Summer Meadows – more

Anyway, below are some more squares I’ve made. I love making these – but in some ways they just don’t seem to be real or valid work for me. To me, they are just me having some fun with colour and needing to do something with my hands. They aren’t particularly anything. In my head I am thinking summer meadow – but they aren’t representational of anything concrete. So does that make them valid or not?

They’re me messing about with colour placement. I love placing the colours side by side and choosing what to put where – but as someone who always does something tangible and representative – I really am having problems with their validity. They DO do what I want them to, and that is have a beautiful combination of colours that I don’t want to take my eyes off. But I’ve never really ‘got’ or even liked abstract work – so I am questioning why I would want to get into it. Just because Emma says so? Am I so un-confident about my work that I will take anyone’s advice as gospel and move onto it without question or debate? Am I so unclear about what I am about, that I can be easily pushed down any avenue that I might be able to hang my hat on?

My work IS about colour. Definitely about colour. If I am interested in form or themes – I will often make images black and white because the colours clash and that ‘upsets’ me.

The main source of colour inspiration I have is from the landscape and nature. Source material is my photography.

I love to felt. I love the process. I love the creation of something from nothing (although I often use a base material now to save on amount of fleece used). That previously what was in that space was nothing or a flimsy bit of material and now there is ‘something’ that has beautiful colours and I love to look at. I love to do the fine detail by hand – and now I have my felting machine, I can do much larger pieces and much more efficiently. I should also be able to incorporate other materials and fabric to make more complex pieces.

And here is where I hit my next snag. Emma says I am to avoid my work being too ‘crafty’. So, does this mean that I have to avoid doing felting altogether? So where does that leave me? Back with painting? Something that I am (apparently) quite accomplished at, but have little experience with? But then Emma suggested that knitting is something that is crossing the domain between Craft and Fine Art. Now knitting is something I can do with my eyes shut (literally). It’s something I have grown up with and have been doing for over 30 years. I come from a long line of knitters. My Nanna used to test patterns out for Woman’s Realm magazine before they were published and both her and my mum knitted for a local shop (knitting up patterns to order) for a while. But I mainly knit garments, or scarves if I want to be experimental.

The large bedspreads I have made were about colour – the placement of one next to another. There is one based on autumn and one based on the sea/water. Looking at strata and making pieces around these and from geology and the landscape would be lovely.

See, while I am writing this, I am watching a programme called ‘Earth – Power of the Planet’ with my fave geologist, Iain Stewart. He is showing rock strata – which I adore. The colours, the layers, the stripes, the whole. How do I bring this to pieces? Why can’t there be a contrast between hard rock, recreated as a soft, fluffy fabric? Isn’t there something valid and challenging about this opposition? Or is it nothing…

I could quite happily knit and layer with felt and materials and make collage out of textiles. Is that fine art? Or is that craft? I’m also back to the type and ability to print onto fabric and overlay stuff onto that. I also really like what I have been doing with machine embroidery. The sketchy quality of the napkins I made mum and dad for Christmas. I guess I should take heart from the fact that Caroline has prodded me in the direction of Art Textiles and that Angela asked if I could make larger felted pieces. So perhaps I just need to be careful about what I make in terms of final audience. Obviously most things I have made is for a purpose, either because I needed something or because I had no wall space!

But then Emma suggested that I had to make work that fits alongside those that are currently ‘out there’. Why? Why can’t I make what I want? Is it succumbing to the world of commercialism immediately? Am I therefore making something solely to fit in with other work so it can easily be curated into an exhibition? Or is that something I should be doing? I am so confused about this. I don’t want to make work the same as other people. I want to make the work I want. I don’t see how what I want to make is that far removed from Pam or Molly. I am kind of somewhere in the middle of their work (what I have seen of it so far).

I am happy to do abstract paintings or textile pieces of rock stratas and reflections in water – because that is what I see. I have taken an abstract photo in the first place and I like to replicate what I see – in a very literal fashion. Those I ‘get’. Those I can push and those I can do. I can’t seem to make the jump straight from a landscape into an abstract unless it is playing within a structure such as stripes or squares. And I struggle with their validity. I feel they are like a cheat.

I am also quite happy to take photos and abstract them and turn them into squares by blowing up or shrinking and replicating what I see there. I quite like this method for making an abstract, as it is my work (photo) abstracted from itself, with my decision how to blow it up and when to stop and crop etc.

Maybe I try some or all of these above and review and see how I feel about the pieces.

So, let’s try making:

  • painting of water movement – from Skye source material
  • larger fabric/felted piece of multiple layered, many mediums, of the reedy loch
  • squares piece (in both fabric and paint) abstracted from a photo
  • Look for rock strata pics from photos and create in
  • And look at the Moo cards for interesting crops and because they are so small, it should be easier to make abstracts easily directly from the image. The one of Wittering with the yellow spade would be good.

So back to finishing the iPhone case, keeping the finishing touches to the felted squares to this evening and making some pillows for my Team Leaders retirement.


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