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.

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

Crochet language and time travel

When you enter an art practice that has its own vocabulary you’re crossing into history. Using the words and meanings specific to crochet connects you with people across time and space.

‘Crochet’ is an old French word for small hook. If we trace the word back to the medieval period it also means ‘canine tooth’.

Like musical notation, or an editing mark-up, crochet stitches have their own symbols, their own language. Crochet symbols operate like ideographs. A slightly flattened circle represents chain stitch. A half double stitch looks like an uppercase letter ‘T’ with a sloping top stroke. The symbols, read in sequence, are a secret code that is unlocked by looping a spun fibre with a small hard hook.

We use the word ‘crochet’ when we do the activity and when we refer to the objects made by the activity. ‘Crochet’ is a verb and a noun like the word ‘echo’ and ‘dye’ and ‘fold’.

Are you hooked?

Dianne’s pattern, tips and tricks for making your own sweet bear (pictured), and learning all things crochet is scheduled to run soon. Expect luxury, good company, world-class teaching and a canine tooth of your own to take home. Message for more details.

 

IMG_5171

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

Is this the start of something big for you?

Do you like gentle conversation? Can you handle a supportive, creative environment? Have you ever wanted to learn, or re-learn, to crochet?

If so, good news! Crochet an Octopus Class is on this Thursday. All completed octopi are donated to the neo-natal unit (see our earlier blog posts for more on this).

We have everything you need to get started. Message or comment for more information.

 

Mother of necessity

In 1974, John Petrakes, a Patent Examiner in the USA, approved the patent number 3855915. The invention was manufactured by MH Products (Inventors: Marjorie and Harold Hoyt from Shawnee Mission, Kanas).

In 2017, ‘Aunt Marge’s Egg Blower’ was dug out from the top of our baking cupboard and used to empty, dry and dye our chicken’s eggs in celebration of Easter.

Thanks Aunt Marge. And thank you to all the unnamed women who gave their time, and devoted their energy, to improving, inventing and fashioning for those of us in the future. Patented or not, we make our art today under the guard of your creative shadow.

Egg

The cruelty of crewel work

At the Royal School of Needlework, London campus, Dianne has been working on her certification in Jacobean crewel work. The level of excellence required at RSN seems to involve as much sewing as it does unpicking. In this way, embroidery is a lot like writing. Writing, after all, is really rewriting.

When we ‘sew’ an embroidery stitch on canvas we do not ‘un-sew’ it. When we ‘write’ a word on a page we do not ‘un-write’. The words for these actions, ‘unpick’, ‘unravel’, ‘erase’, ‘edit out’ and so forth, are their own creative act. To remove an act of creation does not undo the creation. Our words of undoing reflect the new creation of erasure.

You have autonomy

Your autonomy, as the author of your ideas, is your locus of power. Autonomy is control over the form of your work. If you write, you do not have to write novels. If you sew, you do not have to sew garments. Your story, your ideas, your narrative, voice, words, thread will dictate their form to you.

Could The Bayeux Tapestry have been anything other than the form that it takes? Could it be other than seventy scenes embroidered on 68 metres of linen. No. Could The Merchant of Venice have been anything other than a tragicomedy? Could it be a three act play rather than five? No.

Your work—in textiles or text—shapes the commercial arm of your medium, not the other way round. For example, the long written narrative form we call ‘the novel’ did not emerge because Barnes & Noble needed merchandise they could sell for profit. No one held focus groups in the 4th century BCE to test if the long legs of an Etruscan bronze horse would sell well in Target. Crewel work, dying, carving, penning are activities done for the sake of themselves. That is their point, their purpose.

Some people scour fashion shows, or Kindle analytics, looking for the Next Big Thing; they chase trend waves to ride by producing passable commercial products generated for a market. Yes, there is a place in society for commercial needs to be fulfilled. Entertainment needs content. Let’s not, however, misname content production. Let’s not use words for content production like ‘weaving’, ‘writing’, ‘creating’ or ‘crafting’.

Write what has never been written before. Felt fibres that have never been struck before. Braid articles that have never been woven before. Make your own market.

 

IMG20181212111642

WordPress.com.

Up ↑