Having spent weeks finishing pieces for the exhibition in Knebworth, it has been quite difficult to get back to developing new work. I moved furniture around; made cushions (at least that involved cloth); hung pictures; rearranged books ... productive, but displacement activity nonetheless.
At the end of last week, I took advantage of a day at the Committed to Cloth studio to spread things out. Sometimes it is really helpful to just pin everything on the wall, step back and look at what I have. The bigger the wall, and the further back I can get, the better.
I pinned up drawings, photographs and samples, some of which I hadn't looked at for weeks. Then I started to pull out pieces of dyed and painted cloth, looking for echoes - colours and marks that seemed to relate to what I wanted. Trying things out. Eliminating some options - developing others. Some of the accidental combinations that occur as I spread things out on the table generate ideas in themselves.
What works in my head doesn't always look so good in reality. Some of my initial ideas collapsed all too swiftly when put to the test. Frustrating ... but that's the value of doing this. After a few hours of moving things around, I had a stronger sense of what would work. And a list of things to do next.