Tag Archives: crochet

Making: Old lady doilies and practice

It really didn’t take long before I got bored of making my webs in single or double crochet. I’m not bored of looking at them yet, but I don’t think that’s really a compliment to my crocheting skills (more to a vibrant imagination!)

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So for practice (and decoration that really annoys boys) I started making old lady doilies. Out of some (supposedly) silk wool I got with Lenny (over at RunnyCustard Photography).

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More to follow! And hopefully be able to see the fruits of my effort in a new project to come!

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Making: Window Webs

I absolutely love things that hang in windows and catch the light or cast a shadow. So I made a few webs to catch the dull English winter light.

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Open Doors London: W12, AKA My First Exhibition

I’ve had a very special project going on in the past few months– my first exhibition! It is with Open Doors London, a pop up gallery exploring London’s post codes. This is the first exhibition of the series and it’s based in W12, especially Shepards Bush.

Open Doors London: W12, sourced from Open Doors

 

I’ve made four pieces, all in black and white, and centring on Shepards Bush Green. They all have my webs of course.

On the cutting room floor.

 

I’m exhibiting with some fantastic people who I’ve not met yet, but am very much looking forward to it. If you care to see my work (and the other artists), please stop by 28 Galloway Road, in London, between 11am and 6pm, the 24th of September. Nearest tube is Shepards Bush. 🙂

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Artist Discovery of the Year: Louis Bourgeois

As kind of a follow-up from the feminism articles, an announcement of a new project, and to share someone really awesome, in this post I will become a fanboy(girl) of Louise Bourgeois.

Sourced from Textile Arts Center blog

I’m currently working with Stephanie Cotella Tanner of Art Smacked who is curating a show at some point in the future. Stephanie is being kind enough to include me in the show with some really awesome artists. I kind of want to describe them as ‘proper’ artists as they’re both formally trained in art and are really quite good! Anyway, Stephanie wants to compare my work to the historical precedent of Louis Bourgeois.

Bourgeois  is a French American sculptor and artist who worked with many materials and with many themes over her extraordinarily long career.  My main interest in her work is the textile pieces that deal with the ‘exercise of memory.’ She was the artist behind the giant spider object at the Tate Modern a few years ago.

From the description of an exhibition at Cheim and Read:

Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911. She moved to New York in 1938 and lived in the city until her death last year at age 98. Her  works on fabric are emblematic of certain themes: marriage, motherhood, sexuality, femininity, domesticity. This focus on the familial results in work of intense psychological complexity, exposing relationships and hierarchies related to female identity and its opposite (male/female, mother/father, organic/geometric, rigid/pliable). Coinciding with an inclination, at old age, to stay closer to home, Bourgeois’s late fabric works provide a sense of introspection – her wardrobe and linen closet became representative of memory. As Bourgeois has stated, “Clothing is…an exercise of memory. It makes me explore the past…like little signposts in the search for the past.” The re-appropriation of her husband’s handkerchiefs, stained tablecloths and napkins, and worn dresses from all phases of her life infuses the work with a confessional, talismanic aura.

The description of her work, is basically what I’m trying to communicate through my art. I joke that I make art because its cheaper than therapy, but to some extent, it is a way of exploring the world, my experiences, and my memories.The idea of using something with history also appeals to me. The material, if reused from somewhere, sometime, else brings all of those memories to the new object, kind of like magic.

Sourced From ThreadforThought.net

I think also that what appeals to me about using string is the idea of taking a mess of string and organising it into an object. From personal anecdotal evidence, I’ve found that a lot of information professionals  knit or crochet and I think that there is some kind of organisational aspect to working with string. I trained in information management, work at organising a database, and generally am a bit of a clean freak, so this aspect of working with string fits into my personality.

The production method is also essential to my work. The fact that it’s awkward, hand made, and takes ages (in my case), makes it a meditation on whatever I’m trying to make sense of be it year’s worth of memory or of the entire city of London.

By combining the memory of the materials used in the awkward production method that I use, the object is transformed into an organised memory. It is transformed into something that makes sense of all that it contains.

I’m not entirely sure how this fits into my previous posts about art and feminism, but Bourgeois is incredible. I think I have a lot more to learn about Art History.

Now if someone could teach this American how to pronounce her French last name, it’d be greatly appreciated.

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Art, Women, Feminism: Part 2

So in part 1 we established a quick and dirty history. It was a very quick history as this series is an unfinished musing of my own thoughts. I’ll continue to research and amend it and you could too, if you like.

