While still playing with the experimental cloth that I started in the New Year, I had an interesting accident. I was stitching a diamond motif in black thread on a fairly heavily woven, hand dyed linen. But half way through, I decided that it wasn't working out the way I had envisaged. So in order to remove this section from the backing cloth, I took the scissors and cut through the topside of the stitches and accidentally cut a chunk in the cloth as well.
Hmmm... this small hole looked kind of interesting. What if I made the motif by cutting at intervals, instead of stitching?...
I made small folds in the cloth along the edge of the roughly sketched pattern and began snipping away (image courtesy of my 8 year old son, Nilo, as it was not possible to hold scissors, make fold and take photo at the same time). I like this idea, of creating pattern with what's not there.
And when you think about it, that's like lace.
And I suppose, more often, one would think about using this in ways which would emphasize the pattern. For example, using the way that the light passes through the spaces...
...or, using the way that the darkness does. But I wondered what would be the result if I ignored the pattern altogether, and so I set the cloth back on the backing cloth and just started stitching.
And although the outcome was nothing to sing and dance about in itself (should have thought to use a pale thread instead of black, didn't even finish what I'd started), I really like the way that an echo of the pattern remains, and the way in which it starts to become a textural pattern. Another idea to develop in the future!
The experimental cloth looked like this the last time it was seen. I just wasn't happy with it. So it went through several tearing up sessions, (maybe that's what I most needed to do at the time?) a funny little scrolling motif popped into my head...
And then it became this... for a brief time! Still not happy, this new cloth got torn into single sections. And that's where it stands. Four small cloths (aprox.18 x 23 cm). Each interesting in their way. But... honestly... what I am going to do with these?
The pale version of the "vine" applique got stitched and cut. I finished that part at least! I like this little cloth the most. But since I'm still asking myself "but what it is?", I feel disinclined to move forward with it in it's present incarnation. Maybe it belongs to some other cloth?... One that hasn't occurred to me yet. And, ultimately, maybe all of these will end up in pieces and as part of something else.
On a good day, that thought feels full of a sense of freedom, that one can just go on expanding on something, revising, changing, starting over. A Life cloth! But on a bad day, (and right now they seem to be the most dominant kind) that same idea has me throwing the cloth into a corner and asking "what's the bloody point!"
I know that all comes from being too mentally stressed, and too physically tired, (I came down with flu right before Christmas and it seems impossible to shrug off).
I know too that that's when I probably most need to make cloth (right?...) But pushing through that ridiculous barrier, of needing things to be simple and straight-forward and have a clearly defined purpose (a case of my professional work load colliding with my creative dreamtime) seems like the hardest thing to do right now.
I was excited when I last managed to get home to the farm (2 weeks ago) to discover in a corner of the garden behind a bunch of plants, 3 forgotten jars from last years solar dying experiments. It was hard to open them as the metal lids had oxidized, and when I finally managed to get them off, it was all pretty stinky. But after several washes and rinses, I ended up with some palely pleasing little cloths. One that had been wrapped around an avocado pit (top of image below). Ones that had been folded and placed in steaming water, with chile pepper and rosemary leaves,(pale and narrow panel left, and also pale cloth bottom) and some others, no longer possible to decipher what I had put in the jar originally.
Obviously, there are times when forgetting is the key!
I'm still strangely attached to circles (and still going 'round in them I feel). I want to make something of that.
"...that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space...."
An excerpt from Time XXI - Kahlil Gibran
It's exhilerating to be speeding along on the water - over darkness and through darkness - in a small boat at night.
A few hundred meters off shore on the Gulfo Dulce, bobbing and floating on the waves yesterday evening, we were treated to a firework show, the likes of which I have never seen in all my 40 years!
Apart from the excitement of being there, in the moment, I was shooting into darkness, and not knowing which split second of beauty would be captured on the camera's memory, but at the same time knowing it had to be inspirational...
Like stitches. Like seeds. Like circles.
Father and son.
A young boy whose dreams are still intact.
A special friend who made the whole experience possible.
I'm on call all week and my cloth is back at the farm.
Enchanted by Reinaldo's recent image (top) of a seed head of the Arnica plant (Chaptalia nutens), this morning I started thinking about how one might represent these kinds of seed heads in simple stitches. Moving from the more immediate into the more abstract.