A big week indeed!
This has been the hardest of all classes. I have been into the studio everyday trying to work through this class. At first I thought that time was too short but the pressure of having to produce something spurred me on. I took the mantra of just turn up – just start committing pen to paper. Get on with writing down something.
I wrote a list of things I cared about but now most of these seem trite. One thing was the night sky – constellations – being outside at night; and the other was Lake Burley Griffin – reflections – water where I live, photographed a bit but never had time to commit to, but perhaps now would like to revisit.
Essentially: water and sky
Water- reflections, trickling, wet, lack of water – dryness, rain, clear, muddy, shoes boots, coat, refreshing, drink, inhibitor, force, making a course, creek, river, smell
Rain brings the two together – the commonality – clouds – the liminal space between
Sky – night sky, dark black, stars, constellations, day sky blue, cloud formations, sun, things in the sky – birds, bats, sound, animals – unknown sounds,
100 views of the lake.
Skill assessment – drawing and embroidery, I have many photographs already as I have though about this for a while. Would lace be involved? – I don’t know. I haven’t tried using lace for the reflection idea as this seems it might be blocks of colour rather than linear.
Symbolic colour – blues – a whole range and greys/ greens.
I kept pushing and thinking
Last week after the lesson was posted, I returned to an exercise I did with Alice Kettle, the embroiderer, when she visited last year. It was a word game that encouraged writing a narrative. I think it is an exercise that you can only do once as you come to understand where it is going and you loose naivety. However, I thought I would give it a go and base it on things immediately around me. It sort of worked. This second narrative is as follows:
“Two black purple bats squeaked and squalled to each other in the fig tree that sat below the cliff. Earlier in the day a group of crows had perched in the same position but they did not weave the magic as the bats could. As time passed from day to night, the clouds were edged in gold, momentarily gleamed and the colours of the blue sky deepened. Then more bats passed overhead, massing over our suburb which I had never seen. They swung back weaving their way across the sky to the fig tree. One or two stars began to show.
The voices of the bats spoke of the children, the grandchildren who were tucked up safely in the beds within the attic from which the fig tree could be seen. They, the grandchildren, had experienced a rite of passage which at their age they could not understand nor comprehend.
The bats were full of revenge as the squalled to each other. Waiting, waiting till the sky was purple, blue then black. The millions of stars in the Milky Way built up in the sky.
The possum in the next tree sat and watched. It was happy to eat the persimmon. The tree full of green fruit would never ripen now for the children.
The dog, the family dog waited. Crouched in the shadow of the house. She could smell the bats and the evil they brought with them. She was not mesmerised. She was ready. Patiently. Ready and waiting.”
I then re-read the original narrative I wrote in the workshop. What I thought was the main character (a golden kangaroo – far too clichéd and struggled with the first time around, and abandoned) turned out to be secondary to a creek – the water! I looked back at the narrative above – the sky!
I spent Sunday thinking about the commonality. I think I have it, but it seems huge!
I was pretty excited and began reading and perhaps a little too eagerly wrote an application for a residency here up in our local mountains. I realised that of the five years that the residency has run, four of the successful applicants were textile artists. Upon that realisation, I pulled back writing for that, but continued thinking about the direction I can take these ideas.
I began writing of the deep down fascination with stars – through my father who was a sailor. I began to dig quite deep and the writing began to flow. His love of water as well came through. The commonality was clouds. I wrote of my love as a child of knowing all the cloud formations. I read of ‘weather wisdom’ – then thought of my brother who worked in the desert and used to point out things like ‘horse tail’ clouds that indicate rain in a couple of days. Lots of other thoughts have been evolving. Even though I have begun writing here, I just can’t help it, I will wait a little longer and keep thinking through these things.
It would be entirely new work and I have to think that through and what it means to commit to it. But it is a long weekend coming up and I’m heading to the beach, with little to distract me from my thoughts.