I remain convinced that I think differently under a white ceiling … or between white walls. No matter, I enjoy the feeling of light and space – no doubt enhanced by the generous distance between the studio window and the now abundantly leaved trees that turned a brilliant green over night.
Yesterday I played with the shirt collars that partner the cuffs that I had fun with last week. Again simply cleaning up the cut edge, buttoning them together, and hanging up on the wall. The collars bear the traces of their being neatly but tightly packed: a few are heavily creased others just a bit wrinkly. The shape of the collar pieces produces a more angular (?) … jagged? … vibrant? … line than that of the cuffs, and hanging there it seems more chaotic and excited than its companion piece. Both put me mind of patchwork quilts – the soft tones and textures of well worn clothes, the sometimes odd contrasts of colours and patterns, the repetitive yet distinct forms.
As they are now the pieces are about 2 meters 50 by 90 centimeters. I have used a little under one-third of all that I have. I am interested to see what happens if I continue and each piece becomes as wide as it is high. This is not what I thought I would be doing with the material. And I am actively having to stop myself from saying that this is not art.
Today I looked through some older work: work from 2005/06. I was in search of pieces that might appeal to an art association buying for their members’ lottery. On Tuesday Uppsala hospital’s art association’s management committee are coming to the studios and all of us here have been invited to present work that could be of interest. Another first for me! It is interesting trying to imagine what might appeal to art appreciative nurse or doctor. The challenge is not as daunting as it could be as I went on a guided tour of new commissions permanently installed in the extensive new hospital buildings. I do not know if the art association were directly involved in the commissions but I do know that they encounter a wide range of contemporary artworks in their everyday professional environment. I also know that as members of Sweden’s national art association organisation the management committee each receive a quarterly arts magazine (it is the same magazine that I get because I am on the art association committee in Enköping). It is somehow reassuring to know that if they do not buy from me it is because they do not like my work rather than them not knowing about contemporary practice: an informed rejection – if you will!
Work place art associations were once very common in Sweden. Enköping’s art association started at the Bahco adjustable spanner factory in 1944, and it was only a few years ago that Enköping council employees wound-up their own art association. Many of these associations were formed after the second world war when Sweden transformed itself, and employers both national and private actively engaged with offering their employees extracurricular opportunities – often but not exclusively cultural or sporting. It can be seen as a legacy of Dr Westerlund’s whole person approach to health: employers invested in numerous associations and sometimes even went as far as building holiday villages, they of course reaped the benefits of having happy healthy employees.
That said, I have made a selection of older embroidery pieces that I shall wash and press over the weekend. It will be nice to see them up on a wall again after fourteen or so years in storage. If I have time I might make one or two new pieces (not embroideries) based on an idea that I had on my residency at WIP in 2009.