Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Questions one is asked......

Ellen Lindner asked me to answer the following:

1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3. Why do I write/create what I do?
4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Yikes!! ... 3 volumes later....

but here is the short answer:

After a year of travelling - seeing amazing places - I'm  mentally consolidating all I've seen...absorbing the images and seeing which ones "hold" for me. 
 Most of my quilts (even the abstract ones)  have been based on very early photographs:

Here's a typical sequence: the photo, the drawing, the quilt.

 I'm not going to tell you just how long ago I took that photograph!!  But it's in York, UK...not too far from the Kirk Museum (if it's still called that!) - a street close to the bar walls behind the museum.  I remembered the photo not only for the moment (apparently he'd never permitted a photograph before but I caught him unawares) but also the juxtaposition of boy, bicycle and old streets.

 Here's part of the drawing I made - I think there was more - but these things disappear!!

 And above is the finished quilt.  A typical process for me.    The boy is ghostly because of course he's long gone, the streets remain the same.....and glow with the freshness of sweet old memory.

It takes time for images to sink in:  I don't really know why this should be but I think it's, in part, because the younger you are the more impressionable you gets harder and harder (but of course even more important for an artist) to achieve those same fresh responses, the strong reactions, and also to lay down significant memories that stay with you for years.   At age six I could lie on the warm paving stones underneath the rose bushes in the local park and just watch the petals against the sky and smell the marvelous scent of the flowers....alas,  that's not really possible now!!!  imagine!! 
Also, the old city streets I made quilts about I walked every day for around 14 that's a significant amount of time:  almost 5000 days...I've not been able to spend 5000 days looking at Paris, or Western Colorado or the loess hills of SE name just a few of the gorgeous sceneries I've been privileged to visit this year.    But I do have the photographs, and the mental images and I am cogitating.......

So, if you have been - thanks for reading!!  Elizabeth ........  now back to the cogitation!

PS you can read Ellen's responses to her own questions on her blog. 


Sandy said...

I am reading your new book about series. Fascinating in 2 ways (or more!)
One: I realised I know much of this and wow! I am not as unlearned/unexperienced as I thought.
Two: There are exciting ways to help me take my various series even further or in better directions.
oh, three: by showing and talking about different series, you have allowed me not to worry that I haven't stuck to just one.
Sandy in the UK
PS I can connect with you on several levels about how wonderful York is, as my husband grew up there and my MIL still lives there. Although I haven't spent 14 years wondering the streets, I have spent a considerable amount of time out of 27 years doing so.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Very intriguing post. I find my best work comes from "insignificant" childhood memories. I did not consider that I had so many years to cogitate on those memories, hence a deeper look at an ordinary scene.

Elizabeth Barton said...

Hi Sandy - thank you for commenting - so glad you enjoyed the book! I wonder which school your husband went to in York? I was at the convent school on Blossom St, just outside Micklegate Bar - nuns weren't allowed in the city!

Regina B Dunn said...

It is interesting how images from our past are looked at by us now that we have built up so many layers of experiences. I wonder (if it were possible) if we could make an art piece from a photo from our past at the time we took it and then make an art piece from that same photo now many years later (without ever seeing the original art piece) and compare the two art pieces, which art piece we'd like better?
I've held onto memories and photos from over 20 years ago and just now am making art quilts from them. I knew I wanted to make art from them then, but wasn't ready.

Sandy said...

Hi Elizabeth, sorry I didn't get back to your reply.
I think my husband went to Archbishop Holgate's School? He isn't here to ask now. Is there any other school with Bishop in it? I think it was a boy's school.