Christine E.

When I first read this assignment I thought it would be very time consuming and wondered how I would keep up. But when I sat down to write everything just flowed. The timing was right!  I’ve made lists of skills before but this time I didn’t limit myself to what I thought applied to the studio. I listed all the things I could think of that I have skills in, and did some bubble mapping to look for synergy. I came up with some aha’s and ideas. Best of all is having the list and being able to review it on a regular basis. An important moment came when I realized that my creative practice is no longer an escape from the analytical work I was doing before I retired. I don’t need it to be that any more and there is room for my analytical, and planning skills in the studio.  I also don’t need to treat my love of writing as a separate art from textiles. There are ways to combine the two. I’m not sure what perfection looks like, but I’m working on it.

On to the critique. This is a piece that I worked on obsessively last year. It was part of my grieving process after my Mum passed away and is based on a photo she took of herself, soon after she was married and before my sister and I were born. In the interest of combining writing and textiles, this a short poem I wrote to go with the quilt. 

This moment captured,

Before time rushed past.

The stillness of waiting,

The image in the glass

What really worked. 

I feel a sense of alignment with this piece. The subject matter was important to me. I enjoyed working on it a lot even though it was not a smooth process! With this and one other piece I’ve made I really felt that the piece itself had something to say and I needed to listen and keep trying things until it worked. 

I like the size, which is slightly larger than life  and bigger than I’m used to. I resisted this at first, wanting it to be smaller and more manageable. It’s not like I have a lot of space to display it! But I like the end result.  I also like the simplicity, some of which was forced by the lack of detail in an old, slightly out of focus, black and white photo.  The colours also give it a simpler feel and are much less colourful than I’m used to as well.

This was the first piece where I actually solicited some advice from a couple of people (not the committee) on how to solve certain problems with the composition. This was a good process. The people I asked did not really want to criticize but were very definite on which of the possible versions I suggested were best.

What would I do differently.

Plan the whole piece out! Due to paper size and projector restrictions I only created patterns for the face and camera with no thought as to how they would be combined. I have to say that the blouse in the photo was a featureless, stark, white blob that I didn’t like so I knew I wasn’t going to use the photo for that part, but it would have been much less agonizing if I’d given it some thought in advance!

I’m not happy with the stitching in this piece and even pulled some of it out! This is fused appliqué and I continue to have a love / hate relationship with fusibles. I usually end up with multiple layers of fusible and the glue just never completely melts. My needles get gummed up and I have problems with free motion stitching.  I need to experiment more with technique and stitching styles to come up with a better solution. 

This piece was a bit of a turning point for me. It’s so different to work with something that becomes an obsession.