look at the date. it's been over a month this time.
that's because i have been away here
making food influenced by the landscape
and also some big splashes
and revelling in the light
now i am home where between storms and howling winds i am momentarily taking a break from trying to discover why (although the sky has been falling) we have no water in the tanks to deal with the emails i haven't tackled on my batphone while i was away from the magical surrounding wifi.
and in the inbox i found this ::
1. How would you describe your work? 2. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? 3. When do you know/decide when a piece of artwork is finished? 4. How do you organise your time, what is a typical day? 5. What kind of environment do you work in? 6. In what way does the natural environment inspire you? 7. What advice would you given aspiring textile artist about to embark on their career? 8. Which artists inspire you, and why? 9. What books have you found useful and would recommend? 10. What would you say is the best natural mordent when eco printing on cotton? 11. I am looking to dye recycle fabrics/clothing what advise do you have?
sic. as in, i have pasted it here, unedited.
i did attempt to write back politely, if briefly...but now, fuelled by caffeine and cold weather and the rage induced by a nameless person stealing a pile of wood (cut laboriously with a chainsaw by my daughter) before it could be gathered in
i am going to give it a proper go.
1. How would you describe your work?
this is copied and pasted from my website. i think it's pretty clear.
i use ecologically sustainable contact print processes from plants and found objects together with walking, drawing, assemblage, mending, stitch and text as a means of mapping country, recoding and recording responses to landscape - working with cloth, paper, stone, windfall biological material, water, minerals, bones, the discarded artefacts and hard detritus of human habitation, the local weed burden. the work has been described as using " the earth as the printing plate and time as the press"
if i may quote Maggie Smith's character from the Second Best Marigold Hotel
"never to give any"
3. When do you know/decide when a piece of artwork is finished?
if i had the answer to that i would have become a successful painter
instead of working into my paintings until they became mud and then giving up in disgust
4. How do you organise your time, what is a typical day?
i wake, gently, in the morning and the housekeeper brings me a cup of tea. the resident masseur rubs my toes with fragrant oils. i luxuriate in a hot bath for a few hours, dress in some romantic and frivolous outfit, pick roses until it's time for lunch and then loll on the porch swing in a pile of cushions working my way through a pile of books. later i put on a freshly starched apron and totter into the kitchen to create a three course meal made from food gathered in my walled garden.
(much later someone else does the dishes)
5. What kind of environment do you work in?
everything is perfectly organised and easily found. there is not a speck of dust, no cats have played wildly with my best silk threads and nobody has peed where they should not. the fridge in the studio magically restocks itself, a pile of fresh dry kindling is always to hand and the interns are up before dawn sorting windfall leaves into neat piles, arranged by colour and size.
6. In what way does the natural environment inspire you?
in every way.
(today it is mostly inspiring me to go back to bed where it is warm.)
7. What advice would you given aspiring textile artist about to embark on their career?
think twice about supplying work on commission to boutiques in glamorous locations that expect you to post it to them free of any charges, then put 250% on the work and when it finally sells, pay you at their leisure up to 12 months later. consider becoming a lawyer. or a gardener. it pays better.
8. Which artists inspire you, and why?
those who make a living from their work.
9. What books have you found useful and would recommend?
'Eco Colour' and 'Second Skin'. theOxford English Dictionary. also 'Holidays in Hell' by P.J O'Rourke and pretty much anything by Rebecca Solnit
10. What would you say is the best natural mordent when eco printing on cotton?
'mordent' is a musical ornament, a little wiggly thing that indicates the way a note should be played. i think i would find it tricky to use in a dye process
11. I am looking to dye recycle fabrics/clothing what advise do you have?
hmm. as i understand it that is an acronym for a department in the US Homeland Security division.
if it's advice you're after, then here goes ::
know the plants you are using, and their properties
do not be seduced by toxic adjunct mordants
think carefully about wild harvest and whether it's worth risking a plant population just because you want pink. or some other colour.
do not steal all of the red/gold/purple leaves from underneath trees in public parks in the autumn/fall. they are there for everyone to enjoy (and usually taking leaf matter from a Botanic Garden is illegal anyway)
develop your own style.