Thanks to Wain for asking why I wrap bundles, it gave me the spark to write a post. I have been working slowly as I am very tired after the physical effort of going to see the graduate shows and then answering comments on the last post. People felt I’d been disrespectful, so it felt important to answer mindfully…though as it cut into making time/energy today I need to draw a line now. But Wain’s question was a good reminder to consider why and how I am working on cradle for stones.


This was my answer:
I gather leftover making waste from my mixed media studio and wrap it in more waste/remnants until it acquires interest. The interaction of the visual elements begin a dance of their own which means the next element suggests itself from the tray of leftovers in front of me. That probably sounds like a how, but there is a ‘why’ in there, I am seeking to make even the waste have meaning or bring beauty to the world…as a metaphor for the solution to the problem of first world waste: we buy things, when we are seeking experiences.
After my husband died (dropped dead of a heart attack) I found I bought many materials for the machine embroidery course I started a year later, as a solution to the problem of not being able to paint now, as my damaged collar bone comes loose too often.
I feel I acquired a huge stash, very fast as: on the one hand, choosing between things was too hard, on the other, there was such joy in feeling the potential in materials, to feel absorbed and safe from the pain of bereavement, cocooned in making. Now I am working through the remnants and trimmings from many projects (large room installations, huge quilts etc, eco garments) as I also had a problem releasing leftovers…so the bundles are cocoons of acceptance and healing, and the wrapping is the healing skin/ the oak burr/ the pearl in the shell…”


It is an absorbing process, as my hands do a lot of the thinking, reaching for the next fragment of colour or texture, whether it be a bead, a snip of fabric, a tangle of thread, an end of machine cord; but then the eye has to accept and approve…and something else too, the brain function in charge of resolution has to feel satisfied. I have removed a couple of embellishers because they felt slightly “off”. Given that these are components of a very large piece, and so far, all balance in the palm of my hand, that is very meticulous! And slightly cracked 😉 But the devil is in the detail…

I love making machine cords and creating complex cloth with a  twisted version of crazy quilting ( as in the crazed surface of porcelain) using automatic machine stitch patterns, I enjoy mingling automatic/ machine and hand held techniques, so would be thrown out of  the slow cloth movement groups with a thud, but I feel at home in the mindful process approach.

I want to feel at ease when the piece is being assembled/installed, that different elements can be juggled to suit a specific site, and for me that means working each component to resolution… I made more cords and some shifu cloth with fibre additions today, very pleasing, blackcurrant, orange and black, mmm…and did some boring underpainting on the papier mache shells. Well, boring till I added glitter paint 😉  So more photos soon…though I have the chiropractor tomorrow, who is not going to be happy, as making my rollator ‘bump’ up and down buses and entries has been very hard on my neck…it will be a case of yelp, she yelps…