Tuesday, 26 January 2010

i did something i liked

i made a pile fabric out of ripped up strips of an old t-shirt

and guess what, it's part of visual studies. not that sam said "make a pile fabric out of pieces of an old t-shirt"

but she did say "take last weeks 3D sculpture stuff and express it in cloth in a 2D format with 3D elements coming off the surface"

and i had this old t-shirt sitting there. so i cut it up into strips and made warp, weft and pile out of strips of warp-knitted fabric. i tied the warp around my A2 sketchbook

it's all 1 colour and kinda ugly, and i couldn't keep the selvedges from pulling in progressively as it went on and i'm sure you can understand how crap that feels, cos once the selvedge is pulled in on there's no way of pushing it out if you're not using a reed which i obviously wasn't. it's a common problem i've found with tapestry and knotted pile on square-frame looms. not easily avoided unless you're going to go to the trouble of building little bows in the weft line before you bat it down with a fork, which i didn't have the time to do

if you want to know what i mean by that i can photocopy pages from Peter Collingwood's "Techniques of Rug Weavng" in which he describes how to lay the weft so as to give it space to go up and over the warp ends to avoid draw in when the batten is pulled back. i also find keeping an open shed and holding the weft lightly (so as to allow it to run through your hand freely) with one hand and beating it down from entry point towards exit point also works, but is necessarily more time consuming

i apologise for the lack of pictures, this was the one day in the last two weeks i'd emptied my bag and only taken in what i actually felt i actually need. which didn't include my camera, unfortunately. it is unfortunate, cos i paid a lot of money for that camera, and i really should use it more often

Saturday, 16 January 2010

totalitarian art

North Korean propoganda poster, presumably the bad guys are US soldiers

Monument to the Third International, communist

More North Korean propoganda


so here's the question. i have been asked to, at great length it seems to me, define Art. and the question occured to me, can totalitarian art be considered truly Art, or is it merely propoganda? in the same vein you could ask if adverts have artistic value.

the other issue that popped up when i was discussing this with a friend earlier that there were several schools of art, with their own distinctive styles that grew up in the USSR, so yes it is. but then, this begs the question doesn't it, that are all products of a totalitarian society necessarily totalitarian in themselves. certainly, state controlled propoganda artists certainly produce totalitarian work, but does that discredit every artist in the school of Socialist Realism, for instance, a state sanctioned artistic ideaology though it was?

we don't call all art that derives from capitalist cultures "capitalist art", is this fair? no, i don't think it is. we can judge others very well, but we rarely look at ourselves. are not the endless barrage of adverts simply capitalist propoganda? could capitalism itself be considered a political and economic philosophy like communism, which with it's stranglehold on all aspects of life could itself be labelled totalitarian? much capitalist architecture is in my opinion blatantly totalitarian. many housing estates are clearly designed for the use of the riot police, and most of these new office blocks and housing units going up are clearly designed to make people feel small and powerless as far as i'm concerned.

think of that diamond skull. isn't that nothing more than a worship icon for senseless consumption, and how many of those diamonds came from the killing fields of Africa, mined by slave labour? This is true capitalist art, in my opinion, and i consider it a work of evil.

but to get back to the main point, can art, propoganda art in particular, really be called art. North Korea is an instructive country, as there is NO independent artwork coming out of there. look for pictures and videos of Arirang, the mass games, a stunning spectacle of ant-like cooperation. if you can call it cooperation


Monday, 4 January 2010

happy new year

hey there

i know, i hardly ever put anything on this thing anymore. see, it's like this, it's actually hugely frustrating, i haven't done any weaving worth speaking of AT ALL since i started college. and yeah, i ken like that there's more to life than intersecting two sets of threads at right angles to each other, but i like it you know? and i'm supposed to be down here to be doing that. and the knitting is really quite interesting, and actually i guess a potentially productive money-spinner in terms of actually producing sale goods, and it's handy to know how to actually cut patterns and sew properly, with a machine, and print is fun and is so something i quite enjoy and want to do more of, but the thing is i feel like it's gonna take forever before i get to do any weaving

and here's the other thing right, well one of them, there's a whole rake of things doin my brain in right now, but here's the other thing like i say. see, in first semester we had two whole days a week of either knit or print right, and that's all good. lots of time in the workshop standing on your feet actually DOING THINGS (not like all just drawing and trawling the internet for pictures of bleeding dresses to put in research files. i mean, i have an appreciation for fashion like, but only insofar as i like what's actually wrapped up, i mean, i could care less whether a hot girl's wearing a gucci dress or a bleeding sackcloth). but next semester we do weave (finally). but only one day a week. and yeah, cool, it's all semester rather than just half of it, but we're gonna be doin CAD as well, and for all that i spend a lot of time on the internet, i just HATE HATE HATE working with computers, especially on creative stuff, it's just so bloody soulless and life-crushing. i mean, what is the point, really?

so i guess that's just one day standing up moving my limbs and the rest is going to be spent on my rear-end, slowing down my metabolism and withering away what little muscle mass i have left since i stopped actually working physically, and i'm like so unfit and that's all there is to it. i so have to take up farming or landscaping again, but christ, who's gonna give an unskilled manual labourer (and a skinny one at that who doesn't know anybody down here) a job in this economic climate?

people look at me and assume i don't know one end of a spade from the other, it annoys me.

i am pure ranting like, and i apologise, i'm just having one of those "what on earth am i doing with my life?" moments, well it's not a moment, i've been deeply troubled about my social condition for a number of years now but one just tends to ignore these things and muddle on through.

but the period between now and christmas has so far been totally bat-shit bonkers insane, what with the drinking and the partying and getting dangerously drunk with exes and going out with an old crush (like, for years kind of a crush) and her new boyfriend (who's totally sound by the way, and at least i care about her enough to realise that). which is all good i guess, cos he seems good for her and there was no wierdness, although the craic was blatantly like "hey, i ken you're into me and have been for ages so here's my manny, just so you know like, and we're all still friends like and it's all good, so yeah"

or something along those lines.

but yeah, emotionally turbulent. and also, coming to a realisation of what seriously good friends two people in my life who i haven't spent enough time with in the last few years are and how they know better about what i need and what i want than i do, cos i never think about these things seein as i'm a bleedin Stoic. which brings back home in all it's full amazing glory the unavoidable fact that i've had no-one to actually talk to about girl/life stuff for so long and still don't (without coming into edinburgh, which is a hassle) and it's total pish like.

and that's just the thing, i am totally not clicking in Gala. everyone is lassies like, and my only mates i don't have anything in common like. i mean, they're great people and all that, but can you imagine trying to explain to a fashion-and-boys-and-shops lassy what it means to live in a tree and why you did it? or even bring the subject up without everyone thinking you're a total freak?

though i did meet a nice spanish couple the other week, so i guess i've got a fighting chance of building a mad "let's all get hammered and find random people" drinking culture there. it's worth a try. if things still aren't working by the end of this semester i'll seriously have to think about switching to a different institution

so i guess when the stream of conciousness has been written down i guess the lack of weaving in my life is not the problem at all, and of course it's other things. so obvious really