Thursday, April 24, 2008

My life through scissors?

This is my most recent piece. It followed directly from the green study below, which pleased me because I like the idea of making a series.

It’s about 1m x 1.2m. It was originally supposed to be orientated the other way but I decided it looked better like this, kind of like a sunset over the sea.

My disappointment is that it is very obvious to see the natural way my arm moves as I cut the fabric slices. You can definitely see the curve caused by my right-handedness, even though I was attempting to keep the cuts more or less parallel to the edges. During the cutting process I realised what was happening and rotated the fabric through180 degrees to try and counteract the curve effect, (see the right side below) but it just made it more obvious. The curving is the main reason that I turned the quilt round so the lines were horizontal – somehow it doesn’t look as bad.

After fretting about the right-handed bending I realised that I should try and embrace this human defect. After all, if I wanted everything straight then I could use a ruler! Surely the point about making art is that it is product of me, and only me. No-one else could replicate what I have made because no-one else will move their arm in exactly the same way I do. The quilt had become a permanent record of the way my body reacts to the fabric and scissors. The cut lines will be affected by my moods, my tensions, even my temperature!

I am working quite hard to try and find my artistic voice. I will be happy when people can look at my work and say ‘ oh yes I can tell Rachel made that.’ Slowly a voice is emerging I think, especially in the stuff I’ve made recently. What is especially weird is that I painted a huge painting about 5 years ago using palette knives, and I’ve realised that it looks very like this quilt in composition, so maybe my voice has always been there, just waiting to pop out!

Anyway, enough waffle. I am at work and should be designing a bowling alley, not writing rubbish about my arm reacting to fabric to create the sublime – what nonsense!


Blogger Jane said...

I love these stripy quilts - I also think that they are improved by the curve.
I think that it is difficult to find a voice - there are so many different things that you can do, so many options to try - it takes a lot of discipline to restrict yourself. That makes it sound no fun at all.
I went through a year of moaning about finding a style and am beginning to sort one out . . I think. . . as longas I don't think of other things that I could do.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Jane E said...

I vote for the fish bones! It's my fave so far

6:03 PM  
Blogger Exuberant Color said...

I REALLY like these last 2 pieces. I don't think the curve is as obvious as you think it is. I love tiny little slivers sewn together. And I like the last one horizontal.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Twila Grace said...

Rach, I'm glad that you found your way to embracing the lines that the sweep of your arm causes. As I was reading the earlier part of your blog, I was thinking, "But I like that!", so I'm relieved to hear that you are also looking at it this way. I think it is a BEAUTIFUL piece. And it is, from what I saw at the NC workshop, a "Rach" piece, as I could never replicate or imitate your style, and I do see you having a style that is "you". I love this piece. And yes, it does evoke the feeling of a sunset. Keep it coming!

12:37 PM  
Blogger Twila Grace said...

Oh, and I like the horizontal orientation, too; although the vertical also has an appeal.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I don't know anything about quilting but I think these are beautiful, and the curve is a good thing!

8:06 AM  

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