Paula K.

Week seven – Making work distinctively your own

I think a lot. I think a lot and I don’t do anything and I don’t do anything because I dismiss ideas out of hand – they’re too simple, they won’t work - rather than try them, or rather than spend time on them, fleshing them out. Leaving the committee aside (I guess that’s who drives the dismissal) and engaging the rebel this week I put some of those thoughts on paper.

Mining for content I made lists of things I care about/am interested in; I wrote sentences and paragraphs about how I feel about some of those, sometimes very simple, things. In my head ideas seem crisp. Trying to get them on paper they seem to become limp – articulating them is like catching fog watching it change into wispy mist and disappear. But I’ve discovered if I can write in the early morning when the house is quiet it is easier. My mind is clearer, less baggage, fewer distractions – easier to focus – though these paragraphs are still wispy! TV is always on in the evenings and, as hard as I try, it drives words out of my head. A realization. Perhaps too writing in the morning captures some of the things that come to us in that semi-dream state during the night.

I would like to think that some of what I make resonates with others – that they may see echoed in it the things that inspire the work, that it may evoke memories of the place it stems from. In a piece called Storm Surge I wanted to evoke the feeling of winter storms, wild seas, littered shore. I made the first piece a few months ago. I used natural fibre only, no colour, with textural elements. So, thinking on this I decided to make a few pieces exploiting the natural fibres and texture. I didn’t think this had a series in it (all too similar) but I started - and then lost focus and cut up one of the pieces I’d made and reassembled it. Out of the blue it seems the revamped piece has led to another, totally unexpected, subject – the power of nine (realized I’d made a few pieces recently which have featured 9)! This resonates with me - I’ve no idea why - so will pursue it.

I found week six hard. Still to address skills, heart’s desire but I decided to try sitting with some work and studying it dispassionately, as Jane suggested. I did this though with three of the Storm Surge pieces that aren’t finished. I find it difficult assessing whether a piece of work is worth finishing or whether it should just be thrown in the bin (I have a long list of wannabe skills). I didn’t dismiss these pieces out of hand though; I thought about what I like about them and decided to continue to work with them. Sitting, focusing on them, helped me to shape where they might go. I realise that I will only find out whether they’re worth finishing if I take them to the next stage – some stitch and possibly dry-needling to bring the foreground forward.