Sunday, March 24, 2013

Scythia (and a rambling love of metal and doodle embroidery)

Along with a love of all things fibre, I have a deep love for all things craft. I can still remember the excitement I felt, the first time I worked at the Body and Soul Festival in 2011. It’s one of the first times; I could really say I loved what I do. I don’t mean my work; I mean the work of craft, and the people who craft. Working alongside wonderful craft masters: a wood turner, blacksmith, felters, woodcarvers, and the willow weavers who were decorating our little craft area.

For me the best part of that festival was meeting the lovely Budd family, Michael, a blacksmith, and Tiffany, a goldsmith. After textiles, metal would be my next love. I have often dreamed of giving up the fibre life and going along the metal road. It was wondrous to work, just beyond Michael, and hear the clang, clang, of hammer on metal. If you are into fantasy, read The Winter of the World series by Michael Scott Rohan, all about a blacksmith, lovely clanking and hammering going on. (Not in that way, I mean smithing! Metal, hammers, beautiful descriptions of smith-craft, people, it’s not Mills and Boon).

The following year, I did a swop with Michael. A crios for a hand-wrought poker. I have to admit; I love my poker, and show it off frequently. There is something so elemental about it, metal forged by man. Tiffanys jewellery is beyond beautiful. There is something so wonderful about metal, iron or gold, forged and shaped by ... I hate saying, by man... by wo-man.

In the past, I've incorporated small amounts of metal in my work. Sewing old bits of rusty metals, such as washers, into felt, sticking rubber leaves on the spokes of bicycle wheels. It’s probably why I adore steampunk, with its Victorian, mechanical theme. I have been hoarding old bits of metal for years, and in particular clock parts. What’s not to love about clock and watch parts! I have a lovely collection of old clock parts that I had planned to turn into something steampunky at some stage.

Drawing, is the best way of truly observing. I think is an important aspect of drawing, one that people overlook. Drawing is not about creating a perfect likeness, its about seeing. The different between looking and seeing. It is an exercise, a warm up to more creative work. If you are very good, it is the creative work, but to most of us, its just seeing and sketches. The mind is an incredible thing, and I remember shapes and form far better than I remember shopping lists, or peoples birthdays. So I decided to draw my little clock parts, that way I'd know exactly what shapes I had. I don't mean, perfect rendition, I mean just doodles. (I'm way better at doodling than drawing). I'm really taken with embroidery these days, and find it the perfect textile medium for doodling. So, I embroidered my doodles.

One of my embroidered-clock-part-doodles is hanging out in Cork, in a exhibition beside fellow members of the Cork Textile Network

The above little doodle will be winging its way to the Ukraine, as it has been selected to to be part of Scythia, The 6th International Exhibition on Mini Textile. The exhibition is on from June 18-30, 2013. I won’t be going, unfortunately, but if anyone, by chance, happens to be over that way. Let me know how the exhibition goes.

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