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Inside out …

January 1, 2021

In the 14th century after a 100 years of the Mongol Yuan dynasty; Emperor Zhu Yaunzhang became the founder of the Chinese Ming dynasty. One if his first acts was to ‘establish a new dress code;’ he banned the barbaric Mongol styles, but bought in his own rules that distinguished the nobles from ordinary people.  The story is complex and thrilling; the book called The fabric of civilization; how textiles made the world by Virginia Postrel describes it fully.   

My coat hanger person wears a coat that relates in a small way to the laws as regards the wearing of silk and embroidered cloth. Commoners were forbidden to wear such luxurious textiles; merchants would flout the strident rules and line their mandatory plain coats and jackets with fine fabrics. 

resolution or revolution?

December 31, 2020

Oh dear, it is New Year’s Eve; the last day of a year of immense difficulty and helplessness. We hear today that another vaccine has been approved and ‘rolled out’ but it still looks as if spring is a long time coming.  I haven’t been to a New Year’s Eve party in decades; seeing the new year in with Jules Holland at home on the TV has become a family tradition, that, and lots of champagne. I am wondering if that too has been cancelled, as so many live events this year haven’t happened. If so it will seem, albeit a little melodramatic, like the last straw.

So, with that I must be truly grateful that my family, friends and I have remained safe and that with the vaccine things will get better.  Not back to normal or as it was, for me that will not happen. I cannot afford to lose time, so I am making wishes, making changes, allowing myself to find ways to realise new invention within and without the digital development and fulfil my dreams. Is that resolution or revolution?

Herding cats ….

December 30, 2020

So, another day of winteriness and surprisingly pleasant after a good walk.  However, this deep reluctance to decide what my coat hanger people are going to say or do this year; as I begin to consider my final piece. What seemed like a plan for my recent submission; which incidentally hasn’t take place yet, appears rather drab.  I suppose this is the effect of being a lone worker or one who is isolated. I am not alone is this; around the world students are learning to find that erstwhile and painstaking team of beavers in our souls who rally us to weather the bleakness. 

Meanwhile, I will attempt to herd my coat hanger people like cats to story land.

Not so much knitting …

December 29, 2020

I woke well before dawn and worked on a small task that will become part of my final piece. It is knitted; I learn as a child and been knitting complex patterns for decades.  However, knitting in the traditional sense will not form part of my final. Until then this person, sports a rather dashing sweater in indigo and of the Aran style

the Waiting …

December 28, 2020

Lovely frosty morning; quiet here there is no sense of life in my locality.  So these two people who represent the Waiting by Degas sort of say it all. 

Rest and renewal with Matisse on the couch …

December 27, 2020

Although the weather is notably dreary; I am still in the holiday mood and reluctant to get back to the jobs in hand. For instance, household tasks and of course the MA and its required study. So, I am thinking … another day of R&R. 

These two people again inspired by Matisse and called Two women in yellow and tartan dresses.  Both dresses are made of silk; the yellow is dyed with onion skins and the other batik printed. In the film they dance when they get bored with sitting on the sofa. 

Odalisque …

December 26, 2020

Nice quiet morning; no news reports or weather forecast to sully the pale sun and stillness. 

This person starred in a recent film called the Charity shop and part of my submission at the halfway point of my MA.  Her character inspired by the painting by Matisse called the Reclining Odalisque.

Happy Christmas Fabio …

December 25, 2020

What a lovely Christmas morning; it was especially beautiful this today notwithstanding the ankle-deep mud and the gathering of soggy leaves in the woods, the world belied the ‘other’ goings on 100%. While I am careful that my ‘people’ stay in a realm of their own; some have crept into the human psyche. This one for instance from the 2nd incarnation is called Fabio and could represent a Carioca; someone from Rio and seen usually on the beach at Copacabana or Ipanema. I haven’t met the other Fabio; he is a friend of my daughter and doesn’t live in Rio. He might enjoy the beach and he is, I think a film maker, stage and costume designer.

So as my Fabio has become human in name only, he is characterful and can dance perhaps not the samba yet.

Happy Christmas to you and my family in Rio xxx

the saga continues …

December 24, 2020

I have not looked at the weather forecast or the BBC news so I am blissfully unaware of the calamities or not that might beset me. So, until I venture out, I will continue the saga of the coat hanger people. These are coloured but not dressed.  My people do not have skin; they are made of the fleece from a sheep and felted. They do not compare with humans as regards  human ideals of flesh tone; Using any natural materials available that produces colour; such as onion skins, rhubarb, flower heads, nettles, woad, weld and turmeric; my people are more vegetable or animal  than human. Without going into the finest detail of dyeing and felting and to be honest it isn’t rocket science or a big secret, but it is tedious, and requires basic knowledge of natural dyeing process and meticulous planning. This know-how can lead to further shenanigans, with different and complex outcomes. It is then perhaps, when the craft becomes art. Perfecting the bits that seem so tedious and time consuming is important and in time does become fun. However, this a MA and the perfections have to become constant or a mere walk in the park, before I can consider myself as an artist and proverbially ‘run’

Coat hanger people…

December 23, 2020

As promised by the BBC rain has set in; so, having walked as the not promised sun came up, I am now confined to my little studio for an hour or so.  Bereft of good news and noting how awfully dull the bad news has become; I thought I might tell you about my coat hanger people. The characters I am working with at present are the third incarnation.  In the beginning using dry felting they were rather Neanderthal.

As they have developed using wet felt, different wire and improved methods; while they are no more attractive, they have morphed into something less primitive.

  For coat hanger people that is.   

With a head no more refined than coat hanger hook, no hands and huge feet and a six pack to die for, they have no redeeming features.  They are without gender, without mothers or fathers, they are to me brothers and sisters, no lovemaking or define procreation, but they dance and materialise.

So, if you understand that then you are ‘cleverer’ than me … for me it is just magical.