I am encouraged by the award of a 2017 a-n Professional Development Bursary to continue work around the concept of displacement, which has been of particular interest in my practice for some years. I will be able to look for textiles which convey fragility and research articles.
Over a year ago I read an article about fake life jackets sold to migrants and this made a huge impression. I am exploring how fragile hope can be made visible.
I have been reticent about writing this blog , aware that I may not have the necessary artistic vocabulary. Nevertheless I would say that thanks to the bursary I have been able to look into writing and journals at the British Library. I suppose this activity can hardly be called research , but it is revealing a rich source of information and provokes reflection on aspects of displacement and human behaviour which can inform the developing work.
When is the best time for thinking of creative ideas ? Some suggest it is at night and recommend keeping a notebook handy. Many say that it is during their morning shower . Now that I’m in long distance training for a trek I find during a walk has become the most productive thought time. And these days I keep being presented with delicate feathers in my path, irrespective of whether I’m walking in a rural or urban area. It is another fragile and metaphorically loaded find . So many beautiful ones have been collected and contained in little pouches for my work in the hope that they will be seen as a connection with the flight of refugees.
Turning attention to materials which carry a message, I recently visited Jessica Ogden “Still” exhibition in Marylebone and learnt how certain patterned fabrics , Madras check, Gingham, Paisley , have strong cultural associations . A well known fashion designer, Jessica Ogden deconstructs old quilts before beautifully working on the revealed history they contain in a long pursued drive to up-cycle and honour the marks, uniqueness and value of each textile. Each worked piece in the exhibition had a function and could also be viewed as an abstract composition.
It has emphasised textile patterns cross boundaries with travelling people and are adopted by host cultures.
Seduced by the delicacy of organdie, I have repeatedly used it in past work. It has a satisfying response to folding and creasing too, like paper. Also like paper it both contains and reveals. So it has re-emerged in my sample pieces. When coloured orange it maintains transparency but is less delicate. I have to question whether we choose certain materials to work with in a positive way or become limited by them, a restricted vocabulary which inhibits risk.