Firstly, another – slightly better but not much – attempt at photographing the woven moon:
Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts on yesterday’s post. You all helped me enormously in my understanding, and you all wrote so much more clearly than I did. I’ve been trying to think about why I find this concept (‘story’) so difficult. To me, ‘story’ is something literary and narrative, like a book or the plot of a film. But what if I understood ‘story’ to encompass a wider range, like themes and (as Grace suggested) archetypes? If I can recognise themes and say something like ‘this film is about love, and loss, and guilt’ then I could also substitute the word ‘cloth’ for ‘film’ in that sentence. If I can say what a cloth is ‘about’ – and I can, mostly – then it, too, can be a kind of story. But I’m still not entirely comfortable with this. I think visual art is more akin to music than to literary art. I keep coming back to what Suzanna said about it going ‘beyond words’. Sometimes when you listen to a piece of music, it can move you in a way that you can’t begin to describe. There isn’t even a word for the feeling you get; you just want to listen again and to experience that feeling. I think visual art speaks in a similar language; one of colour and shape and line, something that goes far beyond words and touches a very deep place that existed long before language.
If I could express what I wanted to say in words alone, then I would be a writer. I want to say morethan words (as e.e.cummings might put it – he does brilliant things with language). Cloth and thread are already saying something, even before you pick them up and make something with them. I think this is because they’ve already had a life, and they arrive on your table with memories and a past, a rich history that they might want to share if you care enough to listen. Maybe anything made from cloth is automatically a story for that reason. As ancientcloth says, every cloth has a story to tell, even if ‘storytelling’ is not the intention. And as Patty says, the experience – every experience – is the story.
So I’m still revising my definition of story: like Grace, placing fragments in a relationship and capturing a moment of life; like Do, wondering whether every image starts a story; like Sweetpea, enjoying the story of the process that we’re all sharing; like Suziqu, considering the relationship between me and the cloth. And Grace, how could I ever tire of a conversation like this? Thank you.