We had a lukewarm meeting yesterday. Some were unwell, some were tired, and someone was very late, (though she did text the hostess, honest!) It was not quite the debriefing I had hoped for, but then I knew it was too soon for that. We mostly talked about where we want to go in our making individually.
I learned, or Pat told me, I work differently, at least from the other members of Strands. I have to see things in my mind, be it a specific piece, how it's installed in an exhibition in a specific part of a specific gallery, or the exhibition as a whole. I looked forward to discuss our exhibition as a whole at earlier meetings, but that wasn't to be, which still feels like a lost opportunity for me, because among the five of us, we've been to a fair few exhibitions in a fair few countries.
Things I make are site-specific, if you can call it that. It's always been so. Someone who's helped me a lot at one point was a woman whose back I saw at the Nelson School of Music, late-middle-aged, petite. In my mind, she rushed down a cobbled street as best she could in her heels, in an autumnal early evening to meet her husband, who is patient and kind but always annoyingly punctual, at the Opera House. She wore black some days, very dark brown other days; her husband preferred grays and blacks. Because it had been the kind of day where Summer had clearly refused to leave completely, she foolishly left home without a coat. Goodness me, I'd have to make her a large shawl, won't I? This is why my non-commission pieces tended to be very short at first, not just because I am short.
A whole cast of characters lived in my head, taking turn in telling me what they needed. There's no doubt I enjoy this process, and over days and weeks I fine-tune the item in question while ignoring them speaking, singing or humming. But I've always done this so I never gave it much thought. More recently, I don't always have a human protagonist, but the cloth flies on its own accord, in a specific context.
Pat told me others probably didn't work like this, and that's why others found it difficult to talk about what I wanted to talk about sometimes.
About a year ago I declared to Ronette, Pat and Nola that after nine years of trying, I gave up designing according to prescription. While working on Pillars, Curvy and the Friends(hip) piece, I played around some, using tricks I've picked up in various design courses, but on the whole I ended up working the way I normally do. I'm always open to other/new ways, and if I come across a better way I'm more than happy to amend/switch. What I'm saying is, I finally don't feel the need to catch up with people who went to art/weaving school. After all, I say I'm self-taught in my blurbs.
So working with the group for 18 months ended up a kind of a home-coming, a full circle, getting a little sharper picture of myself as a maker. I feel a kind of a quiet contentment, almost a confidence, at having tried other things, having observed other people work in their own ways, and relearning/reconfirming what works for me. Yeah, I don't fell like I need to catch up with anything or anyone, but need to keep making the way I've done. And I love working by myself.
Interesting that Maria, too, found her returning to where she was once, but more focused.
If I think of something else I learned, I'll tell you about it, but I think that's beyond debriefing.