see them lend love illustration

I mark the couples walking arm in arm,
Observe their smiles,
Sweet invitations and inventions,
See them lend love illustration
By gesture and grimace.
I watch them curiously, detect beneath the laughs
What stands for grief, a vague bewilderment
At things not turning right.

From “That Sanity be Kept”, by Dylan Thomas.

I bought a one-way train ticket to Gravesend yesterday. Sounds ominous.

I am moving in two-and-a-half weeks! The packing has begun. And I found these words that once upon a time I wrote everywhere… I should read more poetry. I hear that there are other poets out there, other that Mr Thomas. I have unearthed a lot of the past whilst packing, and thrown away probably a little bit too much of it. But it feels nice. SO MUCH ART! Some of which is actually rather good, which was a nice surprise. A lot of shite as well mind you. Now all I have to do is find a new job……. oh god. I don’t want to end up back in a coffee shop, but I actually don’t know what I want to do. Something that gives me enough money, and enough time, to carry on this attempt at being an artist please. Yeah. Exciting!

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I Am Fine

Embroidery, 2011

I have longed to move away
From the repetition of salutes,
For there are ghosts in the air
And ghostly echoes on paper

Dylan Thomas

I worry that I’m not making art in the right way, that I’m doing it all wrong, I’m going about it wrong. But then again, that is a stupid statement- there aren’t any rules. I wish I could be content painting pictures. Landscapes preferably. I wish I was just really, really bloody good at painting. People buy paintings, people understand what a painting is. I don’t think about what I’m doing, I make something because it feels right. Why is it art?! Just because I say so? But my work has integrity, and it has power, and emotion, and it is real. Maybe none of it’s coherent, maybe I should plan things out. I need a plan. I have so many unfinished pieces of work… I need to find focus. But it’s hard to go back to work on something when the feeling that inspired it in the first place has gone. I want to sew and I want to paint and I want to draw and I want to write and I want to crochet and I want to….. I want to do everything. Yesterday morning I thought I could take over the world, now it’s all a bit overwhelming again and my confidence is running away….. Maybe all my work is about making art. All my work is about me. My work is about everything. Take that, maybe it makes sense that it’s not coherent. Life isn’t that straightforward. Oh it’s all a mess. It’s best to not think about these things too much isn’t it. Life is too short to be unhappy.

There’s some new work up for sale on Newblood. They want me to sew more words on vintage fabric, so that my page is ‘coherent’, and because people want that sort of thing. I suppose I have to play the game and do that. I’m not a textile artist. I don’t think I’m a textile artist. (But I did sell five bits of work through them last week, so that is rather pleasant.)

In My Craft or Sullen Art – Dylan Thomas

 
In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

 

 
A favourite poem that keeps coming back to me. Dylan Thomas is wonderful. Sweetdreams x

I Love Words.

How can anyone feel that they can express themselves adequately without the use of words? I don’t think that I could. I sort of feel that maybe once you start using them in your art, it’s very hard to stop! But the visual is still just as important as the meaning. Anyway.

One more shift at the coffee shop, and then I will have my weekends back, and much more time for making new work. Which is just as well, as I have got myself into a month long summer exhibition at a little gallery in Cardiff. I have a wall, and I can do what I want with it. I have grand plans, oh yes. A big installation. None of these silly little dull things in frames. Something grand. Lots of words, lots of honesty, on paper and fabric, tatty, lacey crochet. Threads and nails and sewing and biros and doodles, and the contents of my skull on a wall. Black, white and cream. Hopefully beautiful and fragile and intriguing and terrifying. Let’s all question the sanity of the artist! I have an idea, and an image in my head, just gotta make it happen…. Trying to get my thoughts in some sort of coherent order at the moment. Could take a little while.

But, it led me onto an interesting train of thought. If we can see something with our eyes, it is solid, it is real, it exists. If we can see something it is true. Visual = truth.  One reason of self-harm is that it makes abstract thoughts and emotions real. It validates them. One see’s proof of what one is feeling, and this is satisfying, and comforting. I am intrigued by the parallels that seem to exist between the creation of art and self-harm. Bear with me. So with regards to making art (and more specifically, from my point of view, making art which involves text), if we make our thoughts into something solid, turn them into part of a tactile object that we can see with our own eyes, this can be comforting and satisfying. Thoughts in our minds could be fleeting or confused and jumbled, but once they are turned into something solid, outside of our skull, they become something else entirely. We can see them and they are part of our real, material world, they exist and they are valid. They are pinned down, trapped, and so are easier to contemplate and deal with and make sense of. They become something we can see, and so they definitely exist. And so is it this process, of taking something abstract, from the inside of our skulls and making it solid and part of our real world, is it this act which is central and very important to the creation of art?

And breath. Oh dear. Words. I fear that I may not be expressing myself very adequately. I’ll get there.And I guess what I’ve said can be thought of in relation to art psychotherapy.

And I shall leave you with a wonderful quote;

“I am a freak user of words, not a poet.”

Dylan Thomas