ART DESTRUCTION, DECONSTRUCTION, RE-MAKING

I can't imagine making a piece of art, then destroying it. I have deconstructed a few pieces on occasion, salvaging most, if not all, the parts to be used in future. But the only time I recall destroying art was when I really did not like it and felt it could not be fixed or improved upon.

Art destruction is a thing. Some art is made to be temporary - a sand castle, an ice sculpture, cake decoration, the sand mandalas created by Tibetan monks. This latter example especially serves to help us understand that the process of creating is what is important, not the end result. 

But re-making a piece of art I can relate to. This I have done. When something is not quite right, or when we realize it can be improved upon, re-making - or combining with other pieces - doesn't feel destructive. It feels like the right step to new beginnings.  

At a mixed media class a few years back, we played with collage materials and paint and other delicious ways to make marks on paper. We didn't focus on making finished art, rather the class was about trying out these techniques, playing and seeing what exciting things we could come up with. Our pieces became wonderful backgrounds for future, as-yet-unknown art. I still have the wonderful backgrounds we made, although to this day have not used any of them. They have been awaiting a purpose ever since.

As mentioned in my last blog post, I am now incorporating one of these collaged papers into the fabric piece I am making as part of a daily textile practice. Pictured here is the background I chose, with the fabric portion laying on top.

Admittedly, I didn't do any stitching, sewing, adding or cutting of fabrics for a few days even though my goal was to something daily. Rather, I contemplated how I wanted the fabric and paper collage to work together. The idea that materialized was to cut both so they could be woven together. After living with this viewpoint for a few days, it was feeling right. I was not going to rush - having learned my lesson many times that it's better to wait a few days and feel confident about a decision than to rush and regret it. 

The first cut was the hardest. My head asked if I was doing the right thing, There was no looking back after all. My intuition however kept saying this was right. And that is what I had to follow. There was no other answer that seemed correct.

Once the first cut is out of the way, it gets much easier. I cut slits in the paper collage, then began cutting the fabric piece into strips to weave into the paper. With a few decision about parts to not cut (these areas would become features), the weaving is part way done. 

I'm pleased with how this is looking so far. Following my intuition was exactly right, not rushing to find the answer. Looking at this photo of the work, I'm reminded a bit of a map. Maybe that's a hint at what my next step should be?


Related Posts:

Adding some contrast - my daily textile challenge

Art challenges online: Do they work for you?



ADDING SOME CONTRAST - MY DAILY TEXTILE CHALLENGE

This is an update to my post earlier this week on my textile art challenge. I've been doing a little bit most days, and this piece as part of my new Daily Textile Practice has taken an interesting turn.

I've sewn on a few bits and cut through the layers of some fabrics to get some movement in the piece. I also added a fabric with a pattern I wasn't fabric, but one which I did a bit of eco-printing on - the colours seemed to be a good fit.


Sometimes a piece seems to take a lot of work and many layers before we feel it coming to life, before it turns into a dynamic art piece that reflects the message that we want to convey. This is a very normal part of the creative process, yet one that many people can get hung up on. As one art teacher has so rightly pointed out years ago "art has to go through an ugly stage before it becomes beautiful". It's taken years of art-making for me to learn patience with the progress and building of layers.

For this particular textile piece, I was expecting some construction as well as de-construction, that I would be taking two steps forward and one step back, aa and that at times I would feel some frustration at progress. 

But stepping back to allow the next steps to come to us is important.

A quote from an interview with Paul McCartney that I read recently can really help:

"...What I normally do is just leave it and let it marinate. Then [I] either go back to it and think, "Oh, you know what, that bit of the lyric is OK but I need to fix it," or write a complete new set of lyrics. But I think everyone gets the block from time to time."

Can you relate to this? And this isn't just a name of someone we don't know, but a real artist we are all familiar with.

As I worked on my piece, I was feeling that while the colours were harmonious, I was a long way from creating a dynamic look. 

Then, while tidying my studio, I came across 2 painted/mixed media papers done in a class a few years back, mostly paper, with some stitching, but never finished.  I had kept them in case one day, you know, I would find the use for them.

One I thought was the right fit - shown here with the houses - I have loved making art of buildings over the years, and this one to me added a bit of sense of home. And yet it wasn't as harmonious as I first thought it would be. The colours were a bit off, as was the scale, throwing the whole look somewhat off balance

        


So I tried the second art paper, more of an abstract - which at first I was reluctant to use - I feel it fits so much better. The colours are harmonious. It adds some contrast, which adds interest and has potential to make some areas pop. 

