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Let there be light …

August 11, 2021

While gathering thoughts about the use of animated puppets in a Textiles MA course I looked again at the words of Helen Binyon and the point she makes about Puppetry being a dramatic art, a communication between performers and audience.  The work of art is not the puppet but the performance, the drama being the verbal art.  She goes on to say that puppetry is a visual art and communicates by visual means (Binyon. H. 1966) This is reassurance for mixed media artist who champions costume, fabric and colour before enforced narrative and unnecessary sound.

I am a gardener and read a little about Gertrude Jekyll and her ideals in ‘natural beauty, in the exploitation of natural shapes, colour, and harmonies …’ in the garden and her claims for gardening to be a ‘fine’ art.  As an artist wanting to express ugliness, disharmony and as Jekyll says ‘things jarring and displeasing’ as well being a textile artist with the use of puppets and animation one can apprehend puppetry as an art not so fine but not be disregarded fully.

Letting in light (Chatto, B. 2002) I live in a Victorian terraced house with a tiny north facing garden.  I value every moment of the rising and setting sun in my back yard; where I sit and enjoy the world and of late do my filming.  Light for a prolonged period is vital for the lengthy stop motion process.  During the months of lockdown and specially in the winter when filming was not an option, I discovered that that lack of light does have effect on my mood and wellbeing.  As a gardener depression can be addressed to some degree with careful planting.  Beth Chatto the noteworthy garden and plants woman talks about this, trees and shrubs planted years before were advancing at alarming rate since the winters were becoming milder.  ‘Spaces between the shapes were closing in I am losing too much sky of wonderful cloudscapes … I feel hemmed in and depressed.’ She went on to describe how she would cut back and replant to let in the light and bring balance to the overall structure.  On a smaller scale and no less important on my workmate in my back yard I have to allow my people to move and grow, be watchful of changes in the season, daylight and shade.  I must cut back to encourage regrowth but more important add light. Not with pruning shears but with needle and thread and colour or conversely embracing the negative spaces and allowing the sky or light to touch our souls and illuminate our imaginations.

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