Part 1 - Inventory
- Machine embroidery – I love the speed of being able to get ideas out. #1 skill
- Machine embroidered lace – I love pushing the limits on this # 2 skill
- Hand embroidery – I love the rhythm, repetitiveness, meditative qualities # 3 skill
Quilting and Piecing - I love this for making practical bed coverings – again the repetitiveness of stitching
Drawing – I love to do this when I have time
Designing – I am really skilled at this when I take the time #4 skill
Writing – I am doing this more for my own art work #becoming #5 skill
Making mosaics – I love this summer activity – the best was Michael’s bathroom floor
Painting – I like the imagery I make – different from textiles
Simple screen-printing – I like being able to make my designs into things I can give away or sell
Photography – with my new camera I have resumed my skill at photography - being able to now document my work.
Beading – I love the decorative quality of this
Necklace making – I love making necklaces
Making soft furnishings – I love being able to make things for thehouse
Constructing – wood and metal – I love being able to use electrical tools to make things
Knitting – I have loved this in the past
Crocheting – I love working in this medium – even making necklaces
Making books _ love showing my wiring and thoughts in this way.
Toy making – I want to return to making more toys as objects
Out of the studio: cooking (worked in restaurant and catering); gardening;
Part 2 - Heart’s Desires - Desert Island
Hand embroidery, drawing, making necklaces, constructing, writing
Part 3 - Wannabe Skills
Glass beads, more complex screen printing, learning upholstery, more computer skills, improving and continuing to delve deeper within, learn how to write children’s books
Part 4 - Perfection
Initially I thought I couldn’t call it perfection – I am not a perfectionist. I think I stated this in another open studio. Then I realised this was not what you were asking. What does perfection look like - totally different thing.
So was I went down the wrong track I was thinking it was utter self- satisfaction and I thought of the image of being at a pinnacle, not a sharp point that made me teeter, but something like being able to sit on a big comfy chair at the top of a mountain. I recalled making it to the top of O Cebrero – a mountain we reached while walking on the Camino de Santiago – the view from the top, the quietness below – sitting gazing, being tired after walking all day – a real sense of achievement - it was a perfect moment. I then thought of my last solo exhibition- it was a huge amount of work, it looked even better when the gallery staff hanged it. I felt I sat comfortably at the top.
I then remembered recently that I felt I had done a perfect job of putting together an exhibition proposal – but why did I feel that? On reflection, I had actually spent a good amount of time early in the piece, putting it all together – the words, the images, the ideas. Normally I rush. I came back to it time and again before sending it off. I could not have done any more. This was repeated with a paper which I submitted to be published. It was done with time for reviewing and reflection by me. Often I feel that there is one or two things wrong with what I do and that I hope no-one will notice – so I am always on the edge and have my fingers crossed.
I sat with my current work at the machine and realised what the question had been. I thought about what does perfection look like for this particular piece? Is it the stitching, the content, the finishing at the end? I thought: is the medium the right medium for these ideas? Could it be said differently, more powerfully through another medium or a combination of media? Could I combine it with something from the skills list?
I then thought of the limitation of tools. My daughter is a gold and silversmith and she was taught to build the right tools for making a specific piece of work. I reflected that this is generally not required for textile work. But then I thought of how I do make tools: I glue up large sheets of foam so that I can pin out my embroidery on soluble fabric and hose it down to remove and wash away the ground fabric – with finger crossed that it is all connected. Building the large sheet of foam is building a tool to get the right technical process.
Back to what I think is perfection for the current work: It is my finely honed skills as a machine embroiderer; my willingness to take risks with techniques; relaxing about breaking the threads so often; and remembering to slow down a little.
Again I asked myself what is perfection for this piece of work. Honestly it would have been to entirely embroider just the black scallop shells without the interconnecting white back ground. I think I have to have that interconnection because of the large scale. I have made a piece of just the scallop shells but that was a long cone shaped work with 25 cm diameter at the top – on that scale it worked without an interconnecting background of threads. Would I be willing to repeat this whole work without the back-ground? Maybe at another time – I have until the end of April to finish this body of work. Maybe another work will come up later and I will be willing to push these techniques further. For this time all these things seem to be aligned and I have given myself time and so now this is when perfection starts to shape itself. Okay so I have to let perfection into my heart (and head). It is allowed to be part of my vocabulary, and it can be part of the thinking process of when I am making.