I have to be reminded, by other people who throw my own words back at me.
Jo Farnell Brown, recently, and Bo, constantly.
I have to have faith in the work, move confidently with it, allow it to do its own thing, allow my brain to chug along as I work, and all will be well.
There is often a gap though, between one piece of work and the next, when a bit of panic lodges itself at the back of my throat and asks the question: “what is the next thing then?”
Given a sufficiently complex piece of sewing, and a conscious effort NOT to panic, something always pops up… the next step becomes obvious… no… not obvious… clear. “Obvious” makes my mental, inner Bo whisper “comfort blanket” and I have to guard against that don’t I?
I have these 200 dandelion seeds to work… I have done about 120 now. The meaning and reasons for them have now settled, they are sitting well on the coat and in my head. They have grown in emotional depth since their conception, which is gratifying… and this is what I aim for. This is the thing I need to have faith in.
Happily, as I stitch the remaining seeds, the next piece of work has germinated. It stems from the work done for ONE with Bo last October, stretches from the pieces I had already started to make before the coat intervened.
I don’t know how some artists work in isolation. I couldn’t do it. The developments in my work come directly from the collaborations and conversations with other artists. I might be trying to explain to them my own work. They might be talking to me about theirs when a phrase resonates and sticks with me. All of these nuggets of conversation gather, ferment, put out shoots of growth. I might say it is Rhizomatic, but some of you already know I am allergic to Deleuze, so couldn’t possibly….
I feel compelled to make more and more clothes, children’s clothes, out of nothing. Well no, not exactly nothing, but out of the useless bits that couldn’t become anything if I didn’t use them for this. So far I have the dress I made for ONE, the vest I made during ONE and the pants and shoes I have made subsequently. We think there will be a ONE(2), as both Bo and I have begun a new strand of work since the show. As yet, I don’t know the why, but I can see it in my head, this collection of clothing… familiar shapes, familiar fabrics that relate, are used repeatedly from one garment to the next until they run out. There’s lots of sewing to be done, and during that feat of endurance, the why will turn up. I know it. I feel it in my bones to be an absolute truth.
Bo and I have decided we need to do some real-time, same-space collaboration. The long-term email exchange was great, but want to see how it works when we do it up close and personal. While we did the 2 year MA, we had once-weekly long conversations about all manner of things. Then that stopped abruptly and we had a different sort of communication for a year. We want to push on, a year after that, and see what happens if we do it this way. I’m curious to see how it will work. I don’t think we have exhausted this collaboration yet. I fear/hope we will be collaborators for a long time… the work might not always look that way, but the support of the conversation and influence will be there. We have enough in common to make it feel easy. But enough not in common to make it interesting.