Textile Sports (Weaving Project i)

There are multiple versions of the Greek myth of Arachne; a mortal woman bestowed with the gift of artful weaving.

In each version Arachne and the goddess Athena engage in a weave-off.

Competitive tapestry (weft-faced weaving on a loom) is not the national sport of anywhere. Perhaps its time has come?

 

 

Mending

The word ‘mend’ is a shortened version of the word ‘amend’. From Latin it means to free from fault. We use the word, today, in two senses. It can mean ‘to repair’ but it can also mean ‘to cure’.

An on-going aspect of Dianne’s work is based around her philosophical mending project.

Dianne began mending in the way we are traditionally taught; to repair a textile so that it returns, as close as possible, to the original form. Invisible mending is often considered the most skillful form of mending.

Following this, Dianne developed a series of textiles that were mended in the fashion of kintsugi; drawing attention to the beauty of the repair and the new emergent form.

This led her to explore mending as ‘cure’, not ‘repair’. Dianne purchased new ‘fast fashion’ garments that were sold new but were in disrepair. Denim garments with fabricated holes are one example.

After sourcing new garments, she prepared them up in her studio, and mended them. The photograph above shows one example of denim mended with beautiful hand embroidery.

Why is this practice a cure and not a repair?

We cannot afford, environmentally, to denigrate new textiles. This is a poor use of our limited resources. If we view textiles and garments as investments, not consumables, we choose designs and techniques that prolong the productive life of the textile. We can, then, save our mending for repair.

Folding

One of the most satisfying processes in book-binding is folding.

With secret binder’s magic one simple fold can transform a piece of paper into a divided sequence.

Many binder’s do not consider the accordion book, or concertina book, to be a ‘proper’ book. To them we ask, What is a book?

fold

An acorn book

Asemic writing in nature can be read in almost any natural phenomenon. Asemic writing can be read in a strike of lightning, in the cracks of sun-baked mud and in the clusters and lines of moving ants. Patterns in tree bark, winds howling through bare branches, the lining of a magpie’s nest can all be read for asemic writing and, often, a story or narrative emerges from the writing.

The Acorn book emerged from the idea of natural narratives and the already written. When closed, the acorn carpule (the book’s hat) sits in place over the pericarp (fruit wall). The pages are one section of sewn, hand-cut cold-pressed water colour paper. There is one set of end-papers which are visible under the additional strip of mull that was added for spine strength. Casing in would have been more tidy with an additional pair of end papers.

 

Acorn

Spineless egg book

What is a book? A sequence within a cover? A study of form and time?

An egg is a body formed within a female body. What stories can an egg tell? What narratives are possible within an oval?

Monica hinged two egg-shell pieces to make a spineless book (see the feature image above). The endpapers are a decorated textile that line the inner shell. She will try a traditional marbled endpaper for the next egg book.

The pages are hand-dyed, cold-pressed watercolour paper cut into descending ovals threaded onto cotton floss. The dye was leftover from egg work at Easter.

How would you make a spineless egg book?

IMG20190507091113

Crochet doily: a humble and enduring form

Today’s beautiful photographs shows some of Dianne’s contribution to a collaborative art project, Retro Galactic Communitree, installed in 2017-18. While part of the strangeness of the project generates it appeal, today’s post delves into the history of how a tree may come to be cloaked in looped yarn. When we look at the project we recognise a distinct crochet form from the past, the doily.

The crocheted doily, a small starched mat, reached production heights in the 1930s and 40s. Doilies were made by women in their home. The popularity of doily making is attributed to women’s desire to temporarily break from the weighty reality of economic depression and the volatile political environment. Rationing strategies of this period shaped the rise in doily as the small round mat could be made with a simple tool and minimal yarn.

The domestic commonness of doilies tends to mask their versatility and ingenuity. Doilies were often used as a table mat to protect wooden furniture, as chair covers such as an antimacassar, as covers to protect bowls and jars of conserves and chutneys, as plate ornaments and a framing device under cakes and sandwiches, and as cushions and bedspreads.

Doilies of this time were often made using one monochrome colour such as white or bone. This simplicity in colour is counter-balanced by tremendously complex geometric patterns in design. Doilies are deceptive; as a small-scale object they can appear to be a quick and easy project. Yet, this false sense of simpleness and ease betrays the skills of tension and stich which are only visible in a doily when absent.

Crocheted doilies have undergone a revival in recent years. Where original production in the 1930s and 40s reflected ideas of industrial processes and modernist ideals of precision and symmetry, many of today’s crocheted doilies seek to represent community, connection and the values of women’s hand-crafted labour. Doily yarn-bombing brings together ideas of protective cloaking, holding together and loops that gather women from the past and the present.

crochet 2

Why poverty? Why excess? Why numb? Why neglect?

At Magic & Medicine we think art, creation, is for its own sake. Often, our art is a reply to the world; we make to be heard, to broaden the conversation. We answer the Why that we read every day in our worlds. Why poverty? Why excess? Why numb? Why neglect?

We do not create in order to bring about change. Art is not a means. Dianne and Monica live in two very different worlds, different cultures, different nations. Our reply to the Why is from two differing, but coinciding, spheres. We both speak to the destruction in our worlds with the creation of art as an end itself.

To thine own art be true

Dianne was recently commissioned to design and create a promotional poster for an upcoming British Women’s Association charity event. The feature image of this blog post is the ingenious outcome of her principled approach to process.

The poster is consistent with Dianne’s method for all her creative work. It conveys not only the details of the BWA 2019 Recycle-A-Ball, but also evokes the essence of the event too.

The medium is the message.

Remaining true to meaning, while arousing a ‘Mend and Make Do’ aesthetic, Dianne created the poster wholly from recycled, ready-to-hand materials. This artistic constraint was a deliberate ambition of the project.

  • The background is an old tablecloth
  • The paint is mixed from what was available in the studio
  • The letters are left-overs from an iron-on lettering kit
  • The drawing is from free-hand markers
  • The skirt is gathered sheets of newspaper
  • The top is fashioned from packing tape printed with the repeated red word ‘Fragile’

Do you feel compelled to create with materials in harmony with your meaning? If not, try it. You might find that deeper resonance you’ve been searching for. We’d love to hear your ideas on harmony in process and material.

 

WordPress.com.

Up ↑