Wednesday 24 June 2020

Lost Days

Hah! On reading the beginning of my last blog, I find it humorous to note that “I am really enjoying working on my first body of work”. My, how times change. I guess everything stopped ‘flowing in the right direction’, because the last few weeks have been quite the struggle. I lost all drive – everything became too hard. Even if I had a good idea I couldn’t be bothered to do it. Basically, I’ve been in a funk. However, I seem to find myself now on the other side of that emotional storm, which was possibly influenced by the bizarre state of the world at the moment. I’ve been kind to myself, and have kept chipping away, and lo! joy in creating is once again found! So here’s what I’ve been up to:
 Free motion embroidery on organza, which I then burn out over a candle, and dye to become a lovely green lichen. Until I break my good embroidery hoop, as well as my rubbish one, the lightbulb blows in my machine, and the knee-press finally drops out.....
When you need to do some work but don't have the enthusiasm, do a piece where you don't have to do something new and you know you'll like the result. Stitching this leather ready to be laboriously painted was quite therapeutic, and I am pleased with the result. Also, now I have something to paint, and I have discovered that I very much like painting. Indeed, I keep asking myself why all these things I'm making aren't paintings.....
 Maybe because I can't get these beautiful random dye patterns with painting! This is unique to the fabric/dye process. This dyed and embroidered silk is to be a simple rock background for a textured leather piece.
 I'm trying to emulate this beautiful crayfish shell, inside and out, so tried painting and texturing Tyvek. This piece is currently in stasis - a phase they all seem to go through. I think it's so I can be exposed to them day after day and just have the image simmering away in the back of my mind until I know what to do with it.
On the days when I just couldn't make it into the studio, I spent time writing - articles, applications for residencies (responses pending) and applying for the York Botanic Art Prize - a similar process to applying for a residency! As things started to turn around, I was boosted by my proposal for the York prize being accepted. It's a new venture, and it is great to see a whole range of media being encouraged, as well as an innovative approach being taken to botanical art. The subject must be a native flora of Western Australia, so I searched long and hard to find a correlation between a seaweed I had photographed on King Island, and one in WA. Finally, I found Ecklonia, which I am moulding in leather, currently soaking in dye.

Interestingly, one thing that helped me during my lost days was looking at what I had written about this project with enthusiasm. It reminded my that my love for nature was my driving force, and was all that I needed to be reinvigorated.