The end of one journey, the beginning of the next


After 4 months I’m back in my studio. I wasn’t quite prepared for the transition into the big world post MA when suddenly there were no deadlines or structure. I was glad of teaching work to help focus my mind but now I acknowledge I must get back creating. I am grateful to Debbie Lyddon and Alice Fox for their advice and words of wisdom. Both are an inspiration to me.

In some respects, I wish I could do the MA all over again. Two years of intensive sustained work, facing many challenges along the way. I already miss the vibrancy, the creative environment and the conversations with colleagues and tutors. It was much more than making artwork…it was a whole paradigm shift in thought process and approach.

I haven’t yet returned to my Kombucha work but there are still many unanswered questions and areas of investigation to explore. I feel privileged to have been invited by Textile Fibre Forum journal to write an article about my research work with Kombucha. I was even more privileged that my article will kick start a whole series of articles on cutting edge textiles, showcasing innovative practice and related research work. I believe my article will be in Issue #125 and on sale in early March.

 

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I spent some time after my MA in Scotland’s western isles and it was a well-deserved break to recuperate. Being completely immersed in the coastal landscape however, it was hard for my mind to switch off, as I was constantly looking and making connections within my practice.

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I’ve commented previously that there’s a primeval attraction to the sea and for me it’s a longing; a place to escape, a place to walk or sit, to observe, think, reflect and be at one with the natural world. The smell of the salt air, the wind on my face and the movement of the waves, appealing to all my senses. John Masefield in his poem ‘Sea-Fever’ (1916) conjures up that magnetism

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that cannot be denied

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Similarly, Nancy Price in her ‘Where the Skies Unfold’(1947) writes

Sometimes I seek the companionship of that which in turn I love, fear and worship – the sea. It is ever-changing, it satisfies every mood, it can be ruthless and savage, it can be gentle and kind: it holds unfathomable mystery, it provides adventure… I have a passion for the sea, a passion which near abates. It whispers in my ear things that cannot be expressed in words.

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Throughout my MA I was investigating time and intrigued by how the coastal landscape changes over time with the force of the sea and the elements. How parts of the landscape are covered by the tide twice a day and its surface ever changing and unpredictable.

Trying to translate the notion of change over time is a challenging concept and when I finished the MA I still had unresolved issues that I wanted to pursue. It’s exciting yet unsettling to know that when the working process begins, the end is undetermined and unknown. Whilst in Scotland, I started a new series of drawing work followed by some printmaking work.

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I’ve always enjoyed printmaking particularly collagraphs, often preferring the textual plates themselves more than the prints. I also love the immediacy of monoprinting and after an inspirational visit to the Knitting and Stitching show last autumn I bought myself a jelly plate and have been experimenting with layers and some text.

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My new journey of discovery and learning is about to begin. I acknowledge now I need to set my own challenges and deadlines, so continuing this monthly blog is my first challenge. This will encourage me to be creative and keep up the momentum. I hope to keep you up to date with new work and ideas and share with you some of the things that inspire me. It will be interesting to see where my practice takes me.

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