This blog follows my work for The Textiles and Mixed Media module with The Open College of Arts, (OCA) based in the UK. I live in Lanzarote, in The Canary Islands, Spain.
I have received the course manual and an introductory letter from my tutor, Rebecca Fairley and I was reminded by the college, that, when completed, this module earns me 40 points towards a Bachelor of Arts, honours degree in Textiles. This level 1 course is expected to take 400 hours of learning time.
Part one is about surface distortion. It has around 10 exercises to be completed, several samples in different mediums created, annotated, photographed and critical comments made to uncover the creative potential inherent both in the material itself as well as the technique. The course uses the following experimental processess.
- Folding and crumpling
- Tearing and cutting
- Heating and fusing
- Scratching and embossing
- Puncturing and stitching
The arrival of the course manual coincided with my involvement in, and the setting up of, an art exhibition titled ‘Elements’, with 15 local artists in Lanzarote. It’s taken me three months of research and work to create four goddesses fabric sculptures, representative of earth, sea, sky and fire. (I will describe the process in detail with my tutor). Artists have been arriving at my house to leave their work in preparation for arranging their paintings and pictures. Its been thrilling to meet each and everyone and seeing their work. I’ve been collating data on a spreadsheet for information for each art work that will be used to create a catalogue.
The date for hanging all the work for the exhibition, in conjunction with Betty Rawson (BA, MA, author, teacher, photographer and mentor) and Jodie Tilbury-Fowler (artist), at Barstro Restaurant, Nazaret is flagged for 2 June. Opening night is nearly upon us on 4 June, with up to 100 guests expected. Barstro Restaurant has quickly earned its place as 4th best restaurant in Lanzarote with its chef/owners taking a huge interest in the arts on the island. They are providing canapes and cava and serving our guests. We also have two musicians to add to the atmosphere for opening night. This is our second collaboration at Barstro, and the first in which I have had a direct involvement in organising.
I have sent an introductory letter to Rebecca, and garnered the basic details of the course over a long lunch the day I received it, getting quietly excited about starting a new line of artistic inquiry, using new materials and having Rebecca as my tutor.
The Elements exhibition opening night was exhilarating, especially as so many artists were involved and there were many invited guests to meet. The youngest artist was a photographer, at 12 years old, the oldest, a glass artist with a studio in Arrecife is 72. Barstro restaurant and their magnificent team looked after everyone. The open evening was covered by Artsnspire on their website. Elements will stay in place until the end of August.
The next day, I was, finally able to dive deep into the Textiles and Mixed Media manual and take Rebbeca’s sage advice of research, research, research.
I spent some time on Pinterest and copied images to follow up later. I learned about Paul Jackson’s teaching methods with folding paper techniques and watched some of his Youtube tutorials. I ordered his book Folding Techniques for Designers, to familiarise myself with this new art form, before attempting any of the exercises in the coursework.
Not wanting to wait for the postman to deliver everything, I downloaded a new book, 3D Mixed Media Textile Art to my ipad Kindle. Being a member of the TextileArtist.Org and its resourceful and inspirational website, I had read about the book and it seemed very timely to buy it. Being an insomniac I read through most of the book, in the dark hours, making notes of materials used, techniques and working methods and noting favorite artists to follow up later.
Finally, the title of my blog comes from Wassily Kandinsky’s Book, Concerning The Spiritual In Art, it was translated from the Russian title, Über das Geistige in der Kunst of 1911. It feels appropriate, because most of my art work and inspiration arise out of my own personal search for the sacred.
I have always loved reading about our ancient forebears and their drive to find the spiritual, wherever they found themselves. It’s the human search for the sacred in art, architecture, text, images, sculpture, painting, archaeology etc, that crosses all genders, eons, continents and cultures that so fascinate me. My inquiry and inspiration from that source is as deep as Brawnwen’s Cauldron. I have been reading the out of print book The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas, that I managed to buy on Amazon, as part of my research for the Elements exhibition.