Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Looking for inspiration in all the right places....

Sunset under the Louise Bridge

I'd like to say that we don't watch a lot of television in our home, but it is on a fair bit. Mostly, it's on BBCWorld (the international all-news channel), sports (hockey, curling, tennis, golf, soccer), food, or arts programs though: neither of us watch the current popular things at all, and I don't think we're missing much.

There is one show, however, I go out of my way to watch, and that's Landscape as Muse, a wonderful series (Season 4 starts on March 13, at 7:30 p.m. ET on Canada's BRAVO channel: hurrah!) that takes artists out to familiar (and sometimes unfamiliar) places to them and follows them around as they create art influenced by that location.

Currently, BRAVO is rerunning Season 2, and yesterday (at the ungracious hour of 6:30 a.m. MT) was one of my favourite episodes, featuring Diana Lynn Thompson, an installation artist from Saltspring Island, working in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia.

She is very conscious of the transient nature of her art, and I've found it has got me thinking about what (and how) I produce what I do. One can choose, in fact, to make one's work not last: excessive endurance is virtually impossible with fibre, for example, since it breaks down easily.

Books are a little different though. There have been long discussions on the BOOK-ARTS list populated by folks who insist that all bookbinders use archival glues and papers.

I used to be in the I want it to last forever camp, but going to grad school changed my mind. One of the senior group projects (unfortunately, not mine) was working on a historical site, and they were somewhat surprised when they were told at one crit session that "doing nothing" should have also been presented an option, not just varying degrees of preservation. That devolution is equally valid as restoration was a concept I hadn't given much though to before then either.

While it's not obvious in most of my work, experiencing the landscape has a big influence on how I look at what I do, and getting out into it almost always changes my approach to projects-in-process. I've got five big ones on my list that I'd like to finish this year, along with pursuing professional development (as a fibre artist and a bookbinder): it's going to be a challenge.

P.S. For those of you not in Canada, you can get Season 1 of Landscape as Muse on DVD through 291 Film Company: I highly recommend it.

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