Wednesday, December 18, 2013
ring the bells that still can ring...
I've just written a text for the catalogue of my show next year (nearly this year...). Now all I have to do is translate it into French!
I was planning on being an archaeologist. I even had a place at university. Then one evening I saw a television programme about a craft school in Thomastown, Kilkenny.
The school was small - only 20 students - and housed in a converted water mill on the river Nore. The teachers were practising craftspeople who each taught two days per week. There was a potter, a silversmith, a batik artist, a silkscreen printer and a tapestry weaver. I had already had a little experience of weaving but on discovering tapestry I knew it was what I was going to do. Three years of art school in Edinbugh followed and I never took up my place at University...
Tapestry can be a seductive medium - it gets under your skin. The methodical, rhythmic nature of it. The process. The simplicity of it. The transformation of a drawing or design into something which is somehow more of an ‘object’. Something which has a depth which comes from time invested in it, from the human touch in every one of the hundreds if not thousands of rows of weaving.
It is a medium which has barely changed in thousands of years, the simplest form of weaving there is and that too appeals. I like simple. Cooking, baking, gardening, sharing
food with friends, a walk with a good dog. I love the city in short bursts, museums, galleries, people watching but soon I need to be back in my field.
I love the circle, the ring, the dot. I love the symbolism of that shape. I first started to use them not long after Max was born and my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As Max acquired skills, my father lost them. It was a painful and joyful time, witnessing the blossoming of one person and the demise of another, both so loved.
You might call my work abstract, I have started to describe it as landscape. I use line, colour, pattern taken directly from what I observe as I walk the lanes around Salabert. However, it is also about being in that space, physically walking those lanes, placing my feet where generations of people before me have placed theirs. Knowing that this is my time and that it is short and my feet will be followed by others.
I repeat circles over and over, each one different, each one imperfect. Nothing is perfect nor should it be. In the words of Leonard Cohen “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”