Diary Working with Wool, Wool and People

In the Studio Camborne College

Monday, 13. October 2014

Today was a  busy day involved with college activities, in the morning I went along the induction of the 3D workshop. Hopefully Andrew will very kindly help me to learn how to make my own Nalebinding needles.

before lunch making friends with the Mac and d projection screen in preparation for my talk to the 1. Years and giving talk after lunch. I appreciate so much to be given the chance to share my enthusiasm for Wool and my thoughts about a sustainable approach in my art practise.

the afternoon flew by and as in walking the talk I need to sit down for a while over a coffee and do some Nalebinding.

For everyone who’s wondering about Nalebinding, there will be a more in-depth text about the ancient technique soon. For today, Nalebinding is a technique to create a “fabric’ with wool using a wooden needle. It’s predates knitting and archeological find go back to prehistoric times. It was used worldwide, but remained in use predominantly in Scandinavia to make socks, mittens and hats or other small household items. It is closer to sewing and uses a length of yarn at a time. This explains why it went out of use when knitting, which uses a continuous thread.

The Joy of Stitch

Summer in the backyard or walking the talk

Resting in my backyard, knitting my summer shawl, quit music , a coffee and the dog under the table.

sometimes it take a bit of mental discipline to actually follow and do what I know to be beneficial for me, such as quite times.

the summer appears to be a time full of activities, swimming in the bay, dog walking, taking teenager to the beach for barbecues and surfing, Summer festivals, left, right and centre, Penzance just had the LitFest ( more in a separate post about my KnitLit afternoon last Saturday.

It is good to remember those precious moments of sitting still, hands gently moving and breathing ………..

The Joy of Stitch

Between Book and Stitch

I am essay writing and as it is heartbreaking to sit in front of a computer on such a beautiful day, as it is today, I am grateful for the chance to completely  be immersed in the thoughts of Sustainability and Art and where I place myself. And I got roughly an idea…….. In the meantime, it is good to walk the talk and do a few stitches, almost to rewire myself and let the other brain half have a go…..

The idea of Six nations is a metaphor for the all non-human and human being, equal, it sees plants, insects, birds, fish, mammals and human as a nation with equal rights.  An image which is strongly related to ideas from Deep Ecology.

The Joy of Stitch

And they were stitching again !

What wonderful opening of the symposium ” Beyond the Toolkit”!
It has been a great afternoon of meeting people who are going to give talks and workshops tomorrow in the context of the symposium.
I am very grateful for Fiona Hackney and her team who created this amazing event and cast the net to bring so many people together; people who bring their keen interest in the relationship of Craft and Wellbeing to this event and share their ideas, stories and experiences.
One of tonight’s speakers was Monika Auch, a visual artist and medical researcher. More about her work and her project “Stitch your Brain” tomorrow !!!

The Joy of Stitch

Glimpse of the Graduation Show

Glimpse from the Graduation show
Glimpse from the Graduation show

Here are the first glimpses from the Graduation show! what pleases me most, is that people have been in acting with the embroidery and added their stitches to the large cloth which was started at the Event at the Exchange, Penzance.

Soon there will be more photos and reflective writing. The Show comes down on Friday, 21. June.

The Joy of Stitch

The Japanese Inspiration

Vintage Sashiko
Vintage Sashiko

I have been reading in Jane Brocket’s book ‘The Gentle Art of Stitchning’ and came across Sashiko Embroidery. I amfazinted by the imagges of old, traditionalle Sashiko, which was used for darning and embellishing at the same time. I love the look of the worn and faded indigo dyed cloth, embroidered with white cotton yarn. I had come across these images before when I was researching about the Japanese  Wabi-Sabi philoshophy . So many aspects of this tradition appeal to me, it the simplicity of the stitch, the matrial and the underlying idea to use it for mending and caring.

The Joy of Stitch

ALTAMIRA – LISTENING TO THE WORLD

Screen shot 2013-06-04 at 18.34.56

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/tristiane

This a video on YouTube clip from the Altamira Project by Boris Lebong.

Here is an excerpt from the website : ALTAMIRA – LISTING TO THE WORLD

http://www.altamiraworld.net/

“Altamira is a sociocultural project I founded in 1998. I have been involved full time with it since then. 

With music as a guideline, ALTAMIRA explores through action and reflection the role of cultural issues in the processes of human development.

We think cultural resources vaporization is a mainspring of social empowerment. Our projects thus lean on the link between the art of music and the weakening art of living together.

With Altamira, we explore the link between culture and society, and how it can be a mainspring of social empowerment. Practically, we make community-based records, we set up pluridisciplinary shows as well as cultural interactions of all sorts : open mics, conferences, screenings, etc… 

Music is the guideline of these projects, but they are first of all human projects based on sharing and creating together”

I found the website, the text, the whole approach and the aims and the video work very inspiring.

P.S. I will try to figure out how to upload the video to the blog!

till then, this is the YouTube link:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=boris+lelong+embroidery&oq=boris&gs_l=youtube

The Joy of Stitch

Conceptual Research

The Conceptual Research

 My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

Conversations with a Mark Leahy, a performance artist, brought me into contact with Richard Powell and the group ‘halfangel’ (www.halfangel.ie/knitting.ie/theknittingmap.html‎).

Also with Gareth Ballyn and his project ‘evenfeed’ (www.garethballyn.co.uk/2012/01/even-feed/‎)

Both were a defining part of my dissertation and I have been writing in my blog about them. Both were projects, though very different in scale and duration, which were the greatest influence for me.

