Hello again Folks!
On today's post I'll be talking a bit bout the creative process for an exhibition that recently opened at Eastern Edge gallery in St John's, NL. When it Stopped is a very personal body of work and it is part of my process of recognizing and speaking about my high-functioning depression. I never thought that I could be depressed until the world lockdown due the pandemic hit me hard last year and to cope with it I started creating.
Loving the process of research, that is usually where I start my creative process. For this body of work in particular I made the first piece before delving into research. The first anatomical heart came naturally and it was the first time I used acrylic as a base for one of my embroideries - I tend to stick to watercolours.
Once that piece was done the desire to understand more sparked and I spent hours reading medical books and on websites looking at studies of the human heart and brain.
English is not my first language and going through the process of understanding my depression and what was causing it was bit harder as some words to express what I was feeling just "didn't exist" in the English language, some of it I could not even express in my mother tongue. Making those pieces was my way of expressing it without using words.
The process of creating the next "flat pieces" happened organically as each of them represents the state of mind I was at the time of the creation. By choosing the subject matter, colours and emotions I was trying to evoke I was able to settle my brain in following shapes and textures with needle and thread... and for some pieces I used watercolour as a base.
Sampling is natural part of my work, and while doing so I learn how to manipulate the fabrics and threads into what I desire them to do. The beauty of the sampling process is that sometimes you catch yourself recording nice videos like the one below:
I love textures! Playing with different stitches, their size and density is something recurring on my working. For this body of work it was not different, overlapping them and "breaking the rules" of how the technical stitches are supposed to look like is one of the main things to represent feelings. The overlap of stitches and their quantity in a small area or the lack thereof of stitches, helped me to speak to the viewers either the chaotic or numb state my mind was in.
I got to a point where the "flatness" of the work was not fulfilling the exact turmoil of emotions happening in my brain and I decided to go beyond the frame. The following images are the process of creating three-dimensional sculptural pieces that either broke free from the frame or stand alone.
For those pieces I went back to research process and studied a lot about natural dyes and how to try to achieve different textures with them. Some of the pieces are done with rust and iron, others with brazilwood and cochecnille. The 3D hearts where in the dye bath between 3 to 8 months.
Troubleshooting some aspects of the sculptural work sparked the need to go even bigger! So when I was accepted t display the works at the rOUGUE Gallery I wanted to create an installation piece that spoke to the explosion of all the feelings and the need to connect. And that is how the final piece for the exhibition came to life. 159 threads crossing through a a hand dyed, hand stitched and beaded torso.
Before I leave you to interpret these pieces I would like share part of the artist statement for this body of work and a little video tour of the show ( as I said on my previous post I am still learning the whole video editing process, so bare with me :) )
"I make art to express what is going on in my head when, by mistake, I give it a break. Every tiny stitch placed on the fabric is a relief and moment of breathing, exhaling the anxiety. The precision of where the needle goes down is proof to myself that I am worth and I can do beautiful things. The knots are the last cry for help at the end of a cycle … and then is moving on to the next one.
Just like most embroidery pieces, where most people only see the beautiful surface of the work, the composure on a daily basis helps create the image of a strong person, the one you can come to and talk about your issues, the one willing to help anyone. When you turn around an embroidery though, you may see an entanglement of threads and knots and that is exactly how my head is … deep inside there is a mystery not known even to oneself, and a tangled black hole of thoughts that squeezes the will power of one’s heart to keep pulsing.
My body and mind will go on but the heartbeat weakens bit by bit... and those embroidery creations only happen When It Stopped..."
Hope you have enjoyed understanding a bit of my process and I'll see you next time!!!