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It’s that time of the year when I begin to reflect, review and make plans for the following year.

Reflection on 2018

My initial passion for researching how walking influences the creative process has been satisfied by wandering through actual fields, those of ideas, interviewing other walkers & writing up my walks. In “The Old Ways” by Robert MacFarlane he writes, “The voyage out is always the voyage inwards”, and this neatly describes the shifting of consciousness whilst moving on foot. There’s nearly always a metaphor that mirrors internal processes, the land, and the surrounding environment trying to get me to wake up to something.

It’s whether I pay attention and listen that makes all the difference. Walking, reading, listening and drawing are all ways to slow down, attend and notice important “stuff” which tends to be visual information and the written word. Books alongside walking have been powerful portals.

Walking this year has been a process of trying to find a path, it has been foggy, I thought I could find something authentic by taking a rational and planned approach via research and documenting my experience. It wasn’t until I let that go of conscious control & began to relax & have a sense of trust that I found a bridge between external objects and the creative process. I now understand the process of wandering, it’s not having too many plans beforehand and being mindful.

Present

In the past few weeks, I have been studio based exploring how shape & form distorts when the boundary is transgressed and compromised. I am using my torso as a baseline form, quilting and cutting fabric into the pieces then rejoining them into different forms. This builds on earlier work in the Secret Lives of Objects Exhibition (2017) & references my degree work from 2006. There is an element of deconstruction and reconstruction to explore distortion.

It also links the notion of bowl, casket, urn & body, all of which are containers.

This is a Hoster leaf and it indirectly informed how I made a quilted bowl. However, I wasn’t aware of this until I had finished a textile sculpture and looked back at the images on my phone.

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Notice the similarity to the quilted shape:

 

 

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Other images that have been influential are:

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These suggest disruption of form.

The seed of this idea began in June, I had made some cylinders out of cartridge paper. The important thing was the holes and marks inside. Previously, I had made similar 2D works. This shift to 3D feels like a significant change in process.

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I made three pieces, the first I began by taking some hand dyed voile, backing it with light weight batting & sewing contour lines similar to those on a map. I drew shapes into it beforehand and once the quilting was finished cut out the shapes leaving holes. The shape stood up but was too soft.

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To remedy this I used thicker cotton with firmer batting and canvas.  It turned out too hard and stiff, sounds like Goldilocks, right? The next involved creating a pattern, quilted lines that were closer together & a mixture of hard and soft material and wire in the seams. This felt just right! I learned a lot about construction. It made me think about going on a dressmaking course.

 

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Inside of front section with machine embroidered backing.
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Inside of corset-like sculpture before sewing together
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Outside of corset-like sculpture before being sewn together.
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Textile sculpture with LEDs .
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Textile sculpture with LEDs showing the internal embroidery.

I haven’t figured out why I’m using light yet, as soon as I had sewn it together I instinctively drew the curtains in my studio & put in the LEDs. It brought back an old memory of being a child on a hospital ward in the middle of the night.

Future intentions

My intention is to make another form out of thinner material like Crepeline or Organza and investigate a lightweight structure using thin wire, others are in the pipeline using smocking, printed fabric, text, drawings, using different mediums to stiffen fabric. I can see a “body” of work that will take the following year to create. The way ahead is clear after a year of vague misty wandering. And that feels amazing.

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