today is the start of the beginning of the end. 5 more days – 5 hours each day. what to expect? it could be viewed as more of the same. but it is never quite the same. there are common strands to the interactions, but the intrigue and freshness lie in the particularity of each story, each reason for stopping, and each person. i enjoy that this activity-in-common in some way exposes the individuality of each of us, through technique, through the specificity of our learning journey, through the memories and histories evoked by the process. once knitters are reassured that it is not possible to do anything ‘wrong’ on the jumper, thereby freed from any sense that their contribution will be judged, self and knitting are given generously and without self-consciousness. i am relishing the prospect of these last days.
on saturday and sunday, the blue jumper was left in the caring hands of vix, grant, dan, claudia, steve, oli, and alice. it was a brilliant weekend, by all accounts, with hundreds of visitors (many enticed by the music-in-the-city musicians who were playing in the space with the jumper) and an astounding number of knitters – on sunday, 50 people, out of the 169 who visited, added to the jumper. it looks different, with structural changes having occurred through the joining of previously outward heading strands into the central body of the jumper. acquainting myself with its new self took some time, and for sure there are areas of subtle intervention yet to be discovered. click here for claudia’s pictures - seeing the exhibition through the eyes of others reframes it for me. these pics show a calm and an intent that mine sometimes lack.
i was drawn away for the weekend by a whistlestop trip to kilmarnock, ayrshire, for john fulton harris mcallister’s 90th birthday celebration. i believe that he, and the clan of attendees, had fun, shared a special day and ate heartily. it was lovely to see my far-away family, and catch up on their news, stories, achievements and excitements.
and the 19 hours spent in the car facilitated the augmentation of the ‘lamp-post and pylon’ photograph catalogue by 600 or so new shots. there were some developments in the form of birds on lamp-posts this journey.
Posted: October 10th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper, partcipatory art, thoughts on future work | Tags: art, birds, blue, blue jumper, blue knitting, community knitting, exhibition, experience, family, family knitting, knitting, knitting dilemma, living history, men knitting, pylon, sarah filmer, value of knitting | No Comments »
i am wondering whether i should have continued the daily blogging during the run of the show. day in and day out there are moments of sheer joy and beauty as the blue jumper enmeshes people in its tangled web of intrigue, connection, inclusion, participation and oddness. there have been a further 500 or so visitors since we opened: 70 of them have knitted for the first time onto the jumper; many others have been re-knitters. each new knitter is being added to the list on the wall – this proved a little challeging yesterday – luckily i had help ….
there is something special about the specificity of each person’s interaction with the jumper – as variable as there are shades of blue in the jumper itself.
annelise, star and bridey entered in a flurry of energy, sweets, denial of shoplifting accusation, mascara and bling, with no knitting in their histories. they were beguiled by this thing, that all those people had knitted it, and by the prospect of getting their names on the wall – several minutes later, following attempts at needle and wool management, and discussions about whether the roses for their mum’s birthday would last out of water, they regathered the immense life that they had brought into the gallery space and bundled out.
pippa,ivy, and elizabeth – three generations of knitters who sat and knitted expertly, engaged and comfortable with their place in this blue jumper.they shared stories of garments made by granny for mum and passed to pippa, still worn, cherished, and coveted by her peers. these women were secure and content in the space and the concept, bringing an entirely different energy and value to the process and the jumper.
lisa and tim were just passing – he wanted to know where the swords were – many people come in looking for the museum that used to be in the bargate years ago. lisa was chuffed that the knitting allowed her to forget the shopping and stand there contributing in this unexpected way to this unexpected object. tim sulked the whole time, in a good natured and facilitatory way for those of his family who were happy as can be to have come across the jumper.
helen and ruth – sisters who lost their mum a couple of years ago, and who have since held regular knitting weekends for their extended family under the name of the ‘frilly knitters’, in her memory. there is a poignancy for me, as i have a personal relationship with their experience, and their response to the jumper reflected this connection – we locked the door, we had a glass of wine, a space to remember and share.
as these people come and go, as their stories unfold, i am there, marvelling throughout at the way this piece of work is operating in this community of ‘people who walk past the bargate monument gallery and decide, for many and varied reasons, to come in’.