I think the 70’s are unfairly remembered as just the time when a bunch of communist hippies planted flowers, but the movements in the 70’s really opened art (and life) up to groups that were traditionally not directly involved or marginalised. MacramĂ© was the beginning of a lot of embarrassing fashion for my parents generation, but in art, it opened up new materials to be looked at in the context of fine art. Essentially, where was art meant to go after minimalism? Where do you go with traditional techniques once you’ve pared it down to it’s component parts? And what do you do with it when photography is accepted as the more ‘realistic’ technique.

Obviously, some painters found their own direction and there are still some today that are moving in new directions with painting. Photographers, too, have moved beyond the basics of just capturing life as it happens. The addition of new techniques and materials, such as those textile-based crafts opened up a new area of exploration and a new arena for those groups that weren’t involved in art before. The inclusion of traditional ‘women’s work’ allows for the inclusion of more women in art.

This is not to say that there were not female artists before this. They did exist. There were women impressionists (even a ceramist, thank you BBC) and Jackson Pollock’s wife was an established artist, to name a new.

The modern art movement and it’s American post-war counterpart, American Expressionism movement, was still dominated by men, but the women in their lives were artists and played a huge role in the making of this art, if only for their infinite patience. However, there are some larger-than-life female characters in the modern art saga like Peggy Guggenheim.

Eventually women were begun to be recognised as artists in their own right, with their own voices (without any token status). Some artists that come to mind are Frida Kahlo, Barbara Hepworth, and some textile art in the upper gallery of the Tate Modern by Marisa Merz.

Marisa Merz, as part of the Arte Povera movement, explores a lot of the art and life, home, and femininity ideas that interest me as well. She includes craft and traditional ‘women’s work’ to explore these themes.

The British Museum held a twitter debate on craft and it’s role now and some major themes of it were it’s traditional role, it’s social nature, and art vs. craft. Craft has the added value of traditionally and continually being a social arena. Traditionally a women’s ‘club’ to sit around together and talk and socialise, which has continued (with both genders) today. This is a very valuable contribution in a world (and a city) that can be very antisocial.

The distinction between art and craft was also discussed especially in terms of maintaining that distinction as two different, but equal methods. So one will not devalue or change the nature of the other.

However, for my work, I think that my craft doesn’t have to be just art or just craft. It can perform multiple roles both traditional, traditional female, and avant garde in the big, masculine? art world. It can be a social, fun expression of traditional techniques for both genders and a form of artistic expression for both genders. Since craft hasn’t found it’s place yet  in it’s rediscovery, if you will, it is still malleable. It’s not defined. It can be whatever you or I want it to be, Art or craft, art or Craft, for both genders.

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You Are a Construction of (for) by Yourself

So, it’s finished. All the millions of loose ends are tucked in, all the bits are added, washed and dried and ready to go. Or not. It looks like a skin that’d been shed, kind of like the snake skins you find behind bushes or caught on nails in attics.

But can you ever really shed your skin? Metaphorically, of course. Can you leave it behind? and do you even want to?  Is it a trap? or is it like your non-metaphorical skin, protecting you (from what)?

Is it keeping you still or providing a foundation to move forward? Is it a construction you made out of fear of the outside world or in spite of it? Is it what you want?

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Dress: Halfway and Thoughts

I worked fairly steadily on The Dress for the past month or so achieving a great amount (it’s nearly one piece) and achieving the complete inability to look at the thing in the near future.

I still haven’t come up with a proper title for it, but The Dress is beginning to fit nicely both in terms of my rampant usage of the term (for lack of a better one) and its massive scale in terms of a project (The dress to end all dresses?).

The main idea behind the dress has to do with ambiguity. Is it a spider’s web that entraps you or is it like the net below a trapeze artist to catch you if you fall? It’s an idea I’ve been interested in since moving countries and not being able to bring my friends or my family with me which on one hand is incredibly disorientating and on the other lends a sense of freedom.

This idea is also explore beautifully in The Unbearable Lightness of Being where the relationship between Tomas and Tereza  and Tomas’ lover Sabina wherein Tomas is an incurable womaniser, always wondering about the next woman but is married to Tereza. Tereza can think only of Tomas, but Sabina always remains unattached. It explores basically the pros and cons of each of the three people’s lives in a quasi-scientific, detached way. It’s title comes from the discussion of lightness or freedom of being unattached and not responsible for another person, while at the same time this lightness can be unbearable for not being attached to anyone.  It’s oddly moving for its style and backdrop of the communist revolution.

There’s an innate ambiguity in security and being safe. A prison can be safe and secure as well as life. A relationship can exemplify this idea just as easily.

The method of production has centered on what one artist at Raven Row described as the ‘awkwardness of production.’ The very fact that it’s difficult, annoying, inefficient, yet enjoyable is the point of the  means of production. It wouldn’t have the impact or be what I want it to be if I used a machine or even larger needles or any method to make my life a whole lot easier (sigh). Making this has been a mediation on its production both materialistically and intellectually.

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