The Trouble with Making

I have a confession to make.  I’m avoiding making….Not on purpose but I seem to be finding other ‘things’ to do for my PhD rather than get into the making.  I just seem to have lost my making mojo!

I keep having ideas and now I am using a folder system to keep each participants information in then when I think of an idea I am adding a scribble or doodle or notes to the it.  It seems to be working quite well at the moment and my story regarding crochet seems to be the one I keep becoming inspired by.  I also am working on a story about a ‘rolling pin’ which again I keep jotting down notes and coming up with ideas, but never managing to produce anything.

I think doing a part time PhD and working full time is proving quite difficult.  Because I lecture and study at the same place I find it hard to break away from the role on my designated ‘research day’ or because it’s on a thursday, by the time thursday rolls around i’m completely wiped out making ‘making’ considerably harder.

Also with making, i’ve always enjoyed it so its hard to then do it when I feel like I should be marking or planning a lecture.  It doesn’t seem like a legitimate thing to be doing (it feels like playing to me).  With this in mind, maybe it’s the perception of making as research that has to change which in turn may help to change my mindset…..

So the goal this week.  Buy cheap acrylic wool (as per the direction in the story i’m working on) and start to crochet a toilet dolly….(never done before)…This is to: a) make it look like mistakes are OK and b) the narrator of the story spoke of how her Nana created crocheted objects from memory rather than pattern so things were always slightly off….(which is good as my new found skills are limited!)

I might also try and learn a few different stitches as at the moment I can only seem to go round in a circle and it would be better to learn how to work in lines too….!  I’m going to go into the studio early on thursday to try and give it a go!

 

 

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Harrogate Knit and Stitch

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!

Typing up stories and its revelations

Having a funny research day today.  Started planning my presentation for my PhD progression point, but I find it hard to spend a whole lot of time on the same thing, so I’ve more or less done the slides, which for today I think is an achievement.  I will carry on with this tomorrow and then start practicing it out loud to the dog (he loves a presentation practice).

The main reason of suddenly wanting to write this though was because I realised I hadn’t typed up a few of my lost love stories that I had collected most recently.

I have had the others typed up for me as I felt this was just a ‘job’ that needed to be done, but actually I think it is a big part of the making process and getting into the stories and the minds of the people who’s lost love they are talking about.

I began reading and typing at the same time and the overwhelming urge to analyse using my ‘artists voice’ came into my head.  When the writer talked about that she wished her Nana had taught her how to crochet it felt like a jigsaw piece that would be used in the making of the artefact.

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I have been struggling over the last few weeks with the concept of using the same materials (leather and silicone) as I always have used, but this has just allowed me to break free of that and think that I can work in other ways!

So my idea is to re-type up the stories using my artists voice to try and do some initial designing using words and then pictures to see what happens!

Visualising Research

IMG_6286Over the past couple of days, since receiving my draft report back, i’ve been re-looking at what I am trying to achieve.  I got some good feedback back from my supervisor and realised what i’d written was too in-depth and what should be going into an essay rather than that of a report.  I realised I hadn’t been looking at my key aims as I wrote and underpinning my theory with my practice or these aims so no wonder I couldn’t get it right!

I went back to ‘Visualizing Research‘ by Carole Gray and Julian Malins which has been really helpful in terms of working out how to correlate the practical making side with the theory side.  Just doing the map above of my research question along with each of the aims and where they are covered within the practical or theory side has really helped.  It also shows the links between each of the areas which I suppose was just what I needed to do to see how it fitted.  I still have to add all the people/books etc I’ve looked at to the diagram, but this can then be used for the overall mapping of the project.

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I am now trying to re-focus on my literature and so have done a breakdown of ‘love’s terms of how this fits in with my making and my data collection that I have already done.  This has shown that child for parent and grandparent is the most submitted, followed by romantic love.  Love for a lost child has not been submitted at all.  This might be because it is too emotional to talk about.  Other areas lacking were that of friendship.  This may be due to it not being considered ‘love’ as such.  I’ve then got to compare to my making.

Better get on with it!