i have to thank my co-invigilators for this week – elly, amber, jenna, louise and colin – your generous support is vital to this experience x
in amongst this self driven, self installed, unfunded, self directed, autonomous process, i have had a novel experience. work that i was commissioned (and paid) to make has been installed by the exhibitions team, in southampton city art gallery. this is the other side of the artists coin (although i do not believe that it will often land this way up in the current climate!) the lovely andrew and jess measured and held and marked and spirit levelled and drilled and mounted the mirror and monitor that constitute one of the works … and i watched, and said things like ‘left a bit, right a bit’. there are two video pieces in the ‘art to dance’ exhibition at city gallery – please go and have a look – the exhibition comprises works from the gallery’s permanent collection selected by choreographer, mayuri boonham, who used them as a visual stimulus for choreography. back in january, there were workshops – drawing, photography, music and dance – for members of the public to think in this cross-disciplinary way. my job was to make a video response to this process. the exhibition opens today and runs until dec 23rd. enjoy.
Posted: September 28th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper, partcipatory art | Tags: art, art questions, blue, blue jumper, blue knitting, community knitting, connection, exhibition, experience, family knitting, gender knitting, joy, knitting, living history, mo filmer, mum, sarah filmer, value of knitting | 1 Comment »
well, that has flown by. my nails are done, i have had a hair cut – random, spur of the moment, walk-in occurrence where the hairdresser (stylist) gave me her actual haircut rather than what i asked for – so all the urgent preparation is complete.
details requiring attention today are as follows:
lighting – went in to mop the floor last night, and while it is light enough during daylight hours, it was too dark in there once the sun went down (and we don’t want our honoured guests tripping over each other, or the show, later) this entails a little de-install of part of the hang, a trip around the gallery (again) up the precarious tower and fiddling with more lights and the shaky lighting track. all without chipping my nails.
tweaking – now, the jumper is, i believe, as you will see it later. as nic said yesterday ‘any changes you make now will just make it different, not necessarily better’ so i will try and avoid obsessing. because it is majestic in the space now. i hope that my choices about how it is positioned in the space maximise its accessibility – all the time and skills and experience housed in the stitches have to be seen, there are still many access points where knitting can continue, it can be moved within the space, and one can get in amongst it and touch it to fully appreciate its materiality – formally and in terms of its production.
signage – do i name/label each aspect of the installation? or is the whole experience ‘the blue jumper’ i am tending toward the latter – but that may well be as much to do with my reluctance to title as anything more profound. perhaps a piece of paper with some details on …
posters – get them printed for a-frame.
cleaning – of course, the most important part of any prep for any event.
contact the echo – well, it’s worth a try: if anyone knows anyone, could you put a word in please.
so, this has been a real nuts and bolts post. but strangely, at this point, that is what this process is all about. the work is made, the decisions are made, the invitations have been sent – and several of you are coming – so the only things left are the ‘jankers’ and for me to thank everyone involved, breathe deeply and try my very best to enjoy this evening’s event which, while it is my first solo show, with all the nerves and self-consciousness that accompany that, is a celebration of an amazing process, with beautiful generous people. it is also a moment for me to remember and think about my mum.
Posted: September 20th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper, partcipatory art | Tags: art, blue, blue jumper, blue knitting, community knitting, exhibition, experience, family knitting, knitting, living history, mo filmer, mum, sarah filmer, value of knitting | 1 Comment »
i awake this morning with a mission – to try and make this set of outputs
attach to one of these inputs
and result in a video watching experience for you, the gallery visitor.
the complications lie in the monitor – no s-video input, no headphone jack to output audio, and a wierd single socket for the av input. showing video is a frustrating process – the changes and subtle differences from one piece of kit to the next, from one model to the next, mean that this set up process is NEVER straightforward – whatever mitigating steps you think you have taken. so i have been reading and learning on the interweb this morning about the functions and capabilities of the different equipment that i have … and hopefully martin from media resources, or chris from maplins will be able to help ….
could this be more dull?
on an up note, the gallery is all white, the jumper is in hang number one … awaiting my arrival and re-apprasial this morning. dan crow was with me all day at the gallery yesterday – we spent the day trouble shooting, solution finding, tying 300m of fishing line into an unuseable knot, ditching the pulleys (nice sound, too risky re cord jamming), screwing eyes into walls, disagreeing over the merits of the pet shop boys.
it was a productive first day of install – we identified the technology problems that we need to address. hmmm. and here is a picture from my sketchbook 3 years ago showing the dimensions of some birds.
