There seems to be a mini series developing here and it won’t leave me, so as it gains momentum and an energy of its own I will follow. I am wholly unentranced with ex2 and if it is a reaction against this exercise that is in its turn creating this series, then it has been successful in encouraging the monoprinting required of this project.
I’ve continued to paint the plate with water, then sprinkled brusho colours – the first print I take is on acetate and this then blends the water and powder. I wondered how the plaster would take up this print and used the ‘meat bag’ from part 3 and rolled it over the plate to pick up the print.
It was interesting to note that a pinkish waterline crept up the sample and the brown became the predominant colour. The plaster immediately absorbs the paint and so there are more precise lines and speckles of colour – not the marbling and flow that is the experience on the acetate. It also seems to isolate the colours – e.g. the red splodge seems to cancel out any other colour.
A trip to Barnardo’s came up trumps though. finding an alpaca sweater for £2 and a silk top for the same I immediately siphoned off the silk top for sampling rather than wearing. I don’t know what story this shirt has but it is pristine, it looks hardly worn and is as clean as if it were for a washing powder advert. This made me consider about outward appearances be-lying inward truths. My psych used to tell me to stop swallowing all the bad stuff into myself in order to neutralise it, because it would grow again and make me sick. I thought I had no anger – but that has since surfaced in the wrapping sampling of part 3 – I also felt that I had absorbed all the violence and it would not re-surface. Urm. I think the current series shows that she was right and I was wrong. Neutralising it internally does not make it go away. It has to be purged. Perhaps this series is part of that process?
I’ve been reading Tracey Emin’s ‘Strangelands’ and her confessional and abrupt tone is a real strength. It’s made me realise that although there may be many, many damaged people trying to piece it all together through what should be intolerable circumstances, it is not the damaged, the harmed who are sick. It is those who prey on them. I got angry for her too. And I realised, all those words that were said to me are still inside and are imprinted on my soul. It’s like they are a trap to the light getting in and out. Like a net of words around my heart trying to keep it and my life small. I was deeply affected by a dream I had that I was trying to get out of a car that had gone into the ditch in the floods. I was on my own and I realised my legs were caught in a net and the more I tried to wriggle free the more net I discovered was around me. I was supposed to stay still and not struggle and go down without a fight – the plastic line round my neck got tighter and tighter the more I fought and I kept looking up wanting to shout but the water got in my throat and choked me awake.
I think this stuff needs to come out!!
Following the process that has refined into: gelliplate, brush on water, sprinkle brown and scarlet brusho, lay acetate, smear colours then lift, then take subsequent prints; I used some of the fabric from Nina and found a triangular bandage from the first aid kit (there were 3 in the kit and I figured with only 2 arms that I could spare 1!!) to print on.
Letting these dry I thought about what I could do with the silk top and played with various ideas and the dried materials from the last print run.
This all felt very safe and predictable. The thought was leading the composition rather than the materials and intention coming together and directing.
I haven’t printed to silk, and I have pristine white silk to hand – it felt deliciously wrong to print to damp untainted silk with wild abandonment. I set up the process as above then lay the front of the wet blouse to the plate. Again, the abdominal area is speaking to me as the place this wound resides.
The prints were delicious and incredibly the stain didn’t make its way through to the back – which still looks faultless and impeccable. There is much metaphor for me in this – that saying ‘behind closed doors’, but significantly what it tells me is there isn’t an exit ‘wound’ – it has to come out.
Inger has sent me some links to Nava Lubelski who embroiders stains and I wondered if the influence of the research on this that I did following the tip off (thanks Inger) was going to come out on this piece.
It had other ideas.
I had discovered too in the way that research goes, that Tracey Emin and Louise Bourgeois had collaborated on a very hard-punching series. The things we’d really rather not see and say made explicit.
I remember many placating words. These alienated me from people then and infuriate me now.
Never, never tell someone how they should feel. Ever.
Trying to layer up the meaning with the materials:
A bubbling irritation made me want to rip the shirt, to make holes in it and layer that hidden hurt behind and beneath. Then I remembered the heat gun… and how in previous feedback it had been suggested to revisit this one day.
That day was today.
I layered on the printed bandage and scrim to ‘soak up’ the pain that was going to be released. But, oh my goodness how long does silk take to burn?!! Highest setting of an industrial heat gun (thank you Mr Man), nozzle held mm from the surface of the fabric and I waited and waited – there was a lesson here for me – I had suppressed every reaction to avoid igniting any further fury, I had stopped talking (I know incredible isn’t it?!) in order not to say anything, because every word I said was used as a weapon against me. I had stopped showing anger, fear, hurt, happiness, I simply waited and waited in a tightly coiled spring ready to escape when that chance arrived. The slow burn seemed symbolic of this, and in the end it didn’t smoke or flame it just burnt out all the colour from the print, then made a singe mark which, when touched with the lightest pressure, fell apart. Hmm. I patched up this hole with my sacrificial dictionary. Still on ‘h’ I found ‘haven’ – so I made this crumbling point safe. The fabrics are pinned – I’m not sure yet whether to leave this or stitch it. It’s not speaking to me enough about that yet.
I’ve given this piece the title of something someone once said to me when my soul was bleeding, and at a point when, like the burnt silk, I could have disintegrated in a breath, ‘It’s not that bad – you haven’t even got a bruise.’