I am finding the process of training with the Quilters Guild of the British Isles to be a Quilt Judge extremely enjoyable. I can justify dedicating time to researching and studying areas within my field that would otherwise get side lined. There are six modules to complete within a two year period and I have just completed Module 1: Paper.
In this first Module we were asked to show an understanding of the varying ways materials other than textiles can be used for creative purposes.
I looked at paper cut artists like Su Blackwell whose beautiful fragile paper cuts tell stories of loneliness and running away.
I discovered artist Yamarilet Pacheco, who creates wavy edged vessels using thin strips of recycled paper to give the bowls a lightly textured surface which give the impression of being as fine as porcelain. I like the way she adds a metallic glow by hand leafing the interiors with copper, silver, or gold.
It was all too easy to get bogged down in the history and get obsessive about collecting samples of paper made from more and more unusual raw materials but it was where it led me that proved to be the most inspiring.
As part of the Module we had to choose the most interesting example and consider how the artist reacted to the properties of the material and if those properties created any limitations.
It was from reading about the shortage of raw materials in Finland during World War ll and the development of paper to replace other textile fibres that led me to artist Nithikul Nimkulrat. She had developed a body of research about the use of paper and how artists had responded creatively to this challenge at the time.
She subsequently developed work for two exhibitions working with paper string.
In the first exhibition ‘Seeing paper’, Nithikul Nimkulrat, created three female dresses entitled ‘Let Go’. These were each made of different types and qualities of string. Each one representing a different type of woman. These were hung in the Gallery Johan. S, in Helsinki. The space was a modern white cube with high ceilings and natural light.
I love the way the dresses appear like ghostly images, floating in the space, almost skeletal. The whiteness of the string and the shadows on the gallery make the dresses appear that they might be passing through the space. Of this world but then again…?
In the second exhibition, ‘Paper World’, the subjects of the artworks are more everyday household objects that relate to each other. They make a connection between the material and the culture world.
This research will directly feed into teaching my Level 3 City and Guilds course which includes a 3D unit. We will definitely be playing with paper string to make Marquette’s with.
As a teacher keeping up to date or CPD (continuous personal development) as it’s known, is important to keep your skills current. Finding courses and training that can sufficiently move your skills forward can be a challenge. This course of self-directed study is proving really stimulating and I know my students will benefit from it as well.