Saturday, 26 October 2013

On stopping and naming

I named it only when it was finished, as it was not until that moment that I knew what it was about. My needle at the moment of completion, became silent.

I recently came across the work of  Denise Jones and her fellow artists in the group Quinary12 in a small exhibition in the Pop Up Gallery in Brewery Arts, Cirencester. The exhibition was their first together since graduating and I really enjoyed what I saw and had an excellent time talking to the artists.

Embroidering between print and ink -
Denise Jones on the group blog of Quinary 12
Together, the group have set up a blog where I found this lovely thought - and the work shown left - from Denise which really seemed to speak to me - the thought that her needle was silent at the moment of completion. She only knew her work was finished when the needle had nothing more to say.

Her thoughts summed up for me what it is like to stitch spontaneously and instinctively as I usually do. Though I work round ideas a lot, I often don't plan an individual piece of work in detail. I decide on colour, form and stitch and then just see what develops.

In the end, I generally know when something is finished though I can't predict the moment when this is going to happen. I just stop when it feels right and balanced but, when I get it 'right', there is that special little bit of the unexpected.

Also, I seem to feel this need very strongly to find a title for my work that says something about what it's about; that summarises it in some way. Perhaps, there is a need to explain a little - or is it a lack of confidence that the work will stand on its own without explanation?

And then sometimes when I'm free stitching, I have no idea at the start what the work is going to turn out to be and often change my mind several times as it develops. Like her, as I finish, I find its name and its meaning - at least for me.



12 comments:

  1. Thats really thought provoking. I love the idea of the needle having nothing left to say. I have a tendency to over work things and they end up screaming at me like a jumble sale. May be I should listen for the silence a little more.

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    1. Things scream at me like a jumble sale - I like that image too and really know what you mean. I end up unpicking when that happens - so much wasted energy ...

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  2. Thank you for reminding me of the Quinery blog - I had found it before, but forgotten about it. Denise Jones' work is indeed interesting, as is what you say about listening to the work about when it is done. I too find that a title is closely tied in with the completion process: if I have a piece with no name that is wholly its own, then I know that the piece is not complete - even if that completion means simply finding the right name, and has nothing to do with any more work done on it.

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    1. Titles certainly help to explain what was going on in my head but I think there's more to it than that - a bit like naming a child ...

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  3. What an interesting post. Definitely food for thought. I suspect my tendency is to under-work things. I shall keep my ears tuned for the whisperings from now on....thanks for this.

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    1. Whisperings - another lovely image. Lots of great thoughts have come back to me from this post - thank you too.

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  4. Interesting post. I often feel that a piece doesn't need a title but it can add to the viewing experience.

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    1. It sure can. I really like to know what was going on in the artist's head when I view work. A title can help greatly.

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  5. Interesting work, I will take a look at their blog. I have seen some good exhibitions at Brewery Arts. Lovely colours above, but we still like our black and white.

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    1. Brewery Arts is one of my favourite places round here - so much superb work to sample in the main exhibition space and the shop, resident artists and other exhibition spaces are all enticing. I go in most weeks to see what's new ... and there's also the café to resist - I often don't!

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  6. Titles for a piece of work are very hard … especially if the work is abstract. I often just want to use 'abstract' or 'study # ' as titles. But then I think of the viewer … they like to know where the artist was when doing a piece … a little clue … and then I find a title that applies (a thesaurus is great) because a title is better that a page of 'artspeak', in my opinion.
    Yes, I also listen to the whisperings as I work on a piece.
    Good discussion ! Thanks !

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    1. You are so right - the viewer does like a little hint of what was going on in the mind of artists making any work that seems abstract or hard to decode. Titles provide that in a much better and less pretentious way than long 'arty' explanations. Still, I think it is a personal thing and anyway sometimes for me no title maybe has me speculating and discussing in a way I wouldn't necessarily have done if pointed in a particular direction.

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