I am wrestling with making work at the moment – too many ideas means that I can’t settle comfortably to one thing. I jump around from one idea to the next, not really sure whether things are working or not. It’s a state I’ve been in before – I just have to keep going and remember wise words that I read somewhere (sorry I can’t remember where) and that is that if you know what you are doing you are not being creative.
Walking always helps – often ideas occur to me or connections are made as I walk myself into a meditative state. However, even though sometimes there is revelation, more often than not there is silence.
A couple of days ago I went down to the beach in-between rainy showers for a much needed breath of fresh air. The tide was coming in. Watching it flood over the sand flats and fill the dips and hollows in an inexorable movement forward is mesmerising. I find I have the need to map its coming in – to measure its flow. A quick line made in the sand with my foot marks a spot a few metres back from the edge. Waves ripple forwards in surges, back and forth, advancing and retreating, until the line is reached. It makes me think of my grandfather who always said that the seventh wave is bigger. I count the waves. This piece of folklore is not scientifically correct but there are occasional bigger waves and they seem to push the tide further in.
Watching and counting the waves I start to notice. The more I look, the more I notice and the more I make connections to what I see and what I think. Crossing lines of foamy water relate to small line drawings I have been doing recently. Tiny bubbles make me think of a different way of making holes in cloth. A small shred of bladder wrack that floats in connects to some salt and sand pieces I have been making and suggests something new.
A breath of fresh air has cleared my head and luckily this time I have found the impetus to go on.
I’ve done a lot of stitching recently – over one hundred eyelets so far and I’m not even half way there! I stitch myself into a meditative state and as I stitch I think (probably over think). I turn over haphazard ideas trying to fit things together. Every now and again I jump up to look something up in a book. I thought it was worth putting down these latest ponderings about the Soundmark pieces that I am making at the moment – they are central to what I am trying to achieve. ‘A more profound engagement must depend upon more than the visual, upon those things that remain invisible’. Tacita Dean ‘Hearing structure and articulates the experience and understanding of space’. Juhani Pallasmaa Understanding an environment or place is to understand how you sense it. Its light, its texture, its atmosphere and its sound – eyes, ears, hands, feet. It’s about time spent and the changes that take place over time. Its ups and downs, nears and fars, louds and softs, movements, rhythms and silences. An understanding is not arrived at by just seeing, or just hearing or just feeling but by a mixture of all the senses together. Take walking for instance. Your feet feel the ground. Your ears hear your footsteps as they beat a continuous rhythm on its surface. Your legs feel the slope – up or down, and as you breathe deeply your temperature rises. All around you sounds, both near and far, come and go. Your eyes confirm all of these sensations. To map these sensations as an artwork is not to suggest the visual alone but to integrate all these feelings. Ups and downs (height) become highs and lows (pitch). Large and small (distance) become loud and soft (dynamic). Events – visual, aural and textural – that occur one after the other (succession and duration) are rhythms that happen in time. The gaps between, either spatial or durational become silences. I think of these as a type of 3-dimensional graph: height as up/down or pitch, breadth as time and rhythm, depth as distance, either large/small or loud /soft. Uniting all of these sensations is texture: the visual, aural and haptic qualities of air, land and sea – atmosphere and weather, rock, earth and water. The lines, shapes and forms of my artworks recall the contours, movements, rhythms and textures of the environment – water on the beach and marsh, air waves, sea waves and sound waves. They bring to mind things I have seen or heard or felt. They don’t describe but are ambiguous and can have several meanings: of sound, of sight, of touch. The photos are small watercolour drawings. They contain impressions, feelings and hearings done from memory and with imagination.