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Responding to material

Materials as a starting point

I find myself making in response to materials, attending to the dynamic between us in what Tim Ingold would call "correspondence" (Ingold 2017). There's something in the stage between the material and my response that intrigues me - what happens there? It's like the space between thoughts that I have explored using Gini's photographs of the tree bark, I'm trying to explore something that is intangible and impossible to grasp, like a puff of smoke. The millisecond has ticked by and the fragment of whatever it was that I glimpsed has shifted to the next. perhaps that’s why I was drawn to use the sticky notes - they have an impermanence of sorts, I suppose depending on the glue and the surface they are placed on, the sticky edge will curl and eventually it will fall to the ground, overcome by gravity.

A colleague sent me the flax fibres as part of a project around materiality that she was conducting. My part was to send on to the next participant a material in response to what I had received. I sent threads, in contrast to the springy fibres and chose colours that were similar, as if the material had been softened in its passing though my hands. The fibres I was left with sat on my desk for some time and I would examine them occasionally. I knew I would make something with them, respond to them, correspond with them. The knots began as I was testing the flex of the fibres, each one a different quality, the thicker the strand the less flex, darker strands seem more robust than lighter. Something in the knotting captured me, perhaps a seductive dwam floated into the repetition of the task, it seemed that each knot or loop contains a thought within it, like tying knots in a handkerchief to remember something. I wonder about the link with memory here, something I find a challenge, especially in times of overwhelm. It’s not spelling I have a problem with as a dyslexic - the interesting things I have heard, read, and thought about can vanish without useful strategies to hold on to them. In lieu of robust strategies I tie knots in flax fibres.

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