A link to my....

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

New Orleans - The Embassy - Cash4Guns - P3 Satellite

Kirsha Kaechele and her husband David Walsh, the owner of MONA, in Tasmania, put up $100,000 for a Gun Buy Back in the 8th Ward in New Orleans. I was part of this show, my piece was actually in the Gun Buy Back area, so its audience were solely the people who came and gave up their guns. 500 were brought back and I am pretty sure that means lives were saved.

A recording studio was built around the corner, open to anyone who wants to come in and record some music, run by and technically supported by Mr Serv On, who I had the delight of teaching a bit of English slang to, which he turned into a rap instantly, can't quite wait to hear 'Get Your Snog On' ;-) and Sess 4-5, who continues to make me crack up when I remember him telling the in-house Kambucca maker that his concoction tasted of shoe water. The artist Lisa Lozano is going to stay and rally at their request, she is from New Orleans and you can see the roots growing out from her feet. 

Here is some reading....

Here is the piece!

I could not have done it without the amazing kindness of Alex at Rubarbike, an incredible initiative right in the middle of a pretty difficult neighbourhood. It gives kids and locals a chance to earn bike dollars, by working to repair bikes, they knowledge the kids get from working allows them to build their own bikes, it was such a great atmosphere and Alex let me take 14 wheels for my piece, in return for the insides which I removed and returned to be recycled. 

Truth is, I didn't make the piece I intended, I learnt a lot in the process and had to make some quick decisions since the space available changed and the impossibility of conveying the message intended dissolved at the 11th hour. Setting it up was harrowing, the police were milling around and the atmosphere was morose, plus I was pretty much crapping myself, never intending to ever go near a gun, suddenly they were all on their way to me! But at the end I was happy, thrilled, relieved, grateful, I hung the piece at the moment the cellist, Helen Gillet began to play and the guns began to roll in. 

 This is a bit about the piece that didn't get hung...

The Cycle of Perpetual Reciprocation

The piece came to me like a big bang. I have been making bicycle wheel pin art for 5 years now and it always amazes me, that with placement and colour you can tell a different narrative, even such contrasting ones as this piece, I usually use this model to describe some kind of creation, like the creation of the universe bursting from its embryo, the bicycle wheel representing the cycle of life and continuum of evolution. It is amazing that gun shots are there own kind of big bang and creation, the creation of a void. 

The piece is reminiscent of a perpetual motion device, the back and forth, through the barrel of a gun. It removes the people entirely, since it is the device alone that makes killing so easy.

It has been difficult to work in such stark representative colours, the urge to tone it down, soften it up has vibrated my very being, but there is no softening possible and there is no sweetness about it

The blood drop came to me in the taxi deflated from an unsuccessful hang, but bolstered by Cat Glennon, who did some great last minute Art Mumming on me, further confirmed by talking with a friend John Orgon and came together when artist Daphane Park awoke from a nightmare after 3 hours sleep and all three of us set off at 7 o clock in the morning and showed it who was boss. I am so indebted to these two and VOILA! Isn't it beautiful!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Always Now (Almost)

This is my most recent embroidery. I have been working with this technique for a while and it has taken time meditating with it, light, slightly different materials, ways of framing it, to figure it out. I was happy with this photo, it was a perfect play on light and this 2 1/2Dness I am always seeking my work to exist within. 

It started with a kiss, ended in divorce, 
although it didn't exactly end.

This embroidery is of my ex-husband, he really worries about growing older and I wanted to give him immortality for Christmas. Just small gifts this year..

If his effigy is always moving, then it is never the same and always in the present, free from aging, but also living. 

Now all I need is a bigwig art tycoon, to buy it and make sure there is always a fan on it for eternity. 
(or until the cleaner unplugs the fan).

Ok, now that is immortality taken care of, NEXT! 

Here is a little film of it in action, though this was only the beginning of what became of it, after a very inspiring film-making day with artists John Orgon, Lisa Lozano, John Norwood, Cat Glennon and Tom Beale. But that will take quite a bit more editing then this little nugget.

