Tuesday, 15 February 2011

All caught up and in love again

I am all caught up and in love with the creative process again! You know that feeling where you can't stop thinking about developing ideas, wherever you are you're distracted and desperate to get back so that you can be alone to work through and explore your new stirrings. Knowledge acquired long ago just starts kicking in all by itself, like a natural reflex. Exhilarated by the muscle memory, the sense of timing, the coming together of lots of tiny components and mostly the simple thrill that comes from being with your soul mate. Creativity, this is a love letter to you!

I am re-discovering processes and techniques that I haven't used for a long time. I have found it so beneficial looking through old portfolios and journals and all the work under my bed as it has really served to remind me of my creative pathway up until present. I am always talking to hubby about the great 'body of work' that many of the Artists that I admire leave as a legacy and whilst I don't think I'm there quite yet, it has been self revealing to see connections and links between the works that I have made during the last 15 years or so.

Whilst I was studying at university, paper making and print making were tools that I used to gather my thoughts, pure thinking and problem solving time. I was always baffled to find both the printmaking and paper making studios mostly empty(the only other person I sometimes had to share the space with was the very talented Mr. Jim Davies)much to my delight of course. The luxury that this afforded me was both space and time to experiment. It allowed me freedom to explore, to make mistakes, to repeat things time and time again if I wanted to and crucially it meant that I had one to one attention and the expertise of technicians willing to impart their knowledge.

I have such fond memories of making paper to a busy soundtrack of the threshing machine and Ruth's blender as she prepared vats of pulp, staring out of the large rectangular windows watching the trees moving in the wind in the stunning grounds of the art, music and publishing building at oxford brookes university .... whilst waiting for my paper to come out of the press ....

Some 13 years after graduating I am STILL using papers that I made under the guiding hand of Ruth on those daydreamy days. It's strange but I remember becoming quite obsessed with a making and storing process, not knowing what I was making the paper for but really believing that it would be incredibly useful for the times I anticipated ahead when I would have no access to paper making facilities. My instinct was clearly correct on this occasion. My favourite papers to make were abaca and cotton and sometimes subtle blends of the two which according to the recipe could yield the most beautiful, transluscent, skin-like layers.

I still love working with paper and collage and from routing through earlier work I realize that I haven't ever really stopped working with them, even during the quieter times of production over the years. The images above and below are of works on paper currently untitled that I have been working on, on and off probably over the last three years.

This work sprung out of a basic desire to make marks again, I didn't have a brief or indeed much time or energy. Over time whilst drawing and making these pieces I began thinking about germination, gestation, ovulation, zygotes and abstractedly drawing these internal maps and at the same time I started to use techniques like stitching, making marks with needle point, burning and staining the papers. These drawings with repetitive markings, limited palette and simple materials(oil sticks, pencils and handmade papers)have been generously rewarding and have allowed that 'thinking' time that I spoke of earlier.

In the mean time I am thoroughly immersed in collecting images and resources for making new
hand-made stencils, hand cut letter stencils for print making over my collages/drawings. I am still working on the Susie Sue piece, more photos to follow soon. Beautiful, beautiful printmaking I have missed you so! The world is a better place when there's still ink under my finger nails!

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