Monthly Archives: February 2017

Phew!

'View' - work in progress

‘View’ – work in progress

If you heard a strange noise yesterday afternoon that was me, breathing one massive sigh of relief! Although I know that the way I develop new ideas has worked in the past there is always an element of uncertainty, a whispering voice of doubt. Combine that with a measure of performance anxiety (last year was too successful, what if I have already peaked etc, etc) and it is maybe not surprising that I have felt rather nervous and hestitant in the studio these last couple of months.

But yesterday everything came together and I made the first panel in what will be a five panel piece inspired by an old gas works in Salford. Creating something that ‘works’, that makes me smile, that I love is a wonderfully energising feeling. Of course it will be good if other people like it too but for now I am doing a happy dance!

'View' - detail

‘View’ – detail

Art, politics and the growing threat of censorship

Earlier this week US art quilter Sue Bleiweiss posted a ‘call for entry’ called Threads of Resistance on the SAQA members site and publicised it on the SAQA yahoo group page. There followed a vitriolic exchange of views in which Sue and others were verbally abused. She broke no rules – SAQA is an organisation that promotes quilt as an art form and encourages it’s members to share information on exhibiting opportunities. The bitter exchange of views moved onto Facebook.

The debate (and I use that word loosely as debate requires respecting others right to have an opinion) seemed to split in two. Much of it was between two sides of the US political rift. But much of it was also about whether it was OK to post ‘political’ stuff on social media. There was a suggestion to flood Facebook with art rather than angst.

Which struck me as odd. Art is an expression of the individual, their insprations, their beliefs, their politics. It can be filled with angst. It can be brutal and it can be uncomfortable to view. It can be beautiful and it can fill the viewer with joy.

And you can walk away from it if it offends you. Just like you can ignore a ‘call for entry’ on a subject you don’t agree with. Just like you can unfriend that person whose views you find hateful. But if all that hatred means we become afraid to express ourselves. Well then we are truly f*!k*d.

Sampling and getting there in the end!

I started sampling ideas for my new series using a selection of dyed fabrics pulled from my stash. Early outcomes did not exactly grab me so I also tried using stencils to take colour out (discharge) and to add colour. Interesting but still not right. I added back colour. And got rather depressed until I decided to change the scale and to add stitch. Bingo!

The sample above is definitely a step in the right direction. However looking at it I realised that the colours of the appliqued strips were not really ‘me’. Being dyed fabric, they lacked the texture I usually work with. Pieces from this new series will be shown alongside pieces from my Ruins series in the exhibition I am doing with Helen Conway at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery in Autumn 2018. So I pulled out my colour diary and compared my little sample with the colour family used in Ruins. The background for the new series uses a colour family made from black and petrol green. In my Ruins series I use petrol green and a colour family made from rust and black. Doh … it seems so obvious now!