The last couple of years have been quiet for me, in terms of producing new exhibition work. I have more than fully occupied teaching, writing, making small products, teaching more, setting up Ruth Singer Studio and who knows what else. What I haven’t done much of is make new work. It hasn’t been a priority for quite a while, and I have mostly only made work for specific exhibitions. When I say ‘work’ I mean exhibition pieces, not products that I make for publications or as teaching samples, or small bits for sale like brooches and purses. My WORK is the stuff that comes from my heart and usually takes months of thinking and then weeks of making, and is intensely personal.
Although I have not been massively productive in the last couple of years, I have gone through a major creative reevaluation and have been working in a new way, far removed from the designer-maker-churn-out-products style that I started out in. This has taken years to work out but I finally feel I have got to where I ought to be. I suppose in most peoples’ terminology, I am more a textile artist than a designer-maker. Although I find labels unhelpful personally, it does help explain what I do. What is more difficult to work out is how to get my new work out there. I know how the designer-maker world works; trade shows, retail shows, galleries, shops… but textile art is different and I have a lot of challenges to overcome to make a living out of this type of not-so-commercial work.
I almost feel like I am starting afresh, looking at new routes to exhibit my work, new galleries, new projects and new places, which is incredibly exciting. It has taken a few years to gather a body of work which really shows my new style of work and explains what it is that I want to do.
I have finally taken on board the idea that work I make in collaboration with schools or with other groups also counts as My Work and that I should take (partial) credit for it and add it to my gallery of work, even though it is not ‘mine’ to exhibit nor was made by me.
It looks like collaborative work may well become an even more major part of my creative output; I love doing it and I love the outcomes of it.
I’m very excited at the moment that I am involved in two collaborations with two extraordinary makers for exhibitions next year. And I have a commission to make for a gallery to be exhibited early next year. More on all of these soon.