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The Powerful Threads of ‘Hiraeth’

8th Feb 2021

Serendipity, Celestine Prophecy – had just been thinking of ‘Sophie’ minutes before, seems to be connected with the unexpected thoughts provoked by the research and reflections for my MA. This has become such a personal journey in ways I never could have imagined, just as the BA was. Had been considering perhaps contacting GP regarding tracing of her potential scan photo. I had given time to pinpoint key dates associated with her (approx. dates of conception, birth, death, removal from me, the association/significance of my son’s birthday/party, boy/girl fetuses’, handling of me in hospital.) This was the first time I had done this in depth thought. – I had cried, I miss her and the others every day, wonder what she would be like in particular. I always thought she was a girl….’Sophie”. She also represented all those I had lost male and female that I didn’t have such clear feelings of, 6 in total.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00027y9

Play Radio 4 ‘Pieces’ By Sian Owen.

Poignant themes touched.

  • Sisters
  • Broken heart medically
  • Emotive – heart is broken; heart broken
  • Relationships – mother/daughter, sisters
  • bereavement
  • miscarriage

Welsh connections  – Play, Hiraeth

  • Too busy
  • Little Jessica

There has been so much grief in my life and yet so little actual expression of grief…..then there are those that by grieving nearly cost me my own life. Such mixed feeling, no tears or  grief sitting with this today, just recognition that I have been busy being too busy to ask myself (apart from obvious feelings) how I feel. Just loss…. Such loss. How do I feel? How can I honour these feelings once I know what they are? 

Wabi Sabi – The serendipity of this and particularly these happenings since becoming ill and starting my MA have not escaped me. This is already turning out to be a far more of a personal journey than I initially imagined. I don’t feel sad or down about the so powerful things its opening up but almost guided to heal , make sense, honour, cherish, create my own memories, interpretation, identity and acceptance. To allow the impermanence of these thoughts, translation and interpretation to happen and welcome, to achieve the healing and other things above I can do. To see the imperfectness of the situation to be now beautiful, to honour the beauty, the positive interpretation of a very painful experience.

The Celestine Prophecy – Nature, books, interactions, films, radio, so much stimulus seems to be taking me to places that, with the time to reflect, is opening up powerful directions creatively whilst providing opportunity to examine/? heal.

Simplifying the view.

This post was written during my BA…Nov 2 2017 12:30AM

First impressions, start to create memories. Scanning the landscape is a bit like one of those QCR barcodes. The lines, marks, dots and slashes, quickly registering to guide you to more information. Focusing intently on this ‘barcode’ provides interesting outcomes. The juxtaposition of the softer flora set amongst hard geological elements, providing colour and form. Lines created by fissures in the cliffs, such as at Old Hunstanton, Norfolk. Those patterns set in several stratums of different textured ‘sediments’ or the manmade lines here in Wales, no more than 50 yards from home. The cultivation patterns in the distant forests, skirted by the straight shadows of the distinct uniform trunks. Like any meditation practice, this unique fingerprint of a place becomes clearer when the mind is focused on less. At this point, finding colour a distraction to exploring ‘form’, it helps to work in ‘black’ and white or as is often the case Paynes Grey or Prussian Blue. Why remove the colour, when it is so essential to cloth? When initially considering designs it helps to spend time focusing on form, to provide food for patterns and weave structures even as a way of preparing for digital consideration. Reducing the ‘noise’ and complexity by this simplification also helps to create that first impression however, fleeting the moment may be, capturing its essence for translation.

Materials matter.

Taken from a previous post written during my BA….Sep 3 2017 02:55PM

Considering the materials to use becomes vital when considering longevity of the cloth vs sustainability. The project, indeed a BA Textiles degree is always about cloth, yarns and construction of durable, fit for purpose cloth. Creating sustainable cloth, develops further considerations; to produce contemporary cloth that has a circular life.

Looking to the landscape for inspiration, answers some of these considerations. The identity of place is quite often bound up in the flora, fauna and foe of the landscape, adapted to survive in the identity of its landscape. 

Wool; in my opinion, one of both Wales and Scotlands undervalued commodities is an obvious choice. The ‘how’ to make it contemporary and exploit its qualities come from the processes. For me, spinning is a meditation.; feeling that fibre slip threw my fingers in rhythmic salute to the landscape it comes from. Creating texture by applying different combing, carding or plying techniques. Colouring with flora, fauna and foe to create a truly sustainable product to work with; unique to my style, interpretation and needs. I find this is one of way I can truly bring authenticity into my work.

