Sunday, 22 May 2011

Weekly post

I am in a good place and a bad place at the moment. Good because I can look at all I have achieved and I am getting ready for the Open Studio ( I hope you won't be sick of me mentioning it), but in a bad place as I feel lost in a creative fog which has been going on for some weeks.  To add to that, this week I have not felt too good and low in energy. However I do try to make myself 'do' something practical most days.  I'm not sure if it my age, but I feel every day is precious and I must make the most of it. I hate to feel I have wasted a day. I have tell myself that sometimes it is all right just to sit around, mooching, reading and drinking tea even when there are so many things that 'need' doing. Is it our natures that make some of us feel like this or the way we have been brought up? I am certainly not a 'good' housewife and my standards would not match up to my mother's although she was never critical, she just liked to pass on helpful hints. Such as, "If you wipe out the oven every time you roast Jill, it won't get so dirty" (Oh yeah! Mum). Perhaps there are others of you who feel caught in the middle - brought up to the adage that the wife's first duties were to her husband, home and family but educated (eventually) to believe that as a woman your own interests are just as important.  I cannot put any blame on Mr T who would never suggest I put anything domestic first, but perhaps he has been encouraged by me to expect that I will do. So it's my own fault. I also feel that may be all of this is also a wonderful excuse as to why I haven't pushed myself further. Well I have got that off my chest!
So this is what I have been doing. (Not all this week!)

 I am still working on my self directed textile line of study and I have a new book, "Drawn to Stitch" by Gwen Hedley, which fits in well with the others I have been using.  My starting point for this exercise was the peeling paint on the old door from the walled garden in the top photograph. I noticed that the knot in the wood was heart shaped, but it was the wood grain and peeling paint that appealed to me. 
After drawing the wood grain and looking carefully at the colours I experimented stitching grain lines in a piece of calico on felt.
I decided that the felt side up was more interesting

I then tried using two colours.  I could not match the beautiful silvery pinky grey of the old wood so I just concentrated on the textures. I used yellow ochre for the grain and black for the cracks.

Finally I repeated the last excercise but added three layers of blue/green organza which I then cut away with scissors and a hot soldering iron to reveal the ochre stitches.

I was very pleased with the effect.
Next will be trying to achieve that beautiful colour of old weathered wood.

On Wednesday, despite not feeling 'on top of the world' I spent a day with Sally at the studio she works in at Digswell near Welwyn Garden City. She was running a second day workshop on monoprinting using the huge old press they have there. No photos I'm afraid. This time I wanted to experiment with printing on fabric,  I was a busy day with five of us using the press whose wheel must be over five feet in diameter and takes some turning, however it is a lovely process. Printmaking cannot be rushed so I was very happy to come away with four pieces printed with found objects and shapes cut from corregated card.
This piece on natural calico has some lovely textures especially in the leaves which does not show up well in this photograph.

This was on  piece of  white cotton after using more ink and scratching into the ink on the plate.

This was achieved by rolling black ink onto the pieces of card and placing them back on the plate. The impressions left by the objects when printing the previous piece can be seen in the red ink. I printed onto some cheap polyester satin I bought on the market. It was a bit of an experiment, but it took the ink well and had a beautiful silvery lustre.

 This was the final piece on polyester satin again.

Not sure what I am going to do with them now, but they are very pleasing to look at.

It has been a day of bright sunshine and dark showers today - bit like my mood! But if you have made it to the end of this post, thanks for sticking it through.
I do hope you have a bright week,.


marigold jam said...

Jill you are not alone I feel that way too sometimes as you know. I think you are achieving so much and your work is really amazing - your textile stuff is brilliant and I wish I lived near enough to pop round and see how you do it and maybe pick up a few tips as I love what you do so much. I think we must expect to have less energy now that we are older although as I said to D the other day it's a good job I don't have to work till I'm 70 I wouldn't have the stamina!!! Acceptance of how things are and a bit less of the whip and some more carrot I think don't you?! Hope you will feel more positive again soon.

Gina said...

You certainly not alone Jill... I felt I could have been writing that first paragraph. But for someone in a creative fog you have made some lovely samples. The tree bark is fabulous.

Lynette (NZ) said...

