Not much to say about these two little Laura Ashley pieces, except to remark how golden they are. They are very different in colour palette to the other pieces in this group of quilts. One of the themes that seems to be coming out of working on these little sample quilts is the importance of listening to the materials and this pair of mini quilts is an interesting example of this. I have struggled with making a larger piece to go with the monster Body Shop quilt because the materials don’t want to be on the grand scale. They seem to want to be small, intimate and domestic. They have to be observed close up. I think it’s okay to talk to talk about respecting the integrity of your materials, but not really to talk about listening to them talking to you. But, I think I only started having any success with these pieces when I stopped wanting to make what I wanted and started letting them be what they wanted to be.
There is quite an interesting piece of work on this by W.J.T. Mitchell called What Do Pictures Want? The lives and loves of images. He is talking about art mainly in terms of paintings, but I think his ideas can explain to some extent what is happening with the materials involved as well as the finished art work. Mitchell insists that although we do not really believe that images talk to us, we act all the time as though they were alive, as if they have a life of their own. If we doubt this, he suggests we try the thought experiment of taking a photograph of our mother and cutting the eyes out. For Mitchell, we have to listen hard to images to ascertain what it is they want. And I have had a long period of listening to my materials rather than imposing my will on them and then waiting to see how they want to be used. In this case, as I said, they want close attention, and so here are some close-up of the surfaces of the textiles.
I quite like playing with the scale in these small pieces as well. So sometimes the work is delicate and the embellishments are quite small, but at other times I really like putting on a big piece like the square sequinned motif on the left. This would lead onto a discussion of taste, though, which is a whole other area.
Mitchell, W.J.T. (2005) What do pictures want? The lives and loves of images, Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.