Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Starting something new

I've decided to begin something new within my work, but I've been so busy doing it that I've only just remembered to write about it!
I've now completed 6 portraits, which I'm happy with, and it would be a good idea to have something slightly different to go alongside it. Working on something new is convenient now, because I had a subject for another portrait, but I wasn't sure who to use after that. I wanted each portrait to be of someone significant, who played a big part in my life in Finland, rather than choosing people I'd only met once or twice just because I needed a subject. I can think of a couple of people I might like to work on if I decide to make some more of these portraits, but after that I might end up scraping the barrel.
Recently I'd also started thinking more about memories I have of my time in Turku, and memories of the people in my work. This, and the use of my friends as subjects, relates to the idea of my internal world, and my domestic life.
I had an idea of filling a bag or envelope with pieces of paper on which my memories are written. Someone can take out a memory and read it. This worked well in my sketchbook, but I'm uncomfortable with doing this in a gallery setting, as there is a risk of theft. I don't want my work, or my memories, to be stolen.
I hit on the idea of embroidering a surface with the memories I have of the people in the portraits, colour coding the sentences to correspond to each image. Embroidery is traditionally a feminine, domestic act, but this is not highly important in my work. What's more important is that the embroidery will be consistent with the portraits. The surface I'll be using is a blanket I got on a night train in Norway, when I was on holiday. The blanket is too thin to be of real use to me now, plus it provides symbolism. It is an object that I acquired during my time away from England, even if it didn't actually come from Finland.
I feel that the blanket piece could still be considered as a portrait - a portrait of me. I think that your experiences and memories shape you, and make you who you are, and all of these memories and events have formed me and my life today. In a way, this piece puts me alongside my friends.
I'm planning to start sewing the blanket during Christmas, and this week I've been working on some preparatory pieces. This work may take a while, so I'll see where I am after that. In the future I'm quite interested in doing something focussing on the continuous line drawings I've been doing.

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