I have been looking up embroidery, trying to decide if this is a medium I’d like to indulge and incorporate, or if I already have enough on my plate. I feel like it’s a natural progression of where my work is at already…but sometimes my ideas move faster than my output can handle. I look back and feel like I wish I had more work to evidence each of the concepts I digested at any given point. Will my mind ever slow down? There are worse things I guess…
I found this really great place NEAR ATLANTA! called Japanese Embroidery Center – I will let them describe themselves:
“The Japanese Embroidery Center (JEC) is a nonprofit educational organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Japanese embroidery through the pursuit of Nuido™, The Way of Embroidery. The word Nuido™ is made up of two parts; Nui, or embroidery (also shishu), and Do, the way of Nui refers to the acquisition of technical skills and knowledge. Do refers to the development, and constant discovery, of the spiritual components of the art of Nuido™. Nuido™ has three aspects: the acquisition of technical skills and knowledge (rationality), the development of artistic sensitivity and awareness (sensitivity), and understanding the spiritual aspects of shishu (spirituality), resulting in a state of peace, calm, and harmony.”
I am definitely drawn to the intention and ritual, the idea of meditation before working, having a sensei, everything about it really. And good on them for getting over here and further taming the wild, American beast. An information video on the site said the hardest thing about teaching students in the States was getting them to shut up during class – we can be so obnoxious as a culture, like a toddler. –I probably, wont be able to get in and take a class until next year, but I’m glad to know it’s there for me when I’m ready.
I love that the students of the Japanese center learn gardening and appreciation for nature’s role in their craft. It isn’t really clear whether or not they are introduced to silkworms and if that’s what they are working on maintaining in their garden, or if they are simply growing their own food. Either way, I think hands-on interaction with the earth is essential in maintaining a tradition and culture of ‘big picture’ understanding.
There may come a time when I will only use found material. This is hard for me because I love paint so much, but as a medium, it’s completely artificial…or at least in the ways I indulge it. I want to find a more sustainable, but simultaneously archival, way around this. I know I can make my own pigments out of plants and household items, but the way I’m painting currently, this isn’t really practical. The dilemma itself really is the greater umbrella concept of my work: the intoxicating trap of artifice and the quest for ways to find the purest relationship with the natural world possible, coming from an honest evaluation of where we stand today on our journey as humans on earth. I’m not too beat-up by the conflict as it applies to my personal work though – I’m confident I will arrive naturally and gradually at solutions that make sense and support my ideals.
…So do I paint on the fabric and then embroider on top? or do I pour paint on top of embroidery. Probably BOTH! Playing with stitches will be added to the bank of stuff to play with while I’m in Vermont. OH! This is perfect considering I will be meditating and yoga-ing daily. So excited.
the featured image:
from the series Red Sky at Night by Rebecca Ringquist — Bounty, 2011, 60 x 32, Embroidery and machine stitching on found fabric
The other day I took myself on a hot date to see Godzilla at Plaza Theatre. I entered with the usual assumption: I'd see a classic, old movie and indulge a little nostalgia for recent human past. I was excited to find that elements of the movie actually tie nicely together some of the ideas I am trying to work through in my paintings, as well as further solidify and connect interests I haven't formed informed explanations for. For example: I have always felt a pull towards Japan. I am interested in ritual and process and find these attributes are a bit atrophied in USAmerican culture where emphasis on quantity and speed overwhelms quality; I am still seeking sources to justify and support these claims. Anyhoo, Godzilla shined a light on a whole other aspect of Japanese philosophy//other phenomenon I had no idea I was headed towards. Check out these pics I snuck...
POINTS IN GODZILLA I'M EXCITED ABOUT:
- gender and family issues - that whole love triangle between Emiko, Hideto and the scientist Daisuke - The self sacrifice of the scientist Daisuke at the end. He destroys his notes, knowing that his discoveries could be used for good, but their potential for evil and dangerous applications make them unfit to share with mankind. - anti-H bomb propaganda and morality of the sciences was a delightful and unexpected enhance my own personal claims. - Japanese philosophy about the balance of the masculine and the feminine. The bomb as a symbol of masculinity, nature as the feminine - the disruption and retaliation of nature on man. Ultimately the feminine restores balance.
WOW! NEW POINTS OF INTEREST TO EXPAND UPON: Mutations, monsters, archetypes and evolving myths in the modern world
A lot of the ideas that struck me, gender-issues, ideas of family structure, etc, are all further discussed in this article by Jerome Shapiro (http://serdar-hizli-art.com/symbolism_in_art/symbolism_in_japan_movies.htm). Reading through this has helped shape and inform some of the points mentioned above and also have got me wanting to rip apart monster movies.
