When you work the way I do, which is to put hours and hours of work into a piece and then add a destructive process that could effectively destroy the lot, there is a point at which you let go of it and leave it in the hands of fate, and then a point when you claim it back.  For me, the point I finally let go is usually when it goes into the washing machine, either at a high temperature to felt it or, more recently, with an old rough towel to drag and scratch the last bits of devoré devoured fabric from it.

I take it from the machine as a crumpled mish mash, still not sure whether the end results will be what I imagined, better than I imagined or a disaster.  It is only when I hang it out on the line that I get a feeling whether it has worked or not.

Today I finished preparing three pieces that I dyed, printed and used devoré paste on, using techniques learnt on workshops with Dionne Swift. Then the moment came when I had to relinquish control and put them in the machine.  Hanging them out on the line I had a “washing line moment” and realised how pleased I am with them, even though there is still work to do.

The problem with a “washing line moment” however, is that the pieces are surrounded on all sides with natural light, and look far more ephemeral and transparent than they ever will when finished and mounted. In fact, un-ironed, incomplete and with clothes pegs: to me they are at their most beautiful!A previous “washing line moment”, panels for the IAS Forum Meeting Box. I love the industrial landscape created by the shadows!

June 11, 2012

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