Really love that tree-bark piece - the stitching, the colours, the heart. Simply lovely. Very cool that you are pushing through and creating...sometimes the "fog" feels paralysing but if I push myself telling myself to do just a little bit it often turns into more creative time :-)

flutterbycrafter said...

All this work is beautiful, but I know what you mean, my energy levels vary from day to day and some days you just have to kick your shoes off, sit down, have a cuppa and a good read, there's nothing wrong in that. After all we've worked all our lives, so are entitled to a bit of relaxation. I didn't know you were supposed to wipe out the oven after a roast, lol - do people still do that? Life's too short. xx

Joanna said...

Oh look at that feather! Gorgeous.

Well for someone in a creative fog you have produced some beautiful work. I hope you feel brighter soon.

ps I too couldn't live up to my mother's housewifery standards. However, I've stopped worrying about that - we all seem to have survived without the promised tummy bugs. And who cares if your socks have been ironed?!

ju-north said...

The bark work is great! I've given up on guilt - after a lifetime of work and rushing around I'm training myself to take life as it comes!

Jane said...

Sympathise with the way you're feeling, Jill. I have days when I can't get anything done except the dratted housework! You are producing some lovely things whereas my efforts are confined to a struggle to get my fortnightly postcard done! Love the way your textile journey is going, the bark piece is wonderfully conceived.

Clare Wassermann said...

Actually it was a very interesting post. I particularly love the printing

webb said...

"A clean house is the sign of a mis-spent life." don't know who said it, but it is certainly how I live my life. Not to say that it is filthy, but cleaning house hardly ever takes first place in my house. Fortunately, Mitchell understands and if he feels like something needs doing, he feels free to do it!

I believe you do need to take care of yourself (and Mr. T) first and then worry about the stuff. If you are not happy and well, they nothing goes well.

Keep stitching.

Leenie said...

You've really been busy! A lot of great things have been accomplished despite not being in tip-top health. Thanks for letting us see some of your work.

Oh, and the display in your header is fun and amazing. Good luck with the Open Studio.

Jane Housham said...

I feel just the same and my house is in a terrible state. You're doing wonderful work and really 'enquiring' into it, if that's the right term. Can't ask more than that from anyone trying to be creative.

Menopausal musing said...

Sigh......... It's just one big juggling act, isn't it? I have the added irony that I make others' houses clean and tidy for a living! Love the feather print.

Barb Cady said...

I wonder if what what you are experiencing is the accomodation of another set of stitching in life's rich tapestry? You are creating some amazing work, love the tree bark, perhaps the lows are just about finding time to stop so that you can allow all your ideas to come to the surface? If we 'do' all the time then we don't allow time for ourselves to 'be'? I find your blog very insirational, so I think you are on the right path!

Emma said...

I agree with all the above accept my parents were far too cerebral to worry about housework, achievemnt was all! Same result, you feel bad sitting around 'just' reading. So, lots of striving here, some achieving , much to my surprise the DH & I turn round & housework still needs doing Oh, well, give yourself permission, do some yoga!

ps, lovely door, stunning drawing, stitching printing ;)

Heloise said...

I think we can all set our standards way too high and imagine that we can achieve far more than what is achievable in the time available. Enjoying what you do is far more important that making sure every nook and cranny is spotless.

A beautiful collection of work; full of creative inspiration. I feel sure that once you get to Open Studios and receive many compliments you will be buzzing with new ideas and have a warm glow of satisfaction.

Printed Material said...

You know Jill, I think what you are feeling is something that afflicts us all at times. I also understand the need to be 'doing' things but housework is not one of them. You are 'finding yourself' after a lifetime of working and it can be a bit overwhelming at times maybe. Hang in there and you know you'll come out of the other side of this fog. Perhaps there are a few butterflies creeping in about the open studio? I hope not because your stuff is wonderful and you are an inspiration. The bark project is fantastic - what about dyeing some organza in a weak blue/black ink solution to get the colour you want? As for those monoprints.... well, they're asking to be stitched or quilted and made into book covers or something aren't they? You'll know what to do with them when the time comes! Lesley x

karen said...

I have a saying...''life's too short to clean ovens'' I also have ''life's too short to peel potatoes'' if you need to borrow that one too!! You have done lots, creative things, that's enough without the housewife clap trap!!