Monday, 10 July 2017

PANSY POETICS



When I woke up this morning, one of the first questions I asked myself was, "what am I going to do for my Weekly Art Project today?" 

After my usual list of start-of-the-day chores, I took the camera for a walk around the garden & took a number of photos.  We have had a nourishing amount of rain over the past few days and the plants are showing their appreciation.  There are interesting buds popping out everywhere!

Then I came to my beautiful bed of pansies. 
I love pansies....especially purple ones, and I was so happy to have a clear patch of garden that I could plant some out in this year.

As the photo above reveals, I'm not the only one who likes pansies.  I think the possums do too!  Almost ALL of them were patterned with tooth marks!

I RAGED (internally)! 
Think wailing & gnashing of teeth. 
Think screaming & pulling hair out!!
WHYYYYYYYYYYY??????

 There was only one thing to do.  I put my camera down and went for a long walk to calm myself.

During that time, I pondered whether I could turn this devastating experience into something positive.  Could I use the tooth-marked pansies as my inspiration for this week's art project?

Back home, I took a photo of every chewed-upon flower, sat down at the computer, chose my best 9 & printed them off on a sheet.

This was going to be quite a different exercise & would require an equally different approach. 

A few years ago, I participated in a workshop with the British artist Gizella Warburton.  One of the exercises she encouraged us to try involved....

....using a variety of different mark making tools...
 ....and draw outlines DOWN a narrow strip of paper instead of our usual left to right across the page.

I took each photo & studied the line those toothmarks created, then copied those lines onto my paper strips.

 The end result looked like this.

It had been my intention to then sit down with each sample & 'find' words.

I had seen the wonderful Tent panel 'Ninety-Nine Names Of Allah' at the art gallery yesterday & whilst I cannot read Arabic, I am very attracted to way the written form of the language looks. 

I like the idea of creating 'new' languages and have produced work inspired by that concept in the past.  This is a piece entitled 'The Manuscript of Hair & Now', in which both the 'language' AND the decorative borders have been designs developed by hair shed in the bathroom.  (Sorry if that grosses you out.... I have found it hilarious & fun & beautiful!!)

Therefore, it was with anticipation that I expected to look for the language within those squiggles of teeth-bitten pansy lines.


 
As you will know by now, I frequently use a view-finder as a tool in my design process.  This time though, my camera was still on, when I glanced down & saw close-ups of much smaller sections of the squiggle  notes.  I loved them!  Such fluid and beautiful dancing lines.  More photos were taken, then back to the computer I went for uploading, cropping and printing off  favourites.


As my weekly art project is in a square format & is a specific size (15cm square) and does require a design that I can execute using the contemporary reverse applique technique, I now needed to fine tune the possibilities.
I explored each option paying close attention to the essential lines, before making a decision about which one I would take further into fabric.

When I had been at the computer earlier, I had used some of the photo tools to 'play' with one of the images.  Whilst I am not good at directing a fine line with a mouse, I was quite excited by this little experiment & it influenced what I did with my textile process.

Here it goes...




I am so pleased with my finished piece!  I love it!  I realise that it doesnt say "a possum ate my pansies', but it does create something quite special from a negative observation!

This project has taken a lot of time & a lot of work today, but I have enjoyed every minute.  I hope it inspires you to value the beneficial & essential work of 'play' in your art making practice too. :-)

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