The subject of posture was been around in my practice thinking for a number of years – 10 years or more – which means I have a collection of research articles that I have found and been given. Someone gave me a double sided page from what I believe to be a 1963 publication ‘In search of charm’, by Mary Francis Thornton. The illustrations clearly show a series of posture movements (umbrella) or ways of carrying weight (handbag – see below). The written descriptions that accompany the images, which detail how to walk in a particular way to achieve poise and elegance, can be linked to the verbal protocol I need to do for our Finger Collars study which Val and I are pulling together at the moment. In order to do this accurately I will need to reenact the Finger Collars work, recording a verbal commentary on the activities and tasks I undertake together with any pain and discomfort I experience. In section 4 of the umbrella instruction the user / reader is advised: “Practice this rhythm in an exaggerated way until you’ve really got hold of it, and then begin to modify the whole thing, allowing the wrist to take over some of the control and developing your own casual style”.
The suggestion of practicing a movement in an exaggerated manner is something that is closely associated with the concept of Finger Collars. Within the work movements become exaggerated, increasingly awkward and laborious. The act of wearing an increasing number of Finger Collars produces a spectacle of movements which amplify and overplay the everyday movements associated with threading a needle and tying an end knot. The work comes from a question: does being a hand maker inhibit practice? At the time of making, digital processes were becoming increasingly prevalent and I was exploring their integration into traditional practice. As an artist I felt, at that time, I had to ask myself if I needed any aspect of the handmade in my practice at all. By literally inhibiting practice, the otherwise fairly fluid movements of the hands become somewhat disabled, and a new set of dexterous movements emerge. What wider effect these new and difficult movement have on other parts of the body is the origin of this Postures of Making work.