Posted: September 18th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper | Tags: art, art questions, blue, blue jumper, blue knitting, community knitting, dan crow, exhibition, knitting, knitting dilemma, sarah filmer, value of knitting | No Comments »
yesterday had the welcome diversion of a barbeque at my sister’s. it was sunny, peopled with friendly smiley faces, packed with small children having a brilliant time, and we were fed a seemingly endless supply of delicious morsels. thanks hatty and james. and i don’t think anyone let the side down by mentioning that james will soon be 50. so that’s a relief.
until now, the thinking and planning has been abstract and potential. i am excited that this evening, i will be in the space, and the thinking will be three dimensional, tangible, actual. some concern stems from my two-dimensional background – photographs and video screens/projections operate differently in a space than a large disparate sculptural form which has no planned shape or outcome. how to let it be its non-directed self? at once true to its production ethos and to the space of display and exhibition in which it finds itself.
accessibility to the work is a priority – allowing as much of the work, that the knitters have put into it, to be seen and appreciated in its skill and variation. the idea that knitters will be looking for the bit that they did makes me smile – initially, up to about 150 knitters, i knew who had done what, but i have to admit that the specificities of the contributions elude me as the blue jumper has grown. each part remains a representation of the person: their generosity, their desire to be included in the project, their decisions and choices, the hand-crafted manifestation of their physical human presence with the jumper at the time of production. considering this aspect of the work is overwhelming, driving my sense of responsibility to the individuals who enabled me to make the blue jumper, wanting this to be as beautiful and proud and giving as it can be.
enough thinking, time to address practicalities: vix is over later for bacon sandwiches and ironing – we are going to iron the jumper in its entirety so that you can see its every stitch. it would be interesting to know the number of stitches in the blue jumper one day … if anyone has a strategy with which i might approach this task, please share!
Posted: September 16th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper, partcipatory art | Tags: art, art questions, blue, blue jumper, blue knitting, community knitting, connection, exhibition, experience, family knitting, harriet filmer, intention, james cornewall-walker, knitting, mum, sarah filmer, value of knitting | 3 Comments »
the good news is that i have a monitor to show my video. which still does not have a title, and which languishes in an external hard drive on account of my compressing software seeming to be having conniptions – today has now been re-designated a technical troubleshooting day. this is inconvenient. but, at least when i do have these issues sorted, i have a screen to use. title-wise, i don’t seem able to go anywhere from ‘six stitches’ but there is part of me that thinks that sounds like a wound. as this whole process started with the loss of my mum, it is perhaps not a surprise that she is in my head a great deal as i prepare for the show. and it feels like a wound re-opened so maybe ‘six stitches’ is ok.
had a chat with dan crow at aspace yesterday – remaining decisions really have to be made as we set up – sound: headphones or speakers? needles: jug or urn? wool: loose or in something? seating: white box or neutral ugly chairs (i seem to have just made that one!) luckily, dan has some time to help with the install. steve’s show comes down on sunday night and then i open on thursday at 6. a total of 97 hours. when i look at it like that, i don’t really know what i am worried about …..
i went to the opening of gary stevens’ show at southampton city art gallery last night. i had the opportunity to take part in the work that was commissioned for this show. it is strange to see oneself wander across four screens in a gallery! mostly i was watching elsi – she was very consistent from one shot to the next! the exhibition as a whole is gentle and searching and quiet, and creates a lovely space to be in. i was particularly taken by ‘slow life’ and will definitely find some real time to go and spend there.
no pics pertinent to yesterday so here are a couple of images from the jumper’s last outing before the exhibition ….
Posted: September 14th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper, partcipatory art | Tags: art, blue, blue jumper, blue knitting, community knitting, family knitting, knitting, mum, sarah filmer, value of knitting | No Comments »
the last 48 hours have been a rollercoaster.
job interview yesterday meant i had to distract myself somehow … so i went and watched the southampton ukulele jam play in oram’s arbour, winchester. as ever, they were fast, loud and proud
our group show ‘elevenses’ was installed in the art house yesterday – i am having technical issues with the adhesive i have used to fix my photos to the board – ie they keep falling off. obviously, this is not a preferred possibility in a cafe environment. the work looks great – i cannot wait to see emily cooper‘s piece – a chair of suspended pingpong balls with a twist – in action later. her dad was a true hero as emily installed it. we open at 5pm this evening – please join us for a performance by sarah cornforth, a gentle ambience and drinks and snacks available from the art house cafe.