MY WORK AS IT STANDS TODAY: Agitated nature-scapes in contrast to the serenity / majesty of historic depictions of landscape in painting, photography and drawing. I reflect on a landscape interrupted by human "progress" - technology, strip-mining, clear cutting forests, irresponsible agriculture, pollution, trash, waste, consumer culture. I am trying to depict a space that is unbalanced and victim to the indulgence of the masculine (if we're relating it to the philosophy of harmony and balance of the dual forces: feminine and masculine) and judeo-christian notions that nature is at our disposal. Maybe I will take the ideas of the feminine, represented as silk, weaving and healing acting as calming balance to these landscapes. But then what are the gender role stereotypes I am indulging in doing this? How can I see "masculine" and "feminine" as compartmentalized concepts that exist in relation to one another in duality, but also have attributes of the other with in themselves? ...THE YING YANG lol. The cocoon may be a place for incubation, the womb a place where change and growth can be made, but it is also a sort of prison, isolated. I want to emphasis and explore the ideas of gendered constructs in their extremes as unbalanced, not that the feminine is inherently positive and the masculine negative, or the opposite, which is a bit more ingrained in our language and in our tradition, at least in the Western world.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWfK1E4L--c&w=420&h=315] watch this video or else read some'uh'duh good parts I transcribed below
18:45 thoughts after discussing the story of Hekuba - "The condition of being good is that it should always be possible for you to be morally destroyed by something that you couldn't prevent. To be a good human being, is to have a kind of openness to the world - an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances - in circumstances that for which you are not yourself to blame. I think this something really important about the condition of the ethical life that it is based on a trust in the uncertain, a willingness to be exposed - It's based on being more like a plant than like a jewel. Something rather fragile, but whose particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility."
21:10 "Tragedy happens only when you are trying to live well. For a heedless person who doesn't have deep commitments to others, Agamemnon's conflict isn't a tragedy. Someone who is a bad person could go in and slaughter that child with equanimity or could desert all the men, let them die. But it's when you are trying to live well and you deeply care about things you are trying to do that the world enters in in a particularly painful way. And it's in that struggle, with recalcitrant circumstances, that a lot of the value of the moral life comes in."
22:08 "The lesson certainly is not to try to maximize conflict, or to romanticize struggle and suffering. But it's rather to see that you should care about things in a way that makes it a possibility that tragedy will happen to you. If you never trust any people, or if you don't trust the political setting, which is certainly something I see very often in my students, then it doesn't hurt you when things go badly. But you want to tell them to live their lives with such a seriousness of commitment that they're not adjusting their desires to the way the world actually goes, but they're trying to rest from the world, a good life, the good life that they desire. And sometimes this does lead them into tragedy."
My compassion for others is partially rooted in the fear/understanding that I have, we all have, a breaking point. The possibility will always exist that I will lose my faith in humanity, but still I forgive. I think I forgive, because not only have I been hurt, I have hurt others. I've been hurt because I have made myself vulnerable and I hurt others in attempt to stay honest. This Nussbaum interview made me realize my tendency to make myself vulnerable is rooted in my love and passion for life. And maybe I forgive so much because people who are clumsy with themselves maybe have been hurt, because maybe they too have a passion for life and just need to be nurtured, like she said, a plant. and maybe we're all in this together and it's our responsibility to tend to one another when we have the capacity, and everything is a mess and they're IS a point of no return - and someone can become so damaged that they cannot regain their faith in the world. I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I know I am really glad for her and her thoughts and I want to read more about what she has to say. I also am really excited about the story of Hekuba and would like to draw it out. HAPPY FRIDAY
I came across these beautiful weavings by Finnish designer/artist Kustaa Saksi in a blog post by Miss Moss. Yes, they are trippy, and vibrant, yet subdued in a really appealing way, but the reason I had to catalogue them here is this quote/definition of the title of the series "Hypnopompic": "Hypnopompic refers to a state of sensory confusion leading out of sleep, when the state of awakening gets mixed with the dream world into a surreal reality. It is an exceptional state of consciousness, in which one may experience the presence of, or see creatures and animals, such as spiders, monkeys and insects. Hypnopompic state has also been affiliated with visual delusions caused by migraine. These graphic patterns, designs and textures are thought to have contributed to the traditions of ornamentation, mosaic and textile."
For as long as I can remember, I have hallucinated (visual, auditorial, physical) while falling asleep and waking. Even though I know now that it's a completely normal phenomenon (and symptom of narcolepsy) called "hypnogogic hallucination" that many a brilliant historical figure experienced in their day, I still sometimes feel a bit off my rocker (the fact that the only "famous person" I can think of off the top of my [wikipedia's] head who mentioned experiencing the phenomenon is Edgar Allen Poe does not plead my sanity case).
...But these weavings are so inspiring. My hallucinations are sometimes terrifying (I've been told I cry), sometimes exhilarating, sometimes funny (I've been told I giggle), so duh, I don't know why I haven't already considered THEM "inspiring." Apparently, some people even actively try and learn how to achieve them (like they do with lucid dreams...WHICH my visions have always lead right into--or out of) I guess if anyone wants some tips just ask...But be forewarned: nothing is worse than having something really cool or beautiful or what-have-you in your possession during a dream you're controlling, only to wake and see it there! with you! in your bed! and then lose it to reality... Huge bummer for me as a kid.
Anyhoo, on an art note: these really jumped out at me because the most common things I see in my hypnogogic state are bugs, particularly spiders. I have been trying to think of a way to tap into the whole weird dream thing for a good long while, and these are definitely inspiration in the right direction. Also love the concept of weaving (a very feminine history which also references spiders--Mother Spider taught us to weave), meshing with my very physical painting style (rooted in the very macho action painters of the 50s)---little gender discussion about materiality there. Also, the concept of "mother" as spider has been coming up a lot in my work lately. ...AND the comments in the quote about mosaics makes me better understand my tendency towards pattern work and this sort of thing... WHAT A SERENDIPITOUS FIND! THIS IS SO DENSE. I'M SO EXCITED.