Do you agree with my choice? Here are the photos of the abstract one. I've included black & white photos too which are better at showing off the darks and lights. 









ART CHALLENGES ONLINE: DO THEY WORK FOR YOU?

I'm not very good at following through on these online art challenges. Whether based on works we've already made or that we make during the challenge, and whether they are 30 days,100 or more, I start yet rarely seem to make it through the specified number of days. I think because the challenge themes don't always quite fit with my own direction, like when having to follow a map, but sensing I'm going in the wrong direction. Other times I simply run out of art to post that fits with the theme.

On the flip side, these challenges can be a great way to be involved in an art community, practice techniques, initiate a new creative habit, spark some inspiration, perhaps even set new goals. They may traverse topics such as repurposed materials, textiles, painting, sketching, photography, collage, animals, and sometimes are your own artsy choice. Whatever your interest, there is probably an art challenge out there.

I've completed only 2 truly successful challenges to date, both of my own mapping:

One in 2016, with 30 days of taking photos and writing haiku based on each photo. I don't recall if I did this every day or over a period of weeks, but I did end up with 30 days' worth once I was done. It got me into the habit of taking photographs regularly, a practice I still enjoy today when out in nature. And I've used several of the photos from this challenge, and photos I've taken since, as references to create some of my fibre art pieces. 

 

"You can't see the wind
But you can see its effects
Maple seeds galore"

The other challenge, in 2014, was an Alphabet Book, made in accordion style, with each letter of the alphabet on a different page and using a different  technique, provided it began with the same letter. The best part was the chance to practice techniques, for example, for the letter H I learned the Herringbone embroidery stitch, L was about practicing Layering, and N was experimenting with Needleweaving. 




Posting 2 letters every week, and in order of the alphabet, I actually zinged right through from A to Z. It was a project that was creative in many ways, and because I could visualize the final result and see the paths I needed to follow, I quickly got to my final destination. It also helped that friends and followers posted their comments and looked forward to seeing the next set of letters materialize. And I was delighted when, a few months later, I was invited to speak to a local women's group about this project.

I've decided it's time to once again take on a daily challenge. Hopefully I will stick to this goal for a significant part of 2022. Here is my plan:

  • By the end of the challenge I envision having a large textile wall hanging, larger than I have ever made in the past
  • I will work on it (hopefully) every day but for sure each week. If not everyday I will need to make good progress each week, while at the same time not feeling overburdened. 
  • One day may be just pinning on a piece of fabric to audition it, another day may be stitching down fabric, layering or maybe cutting pieces, adding embellishments, or even just sorting through a fabric bin for more to include. As long as there is progress. It could be just 2 minutes a day, or 5, or 30, doing a bit each day, as I do have other projects on the go.
  • I see this project as a Slow Stitch approach - a few minutes each day when I can slow down and be mindful. 
  • Posting my progress weekly either through this blog or on Instagram - and with a photo - may help keep me on track.
  • A key ingredient is to use only fabrics that are meaningful to me in some way - pieces of lace gifted from a friend - bits of an old quilt made by someone in my family (the quilt has been falling apart so I may as well use up the fabric pieces) - part of an old curtain -  linens gifted by another friend - an old blanket - material I had gelli painted but never used - fabrics from a trip to India - perhaps even embellishments such as old buttons or brooches.
  • I have no sense of what the final piece will look like. I will follow wherever the path leads, deciding at the time which fork to take, backtracking when needed. The joy will be in the journey on this one. 

I hope to include this artwork in a group show being planned for the summer. And am aiming for 100 to 180 days of work on this. And it doesn't need to end with the show, it could continue afterwards if it becomes part of my daily creative routine. 

Having pondered this idea for a few months, I had made a start earlier in the fall, but wasn't quite ready then to continue on a daily basis. But now it feels like the right project at this point in my creative journey.

In preparation, this week I cleared and hung the what I had already completed on a wall in my studio where I can see it every day, just like a design wall. Previously the piece was hung over the back of a chair - mostly out of sight, therefore out of mind. 

So far the colours I've been drawn to are soft and harmonious, a direction to follow and see where it takes me.

Here's a picture of they layers I had started. And now I hope to do just a bit more each day - and by letting you know, and posting updates regularly, I hope that will keep me on track.




ART DESTRUCTION, DECONSTRUCTION, RE-MAKING

I can't imagine making a piece of art, then destroying it. I have deconstructed a few pieces on occasion, salvaging most, if not all, th...