It was also very interesting, having to talk to so many visitors about the work. It helped me to crystallise what my themes and interests are. I realised that, though the subject matter is quite varied, there are underlying elements which carry through and which link the textiles to my sketch work.
For instance, I am fascinated by the relationship between enforced randomness and more controlled creative decisions. I realised that there were strong random elements in every single textiles piece on display. I routinely create backgrounds before I know where a piece is going, to enforce unplanned juxtapositions; I often work with fabric shapes as they come out of the rag-bag; I reinterpret randomly created compositions; I work with maps, where roads, borders and areas of water are enforced shapes to work around.
I am also very excited by the way line and linear mark-making can work in tandem with, or in opposition to, areas of colour. Again, this comes through in both my figurative and abstract work, and is there in the stitching, as it has been for some time in my paintings.
I spent quite a while chatting to most visitors, then I asked people to write a comment on a feedback shape, to decorate the outside wall. I counted them up today - 83! With those who didn't get to leave feedback for various reasons (some slipped the net before I nobbled them for instance), and including the people who came to my workshops (more later), I reckon I must have had around 130 visitors through, all told. Which I am very pleased with, given there is no real 'passing trade', because of the location of the unit, tucked away upstairs.
The feedback shapes were a much funkier system than a visitors book and hopefully made the unit look welcoming:
I did a fair bit of sketching around the shops in the first couple of weeks, but concentrated on sewing for the last half of my time. I finished one simple piece, above, based on a combination of 3 different sketches, done early on. My 2nd, more complex piece, based on the Costa coffee-house sketch is ongoing. I'll try and finish it next week if I can, although I have 2 days of school visits to fit in too, so maybe that's a bit over-confident.