Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby baby steps

Today I made something. This is important because up until today, my residency as the Emerging Artist in Theatrical Design at Penn State Altoona was a lot of me sitting around reading books. Lots of books. Good books mind you. But reading books doesn't really MAKE things. It makes you think. It makes you want to try things, do things, create things. However, I have been stuck on what things to create, or how to go about creating them. Alas, my own advice has come to knock on my door and remind me to just DO something. Anything. Get off the couch, put down the book and do something. Make a mistake. Maybe not make a mistake. Try something. So I did. 

I hesitate to share what I did with you because it is ugly and half formed and messy. I made several mistakes before I even got to this piece. But I want to prove that I did something. So I shall share it.
I turned on Vanessa Mae the album The Violin Player and chose one of the songs that had been pinging around in my brain for a few days asking to be played with. It was called City Theme.

At first, I tried to sew with the music. That proved too slow and dragging. Then I tried throwing buttons onto the fabric in response to the music, but that proved messy, indistinct and again, too slow. So I changed to a different piece of fabric and I wanted something that could make marks fast and move quickly with the music. Yes, I could have used paint, and maybe next time I will, but I wanted to create a topographical map to build from, not a textile design. So I grabbed a simple marker and went at it. 

Here is an image of what the fabric looked like right after the song finished (or I ran out of fabric, which is what really happened). I am not sure if you will be able to see the specks and flows of line work on the muslin.
 Image number two is at the top of the fabric. The song starts with plucked strings criss-crossing over themselves before being interrupted by long and short bursts. I plucked the fabric up with a yarn needle and tied it off so it would be textured, but that did not give the criss-crossing feel, so the next section I did not cut after I plucked it up. Next I wanted the longer bursts to feel like throws of scarves in the air so I tacked some chiffon onto the drawn lines.

The next sections are this flowing arching melody that reaches back and folds on top of itself. I wanted something dimensional that would stand up against the fabric but yet was still ethereal. I also wanted it to be something in my house do I didn't have to stop now and spend money. I grabbed some dollar store tissue paper I had nearby and ripped it into strips. I then started stitching them to the lines. It looked as expected, however I am not sure it is expressing the music. And it is way fussy and time consuming. Not at all the effect of the music. But I tried something. 
And here is the entire piece so far. I am not sure I will do any more work on it as it is not doing what I feel is right or what I want. It has inspired me to do some more rough random sketches of the lines the music inspires and to see if maybe those can be translated into more literal costumes/clothing. If Eilir lets me, maybe I can do that later this evening. Of course I will share.

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