A few other photo's taken along the way...

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Seance With The Living

I was looking at the piece I made the other day with frustration, it was fine, and beautiful, but it just wasn't anything I haven't done before really. I began experimenting with a torch shining through, but the line wasn't quite strong enough, though the effect was nice, so I had an idea and with a beating heart, I went for it, you see if found this stuff called #LustreVinyl, its an iron on oil cloth product. I ironed it on both sides and that gave the embroidery some substance.

Here is the film, I have been thinking a lot about living ghosts, from the impression left when someone leaves the room, to the visitations of someone not seen for many years, but still present. I have been conjuring ways to experiment with this and illustrate/animate it and this is just the beginning....

Hussein Chalayan and recent interview

I have been working for the magazine Vestoj doing a series of portraits, to be launched in Paris this month. Below is Hussein Chalayan and a rough draft of the interview with moi.

I started sewing when I was 16. My teacher showed me how to thread up a sewing machine on a little table in the corridor and that was it. The freedom she gave me was key, she just let me play with it and it began a lifelong love of curiosity of what I could do with thread. I got really into hand sewing a few years later in my glass house studio in my first home in West Ham. It was quieter and portable and in some ways quicker, I used to make a cup of tea with a brandy in it after working in an art store all day and sew for hours.

I liked the slowness of sewing, I tried painting, but it always seemed so surface to me, I could go into autopilot with it, whereas with sewing I was totally engaged, point at a stitch and I could tell you what I was thinking at that moment. There are two main things I think about when I am sewing that correspond with the two ways that I work, after years of doing it I have figured out the pattern. Firstly to lay out bolder areas, I find myself thinking about things that have bugged me, injustices small and large and it plays out in a big obsessive circle as I clumsily and bravely lay out the meat of it. Then the next phase it to consolidate and refine, to correct mistakes and to find balance, I often find myself writing letters to loved ones in my head, often apologies, suddenly all the flaws appear and I apologise and forgive. I go through this pattern several times throughout a piece.

The music I listen to is also quite obsessive and narrow, I mostly listen to The Knife and have done for years and it never really gets old, while doing Margaret Howell, I actually listened to Chiquitita, SOS and Fernando, by ABBA, on repeat. They have this euphoric bittersweetness that makes me want to cry with joy and makes me feel like all my doors and windows are open.

While I was sewing Cristophe Lemaire, I watched all my favourite Robin Williams films on the eve of the sad news, it took 5 films and quite a lot of Mork and Mindy's.

Hussein was the first portrait I sewed, it was the middle of summer and I had ravaged through the impenetrable ivy wall that had absorbed my garden. It seemed the most serendipitous thing to do to work outside, So I made good headway and pottered off to smoke a roll up and when I heard a weird noise I turned around and saw a moth had been caught in the net and a bird came down and pecked a hole right through the middle of his forehead to get at it. I hoped he didn't get a headache, sometimes sewing someone's portrait can feel a bit voodooish.

I have big dreams for my work and sometimes they are too big. I think these usually come when I am at the peak of my caffeine high and often roll around my head and then thrash around into impossibility by the inevitable crash, only to be resurrected next time. But I plan to live a long life full of art and when something rolls around for some time, I usually manage to create it, even if not quite the scale of my dreams.

My daughter inspires me a lot, she is a little wizardess and I often find when I back track on a piece that I can see a direct link to something we have discussed. The piece I am making for the New Orleans Biennial, I tracked back to her beautiful handmade birthday book I made her that she filled with booby trap designs.

My favourite and least favourite part of the day is putting my daughter to bed, we talk about things, read adventure books and sing songs and it's so lovely, but I always have a list of things I am supposed to do afterwards and I hardly ever can. I am such a sensual fuck, that the warmth of her little body and the feeling of the silky quilt and the soft singing voice and then her little hot sleepy breath, that's so heady, and I am so incredibly content, but utterly useless and more often than not I float into bed and the dishes wait till morning....