Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Permission to explore

I've been keeping to my goal of minimizing advance commitments and going out more than usual, but of course I still want to somehow fit in some work. It seems that as soon as I have some work I want to do, I become quite driven, and if I am not able to get cracking, I start to feel both pressured and crabby!

I've two main projects to finish by the end of the year - a wedding album and my contribution to Book*Art*Object Edition 4. And of course, I'm feeling that I should be getting on with these, but I'm really keen to work on something entirely different.

Just before I arrived home I signed up for an online course, Extending Embellishment with Karen Ruane. Yes, as I said, something entirely different - embroidery. I discovered Karen's work on Ersi's blog, so thank-you Ersi! (take a look at Ersi's gorgeous embroidery ledger pages here)

For a few years I've been feeling drawn to embroidery. It's something I haven't done since I was a teenager, but I often feel I'd like to have something to do with my hands when I am sitting about.

It feels like it could be a way of creating that would be easy to pick up and put down, and good for times when energy is low because it wouldn't require setting up a space and dealing with loads of different bits of equipment, or anything wet and messy.

I see myself using embroidery as a type of drawing, with all the benefits of beautiful fabrics, gorgeous threads, lovely colours and textures! Mmmm!

To start us off, we were asked to make Moodboards (collections of images or objects that inspire us). I decided not to use  embroidery examples. These are mostly my own photos, plus some Japanese papers. I've also started another in a "gallery" over on flickr, using other peoples images. You can see it here.

I feel it could really work for me! Or maybe I'll give it a go and realize it's not "me", but I when I saw this course, I thought it might be a good way "in", allow me to learn a few things, and maybe to judge whether I'd like to go further. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time at all, you'll know that I love to experiment with different media and techniques. Sometimes I worry that all this exploration is a weakness, but I am starting to understand that it keeps me fresh and I suspect that I will never become a one-medium artist.

All the resources included in the embroidery course will remain available to us after the course finishes, so in a sense there is no need to work along with the class. However, it makes sense to do what you can, I think, as now is the time to ask questions.

So I'm trying to give myself permission to make the course my creative priority and simply assemble things so I'm ready to go with the next project, the wedding album. The deadline for that is late November. And that's ages away. Isn't it??


  1. this new course and direction sounds fab amanda - I am feeling the draw of cloth (but more the lure of eco dye.... and other deliciousness) I don't see experimentation and trying different mediums as an issue - I think the ability to keep yourself open to new things is at the core of an artistic life... and heck its sooooo much FUN! go for it!

  2. Thanks for your encouragement, ronnie. ;-) It IS fun!!!

  3. Thank you so much for mentioning my work, Amanda! And I am so happy you decided to take Karen's course, I have no doubt you will enjoy it and find unexpected inspiration in it. Embroidering on paper! What a fantastic addition to a book artist's resources! Please post your embroideries here, I can't wait to see them :)

  4. Oh it's my pleasure Ersi! Thanks for pointing me in Karen's direction. I'll certainly post some pictures when there's something to show.

  5. This sounds great Amanda. I'm a great believer in learning new things and none of it is ever wasted as your work takes in parts of all these different skills you have acquired and becomes uniquely your own.