Thursday, 14 December 2017

Stains and discards

Today I was determined to get on with a challenge I set myself and a group of co-artists. I gave everyone some old packaging – bubble wrap, corrugated card, fishing line, string … And we were to do ‘something’ with it. Two other collaborators (Marianda and Helene) have been busy already.

I was really looking forward to getting into the studio for a solid day of play on the ‘discarded packaging materials’ challenge. I had thought of using the materials to print – but Marianda did that on fabric and Helene on clay (see @fabricatednarratives).I did still spend a little time taking prints from the materials.

Printing on tissue using packaging materials

Printing on tissue using packaging materials
Then started ripping the corrugated card into strips with the intention of printing with these, rolled them up into 'beads' and liked what happened. I realised later that this may well have been a semi-sub-conscious response to the reflections of clouds and sun in the thin skin of water left on the sand as the waves receded that morning.

I sprayed the rolls of card with iridescent paints and glued them together. This overlapping and linking giving changes in direction of the corrugations appealed.
Playing with discarded packaging

Playing with discarded packaging

Last weekend we had a get together at the beach for drawing and experimenting with mark making with materials around us.
Marianda working into her indigo piece
My contribution was limited mostly to chatting, though I did make a couple of simple sketches and today tried mostly unsuccessfully to print with seaweed. Because this didn't work as well as I had hoped, I coffee stained some of the materials and made pamphlet books; forced papers through the pasta machine and added some simple stitch marks into my pen marks  continuing some of the ideas from my ‘Permutations’ work last year.
View over the beach

Playing with quick mark making based on the rocks on the beach

Spray and resist patterns with seaweed

Spray and resist patterns with seaweed

Ink sketch of the beach, coffee stained and black thread

Ink sketch of the horizon, coffee stained and black thread
All in all, today was a good start.
One of the issues I find with settling to work is clearing my mind of other jobs which are on the to do list. I am wondering whether you are able to ignore other work or whether you have to get stuff out of the way before you can concentrate on your creative time? I used to be great at leaving a domestic mess and paperwork behind me, lately I seem to want to get these out of the way first.
With one of my ‘children’ (is there a word for your grown-up offspring? The word ‘child’ doesn’t seem right) home from university at the moment I still feel that I have to organise my time around her, slipping back into parenting mode, and when another of the brood drops in and stays (he’s a boy, so usually no prior notice, no help with the domestics - how did I bring up a boy so poorly that he slips into this male stereotype when his Dad isn’t at all like that?) At these times I can’t settle to being in the studio, feeling that I should drop everything to spend time with them. After all I say to myself, these are my children and I don’t get to see so much of them nowadays. On the other hand, I don’t think they are aware that they are interrupting my ‘flow’ and that working from home does involve working!  
Since returning from the UK, it seemed to me that I had to clear the decks somewhat before I could concentrate on new projects, thus I have been doing this, including trying to  spending one day a week on my accounts (all I can stand to do even if I am well behind) and a day a week getting the garden under control (still needs lots of attention). I was asked to write a feature about my work for the New Zealand Artist magazine which was fabulous, I have sent work and cards to a new (to me) gallery outlet.
Beach finds and stitched bauble hangings by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden
I have built a new website ( featuring my textile art and am working on the next website about the art materials and workshops I offer – I’ll update you when that is ready to be seen. Recently of course, as with everyone else, I have been preparing for Christmas - yeah! I do love the gift buying for family and friends and making cards and presents to send out. All of these seem to be getting under control now and I am looking forward to spending more time in the studio from now on, in fact, the sun is out so I’m off to walk the dogs and then get to the studio now. 
The boys are waiting for me!
Have a cracking Christmas and New Year.