'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Weeks 27 & 28: Glovelier and Glovelier

Weeks 27 & 28: Glovelier and Glovelier.

It is, by my calculations, 4 weeks until we put up the exhibition which, for the part-timers, is the final part of this year's course. (Where the heck did that year go?) By now, I should be coasting gently towards the end, finishing off pieces for exhibition, making sure my supporting portfolio is up to date, and planning for a well earned break.

Am I? What do you think? 

I spent the first semester procrastinating by pretending to be working on the essay, but since the switch from trees to gloves, I keep having ideas. And I keep having tutorials in which other people make interesting suggestions. And I keep following them up. So that small but beautifully formed body of work which I thought I was going to produce (ha!) is, in reality, a collection of unfinished bits and bobs reflecting a series of wild goose chases.

For example, I think I mentioned the suggestion that I bought a lot of cheap gloves and used them to explore ideas. I started sewing them together without really thinking about it, and ended up with a short tube, which I didn't think I wanted, until I'd unpicked it. (Unpicking tight black stitches in black gloves in dim light is not a good idea and resulted in frayed cuffs and tempers.) (I've just read the previous sentence, and think I should make it clear that I wasn't wearing the gloves. That would be silly.)

Then I decided that a tube was probably a good idea, so I had to start again. The trouble is that sewing magic gloves together is both boring and difficult, which leaves to procrastination. Such as blog writing.

Here is the tube in progress on the right, and the remaining gloves on the left. Unless I decide I want a longer tube, in which case it is about half the remaining gloves. Then I have to decide whether I want an erect column of gloves, or a hanging cylinder, and go and consult one of our excellent technicians about how to achieve it.

My tutor suggested that I tried stuffing one of the gloves with fleece, and shrank it. So I did. I think you can probably work out which is the shrunk one. Interesting, but I don't think I'm going to stuff 4 or 5 dozen gloves with fleece, unless someone has one to spare - and even then I don't think I've got time or a big enough washing machine...

I had another tutorial last week - we are encouraged to book tutorials with all the members of staff.  I was enthusing about Louise Bourgeois's wonderful bronze hands - and was told to try copying them. Apparently copying is good, and trying to be original isn't, which was a bit of a surprise.

So here are two Bourgeois knock-offs. The single hand has yet to be felted, and will join two or three others. They are slightly more expressive than I expected, but somehow I don't think I'm going to be able to pass them off as genuine. 

And finally, some small gloves for an enlarged version of this. 

On a good night, I can make two of these, but looking at them in the photo I think I'm going to need a lot more than nine. Better get those needles clacking...

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Weeks 25 & 26

have been busy, hence the radio silence. We have had two Visual Marks Sessions: a standard one last week, and then this week an excellent workshop with Cas Holmes. So although I have a lot of Uni work, today was scheduled for two VM activities as well: following up the CH workshop, and this, which  is one of the challenges our mighty leaders delight in giving us. 


In case you are wondering, it is a drip mat for a plant pot. Or it was. Not saying what I have in mind to make, but as you can see it involved a shisha/sequin. It is a long time since I sewed on a shisha, and the last time I did it, I cheated and used shisha rings. So, I have forgotten how to do shisha stitch. It took many attempts to get this far.

Then, as you can see, I spilled red bush tea on it.

Fortunately, the other side is OK, so I shall turn it over and have another go when I feel up to it. Possibly after my first drink of the day. White wine doesn't stain.

My Cas Holmes related work for today was to paint backings (below) for what I'd done on the day (above) - I decided they needed one after I got home. I managed to achieve that without mishap. Tomorrow I will attach the collages and try to pluck up the courage to add some machine embroidery. Mishaps cannot be ruled out.

The Uni highlight of last week had been the crits (critiques). Yes, really! I can't remember if I wrote about the previous  one, but it was a bit demoralising, so I was a tad nervous about this one, especially as it was a Friday afternoon. But the tutors were really positive and encouraging, with lots of suggestions about where to go from here.

Which led to an outbreak of lunacy in the garden. It was suggested that I think about putting my hands/gloves/prosthetics on poles. (Don't ask. I can rationalise it, but I'm trying not to overthink things.)

So yesterday we pottered off for a walk in the sunshine at the Hillier  Gardens, coffee and cake in the cafe, and the purchase of canes in the garden centre.

And the final task on the list for today was to put the gloves on the poles, stick the poles in the lawn, and photograph them. I was expecting the pole-pushing to be difficult, but one of the advantages of having a lawn which  is mostly moss is that the first few inches are quite soft. (After that it's chalk, and you need a pick axe.)

If the neighbours didn't already think I was nuts, they do now.