Using fibres made from vegetable matter whilst traditional in the form of fibres such as flax (linen), cotton and nettle are now a growing market for contemporary design. With fibres such as bamboo, tencel and hemp finding their way way into more prominent design and use.

For a previous Haute couture module last semester I indulged my desire to work with metals, using a very fine 0.002mm wire woven together with natural dyed threads of the above. I would like to explore this further, especially within the art context both to standalone and accompany designs. 

The blending of fibres together to spin is also something I enjoy and wish to epxlore further, creating unique textures . Juxtaposing the qualities to reflect the contrast found within a landscape; as well as those both seen from afar and up close. Different effects are created, reflecting the diversity of its identity; the layers of depth, transparency and clarity.

To colour; natural dyes, pigments and inks created by myself, through the alchemy of the natural world is my choice. Taken from the land to be put back into it once the cloth wears, with an understanding of the power of the chemistry involved. For nature, is powerful, chemical and can be dangerous if not respected like the power of the elements.

Marks of the land. True identities. Whats it all about?

A copy of a post written during my BA Aug 2 2017 02:44PM

You can probably gather, my overwhelming love of nature and in particular plants. Throughout my degree it has become abundantly clear that the landscape as a whole is significant to me; inspiring me in so many ways. From colour, structure, patterns and form. Living here in Wales and travelling around in my Mitsibushi campervan with my fellow companion appropiately named ‘Indigo’, I seek out the wild and isolated landscapes. Driving every morning and night over a mountain top to and from college, through all the dramatic season changes we are so lucky to have in the UK, I witness their effect on our landscape. Those effects on the fire passes made by tractors on dry heath, the bloom of the plants that habitat that soil, to the soil eroded cliffs and rocks. The textures, colours and sights give those locations their identity.

As I have been working through my degree, I realise I have been shaping my identity too. What surprised me the most was how I have been carving a path to be an artist, something I never thought I was. I claim to be creative but an artist…no. I knew in my future after my degree that I would ‘make’, hoped I would learn to design but didnt anticipate the strong desire to create art. 

Bringing this together, broadly was easy! The contextual module on 21st Century Art that I had written last semester; which was seen from the perspective of identity, got me thinking how multi cultural we all are.; In a very ‘mobile’ world of travel, communications, faith, inter marriage and partnerships and so on. How do we classify or ‘mark’ our own unique identities now? No two people have truly the same cultural identity.

On a practical level, it has been extremely thought provoking trying to work out the ‘how’. How can I bring all these elements into a sustainable, weave and mixed media project for my finals?

I begun by breaking it down, there are strong elements that I need to consider and define ‘my identity’.

I am a person who believes very strongly in self sufficiency, circular lifestyles.

I am a gardener.

I love working on every process from field to product.

I am a natural dyer.

I love creating hand spun yarns from natural sources; working with textures.

I love creating cloth.

I love working with the resources from nature; creating yarns, pigments, dyes and inks.

I love making yarns, cloth, clothes and art.

Now I am sure you can, as I can start to see some potential probems here from a professional point of view. Yes.. absolutely I am too; screaming ….Time management! Economic viability! Idyllic notions that are unworkable, impractical. Not too mention that consideration of health constraints.

My dissertation is formulated.

Title: Creating a sustainable, circular and economically viable practice as a textile designer.

The theme for my practical finals will always have to be built around a sustainable, circular cloth. The aim to create ‘cloth’ and clothes. The birth of a future label; ‘Boddy and Cloth’. Both extending and complementing its sister company Natural Threads: a natural art and crafts supply company that also offers workshops, that started in 2013.

Research for patterns, colour and form will take place considering the marks made in the land by both nature and man, creating the identity of place. I love travelling; visiting many places in the UK as well as India. Last years trips to North Wales and Scotland formed the basis of a module in Mixed Media and has fed these plans for this coming years work in land marks. For this module I examined rock formations both manmade and by nature, with studies of slate mines.

I have now extended this interest to include ‘other’ marks made in the land. Exploring and comparing landscapes to get that real sense of identity. Already fascinated with the welsh coastlines and spending time in The highlands of Scotland I recently spent time , in complete contrast, along the Norfolk Coastline; from Hunstanton to Cromer.

Its getting exciting, with collections building of experiences, photography, sketches, materials and ideas.