Before I began my 100 Days Project titled "Tide Marks" I had spent some time at Tahunanui Beach in Nelson. It was winter then, with beautiful calm, clear days and frosty mornings.
To capture my experience I took photographs and drew objects from the beach at home and wrote about what I could see, feel and hear. It was always the visual that captured me first - how the colours appeared bleached and washed out in the pale winter sun and when the tide was out the land, sand and the sea layered themselves out to the horizon.
And then I would hear the oyster catchers, hump backed as they called and cried and stalked around each other on the sand. I would become aware of the noise of the traffic on Rock's Road. It is a constant hum, a sound of movement and something I am not always aware of.
At the high tide mark there are always washed out collections of flotsam and jettison dropped onto the sand; seaweed, driftwood, plastic and nylon fishing line.
When I walked along the beach and closer to the sea I heard the gentle rush of sea as the waves broke onto the sand. It is the sound of constant movement.
The movement of the sea patterns the sand and leaves shells and small stones sitting on it's surface. I notice how the waves move in the sea closer and closer to breaking at the shore and as the lines move they get closer and closer to each other.
When I get home I got my photos printed and put them in my sketch book and simplify them as drawings I can use to make a series of black and white works that have become "Tide Marks" and my 100 Days Project.
It is great to have a purpose and a background for what I am doing and I am excited to see how my work is developing.
Coming back home after 6 weeks overseas and then 2 months in Nelson was lovely and in someways quite difficult. My studio was a bit of a mess and what was I going to do? I had been thinking about my ongoing work after two workshops overseas and thought I would work again in black and white.
And then I saw some of my friends had registered and were working on "The 100 Day Project". I was impressed by the idea and the work they were doing. So I started, then I thought about my intention.
I will complete 100 X 6 inch square black and white textile drawings starting on 20 July 2017. And so there I was starting and to date I have completed 17. The series is to be called "Tide Marks".
Since then I have added a little coloured thread, grey, different fabrics and printed fabrics. My initial pieces were just black and white fabric and stitching.
Then I started thinking what exactly was a drawing and what would I expect a drawing to be? And I came to no conclusive conclusion, except for thinking about mark marking. Then the winner of the 2017 Parkin Drawing Prize was announced - Kirsty Lillico. The drawing was beautiful, made from carpet (offcuts?) suspended in space and doing all the things I thought a drawing could do - making marks, defining space, occupying space etc, etc. It reminded me so much of Jessica Stockholder's work which I love. And in the end I took the easy way out and continued making work how I had always made it before and finishing it how I had always done before.
Then on Thursday I talked about what I had done and why and what I was about to a small group of artist who meet at Tutere Gallery in Waikanae. This is such a worth while exercise for any artist and it really made me think about my work during this 100 Days and what I was doing, what I might achieve. I talked about where I wanted my work to be in terms of art and what I wanted it to look like.
I knew I wanted to call my finished work textile paintings but these pieces still looked like quilts because of the way I had finished the edges and anyway I was calling them sketches. On the drive back from Waikanae I was thinking very hard about what this meant and I decided It was up to me to decide what they were and what this meant. These sketches were about mark marking, preparatory work, exploring, they didn't need framing or finishing, they were about ideas.
And so I put some "unfinished" pieces directly onto canvases and thought some more about what I was doing. I decided this was how I was going to finish my "textile drawings". The unfinished edges to me referenced paper and the threads were like drawn marks - here are my textile drawings.
I do spend time thinking about where I want my work to sit in the art world. There is a huge tradition in quilting and I want to use that but I do not consider my work to be traditional in many ways.
I am nearly up to 25 completed works in my 100 Day Project, a quarter done!! It is a long time and I will complete it "bird by bird".
"I paint flowers so they do not die." Frida Kahlo