which I'll cut of now.
(Wished I'd taken more care when cutting so that the 'lost' shapes had clearer shapes as I find them interesting too. Next time.)