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Monday, 10 January 2011

thoughts about knitting and drawing and being frustrated.

More of this please! More of these patterns and ideas from real life and being inspired to create images/patterns with fabrics and yarns. More cool guys who have been knitting since the 60's. More exciting different things. More experience with knitting. More more more moreeee.

What can I get away with? Can I take photographs and turn them into knitted pieces? Do I have to draw? Will drawing enable my knitting, or visa versa? Can I be that weird girl in the class who doesn't like to use pens? Can I play with printing from knits. Can I play with combinations? How about designs made with paper and then remade with wool? Text! Working with a grid. Graph paper! How many different letterforms can I make with a grid? Use lightbox to trace designs onto grids to make into knitting. Swatches! Interpret videos, photos, life, people, places, sounds into patterns! DYE MY OWN WOOL! Go and learn about what the heck 'spinning' is! How do they get it from the sheep to my needles? Share my collection of supplies (photograph them!) so far and each new addition! READ more knitting books! Go to a knitting club twice a month! Keep knitting on the bus, in bed, at lunchtimes!

"Those of you who feel knitting has changed your life,
welcome to the club. I can think of no better
occupation to reveal your own creativity" - Kaffe Fassett

(this is a braindump. I needed to write it all out to get it out of my head- please see below for summarized and less crazy version!)
The closer it comes to going back to the studio- the more I want to stay at home and knit. The more I want to NOT draw. The more I want to arrange and re-arrange colour combinations. The more frustrated I get with WHY we do things? I've always said that I love craft and that it helps me, as a kind of therapy, get through daily life (with all my health struggles, sometimes I can't get out of bed... etc). But I've always said that as a communicator I need to make things that MAKE SENSE with the project or 'brief' I've been given. I've always said that a piece of art/design is always better when every piece of it is CONSIDERED and APPROPRIATE. I will sew if the project is somehow related to that. I will do screen printing if it best fits what needs to be done. I will do collage if that's the visual language that makes sense. etc etc And that's what I've been sticking to so far. I've been trying to stretch myself to the situations that arise and there's a lot of merit in that, and I think that's GOOD.
But I'm feeling lost and unhappy with the things I am making. I'm not naturally talented at drawing a detailed building or realistic portrait of someone. I am tired of using pens. I am exhausted of seeing the same materials over and over again. I DON'T WANT TO USE SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE IT'S EASIER OR QUICKER. That was good, that was fine, that taught me that I'm much happier using watercolours or ink or other awkward methods of drawing like knitting!

Basically, I think pens and pencils and markers and everything are great if that's what you like. And I think they are valuable tools- but for me, I'm just not happy with what I produce from them, and I've noticed that my patience is dwindling (and that is saying a lot. I am a very patient person!) so it gets messier and grosser and I get all worked up because I feel like I am wasting my time (and that is the worst thing for me, because my time is so valuable. it's a big downward spiral) and I'm not producing enough work.

Another little part of me is saying that maybe I don't have a distinct enough way of drawing yet- how can I be thinking of translating anything into knitting. This is a valid point. If you asked me to draw some garlic for you, I wouldn't know HOW to do it. I could do it in a lot of different ways but I wouldn't know what 'my way' is. But this is a struggle that I fight all the time. At least with knitting I kind of feel like I 'know' what to do. It is possible that I am over thinking all of this- I tend to do that. 

So I'm sitting here thinking about all this (plus some) and I realize that all I want to do is make up my own patterns for knitting. I want to draw out some designs, knit them up, see what happens. I don't want to be this frustrated anymore with what I 'can and can't' do or 'should and shouldn't' do. I wanted to do this course to see how I can integrate what I love doing into 'Illustration'. I feel like that heading might be stifling me, blindsighting me into thinking that I have to 'draw' in the traditional sense. I'm sick of it! When I sit down to do a task now, I am not thinking about what it could be- I am bombarded with images in my head of how I could do it, i.e 20 different 'styles' I could do it in. I think that's wrong! I think that when I sit down to draw something it should be a clear-headed process. I should be purely inspired by the visual material at hand- not what I've seen before. Over the years I've allowed myself to try out new things and overall I think that's positive- but I want to get away from feeling like I need to do what everybody else is doing (because when I think like that, I feel flat and uninspired and my work reflects that). 

So this is a lot of words and almost constitutes as a 'rant', but I'm going to post it because this blog is for all of my thoughts and successes and failures and all the rest of it that makes up a journey. I just don't know how I'm going to do this. As I was saying earlier- I think I can use drawing as tool to help me get to where I want to go- help me brainstorm and think things out in a quick and convenient way, help me design and plan and experiment with shapes. But I hope I can stay a bit more true to 'myself' and my goals this term and actually produce something that I'm happy with.

p.s. I want a happy balance between drawing and craft. I love drawing, don't get my wrong. I just feel like I've had to be all secretive with my knitting and it wears me down when the things that make me really truly happy(or comforted, I don't know what the right word is) get neglected. And I know from experience that work that is truly inspired and loved and that I've enjoyed making looks and feels better and will communicate something clearer to the audience. The last thing I want to be is selfish, but through the course of being ill, I've learnt that unless my mind and mood are working at positive level, I can't function and therefore can't produce work at all (because my body is so demanding that I can't deal with something else going wrong). 


I have ideas/some plans to help myself make this work:
1. Use marker pens/coloured pencils/crayons/watercolours as a way to 'get my idea down' on paper.
2. Try working on graph paper and also try converting some designs onto grids.
3. Bring materials to 'plan' into college with me, make swatches at home and then travel with all the knitting stuff. (thoughts about the practicalities of it) Basically don't try to bring in thousands of balls of wool everyday- keep that at home!
4. Experiment different ways of photographing knitted pieces so they can be reproduced in zines/posters/online etc.
5. Look at people who have devoted their lives to craft/knitting.
6. If I can't justify it in my head, talk about it with friends/tutors.
7. Think about NOT knitting garments. Is there a point to making an amazing landscape jumper? Maybe, but would it be better to just have it be a panel? How do I display that IRL?

OK I think that's enough for now.
If I have enough time/energy I will be back with photographs of my knitting experiments from the last few months. New things I've tried and skills I've learnt. Some of them are basic like 'I've never knitted with two coloured in the same row before, let's try it!' or 'I've never knitted a sock before- let's do it!' kind of things.

hope I didn't scare you off.

1 comment:

  1. ohmygoodness!! thank you for this, I know exactly how you feel pretty much! Im in my first year doing a university course, and have so many doubts like this, and mega panic over my drawing and abilities, and what the heck to do as a job, and having huge conversation panics about what i should do all inside my head, and just wanting to curl up in a house in the countryside and knit and bake, just have no idea how to get there. Im hoping its just what people go through in creative processes, and it will all work out once youve experimented a huge load!
    Sorry, huge ramble and not much help, but Im not sure if youve ever heard of Gillian Cooper but she is an artist and makes these incredible huge images from knitting, and then felts them. They might be some kind of inspiration for you!
    And also, I love reading your blog, I really want to start up a blog and etsy of my own, still building up enough confidence and energy to though!