Cloth in Common

A couple of months ago I was contacted out of the blue by Karol Kusmaul and asked if I would join a new international fibre group. With two major exhibitions coming up in spring 2018 I was rather wary. I’ve worked pretty hard at cutting distractions out of my studio practice so the thought of producing a small piece of art every two months for the group challenge did not immediately appeal. However, the thought of working alongside some of the members did appeal – I have long admired the work, and work ethic, of Maria Shell, Terry Grant and Lisa Walton. So, having got assurances that the challenge would involve a series of prompts that could be worked into my existing series I said yes.

We added new members, Karol set up a website and we started discussing the challenge. The idea is that the group decides a general theme for the prompts and we take it in turns to decide the individual prompts – so the theme could be colour and a prompt could be scarlet. With 11 members this is a 22 month commitment. We discussed sizes and decided on two (which has since grown to three) that could be used in either portrait or landscape. So far so exciting.

But as different themes were discussed alarm bells started to ring – I find that I am not willing to dilute the ideas behind my current series. If we decided that the theme was man-made structures I would be happy but anything else? Probably not.

I will be honest – I did think about backing out but realised that I would be disappointed in myself if I did. Instead I am determined to make this a positive. How? By using the challenge to create small works that use colours, techniques, materials and ideas that differ radically from my recent and current work. Now there are limits – I don’t do cute, I don’t do sequins and I definitely won’t be doing animals / flowers / nature type stuff. But I may flirt with acrylics, with curves, with paper. I may even make a piece featuring hand stitching and loose ends. Who knows!

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