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Hunting in the deep dark woods and further creative ventures


In my soul I always long for nostalgia and the wild

For those of you keeping score on my other blog, 12 Months of Alice (where I am challenging myself to 365 days of creativity), you will be aware of the fact that I started a knitting project. Initially, this was going to be a scarf. Then it was going to be a headband. However... I was dumbstruck (geniusstruck?) with an idea, and took knitting in a direction I'd never taken it before.

Please ignore the quality of the photograph, and the obnoxiously large and crooked hooks. My bedroom isn't the best place for documentation of the work.

Moving on to the actual work and not my quality of photographs (I took them late at night, okay?!), this is the first of a body of work. I've realized that I'm developing three or four persona in terms of my practice. There is the persona that focuses on production work, which is all of the wearable stuff that I sell on Etsy. There is the gallery persona, who creates work that is mostly display, but could be function-able or is at very least interesting, and sometimes it is wearable art (but I'm kind of weird, and with some of these works [like my sideshow garments] I don't want people to wear it). There is the persona that creates art for fun and likes making quirky things and would want to try illustration, and then there is the persona who wants to do more work that can hang on a wall and be seen in commercial galleries.

The latter persona is the reason I attempted this knitted work. I was knitting, and then I just decided to try making it look degraded, but still structured. Wool is a nostalgic material for me. I grew up with it, and I have so many memories connected to every aspect of the 'life' of the wool. The lambs, the sheep, the shearing... stomping down on freshly sheared wool into giant burlap sacks, raised into the air by the forks of a tractor. There are so many smells and sights, and it's embedded in my soul. The woods and the prairie are embedded in the same way. Pine branches brushing coats, mud on boots, paws carrying in grasses and bits of gravel.

I'm haunted by memories of the decrepit buildings of the prairie. Stags leaping out of the collapsed walls, and rotting long johns hanging in an ancient wardrobe. There's always a voyeuristic feeling of trespassing as you hunt for precious things, and look over your shoulder for the shadows of ghosts. It's a strange sense when you walk into these buildings. Even if you are only walking over the long since overgrown homestead, covered by grass like an old grave. It's a lonely feeling, and a sensation that reminds you both of decay and loss, but of how alive everything. Even after the people who lived there have moved away, the world moves on, filling in cracks and taking back bricks and logs. The earth buries the glass and the metal and the rotting wood. I imagine the lives that were, and create stories in my mind. The stories are quickly forgotten. I can't keep imagining when the world is so still. The wind blows through the grass and the old houses groan in their old wooden bones.

Somehow, I connect my own memories to the imagined memories of these buildings and the prairie. No matter how much I try (or don't try), I can't shake the sense of belonging in the prairie. It clings to me, as if all of the time I've spent roaming the grass has left my own roots deep in the earth. And thus...

I created works like 'Cabin'. This knitted piece with a found antler, from the prairie itself. This is another time where I feel like I may have stumbled upon something that fits me, in terms of what I create and how I feel about it. I like when I create works that are contemplative. When I create art like this, I feel tranquil and calm. In general, I don't like art with lots of colours or lots going on. I like simple work, or work that is bizarrely beautiful. The not like lots of colour is why, whenever I weave anything, it is two colours or less. Preferably one. I like the simplicity, and it seems to like me.

We'll see where this goes.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like weaving and macrame. The shadows emphasize the texture. Lovely and simple.