TIF Challenge May 2

Well I didn’t turn into a pumpkin! I got my May TIF Challenge piece done yesterday (just) but too late for taking photos.

I decided to create something that included some of the techniques I love most, and to try to express how I often feel as if I’m exploding in all directions – there’s such an onslaught of possibilities it seems impossible to choose between them.

For the background I used a piece of indigo-dyed shibori I made at a workshop taught by Nell Dale. I applied scrim that I’d dyed and torn, and some little bits and bobs – hand stitching, machine stitching, felt, knitting, dyeing, batik, printing, and layered fabrics. I also love textiles with writing, so I added the phrase that Neki of A Moveable Feast picked out from my thoughts on the challenge question – ‘naming is not defining – it is choosing’.

But choosing means saying no as well as yes. I long to learn to focus enough to practise, in every sense of the word. I enjoy exploring so many things but I also value skill and mastery, and to attain those things one must make choices and leave some roads untravelled. For now, as a student, I’m constantly trying out new paths and revisiting old ones, but I also hope that on the way I’ll discover which directions take me “further up and further in”… that I will learn my name.

appliqué piece

Links to the beautiful and thought-provoking work being done for Sharon’s Take it Further Challenge can be found on her blog In a Minute Ago, the Flickr group, and the Take it Further Challenge blog.

Feeling a little crazy…

… I just signed up for Sharon B’s Take it Further challenge for 2008. What was that about biting off too much? But then, sometimes things just sound too good to miss and I know how wistful I’d feel next year if I wasn’t joining in with this. The challenge is about stretching your design skills by working with a theme but developing and resolving it in your own way.

I had a lovely card in the post yesterday, from Isabell, she made it for the Embroiderers’ Guild Forum Christmas Card swap. Isn’t it beautiful?

my card from Isabell

inspirations

Just a round up of some things that have inspired me as I caught up with some of my favourite blogs today…

And two new blogs: Inspiration Boards, thanks to Claire at Little Fish Creations, and kris’s color stripes, thanks to my friend Helen.

World Beach Project

I love the way the Internet makes art projects that span the globe possible. And I love art that is transient. So I’m very drawn to the World Beach Project, devised by Sue Lawty in assocation with the V&A Museum, where she is Artist in Residence. Over the years our family has left patterns and sculptures with shells, sand, stones, seaweed, and all the random richness left by the tides, on beaches all over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The World Beach Project imposes a discipline – only stones may be used. Within that… explore the possibilities. I feel an excursion to the shore coming on.

Madeleine L’Engle

I was saddened to learn of the death on Thursday of writer Madeleine L’Engle, aged 88. She’s probably best known for her children’s fantasies, which I first read as an adult and found enthralling, but she also wrote prolifically about art, creativity and Christianity. ‘Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art’ is very dear to me, but this quote is from ‘A Circle of Quiet’, which strangely enough, I bought just last Monday.

It’s all been said better before. If I thought I had to say it better than anybody else, I’d never start. Better or worse is immaterial. The thing is that it has to be said; by me; ontologically. We each have to say it, to say it our own way. Not of our own will, but as it comes out through us. Good or bad, great or little: that isn’t what human creation is about. It is that we have to try; to put it down in pigment, or words, or musical notations, or we die.

Leif Enger in the foreword to ‘Penguins and Golden Calves’ called Madeleine L’Engle

… chiefly an apologist for joy – one of the rare ones who consistently upholds her own definition of art: that which speaks of what was true, is true, and what will be true.

And I would add – along with joy – love, playfulness, and mercy. A great writer and a wise woman. Her spirit touched mine and I will miss her.