I have something. And by that I mean, there is a cold or a virus going around Ben's work and he's fine but I've had a mild form of it for a week, so I'm been in an in-between place. Plus I really can't focus my eyes this week, so if these two posts are messy, I apologize in advance.
Our local art museum, The Suter, has a small wall in their shop which is reserved for the monthly "Artist in Focus", and I'm "it" for August. It's a small space, 1.8m/6ft high and 2.6m/less than 8ft, but visible, and I was flattered to be asked, because the staff who selects the AiF is herself a textile artist, Andrea Chandler.
Andrea approached me last year, and I knew I wanted to do the cottons, but the Big Bad Birthday, the fuss afterwards, and the Santa Fe Hoohah allowed me in a roundabout way to focus on what I like to weave. Either that, or I'm doing stuff I like right now, but was able to cook up a quasi-Artist's Statement; I no longer know how I operate, honestly.
Anyway, for someone who's obsessed with the art vs craft discourse, I seem to insist, in these public platforms, I am a craftsperson first and foremost. I've been approached by people who heard me at the Re:fine Floor Talk at the Suter and remember I asked them to please touch my shawls. Here's what I wrote:
"In April of this year I turned 50. For about 18 months leading up to my birthday while I tried to prepare myself emotionally, I was engulfed in a desire to “be a good weaver”, without knowing what I meant. As I came to weaving late in life, I’ve always felt I had a “weaving level” well below my chronological age, and in the weeks following the big day, this desire became dire and desperate.
"Early in July, I was weaving a cotton scarf while listening to Kim Hill interview Dr Jill Bolte Taylor about her experience of a stroke and the subsequent eight-year road to recovery. Because Dr Taylor’s clot occurred in her left hemisphere, her logical and language capabilities were suppressed and she experienced periods of pastel-colored (sic: my description) euphoria and peace. Since her full recover, she has had to be mindful of the behavior of her left hemisphere, so as not to loose balance in her new-found life, and remain at peace.
"I remember the joy and the thrill I felt when I passed a stick shuttle through my rigid heddle shed for the first time. I had big aspirations of one day weaving fine, fussy cloth in cotton and silk. I also remember the giddiness I felt when I first handled these cotton yarns last year. And I watched the kind of cloth I imagined I’d like to weave grow right under my eyes.
"How could I possibly have wanted anything else, but to sit in my studio and craft fussy cloths, feeling a wee bit euphoric all the time!"
Here's the bio; it's awfully casual, but others who list art schools and fellowships and scholarships, (which, of course I haven't got), I think it's the prerogative of 50-year-old women to say only what she wants:
"I grew up watching my mother knit, sew and embroider lovely things for me and my siblings, all the while listening to her say the one thing she longed to do was to weave. So I came to think of weaving as the ultimate craft. Mother took up weaving at age 60 when one child left home and another started university, and she still lives and weaves in Yokohama, Japan.
I learned to weave from books, the Internet, and long telephone conversations with my mother. In fact, that I’ve come to live in New Zealand started out as a family joke because Mom needed a place to stay during her annual trips to New Zealand to stock up on NZ fleeces.
A little bit more can be found at www.MegWeaves.co.nz and www.MegWeaves.blogspot.com."