Back to Basics

Sketch of Peruvian fragment. Copyright © Sue Lawty I must admit to not making much progress recently. Sometimes, when the stimulus is so great, so extensive, it can engender a kind of temporary creative paralysis. Intense study of the V&A’s textile collection has had that effect. Almost every piece uncovered set fingers tingling and my mind racing wildly – full on creative wealth! Bizarrely, I got to the point of actively hoping not to find the contents of a drawer quite as riveting ‐ so that I could be released to move on to the next one … and the next. Senses, at once saturated, yet burningly inquisitive and wanting more ‐ perhaps the next cupboard would reveal even greater magic … Naively, I had rather imagined ‘finishing’ the research before embracing the next stage (even though I have enough experience to know that can never be the case). But, there does come a point where you have to just stop – take stock – take time ‐ and make some decisions. A vast landscape of ideas ‐ a junction of many tracks – which to follow? ‐ and in which direction? Surprisingly, I have found myself repeatedly being drawn back to one of the first things I discovered. It’s a book of simple cut squares of Egyptian weaving ‐ mostly tabby and described in the thumbnail images below. Inspired by the simple format of this book and, as a way of regaining some forward movement, I am doing what I did many years ago. When finding myself made creatively mute by the deeply rich experience of a year travelling in Australia I went back to basics. I began by weaving the simplest of samples ‐ seeking to explore one element at a time ‐ paring away excess ‐ trying to see clearly. That time proved to be a seminal point in the development of my work. I wonder if experiences at the V&A will have the same impact. Album of Egyptian textile samples, 400BC ‐ 13th century AD Museum no. T271-1966 - Click to enlarge Album of Egyptian textile samples, 400BC ‐ 13th century AD Museum no. T271-1966 - Click to enlarge Album of Egyptian textile samples, 400BC ‐ 13th century AD Museum no. T271-1966 - Click to enlarge Album of Egyptian textile samples, 400BC ‐ 13th century AD Museum no. T271-1966 - Click to enlarge Album of Egyptian textile samples, 400BC ‐ 13th century AD Museum no. T271-1966 - Click to enlarge Album of Egyptian textile samples, 400BC ‐ 13th century AD Museum no. T271-1966 - Click to enlarge


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