Yesterday I gatecrashed a meeting at UWIC of the DEPtH – Designing for Physicality project in which Alan is involved. One of the speakers was Cathy Treadaway, who told us about the research she’s doing into the way digital design processes affect artistic practice. I don’t know if I can sum this up accurately, but technologies that are revolutionising the speed and the potential of surface design can also subtly disengage the artist from the process and the resulting art may not be the creative expression that was desired. Cathy is passionate about the potential of the technology and the importance of developing digital tools that enhance and extend the creative process without losing the immediacy and physicality of hand tools and techniques. She’s also researching the collaborative potential of digital technology and has been working with three artists, Alison Bell, Susan Brandeis, and another whose name I didn’t catch, exploring the nature of the collaborations, the bonds that are formed, the sharing of memory. Cathy was in the exhibition Digital Perceptions, which was at the Collins Gallery and is apparently touring in the Scottish Borders soon – and some small images of her work are on the UWIC web site.

I find the whole area fascinating and am sure it will provide insights about the nature of making by hand as well as the cyborg territory of digital creativity. I’m not drawn to designing on the computer at all myself, maybe because my waking life seems currently to be spent in front of the screen and I’m desperate to use actual brushes and pencils and needles and fibres. Maybe later…

Meanwhile, I got over the first hurdle of Textiles 1 – writing my introduction for my tutor. This was probably the hardest part of the whole course for me! It’ll go in the post tomorrow. I got her welcome letter today – she is Elizabeth Smith and used to teach at Manchester Met.

On the Patchwork & Quilting front, I spent yesterday afternoon in the campervan, in the sunny carpark at UWIC, doing design work for the hanging. I’ll put it all together tomorrow and send it to Linda.

Physicality and getting started

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