Today I conducted the first of my lost love interviews since changing my PhD research collection slightly after my progress panel. I think I wrote before about how I wanted to get to know my participants more than just the initial feelings that they wrote down. I thought this would give me a deeper insight into the feeling of love and loss that they have and also allow me to connect on a deeper level, to almost share their thoughts of the relationship which in turn would better help me channel this into the making of a lost love artefact.
My interview today is the ‘first’ of the already paper based collected stories so it had its benefits in that I already knew what this persons story was about. This allowed me to have certain questions at the ready to ask. I did try and keep it quite open in terms of the questioning, so allowing the participant to tell their story. In this case as it was a romantic relationship we discussed how they met, what they experienced together, any memorable moments and then the ending of the relationship and how this happened, culminating in how they felt now and what they had learned from it.
I asked quite early on about the object, which I may be should have left until it ‘came up’ naturally, although we discussed it a couple of times within the interview. The participant had also brought a timeline of photographs along from the length of the relationship showing when they met, candid shots together, images of where they’d visited. This has added to the interview for me in terms of giving the situation more identity than just the written words which now feel quite cold in comparison to the telling of the story by the person.
It did get emotional and so I had taken (1) tissue with me, although I’ll know next time to be better equipped! It also taught me that I can’t really plan the questions ahead of the interviews as obviously all relationships are different. I will make sure I read all the stories beforehand so I don’t cause upset by muddling anything up. It helped by the participant having the object there to touch and hold and stroke whilst story telling.
I am now going to type up the stories myself rather than getting someone to do it so I can pull things from it as I type and analyse throughout. I’m happy to have done the first one and have 4 future interviews planned over the next few weeks. Really enjoying this…when I get the time!
Just visited the Knit and Stitch show at Harrogate. I’ve been meaning to go for years and have never made it. Having observing the people who got off the train with their tartan wheels bags I was a bit concerned it may be more hobbyist than I thought. There were elements of this, however there was some beautiful art textiles that was produced including stitching into leaves or around driftwood, crocheting giant flamingos and balls and balls of giant yarn!
I actually really enjoyed it. It was interesting to see the different textile/knitted and stitched pieces in terms of what artists were showing and had done. I really loved the work of Alice Fox who had done a collection of pieces titled ‘Findings’, using natural objects, wood, stone, acorns, leaves and stitching into or around them. Also the use of rust and erosion. This had made me think more about my finished pieces. They don’t all have to include silicone! I feel a lot freer! I bought the bits and bobs above.
- Small crochet hook. Wanted to try experimenting with smaller yarns and threads. Maybe something you wouldn’t normally crochet with.
- Linen thread for my leather work. I want to start predominantly using hand stitching rather than machine.
- Cyanotype, however this is a black version. Light sensitive photo emulsion that can be used on wood, fabric, paper. Thought it could have some interesting results although not sure if it may be too similar to acetone printing.
I was really looking forward to having a play with all this stuff however haven’t had chance yet to give it a go. Tonight is the first night I’ve actually felt like getting on with anything at all in an evening. I’m completely wiped out at the moment so just staying awake on an evening is an achievement!
I knew getting a PhD wouldn’t be easy and I also knew juggling it with work would also be hard, however for the past 3 weeks I haven’t had any time to do anything even on my research day from work as it’s been taken up with admin tasks and solving problems sadly….however, last night I finally sat down again and started having a look at my crocheting skills. It has taken me a while to get used to how to do it and read a pattern and last night after trying to read up about it I actually just fathomed it out and it clicked. I’ve been using a book to help with it and maybe the focus at the moment has slipped from learning it as part of the PhD to learning it in general as I’ve been creating shapes that may not relate to the end object. I think I need to now start focusing on creating a garment as that was the intended outcome however I want to re-interview the participant and ask her about colours, styles, the year it would have been, the age of her Nana when making these. I also need to recognise not very stitch needs to be perfect so as part of the making I may just carry on and rectify rather than pulling out and starting again. Having been reading a paper by Jo Turney entitled ‘making love with needles’ it is more about the giving of the garment than the taste and so as the mediator I need to take this into consideration.
Over the past few months/year I’ve been trying to find a local workshop for my own practice and for crafting. I haven’t felt like I’ve been in the right environment since I moved in and just felt quite cramped so I haven’t really ‘made’ anything properly since I left my MA. I just really want to get back into making especially with my PhD. I decided to build myself a work bench that’s actually quite high (1078mm tall to be exact)! It compromises of 2 IKEA Billy Bookcases that I had to doctor to make the skirting board gaps higher and then a sheet of 18mm plywood cut to the size of the alcove then 2x batons of 38mm x 50mm wood that acts as an edge to fit around each side of the book case meaning that the top is held on without being actually attached. I also have enough baton left to make it a freestanding workbench by adding across the shorter edges if I wanted to move it out of the room at some point.
I cleared all my books off the shelf and have begun to sort all my tools out. It was quite good to see what i’ve actually got! I had enough ply from the off cut to make a back board to which i’m going to have my tools on….that’s stage 2!
It’s really inspired me to get making again and i’ve enjoyed not falling asleep on the sofa and doing something pro active!