Shadow box framed by Manchester Customer Framing
After a ‘career break’ of three months I started my new day job last Monday. New job, new people, new systems, new products, new processes and new responsibilities. And a new car, laptop and phone. It has been both energising and exhausting but, so far, thoroughly enjoyable.
Even though I have a deadline looming for the piece I’m currently working on I decided to be kind to myself and to drop my usual weekly target of 20 hours in the studio. I also made sure that I had no commitments this weekend so that I could relax and recover from what has been a very full-on week. Actively planning to take time off from the studio is quite hard for me to do as I have a bit of a ‘superhuman’ complex and routinely push myself hard. But I am glad I did. I have gone to bed early a few nights, read a book, watched some TV and enjoyed a few cups of coffee in the garden. I feel full of energy and am looking forward to my alarm going off at 6.30am tomorrow morning!
The other way I have relaxed …. several hours quietly stitching in ends. After all it would have taken a truly superhuman effort for me to stay out of the studio for a full week!
Posted in Studio Blog
Work in Progress
Over the last couple of years I have definitely found my ‘voice’. Or my ‘visual style’. Or whatever you want to call that sense of confidence that comes from developing a set of processes (or studio practice) that transforms ideas into finished pieces that are recognisably ‘me’. I can point to three things that helped – making a conscious decision to work in series, attending a Colour Studies course with Leslie Morgan and moving into my purpose built studio.
I currently have two ‘active’ series. The Ruins series which has given me so much success and the Still / Storm series which still feels in it’s infancy. In both cases I started by developing a colour palette then developed a set of printed and / or dyed fabrics. I collage and stitch samples during which ideas for ‘full sized’ pieces start to flow. Some ideas are very vague and require more sampling. Other ideas pop up fully formed. And demanding attention. Like the piece I am working on now.
I keep a list of potential ‘calls for entry’, particularly those without a theme or size restrictions. But I let the work itself dictate what size and even what form my finished pieces will take. And I no longer give in to the temptation to create ‘one-offs’ to fit a specific call for entry. This limits where I might place my work but sometimes there is a really good match between my work and a particular call. Such as the current SAQA ‘Layered Voices’ call. The piece is going to be 4 metre long strip hung such that the bottom section is draped and partially hidden on the floor. It will be double sided. And stitched with hundreds and hundreds of parallel lines. And every end of thread will be carefully sewn in. So shouted my voice!
Unfortunately my voice does not care that the call ends on 30th September and that I start a new day job on the 12th. Or that we are hanging the next Etcetera exhibition at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery this week. Ho hum. Better get back to my sewing machine!