Thanks to Jude's recent post, I've discovered Valerie (Anna?) Claff and have added a link to her Raven Wood Forest blog in the right hand column.
Hello Valerianna! :)
Reading through her latest post, and seeing images of her studio (the paintings and brushes and collections of natural objects) reminded me in some way of a self that I was. And it made me think how far removed from that self I am now. And it made me wonder about how that happened. How, unwittingly, I forced that self into the shadows. Infact it made me think about alot of different things. And it reminded me of these. Unfinished watercolor studies in a sketchbook from the way back when.
Two leaves. With fungal or larval damage.
One fruit (detail of above study)
In many ways I was happier then. Now I need to figure out why I think that.
Of course, you cannot go back. But I think you can re-MEMBER... a slow and intensive piecing back together of self???
I mentioned that we went to swim at Playa Colibre (Hummingbird beach) on Friday evening. Yesterday evening, we went there again. I've always been an avid beach comber, and enjoy picking through the flotsome and jetsome more than I do swimming. I took the camera and here are some images of a few things that the sea had left behind.
I am struck by the creamy pastel tones of these objects. And I've always loved the jacquard patterns found on many of the shells, each one unique. The range of forms and textures. Each object with it's own inherent story of a profound, journey in another world.
This is Playa Colibre. A sheltered slip of coastline on the Golfo Dulce (Sweet Golf), with a few remnant patches of Mangrove. Usually, we have the whole beach to ourselves.
Here's Nilo. Although he spends most of his time face down in the water with a mask, looking for fishes, he's only just realizing that, if he moves his arms and legs at the same time, he can actually swim. I explained to him that, most children find it hard to learn to swim because they're afraid of being underwater. But since he goes there to be under the water, he has nothing to loose.
Thanks to those who left comments on yesterday's post, with constructive advice about my "flock" as Christi called it. She passed me a link to the site of fiber artist Karen Franzen whose work depicts cranes and crows, (among other natural subjects). I remembered the work of an artist called Catherine Hamilton, which I was first introduced to by the artists sister, Lisa, who we happened to pick up on the road one blazing Summer's day four or five years ago, here on the Osa Peninsula. Catherine's work is hauntingly beautiful!
I still haven't decided if or how to move ahead with the "Bird Habitat" cloth. But even if it comes to nothing in the end (as so many of the things I start tend to do!) as always, these small journies, and the people that one meets along the way, make it all worthwhile! :)
I have fallen in love with Manya's fishes! For me, Manya's work is very special. Honest, lyrical, and clearly made with a fullness of heart.
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.