Thursday, 7 August 2008

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

Thanks to Pat (one of the embroiderers collaborating on the project) for letting me know about the recent Brian Eno interview on Radio 4's Today programme. He was discussing his new collaboration with David Byrne and their hugely influential work My Life in the Bush of Ghosts first released way back in 1981 and the crucial role sampling played in the record's creation.

You can find out more about the album by clicking on the My Life in the Bush of Ghosts link above.

One interesting element of the site, is that they have agreed under Creative Common licensing to give people free use to "edit, remix, sample and mutilate" two of the tracks. Alongside that they've invited people to post any new tracks they've produced sampling or remixing the original works.

Click here for the link to the Creative Common site explaining this form of copyright protection, which enables you to change your copyright terms from "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved".

I'm looking forward to finding what this level of copyright means in practice. Let me know if you've used it already in your own work. Copying has been key to both textile embroidery sampler culture and dj culture. I'll do a further post concentrating on this issue.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Stitched Consequences

Last week I met up with some of the embroiderers collaborating on the project. It was great to see everyone again and find you what they were up to and their future plans. What's great is that, although we're not able to all get together so often everyone is still hugely committed to, and excited about, developing the project.

We spent the day playing stitched consequences - i don't know if that officially exits as a term, but hey it does now. The idea was to build on the written consequences we had worked on with Yusra during the first workshop, which created an amazing series of spoken word poems. I do promise I'll post some of these asap.

The rules of the game. Well i'm sure you all know the rules of consequences but so you get an idea of what went on. We started by listening to the audio tracks we had recorded from the previous workshop, to use them as initial stimulus to starting to stitch. We each had a piece of fabric 50cm x 2 metres (cotton) and a random selection of threads that everyone had brought along. We each had 20 minutes to stitch some work anywhere on the fabric, any size, any stitch and any image. After the 20 minutes was up we passed the fabric to the person sat next to us to continue the work, taking it in a new direction. This continued until we had each stitched on each piece of cloth. The 20 minute limit meant that we had to be spontaneous and improvise with the threads we had, and not think too much about what we were stitching. Improvisation and spontaneity have been core throughout the project to date. At this stage it is all about experimenting and not being precious about what we create, and not thinking about the end product, but continuing to ask "What if?"

As always, there was great conversation during the day. It actually felt like a real luxury to spend a whole day, stitching, talking, and drinking cups of tea. People talk about the therapeutic qualities of embroidery, and when you spend time not thinking about anything else and get lost in the process of creation and the act of stitching, you understand what they mean. Here is a selection of some of the work created during the day. These will be passed on to the other collaborators who weren't able to make it along on the day, to add their input. We'll use them to inspire and create other stitched, visual, written and audio work.

A huge thank you to Liz, Pat, Jan, Jackie, Jacqui, Kathy, Kate and Srdjana.