These projects made me aware that the emphasis for me lies in the process of the activity, the slow process of embroidery/stitch, the embedded concerns regarding ecological responsibility and sustainability.

The first step was to choose an ongoing project for myself, stitching on pieces of Hemp with wool yarn, which is produced in Britain.Over time three pieces of stitch on cloth evolved.

three piecesThree Pieces Stitch on Hemp Cloth, 2013-05-28

 I documented the process, the journey and reflection about it through video, photography and writing. In the process the following aspects of my work became relevant: 

 The Activity – embroidery/stitching as a durational process

The Participation – sharing the activity through projects and events

The Collaboration – creating dialogues with other artists, like musicians, as in this body of work.

Influential were also ideas from aesthetics and concerns, based in Zen philosophy and Japanese Craft design.

Wabi-Sabi

Excerpt from Wikipedia

Wabi-Sabi (?) Represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centrered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?), the other two being suffering (苦 ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū?).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetryasperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog:   http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Japanuese Textiles
Mended coat by Junko Oki

Accept the inevitable… Life is fleeting and transient…. impermanent. That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… and get rid of the unnecessary.

 That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature.

Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog: http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Accept the inevitable… life is fleeting and transient…. Impermanent.

That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… And get rid of the unnecessary.

That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

The Joy of Stitch

An Afternoon with Sue Dove

IMG_4290
Sue Dove at the “Coffee, Cake and Stitch” Event, May 2013

I meet Sue Dove in 2002, when I had started my A level course in Textiles and she was running a drop-in session at her studio in Hayle. I experienced Sue as a very intuitive teacher, who aimed at supporting student in their way of expression, never imposing her own way and approach. Sue’s own work defies to be easily categorized, for me it is to  strong, colorful and individually: one can detect influences from the Fauves, Expressionism and Folk Art. Her work no matter which medium she uses , may it be stitched on canvas, sculpture in fabric and stitch, mixed media, paint or print, speaks of a great joy of Making. Looking again at the wide range of her work it brings home to me, that I admire her strength not to be pigeon-holed.“Sue Dove is an artist, teacher, curator; she paints, stitches and prints;She was head of HND Textile Fine Art of Cornwall College and runs ‘Art for Health’ and ‘Alternative Doll’ workshops. She graduated from Liverpool School of Art in 1974. After travels in Cornwall, Morocco and ten years living in Australia, she settled back in Cornwall in the mid nineties. Her book, ‘Painting with Stitches’ is available from Searchpress.com”  (From: http://www.workshopontheweb.com/july2001/dove.pdf) Often over the years,when we met at various places and events, we often would have a laugh, because we would have some kind of “needlework” in our bags! Making is a way of life for Sue, once she told me about wrapping yarn around cord as part of her sculptures while waiting for the bus! We both are often asked, how we find the time for this “time consuming” activity, and the answer is we do, where and whenever we can. Sometime ago, I had told Sue about my project ” Time and Stitch” and also the follow up ” Coffee, Cake and Stitch”. Not only was she happy to contribute and take part in both projects, she also agreed to the meet me for an afternoon to talk about Stitch and Creativity. Even so our work is very different, we both share one particular aspect:

“The Joy of Stitch”

An Afternoon with Sue Dove

Sue Dove
Sue Dove

So today Sue joined me for Tea and Cake and a very good conversation. Typically for her, as soon as she sat down, she took one of her Stitched Pictures out and started, talking and stitching, so did I!

Work by Sue Dove
Work for the Unit 11 Show at Morvah Schoolhouse 2012
The Small One - work in progress
The Small One – work in progress

I asked Sue if she remembered when she started to stitch/embroider and why; Sue said, after her graduation, she specialized in Weaving, then she found it challenging and impractical to carry on when she started a family and needed a way of working, that was more portable and allowed to work in small but often moment and Stitch offered the perfect solution. It was fascinating for me because I developed Embroidery as a medium from similar experience, initially haveing a small child and needing matreial which fits into life. In the process I developed a deeper appreciation for work with yarn, needle and cloth. Sue and I have in common a deep to pick up something yarn related everyday, carrying it with us. Sue showed me the part of her current project, she had finished during a meeting of the St. Ives Society of Artists’s meeting. Sue’s work is related to Folk Art, Art Fauve, Expressionism and she translates her ideas fluidly into drawing, oil pastel work, Paintings and Embroideries: she said that she very happily sells her paintings and drawings but find it hard to let go of her embroideries as they carry so much of  her life in them. I whole heartedly can empathize with this feeling! Sue also said that the process of stitching, the repetition of movement, the feel of the yarns and threads are a great pleasure. This deep joy comes out for us in our work and we feel we can communicate it with those people who can connect with our work.  There is a tactile quality in the work which we cherish and want to share.              

The Joy of Stitch

Mindfulness and Stitching

Thich Nhath Hanh
Thich Nhath Hanh

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

― Thich Nhat HanhBeing Peace

Being mindful, while stitching, brings the dimension to it, I am looking for.

The book “Happiness” by Thich Nhath Hanh is a great inspiration on this way.

happiness

It makes a great difference when I stitch and calm my mind. I love the term “Monkey Mind”, it feels friendly, just something that is and sometimes it needs very gentle calming down, a chance to be grounded and relax. I can be kind to my own Monkey Mind and Stitching help’s me to find these moments when breathe and stitch and breathe and smile and with every Stitch come back to breathing in and out.

The Small One
The Small One

Stitching brings me into the present when I take care of my mind.

Mindfulness, Slowness, Environmental Responsibility and Connetedness with other people are foundation aspects in my work.