Saturday, 18 February 2012

So many ideas!

This week I've had so many ideas that I'm keen to try, my brain has been working overtime. One particular idea that I've become very passionate about very quickly is top secret, and I've only discussed it openly with two people so far. I'm not going to reveal it here, because that would kind of defeat the object of the whole thing. I know this is all very mysterious, but when this plan comes to fruition all will become clear. It's a really exciting and fun idea, which I'm sure will get a lot of support from other artists, and I feel certain that this will happen and produce some brilliant results.
Apart from that, I have been discussing staging an exhibition in London during the summer with a photographer friend. It's early days and we've only had the vaguest of conversations about this, but I'm optimistic about this too.
Another idea that I'm really enthusiastic about has come from my observation that people pay a lot of attention when I'm embroidering, because it's unexpected, even within a Fine Art community. When I paint nobody takes any notice - it's nothing special in a studio environment. However, sewing produces a very different reaction. A few days ago a lady I'd never even spoken to before came and sat with me for about 10 minutes whilst I was working, to look at what I was doing and chat to me, and she's not the only person to do so. There's also the fact that my appearance, being somewhat unconventional, often attracts attention in public. I'm quite used to people asking about my tattoos, commenting on my hair, and often just telling me how nice they think I look, which is always lovely.
From these two things, I came up with the idea of securing a residency, even if it was short term or just in a cafe, not necessarily a gallery, where I could just get on with my work, and people could watch, as if I were an exhibit. It would kind of be a performance piece, although without much theatre involved. This could be filmed, or alternatively, I could just produce a film, with a collaborator who knows more about that than I do. In the case of making a film without a residency or exhibition, I've considered how theatrical this could be made, possibly with costumes or some kind of movement, but always with the constant theme of me sewing, to play with the idea of myself as a spectacle.
Besides that, I've thought about what I want to do once this body of work about Finland is over, and I want to make work exploring myself and my experiences. I have so much going on in my mind, so many ideas, memories, and ambitions, that I think sorting it all out through art could be fascinating. It'll be a while before I look into that more seriously, but it's something to think about.
I'm sorry if this seems very manic, but there are so many ideas and so many thoughts going on for me right now. It's a good feeling.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The memory blanket

It's finally finished! It still needs to be put it the hot press, but the embroidery has been completed! I'm very proud of the result, and I think the amount of hard work and effort in this piece is evident. Once it has been pressed and tidied up I'm sure it'll look even better.
As I have mentioned previously, this piece lists various memories from my time in Finland, colour coded to correspond to the mixed media portraits of my friends. I feel that this has become a self-portrait, as we are products of our own experience.
Finishing this work has left me with a feeling of pride and relief, but also sadness because it has consumed me for the past couple of months. Throughout this time, I have become more and more enthusiastic about maintaining embroidery as an integral part of my practice, and has lead to me being referred to as a "punk embroiderer". My intention was to have imperfect stitching with a clear human element, and as it was put to me, there would have been no punk without prog rock, as punk was a deconstruction. I have deconstructed hand sewing, and the importance of careful, uniform work. Hence, the punk embroiderer.
I will be exhibiting this piece at my show in April, and after that will probably be selling it. I don't think this will be the only completely stitched work I will produce.
Now that this piece is done I will be looking back over a couple of my mixed media portraits that I was not totally happy with, and possibly giving them a bit more work now that I can see them with fresh eyes. From next week I'll start on a new piece, which I have a few ideas for.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


For those who are interested, you can now follow me on Pinterest over here! I really wanted somewhere to keep all the images I find that give me ideas, interest me, or inspire me, whether they are directly related to art or not, and this seemed an ideal platform for that. There's not much on it yet, but give me some time.
I haven't had much to say recently as I have been working very hard on the embroidered piece. However, I am sure it will get finished this week as I'm very close to the end of it. It's a relief to get it done successfully, and I'll post images once it's completed.