Over the past few months scattered between jobs free time I have been filmed by the Beautiful News project to showcase a bit about what I do and why. I love this initiative, because its about having something positive in your news feed for a change. I had a ton of fun and you can see a little more about my space and process.
Every now and then you have an idea that sits at the back of your mind annoying you. Kind of like the kid at the back of the class room, throwing paper at you as soon as you are not looking. Reminding you that its there, but you cant quite do anything about it. I finally got to feed that feeling this week when I brought out a monoprint I made about 18 months ago while doing a class at Pangolin Prints in Newlands. I had been working with paper and was curious at how the ink would translate onto fabric. I rustled up so scrap cotton and created a simple monoprint onto it. Turns out it translates just fine, and is a happy host for some embroidery too. This is just my first, but I'm excited to continue this relationship between ink, fabric and thread.
Often I create new pieces and I'm not sure where to put them on this site (besides Instagram) to showcase them. They go into their folders and I wonder if they will ever be seen. I created this ring recently and put it in the 'skulls' album and felt a twinge of guilt. Almost like when you get given something new, like a mug, and then put it with your collection and it all of a sudden looks lost and never has its moment to be new. Im not sure if that makes any sense. Anyway, my point is more is it worth while to blog about it? Im not crazy about Facebook either. Does anyone have any suggestions? Does anyone even come here?
I took my underwater camera that we found in a backwards town for R100 on a hike up to the reservoir on the mountains above Constantia Nek. With 3 dogs in tow I snapped away and when I got the film developed, I thought that the camera had leaked and blessed me with pink skys and green thighs. In hindsight I think I accidentally cross-processed slide film that was in the camera (which is a relief to know the camera can still come skinny dipping with me).
Vulture (New York Magazine) did this really sweet recap video of me and my work. I cant seem to embed the video... so heres a link
It was only just over a year ago that I created the website to apply for Design Indaba, and since then so SO much has happened. I had one of those 'wow' moments yesterday when my friend Jono came around to help me document a project I am working on. Part of what he does is take a Polaroid when he is working on a new project. I realised that I have 3 from various projects this year. One from the United Nations piece, one from the Gucci video and now, one from the most recent secret project. It was such a wonderful moment for me to have this look back, and I'd like to thank whoever is here, on the website and reading this. Non of this would be possible without the incredible, relentless kindness of all of you. So, just so you know.. I appreciate it.
Just over a year ago I attempted to make pendant hoops similar to Dandelyne because I loved them but the postal service was on strike. I also thought I could salvage embroideries and sell them at markets. I wasn't sure how, but I clearly remember saying I want to turn embroidery into a sustainable hobby / job / career. The hoops fell away but I did end up finding my feet with fibre art in a ton of other ways. Testament that sometimes you cant plan these things! I digress.. I made this little snakelet and put it in one of the sample hoops with a gradient of felt circles to create the 3D. Nothing you do goes to waste!
Sometimes if I get a small gap between projects I'll look through old references that I printed, curious to see what projects I started and completely forgot about. This little Princess Leia was one of them. Im glad I got to start and finish her.
I've been asked before what my process is when I create a piece, and its so difficult to answer, because every piece varies from materials to purpose. Most recently I have been working on the cover for a book, the second Queer Africa book called, well, Queer Africa 2. Keeping in line with the original I have been shooting and embroidering portraits. So for this project, photography has been a strong tool in the process. Rekindling my love for taking portraits has been invaluable, and the people I have met on this path have all been so interesting and kind.
Ive become quite smitten with lilies lately, and made this racket and straight after the pendant.
I shared some thoughts with Alessadra Codhina from Vogue.com about why I think embroidery has become so popular recently alongside Tessa Perlow and Rachelle Hruska MacPherson. Its a really great article and think alot of us thread creeps can completely agree!
Last night I put up the 'show' at Kleinskys (a Deli at the end of Regent Road in Sea Point) with the Klein brothers, Lani my best and Tyler who made the frames with me (and also happens to be my partner in life and crime). Its very strange to see all your work sort of scattered in one place. Its sort of like the being-naked-in-public dream but eating pizza, drinking beer and listening to good music. Conflicting.
The one thing that always comes up in conversation is my grandmother. I'm that type of dork, and totally unashamed. I feel like people who don't know her are missing out, and I put a lot of my sense of self and confidence down to the maternal figures in my life.
I recently helped put together a small chapbook of poems for her. She was a scientist and started writing in her late 60's. At 77 she had her first book of poems published called At Least the Duck Survived, and at 80, her second book published The Last to Leave. Now she just self publishes poems, and blogs at www.margaretclough.blogspot.com. Testament that with kindness and positivity you can live many lives.
AFTER FALLING OFF MY CHAIR AT A TEA PARTY.
(with apologies to Maya Angelou)
People ask me what my secret is
that makes folks stare at me.
I tell them:
It’s the bump on my head.
It’s the bruise on my nose.
It’s the hole in my stocking.
It’s the scrape on my knee.
I’ve stumbled and tumbled and fallen.
- Margaret Clough