I speak to lots of people about blogs. It seems that they come in all shapes and sizes, some with little else but pictures, and others with very few images. I’m starting to read other people’s blogs and have decided that I’m not going to read them anymore. I don’t want to be influenced by them or feel that I should write about something just because it’s the trendy thing to do. I’m just going to write what I fancy, when the urge takes me, showing examples of my work, things that influence me, methods and practises, and anything interesting that is somehow linked to my work. In other words, I’m going to write from the heart.
Today I’m sitting here, in my living room, staring out at the gorgeous trees, shrubs and garden with the rolling hills misted over in the distance. The garden itself is quite uneventful at this time of year but the feeling of open space is inspiring in itself.
I’ve spent so many years staring out of a classroom window, when the odd time allowed it, feeling totally happy in my job but desperate for some space, physically and mentally, in order to create. At that time I didn’t know what I wanted to create exactly but the need to make and play was always there. Yes, I could be creative through the youngsters that came into my art room, and although that was challenging and rewarding, it wasn’t enough.
So two years on and where am I know? Well, I’m calling myself a textiles artist and have struggled a bit about that. What credibility do I have to do that? I’ve spent some time researching what other people consider the role to be and have come up with my own list. When I look at it, I do seem to have ticked a lot of the boxes this year, but still have a few more milestones to go. So am feeling a bit more reassured in my new title. But the list will constantly change as the world around it does.
As I go along my new journey in life, I meet more and more like minded people. Those people who have given up the security of a regular paid job to take the plunge to fully immerse themselves in the “What If’s….”. Those people who have very little in terms of disposable income but oh, so very much in terms of fulfilment of life.
As an art teacher it was my job to make the youngsters really look at the world around them. And being in a special school, that meant me bringing the world into their classroom. So every young person, whatever their disability, was encouraged to examine objects and artefacts in terms of colour, shape, texture, form, and pattern. And that takes time. Really looking at something whilst closing off your mind from every other thing, is a luxury. Having the time to sit and look, should be made compulsory in schools. We live in such a chaotic world, and are visually overloaded with non stop background noise as a constant given. Children these days can’t just sit. It’s sad, methinks.
I’m very lucky and count my blessings everyday. After all those years of racing around, trying to meet everybody else’s needs, I can now concentrate on developing my own, and creating is a need.
I read that other textile artists are inspired by such things as the countryside, animals, flowers, people etc. I get inspired by so many things. It could be the boats bobbing up and down in the Cornish harbour, or the pattern on a new fabric that’s staring at me across the room. It could equally be the lyrics in a song, or the way the washing is blowing on the line. Others may choose to use paint, fabric or thread to interpret their designs. but my guiding force is always the embroidery. I do have breaks from it occasionally, but can’t wait to pick up that needle again. I go through phases where I’m exploring hand stitches, routing through my embroidery box and choosing colours that will compliment the snippets of patterned fabrics, to being totally obsessed with machine embroidery. And for me, that is becoming my general work ethic. Alternating between weeks of hand embroidery then weeks of machine embroidery and occasionally, weeks of both together! Does it matter? No. I’m just indulging in whatever takes my fancy at the time. Lots of my more “successful” outcomes have been the result of a happy accident. I’m realising that playing with materials is crucial to moving forward.
Well I’m off to the studio to have a bit of a sort out. The Christmas holiday is looming which means a few days of chaos in the kitchen, hopefully followed by some quiet drawing time before next years workshops begin. New year, new designs and lots of lovely new people yet to meet!