Journal

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Back in September I was lucky enough to be in New York to see the Brancusi exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. This made me very very happy. I knew I loved the sculpture already but the plinths! An extra dimension is added just with the placing of the work. Amazing.

The whole piece is about the presentation as much as the sculpture itself and so much a part of the work. I wonder if Brancusi was planning it going ‘Oh I can’t do it like that, it should be put in the centre just to be on the safe side…’ somehow I can’t imagine he dithered. Something to ponder.

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On the same visit was the exhibition ‘Toward a Concrete Utopia Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980’. An unexpected delight.

Pictured here is the Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija, Petrova Gora, Croatia.

The most interesting aspect of this exhibition for me, aside from the obvious, was the fact that the original sketches for the idea were included.

Alongside an image of the finished building would be a scribble that taken on its own meant nothing but placed here seemed complete.

Encapsulating the essence of the building to be. Nothing could’ve been more perfect.

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To me that is what it is all about. An idea that can be translated, applied, turned into something beautiful. All from that tiny kernel of thought. Wow.

Some interesting results from experimenting with photography (thanks Matthew) on the tiny pieces of dissolvable work.

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It is an odd shape which was dictated by the experiment. In order to see if the hand stitch held together once the dissolvable fabric was washed away I needed to try different forms of stitch to find out which ones worked. It became pretty random.

That it looks a bit like an x-ray pleases me. It adds another dimension to the investigative qualities and looks even more like an artefact being catalogued and inspected.

It was interesting to read about the unrest in France in the mid 19th century, and very plausible that it would have contributed to John and Josephine being there less. Nothing surprising there. In my head there is something significant about upheavals in society and changes in fashion. Of course it reflects society, affluence, practicality, etc. but there is probably a completely abstract link for me in a blouse being made as a separate during times that were turbulent. Its the word ‘separate’ that does it.

Then I think, well thats not good enough, I should be reading everything about the run up to the Franco Prussian war, I should have a working knowledge of 19th century French politics…..I’d love to study the entire history of everything but then I wouldn’t have time for any sewing….so I return to the abstract. I am happy with that but wish I’d found some nugget of information that, for me, justified my interest in this link.


Returning to the experiments with dissolvable fabric I have thought about these investigations relating to the seams and the criss crossing business mentioned previously. I did some playing about with the image that started me off in this thinking. Focusing in on the section of interest to me makes it more abstract. Remove the colour and it becomes about mark making and then I think that I would like to crop it to an even smaller section and recreate it as a graphite drawing….but back to the stitching.

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Perhaps by creating lengths of this stitch to mirror the impression of the seams from the images I took I could bring the delicacy and intricacy of the decorative lace fabric into the functional part of the garment.

Here I touch on the theme that usually comes to the fore with me. The everyday and the overlooked.

The blouse is extraordinary, made of beautiful lace, subtly decorative but the seams are standing out for me. The part we usually take for granted, the construction, the way it is held together. So if I bring the qualities of the lace, exaggerating them, interpreting them rather than reproducing the design….if I bring this to the shapes created by the seams of the garment….what would that result in?

In my commercial work I design bespoke hand embroidered table linens. At this point I can’t help but think about a finished product, even though I won’t be making one for this project, you can’t not think about it. I would use the experiments in stitch and translate them to a napkin as a showcase piece. Some version of the experiments would stretch across the napkin, perhaps lines of it crossing. Anyway the result would be impossibly expensive which would have the bonus of reflecting the world that John and Josephine inhabited. Thankfully it doesn’t have to be made, well not now anyway and not to a deadline…..but I would like to make it……