I simply couldn’t make the yarns perform together in my last sample. I wanted to form a thick chunky rope that I could coil around the spoon but it was too heavy and floppy. Having already found a different solution: inspired by Sonia Gomes, I should have left this idea alone and moved on to the next exercise. Determination, boredom and frustration, however, prevented me from moving forward.
I read that Gomes uses a wire armature to wrap her bundles of fabric around. I wondered if I could stabilise my ‘rope’ with wire. I scrunched tissue paper into loose lengths and roughly bound it with wire to stop it unravelling:
I was really disappointed with this result, it was ugly and clumsy; once more challenging the silhouette of a spoon had created a chicken drumstick. Or a torch? Rolling with this idea, I took the sample into the garden and set fire to it…
I guess this was a cathartic experience and luckily the sample looks much better now that layers beneath have been revealed. The twists in the wire are now partially visible against some lovely soft browns and the black and white, monochromatic ash.
When I began this Project, I was extremely worried about wrapping and then unwrapping. I imagined that putting effort into each sample and then removing the threads, to begin again, would feel much more painful than it did. I even considered bulk buying spoons so I could keep every single effort! Obviously, there were some exceptions (I kept 3 samples) but generally I was able to comfortably undo my work. The destruction or ‘deconstruction’ of this sample, by fire, epitomises my changing attitude.
Something that really helped guide me through this process of ‘destroying’ my work was a piece of work at Entangled by Ximena Garrido-Lecca, ‘A Gross of Chullos’. At first glance it appears to be a jumble of multi-coloured yarns, tangled by kittens and dumped on the floor. However, it is so much more than that! It is actually a really clever comment on globalisation and commercialism. She has taken hats, symbolic to her culture, and unknitted them, quite shocking until you realise that mass production of the Chullo for the tourist trade has already diluted their symbolism.
Drawings of the Chullos before their deconstruction (made digitally but hand coloured) help explain her story and also illustrated to me the importance of drawing in my own practice. Another thing that lent power and understanding to this thought-provoking work was that it was displayed opposite a new piece by Aiko Tezuka. ‘Loosening Fabric’ #6 also celebrates construction through a process of deconstruction.
I found the work of the above artists to be quite a joyful, if not painstaking, investigation of construction via deconstruction, but I had no emotional ties to the objects to begin with. I began thinking about the recent fire at the stables where my horse used to live.
The buildings have been vacant and falling into a state of disrepair for possibly more than ten years now but seeing the construction of the barn savagely displayed to the skies by Arson is still horrible. My happy memories have been violated, ripped open, for the world to see. Somehow my burnt spoon didn’t seem so appealing anymore.
I think many artists see decay as an attractive thing to focus on in their work. I certainly find the ramshackle roof with its missing tiles more comforting than the bleak monochromatic skeleton beams and the gapping hole directly above where my horse slept.
Although it was painful to think about, I tried to consider which is preferable: the long drawn out, natural decomposition of a place I loved or the violent damage that now means a demolition will have to take place.
Which is better? A sad, sorry daily reminder? Or an empty space filled with residual memory? Like when you take down the Christmas decorations and you are thrilled with the space but still remember how nice it was at the time?