Last night I was complaining to my brother about how I only get 17.5 hours at work and rarely get extra hours to fatten my paycheque. As someone who works 50+ hours a week, my brother replied, “Doesn’t that just give you more time to work on your craft?” and fuck me if he isn’t right. I have the best job for doing art stuff on the side – I only work 17.5 hours a week and get paid a decent wage which means I should have the free time and financial support to have a super active studio practice. Unfortunately, art stuff usually goes neglected as I get caught up in life things (money-making things). Oh, Alberta, sometimes you can really trick a person into thinking money is where the heart is.
So, I feel like I need to become more engaged in my work. Stop worrying about having a “reason” to make art and just start making. I shouldn’t need an exhibition or deadline to prompt me into being productive. How can I have exhibitions if I don’t have any work to show? And I know this is the dilema of every working artist so I should really quit feeling sorry for myself in thinking that this is my problem alone.
The buck stops here!
With that, here are some snapshots of something I’m working on: a wee mummer soft sculpture knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift that will be about 24″ in height.
Way back in my art college days I went through a creature-making-phase, a precursor to all the wearables and sculptures I make now. I’ve always been an object-based, tactile person. There is something really satisfying about creating something that exists in space on it’s own – a feeling I never really got from drawing and always have a hard time feeling when I look at wall-based 2-d work.
Ever since I started working with mummer imagery, I’ve been wanting to make my large sculptures at a much smaller scale. I love the challenge of trying to knit something from a loose sketch, visualizing the math involved and seeing things come together through my hands in the exact way I imagine them in my head. I knit like I drive: thinking twelve steps ahead while anticipating the possibility of hiccups along the way. There can be a great confidence that comes from working in this manner, a certainty that allows for sustained motivation. Though, I’d be lying if I said this way of working doesn’t play tricks with my patience.
I am hoping that these little sculptures will be moveable to a point. I will be creating a skeleton frame that will give it more structure rather than just creating a stuffed toy. With any luck I will be able to figure out how to make this thing stand and then I can start making more. A little mummer army that is way more realistic to accomplish at this scale than it is to create life-size right now. Who knows – maybe this is will be just the base I need to apply for grants to make them as big as I want.
Oh, to dream!
Here are some detail shots of the knitting in progress.
I am currently knitting with a gauge of about 7 stitches to the inch on 3.00mm needles. The yarn I’m using is some older stash I received from a friend who had the intention to knit a fair isle sweater but never really got around to casting on. Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift is a dreamy 100% wool yarn that is a loosely spun two-ply. The colours are full of depth, something you rarely get from most commercial yarns. It’s the perfect gauge for this project because it will allow me to know with a great amount of detail, especially when I start knitting the arms, legs and ruffled trim at the bottom of the figure. I’m pretty stoked!
My only wish is that I knew a supplier for the stuff in the city because I’d love to get some more colours – like pinks and brighter greens.
Anyway, seeing as I have the entire day to myself before I have to head to the far northwest of the city for work, I’m going to spend my time knitting some more while listening to some tunes.