12th May 2020: Supervision meeting with Becky, Penny and Yuen (via ZOOM)

Supervision meeting via zoom – I’m getting used to this video calling but it’s still quite difficult to have a natural conversation, it’s more like I’m watching TV, I feel kind of disconnected and distant. However, some useful points were raised.

Firstly, all my supervisions agreed they liked the website style format of notion – it’s a good way to compile and communicate my ideas and research.

The first thing we talked about was my writing around my embroidery practice, paying attention to and making myself conscious of the materials and physical process. We discussed the problems of verbalising these intuitive, almost automatic actions and gestures of making. We also talked about my reflection on the physical pain and difficulty I experienced as a result of too much drawing and embroidery, P and Y both noting that they got a sense of the trauma of writing with damaged hands through my use of language, and we discussed how my need to write by hand (as opposed to typing) positions the writing as a visual experience, not just a verbal one. It was suggested that I might try putting these handwritten reflective writings next to the samplers (and drawings?) to which they refer as a way to create a visual/verbal narrative.

We also talked about my thinking about the movement of embroidery and embroidered objects, about how there is a movement of making and a movement of use, and how each of these engenders different ways of looking – the first close, concentrated and focused on detail, the second from afar, getting an impression of the embroidery as a whole. This led us to discuss how these embroideries would have originally conceived, created and experienced as functional objects, and about how the conceptual movement from objects of use (clothing, furnishing) to objects of contemplation (museum artefact) shifts our experience of them and puts us in a position quite different to that of the original makers and users – a position we will never be able to experience? (Quite aside from the fact that it would be impossible for us to know how the past was experienced anyway). It was suggested, as a way to reach towards this experience of Blackwork as a functional, decorative technique, that I might think about it’s relationship to contemporary fashion – perhaps I could think about applying it to modern garments?

What also needs to be considered is the decayed state of the original Blackwork artefacts – what moment in the objects ‘history’ am I trying to capture (and, by extension, apply in new ways)? Am I looking at the object as it is currently? A ‘reconstructed’ original state? A projected state of further decay? It’s important to bear in mind that the objects current condition is not it’s definitive state, so why should it be privileged above past or potential future states?

We discussed how I might approach these ideas in my practice, how I might generate work that ‘bridges’ these material states – perhaps in a single, multi-layered object, or perhaps in a set of related pieces. How might I begin to map, predict and project these unknown states? I need to think about what I am trying to present and what relationship this will have to the original artefacts.

Practically, we also discussed how I might begin to think about articulating my work and research, with a notion that these may be public outcomes, especially given the restrictions I am currently working under (having no access to studio space nor the opportunity to visit the archive to study the original objects for the foreseeable future). B suggested I think about how I might start creating speculative, or imaginary, exhibitions with the work I currently have, am in the process of making, or planning to create in the immediate future, and about how these might critically relate to the original artefacts.

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