It seems that the more I try to focus my attention on a single art project, the more projects I end up starting. I have, as you know, wide-ranging interests and limited energy. As a result, I often find myself working on one thing while I'm longing to be making something else. So I thought that as a strategy to manage this, I would try focussing on one work for a month at a time. This would allow me to make some progress wih one thing, work on something else for a while, and then return to the earlier project before so much time has passed that I've totally lost my train of thought. Before we went on holiday to Melbourne, I was working on a book using photographs that I took in Paris. The stairway in the building where we stayed in the Marais is very atmospheric and a great example of "wabi sabi". As well as the more elaborate staircase leading up to the apartments, there is a smaller, darker set of stairs leading from the entry down to the cellar. My idea for the book, tentatively titled "ascendre/descendre", is to use the photos going up and going down in such a way that it's not always clear which is which and where we are heading. I see it as a metaphor for our times, and even the human race. Here's one of the photos I'm considering using. The first step is converting them to black and white and making any other digital processing changes.
When I returned from Melbourne I was scheduled to start a three week online course Drawing for Textiles with Dionne Swift. I actually met Dionne in Brighton last year at the Art Fair, and after an inspiring chat with her and seeing her work there, I had enrolled in this course immediately. I've been waiting for March to roll around with great anticipation ever since. But inspiration doesn't necessarily strike when it's convenient, does it? I've been tossing ideas around in my head for the upcoming Personal Histories exhibition for months and months. Nothing had really felt quite right to me. I was beginning to worry that I wouldn't be able find any inspiration to suit the theme. And then, out of nowhere really (but of course from somewhere) I knew what I wanted to do. And I wanted to make a start. Straight away. So over a week-end, just before I got cracking on Dionne's first drawing exercises, I got to work. This book is tentatively called "About ME" and I'm going to use translucent pages and text. It sounds horribly narcissistic, I realize, but I'm reasonably confident that it isn't. The text is information about M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) the now-accepted "proper" name for chronic fatigue syndrome. I'm really delighted to say that I've been granted permission by the IACFSME to use their text in the book.
There isn't much to show you yet, as I am just cutting stencils, but here's a peek.
Next, I dragged out my lovely chunky drawing supplies and roll of cartridge paper and made a start on the tasks set by Dionne.
After a week or so of drawing it was time to try out some of the ways she showed us to translate those marks into textiles. It was all new information to me, and the results are wonderfully textural and exciting.
But you should see the state of my studio now!
(no photos, It isn't for public consumption)
With all these different projects on the go, it has just become layer upon layer of art materials and media, and quite honestly, there is not a bit of surface clear to work. I am forced to take my lap-top tray to the sofa in the living room to do anything. Of course, that's exactly what I'm doing - I can't stop now, can I? But April really has to be the month of culling and tidying, or else by May I might not be able to get past the door.