With all this stay at home time I have, I find myself looking for new ways of doing and being. Social media seems to have taken a major backseat and I am researching new mediums and materials to take my artwork and creative projects into 2021. Years ago I started my Elemental Colours range of trifold cards and wall hangings which became collectable and treasured. Back then I used to take a stand in the craft fairs in Ireland and had an agent to sell my cards. They were made from coloured tissue papers, handmade papers, Moroccan sabra threads, gilt threads and found objects like tiny tiny shells. They depicted the five elements of Earth, Fire, Water, Metal and Air in cardinal colours of reds, blues, yellow, browns and metallics: the five images below are unfortunately not great but give the idea. I stopped producing them after a few years as I moved countries and have recently decided to reinvent them. I had wanted to use silk fabrics in a similar way as I had with the papers so I experimented during a long 6 month lockdown in the small village I was living in up in the high Atlas mountains near Marrakech and came up with something I really loved. They evolved into textured layered sculpted pieces of vibrant wall art depicting Earth, Fire, Ocean and Desert. The desert ones being inspired by my many stays down in the Sahara and amazing sunrises and sunsets too. You can find some in my Etsy shop.
Over the years I have saved small pieces of silks both ready dyed and my own hand painted ones for that project that may one day happen, I was delighted I had as they became much more expensive and elusive as the cost of producing raw silk on the market went up and good old fashioned fabric shops on the high street disappeared. I really struggle shopping online for tactile things, I like to touch the fabrics and see the way the light plays on them, but alas, we have no choice in these times. Some of my pieces are still over in Morocco until I am able to return and pack up my things and bring them home to Ireland. Shopping in the ancient souks in Morocco is pretty mind blowing for creatives as they are full of vast choices of almost anything you can think of. Sabra silk threads are gorgeous shiny jewels perfect for my pieces, stunning glass cabochons, metal sequins and beads, braids, ribbons, wools, and so much more, stuffed into tiny shops and beautifully lovingly displayed, impossible to resist. I also came across a stash of jewellery bits in my local rural market and thought they may be useful in my textiles and mixed media projects. There is a crossover too in my bags with the textile pieces becoming featured decorative pockets. I have also almost completed a structured boned bodice with the same collage silk idea.
I think in order to thrive and evolve as creatives, it is super important to have fun exploring ideas, materials and mediums as we continue to be restricted in our movements in our communities. I am currently researching paper clays and acrylic molding pastes to add structure, texture and dimension to my projects as well as inks and crackle pastes, gels and other goodies. I will do some test pieces to share here. That’s for another time.