Marlborough Design Workshop Part 2

Here are what I came up with.

I like this one because it's so chaotic, layered, and still ordered, and I can't believe this came to being painlessly and quickly. At the base is an abstract "painting" with pale pastel crayons representing good things in life, washed with purple dye representing my life (which on the whole is cruise-y), washed with diluted black water color to represent depression.

On a A2 sheet, I collaged and then drew some more the bright light at the end of the tunnel which I see even in the midst of a bad patch, (this is what makes me the most light-hearted depressed person in New Zealand!). I tore the first "painting" and pasted in a sun-ray like manner. I added more colorful, good bits in life, including fine lines with a gold gel pen, and then painted over the entire piece with gray. Still not happy with the vividness of the piece, I mixed glue, black watercolor paint and water, and pasted a sheet of white tissue paper over the whole thing with my fingers and hands, and ripped out the tissue over the light.

The tissue paper was bigger than the sheet, so I started cutting it with scissors, but I didn't like the clean sharp edges. I also noticed the entire thing was stuck on the one piece of newspaper that was torn in the corner. And that's when I thought life is messy, so I'm going to keep the over sized tissue and the newspaper as part of my piece. (One of the purple collaged strips didn't fit the A2 but this was planned.)

I didn't like the cloudy feel the tissue paper gave, and at show and tell, someone said I could tear some more of the tissue paper. This I did and it produces a nuance in the greyness I found pleasing. (I tore off a little too much torn on the upper right quadrant after I came home, but that's OK.) I can't see the gold gel pen marks any more, but there are wrinkles and dirt and parts that didn't adhere and bubbles and all sorts. I just can't believe I did something so spontaneous.

The tissue paper gives pleasing nuances, and I've found quite a few usable section when I looked through the square.
I have no idea what that brown substance is in the middle one, but it appeared in two areas, and I love the rusty look. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to use these as a design base for my scarves yet; it would be easier if I felted, or wove tapestries, but I see that that's is not the point, and sometime in the future, an idea based on these may pop up. And even if not, I had fun.

The second one is a time line of a depression episode.

The base was a piece of paper where I made all kinds of marks using India ink and different "brushes" made of paper. At first, I tore the marked sheet in strips and pasted them on an A2 size paper in an orderly manner. I added marks with paint, black ink, and yarns to accentuate the good and the bad bits. Then two minutes before we had to clean up, I decided a proper A2 sheet didn't represent a time line, so I cut it in varying width, and made an uneven strip. I think I could safely say that Alison was astonished by my transformation, that I would think, literally, outside the A2 rectangle, and that I would deliberately cut them in uneven width.

Alison suggested I do something like this during a bad patch, a small piece each day collected to and make a series. We discussed this idea further, and I decided to prepare a box full of materials as I can well imagine not being able to muster the energy to find stuff, but if it's already all in one place, there's less excuse not to. And yes, I did say, "I can't wait for my next bad patch!!"

I started one more, where I let the media work their own thing. It has small pieces of the same purple dye piece in the lower center, with black crayon rays extending in all direction. I applied pale yellow, pink, blue and green water colors on top; in this one, the black crayon is literally resisting the colors. I'm not finished with it, and I'm not sure what I want to do with it, but another person who has experienced depression said this is the best depiction of her experience and asked to photograph it, so I shall keep working on it in my own time.

Looking back, I fought all the way through the correspondence course and the 2005 workshop, resisting forfeiting control, protesting rather loudly, and disliking Alison's methods because they are messy. Had I known how much fun I'd have, I would have done it earlier.

Additionally, I think I did myself a favor in selecting a conceptual research subject, where I couldn't hold a mental picture of an outcome. I must have been in a vulnerable position which allowed me to do whatever Alison suggested; I was fully prepared to surrender to her directions from the start and went into the classroom in a quasi-empty-headed state. Instead of asking Alison non-questions in a squeaky voice, I just took a big table in the corner and mindlessly did my thing. It was liberating. I was visually creating my experience but not re-living it, and I was getting down and dirty. I wasn't worried, and I had successfully surrendered to the process.

I also kept thinking Alison had matured as a teacher, (I'm a teachers' kid, so I'm tough on teachers), but I see now that I was wrong; she's probably been the same fabulous teacher all along, but I never got her until now.

I loved the experience so much, I've continued to doodle and play with paint more or less consistently since I've come back. I really shocked myself when I got my sketchbook out of my pack in Otago Museum and started to draw, with my left hand, some of the Egyptian and Greek artifacts. 

What I do, or don't do with these child-like creations are not important in the first instance, but that I did create them is an accomplishment, and I've now had a taste of being mindful in the moment, or what Zen Buddhist call "mushin", ironically translated in the dictionaries as mindlessness.

Either way, life doesn't get any better than this.


After I finished the correspondence course, I promptly signed up in August 2004 for the merit portion of the design course, which is like an independent study using the methods we learned in the course proper. I'm ashamed to say, but then you know by now, that sining up and paying for it is all I've done so far. No, I take that back, I've had about four false starts, but I still have the instructions and some great research material. I think it's time I emailed the new education coordinator and see if I'm still allowed to work on it and submit it to Alison.


Dianne said...

Yeh, freedom to fly.

Meg said...

Ummm, I guess you could say that, and I'm not too worried about the freedom to flop; now that's new, too.