I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking over the past few weeks. Decorating and gardening are excellent activities for some simultaneous cogitation, and sometimes the best ideas turn up when you’re doing something else. I’ve realised that my initial plan for the year – a year in stitch – isn’t actually what I want to do. What I really want to do is get on with something meaningful, something more ‘artful’. I really want to just make art, in cloth, with stitch. My ultimate aim is to be known as a textile/quilt artist, and to one day be good enough for SAQA. I think at present I’m not working single-mindedly or consistently enough in that direction.
So today I’ve been looking at my collection of printed and painted papers, most of which I produced a couple of years ago. Just moving them round, putting some of them together, thinking about how similar colours would work in fabric and stitch. I have at least three textile/quilt series in my head at present: a series in white, about the search for peace; a series in monochrome, about sensations inspired by colour; and a set of abstract compositions based on collage.
It strikes me that people who don’t ‘do’ art themselves often have the most fixed ideas about what it should and shouldn’t be. The first thing many people say in response to one of my small stitched cloths is ‘what is it?’ – or, worse, ‘what’s it supposed to be?’ – as if it should somehow ‘be’ something other than itself. I’m reminded of Picasso’s words:
“Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? Why does one love the night, flowers, everything around one, without trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting, people have to understand.”