16 June 2006

Allotment and textile thoughts

Still learning about how to put in the information as I want it to appear - sorry to those who are used to blogging etc.
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I have recently been having the experience of dreaming very specific and detailed dreams about work tasks and development ideas. I know one other person who has had this experience, it seems that in dreaming information that I was not aware knowing comes to the foreground and becomes a conscious activity. Perhaps this is the only way of finding this information - stress and preocupation must affect how I think.
Yesterday at Norwich Art School after having an idea (which had started after a dream) I drafted a piece of work with another student - images to come after the event! The conversation was as if I had dreamed the whole thing - it seemed to be in place already. There is potential - as always - for disaster, but on the other hand it could be really forceful.
I am taking a tree down today that I have been growing for about 8 years. It is a was part of my first attempts at using willows tpo work with when recovering from ME. I have been growing it like giant spun yarn, twisting it round each season but allwing it to take it's own form most of the time. I had not connected the fact that the allotment started around the same time as the thoughts about
'Living at the Edge' L@tE.
In the last few days news about L@tE and www.Lateexchange.com has started to snowball, we seem to be at the place we were aiming for - it has been hard work for the alst few years. Somehow taking the tree and making that a part of my work now has significance and feels the right time. I know, logically, it could happen next year, or even much further on; but emotion and instinct seems to be a strong element in the making process and I think is either intuitive or reflective practice - it certainly feels that way.
Working with the tree this morning in preparation to cut it down there have a lot of feelings and discoveries that I would not have become conscious of without manipulating the tree and other parts of the allotment. It is a place I associate with feeling stronger and fitter - my physical body is very involved with the action of working there & it is a very real studio space for me. I have recognised a relationship with my body and the developing wildlife; I am conscious of working alongside and sharing the space. there is an real element of negotiation in using the land. I have to get rid of some plants - weeds when they are in the wrong place & threaten to strangle or overwhelm the plants I want to work with. On the other hand I leave areas for wildlife to nest and shelter in where I don't really control the growth at all, in the winter I cut back and clear pathways. It is a way of defining the space, drawing a line round it, more than making it mine.
Reading Tim Ingold's work 'The perception of the environment' essays in livelihood, dwelling and skill has been like a confirmation of my work activity. I have not verbally analysed working on the allotment as a textile activity until recently, but have always known that is what it is - so taking the willow down and making it into a piece of spun yarn with text is a real conclusion. I have repeated myself I'm sure - sorry if you have read all this & wondered why. Sometimes repetition is like weaving - more of the same is not always unecessary! The opposite also applies, more words do not always mean better meaning or understanding....