Lines

This weekend I discovered the Textile Study Group website and Facebook page. I love textile art and have several books on the subject; the TSG summer school photos were particularly inspiring as they demonstrated a clear link between the textile pieces and the drawing process, in particular (for me) drawing as a way of making. I am wondering how my White Noise line drawings would work with stitch added; so I’m drawing on fabric scraps, ready to stitch into later. Watch this space.

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April Sketchbook

Suzanne’s March pages have come back to me; this time there is a strong emphasis on the unnoticed, the ordinary, the overlooked. I am quite fascinated by the idea of psychogeography, and through my own practice have become more aware of my own surroundings and the effect they have upon me and my thought processes.

I live on a large council estate at the outer edge of the city; it is a place of contrasts. Detritus, fly-tipping, run-down garages, graffitti are all commonplace; and yet there is also a profusion of  opportunistic wildlife and greenery – urban foxes, kestrels, ancient woodland, bluebells. This place on the cusp, where farmland meets the bypass, has undoubtedly had its effect on my internal journey.

I have been working on my response this week. Sitting in my studio, the idea for a new direction in my personal work has dropped into my brain; inspiration exists, but it has to find you working, in the words of Picasso. Fascinating how the creative process works – how different projects feed and enrich one another.

Transformational Landscapes

I’ve finished my Transformational Landscapes sketchbook, a spread from which is featured above. 

I usually blog on a Sunday, but I’m currently experiencing technical issues uploading photos to WordPress, so if you are interested in seeing the book in it’s entirety, please head over to my Instagram feed here. You can also find some of the images on Twitter here, and on my Facebook page here.

Apologies for my technical rubbishness, hopefully normal blogging schedule will resume soon!

Collections

I’ve spent time in my studio this weekend reading, listening to dreamy music by Max Richter, and working on a particular sketchbook I’m making at the moment.

The dreamy music helps me to achieve a state of flow, which in turn informs the work on the pages. When something unexpected happens I find myself simply observing and allowing things to develop. I’m using water soluble graphite on gesso on a brown kraft paper book. I brush and scrape the gesso thinly onto the page; the graphite diffuses and flows and blurs as I spray it.

I am going through a phase of collecting interesting phrases, picked out like shiny treasures from the books and papers I read. The sketchbook I’m working on at the moment, which contains variations on the gesso and graphite, has attached itself to the phrase ‘transformational landscapes’, a phrase I found in a paper entitled ‘Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning’ by Jan H.F Meyer and Ray Land. The phrases I find please me. I turn them over in my mind like a child turning over smooth pebbles on the beach, cupping them in my hand, weighing them and feeling their shape and smoothness. I list them in my notebook. A treasure trove.

I’m currently interested in other-handedness; partly to do with a persistently troublesome elbow on my dominant side; partly because working with my non-dominant hand forces me to relinquish control and allow things to develop as they will. The sketchbook has been executed almost entirely with my left (non-dominant) hand.

I’m not sure how all these threads tie together – or rather, I’m not sure I can articulate it; in my mind it all makes perfect sense.

The Red Wool

My personal practice continues to be preoccupied with internal journeys, and a term I found in Robert Macfarlane’s thought-provoking book ‘The Old Ways’:

The word Wittgenstein used for ‘thought’…

‘Denkbewegungen’ is a coinage that might be translated as ‘thought movements’, ‘thought ways’ or ‘paths of thought’: ideas that have been brought into being by means of motion along a path (weg).

I’m continuing to make long narrow books, which seem to me to depict these ideas. They always seem to turn out tied up in the same red wool, sent to me by a fellow Sketchbook Circler. I am fascinated by this wool and cannot say why it features so strongly in this body of work.

Yesterday I started making photographs of the wool itself. I am reminded of Magritte’s painting of a pipe entitled The Treachery of Images. This isn’t really a pipe, it’s only a representation. The images of the wool aren’t really the wool either, they are just images; but the wool has begun to take on a more loaded meaning, a subtext or meta message. It’s a representation of something that represents a whole raft of other ideas, if you follow me. It’s the continuous thread running through my life that represents the persistence of identity, my continuing personal narrative, the enduring trace throughout all the reframing, reinventing, rethinking, reconsidering. 

It’s not just a piece of wool.