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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Working Things Out.

I'm currently working on a book (surprise, surprise).  It's a folded book, made from a single piece of material, and it has a secret.  Here's an image.

The paper is quite highly textured; here's a close up...

Interesting, isn't it?  I'll be adding more stitch, I suspect, to the two side areas, more horizontal lines, probably.  I like the loose ends of the thread.  I remember submitting a quilt to Hever (I think it was),  many years ago.  I had deliberately not trimmed away excess thread in several specific areas, because it represented broken connections between people; apparently, I was told later, two women had stood in front of the quilt and loudly discussed it in critical terms, including the line 'these art quilters are so lazy, they can't even be bothered trimming the thread...'.  Sigh.  The thread ends here have no particular meaning; I just like that way it looks.  I know I could add beads (for instance), but that would give the whole thing way more significance than it actually has, or than I want it to have.  

So... can you see from the image, what the book's secret might be?  Here it is.

That central section opens out, and contains rust dyed silk.  In texture terms, it both complements and contrasts with the texture of the paper.  I like rust....but of course, it can't really be neutralised, and will continue to work on the fabric.  I have had some rust dyed fabric for over ten years, and see no deterioration in it, but it's not archival in the true sense of the word.  That doesn't bother me in the slightest.  I make to create meaning; sometimes that meaning is fleeting, and the use of rust dyed fabric is important in work that explores impermanence or uncertainty.

I've written a poem as part of this book.

Metal ourubos
Consuming its host
Til nothing remains

That, to me, is the nature of rust.  It consumes and consumes, until the host is gone, and nothing remains but dust.  The poem reflects the nature of the rust, and by extension, the nature of the piece.  It is made to self destruct; it's really only a matter of time.

The question I'm debating internally is what to do with the text.  Same poem on both sides?  Or write another poem on the same theme?  Or spread the words over both sides, and make the viewer piece the poem together?  Write them, stitch them or applique them?  Write them on a luggage label and attach it somewhere (I like that one)? The jury's out.  And it may stay out for quite a while.  It's unusual for me to have no idea how to progress, but here we I'll put it aside and let my unconscious do its work.  

I think the issue I have is that the book is not for the poem, or the poem for the book; they have equal weight, with the fabric, in terms of expressing meaning.  I don't want the poem to dominate the materials, or vice versa.  It's a question of finding an appropriate balance, and that may take time.

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