This time and space is a wonderful opportunity to expand on work I’ve started, explore new ideas, connect them with what other artists are thinking/doing. Its been a productive ten days, and with 12 more to go, its good to look at what I’ve done, and where I want to take it next.
My main focus here is to transcribe some of the stories I’ve recorded of my mom telling about her experiences as a professional woman in the 1950’s, and other influences on her life. Transcribing is tedious, and yet, like many textile techniques, it is also a form of meditation. Listening, and trying to capture more than the words—the inflection, cadence, and pauses—reflects the conversation more accurately. Oral history is often transcribed, yet without the expression that typography and hand mark-making can illuminate. The software available to researchers for transcribing creates a basic text, with little punctuation or emphasis. There is an ongoing discussion about the various software and services available, and the expressive qualities lost in mechanical transcription.
Another parallel intention for my time here is to develop a hand-embroidery practice. Last June, I took a workshop with Susan Brandeis on expressive stitching. I want to develop my skill in rendering words, as well as feel comfortable stitching when on a bus, in a lecture, and otherwise away from my studio. I have the skill to do this work, however, I’ve been hesitant, and I want to find out why. I started with a poem, appropriate for the surroundings, and will stitcha phrase on each strip before placing it along the path into the woods.
Between now and the end of October, I’ll continue to develop ideas around transcription, and what happens in that process, as well as how an expressive stitch might play a role in the work. Stay tuned!