Monday, April 25, 2011

Last glimpse of the backside

I'm experimenting with lighting to try and get the colours to photograph. Here the greens are about right, but the blue and red are way off.

My island piece has a name now: No Mine is an Island. I was describing the work to someone* at a party this weekend and they made the pun first, and it seems the Right Title on so many levels. I do tend to assume all puns are bad puns, but surely if there are any good puns this must be one of them.

I have all but finished embroidering the two main components, island and ocean, and next will sew them together before mounting. On this last day before all the workings disappear I thought I'd share with you some evidence of my 200-plus hours of handstitching and felting so far.

I am unreasonably fond of the 'wrong side' of my embroideries. I think in my childhood I was impressed upon with the importance of the back of the work being neat and tidy, and I'm a little proud of my relatively ordered reverse.

The underside of the ocean. This is what the back of blanket stitch looks like.

The centre of No Mine is an Island is the deep crater of the open cast mine which extends below sea level by some 7cm. It may not be obvious to a casual observer but the depth of this negative space seems quite radical to me. In the same way I am eager to share the underside of my crafting, I am also eager to understand and share what is usually unseen: the dirty secrets of extractive industries, what is below the surfaces of earth and sea, and the unintended consequences of what we buy and consume.

My island mine is an imagined and generic representation of extractive industries. The raw red gouge of the mine and its tailings were inspired first by my dream/poem and then by images of iron ore tailings. Arguably not the most toxic tailings produced in mining activities, but irresistible because it looks like the earth is bleeding from a fatal wound.

The underside of my island, with the bottom of the crater appearing as a tower from this angle. In the foreground you can see a little of the felting as it reaches round the edge to the bottom of the plain cream blanket.

*I was a little drunk at the time and can't remember who the punster was, but I'm happy to give credit where its due if reminded!


Joan said...

Your art goes from strength to strength in output and significance and beauty, Meliors. I am in awe! I love the title. Why are we so snobbish about puns anyway. I come from a punnish family. No Mine is an Island. Yes!

Marcia said...

beautiful, I can`t wait to see it Meliors. You can imagine the puns I get being a beekeeper - people just can`t themselves - I don`t mind - more power to the beezzz thats what I think !

Carol said...

I love this look at the process in the creation of your island. It is coming together in a most inspiring manner. As always, you amaze me.

Claire Beynon said...

Meliors - this is an extraordinary piece of work with its many complex layers. l will email you this morning - would like your permission to include "No Mine Is An Island' in my 'Words on Water' conf. presentation in Phoenix. . . our concerns and themes are so very much woven together and it would be an honour to feature this work. . . L, C