|A strand of Dispersant, casting night shadows on the studio wall|
In preparation for installing Dispersant in the Outeredge Project window in just a couple of weeks I am attaching my 400 crocheted, dyed and starched globules to fishing lines. I keep coming up short whenever I run out of the strips of old sheet and duvet cover that I use to carefully wrap each strand so they don't tangle in their boxes (five big boxes full so far). So sometimes a strand of globules is left hanging in my studio for a day or two. At night my bedside lamp is well positioned to cast lovely shadows through the globs. It is incredibly beautiful and I'm afraid I am the only person who will ever see them looking like this.
I feel sorry for (most) people who only get to see my finished art works in galleries because there are so very many moments of loveliness in the making and you will never know them as I do. I try and share as many work in progress (wip) photos here as I can, and often I continue to use wip photos after the piece is complete, because they remain my favourite images. But if I stopped and took a picture every time I noticed the transient loveliness under my hands I fear I would be even slower than the outrageously slow artist that I am anyway. So most of my delight unfolds hour after hour in exclusive solitude.
Much of the loveliness can't be captured in photos, and I'm sorry, not matter how I try, my words are inadequate. How can I share with you the feeling of pulling floss through plump felted layers of blanket? The shushing of cotton and wool fibres stroking past each other until I sense just the right tension has been reached, the stitch is complete and the smooth point of the needle probes into the dense softness to begin the next stitch. Over and over and over again, in a rhythm governed by the ever shortening length of thread, which begins as long as my arm can stretch from my lap and ends as short as the needle. The trance is broken, I stitch the knot, snip the ends, pull another three strands of DMC off the card and thread the needle.
That's the pause when I am most likely to look beyond the row I am stitching to see the whole of what I've made so far. Sometimes, especially in the long middle of a big project it's not lovely at all. There's an awkward adolescence in which the charms of beginning are exhausted and the satisfaction of maturity seems a long way off. But I love the first stages of all my pieces as fiercely as a mother loves her newborn baby. And coming to the end, seeing my vision made manifest the pieces look as intensely gorgeous to me as they ever will. More than the finished piece will, because once its finished I am stuck with all the little flaws and disappointments I have settled for. No more potential, and to me, potential where the real beauty lies.