yesterday evening, i went to rejoin my knitting friends, the yarnies, for a talk and demonstration by laurence dubé-rushby, an artist currently working with wool, the community and spinning. her piece ‘a thousand sheep’ is a beautiful mapping of the landscape using the resources found there. i learned to spin using a drop spindle (much swearing initially, but got the hang of it, sort of after a while). i look forward to her exhibition at salisbury arts centre.
so, distraction out of the way, it is back to the blue jumper for the countdown to the show. i think i will talk to dan today about provisions … it is going to be a busy opening event!
Posted: September 11th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper, partcipatory art | Tags: a thousand sheep, art, art house, blue, blue jumper, blue knitting, community knitting, connection, emily cooper, just yarn it, knitting, laurence-dubé-rushby, sarah filmer, yarnies | No Comments »
as i am writing invites to the opening, it strikes me that many of the people hitherto attached only by a blue thread, an idea, and a willingness to participate, will meet in the real on thursday 20th september.
i am very excited about this and what it means.
ideas of connection have been fundamental to this project from the start, and have played out in several ways, including its parallels with notions of virtual connection. many of the contacts made that have enabled the jumper to expand in the way that it has, have been instigated through social networking online, with real meetings and time spent, occurring subsequently. the blue threads could be considered a metaphor for internet connections – attached in different space and time to each other, making contacts that are not limited by the physical, but that become manifested in the physical, by the knitting. it would be possible to track from one knitter to any other by following a pathway defined by a succession of blue yarns, their message, their presence, their very being, then established by the addition of stitch pixels, or knit-purl zero-one binary code.
and now they are going to reconfigure as bodily sentient selves on thursday sep 20th at 6 pm.
the blue jumper is a teleportation device, maybe even a wormhole. hand-made craft as science fiction.
Posted: September 8th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper, partcipatory art | Tags: art, art house, art questions, binary, blue, blue jumper, blue knitting, community knitting, connection, experience, family knitting, intention, knit-purl, living history, new forest, pixels, sarah filmer, value of knitting, wormhole | 5 Comments »
hmm – yesterday was a lovely day – i caught up with my friend angela – after 2 hours of talking about dream projects, and our concerns and our areas of interest, and our strategies for dissemination outwith a ‘normal’ art audience (soup kitchens and helicopters came into this part of the conversation) it became clear that we were too far from reality in terms of proposing something credible and serious. well, we just started the process 3 months too late. it is a frustration when excellent potential earning structures emerge when there is no time to dedicate to them. i have to believe that another opportunity will arise at a later date. we framed the mornings discussion as time invested in a future project and continued with our days.
i collected my flyers, here are just a few of them:
in the words of another good friend (who knows a thing or two about such things by the way …. )
‘flyers are divine’ (chuffed smile) i now have 2500 of them to distribute ….
i also noticed that somehow the opening times of the gallery have been omitted. rookie error.
(wed-sun 12-5pm if you would like to come) i will make sure the times are on the poster.
it was steve’s birthday yesterday, so it was ‘old town’ lunch and a couple of hours at the bargate, where he is invigilating his show, rapport. i am definitely going to oil the floor one evening soon. now there is a job ….
meeting re the arthouse exhibition was fruitful – we have some sense of where the work will hang next week, and helen wrote some blurb. i am not sure how my piece for that show will feel. it is a grid of 24 photographs from my back catalogue of moments from my everyday. as with a lot of my photography, it is about the moments that are less often recorded in an album context as they are not special in any way, but go to make up the richness of the banal. as such, i find them very interesting moments, with lateral suggestions and subtle questions. it is a new and unresolved way of showing these images. they are board mounted due to the hanging limitations in the art house …. i think that makes them a little cumbersome, but until it is up, who knows. come and see for yourself next tuesday 5-7 (or at any time during the 2 months following that)
i have sent out a google doc to unit11studios members and solent fine art students asking for help with invigilation of my show. the deal at the bargate is that the shows are artist-invigilated as aspace arts have no financial capability to provide invigilators. discussion of my thoughts around this is for a later date – right now, that is what i signed up for, and so that is something i have to provide. i will be there for most of the time that the show is open – the participatory nature of the show is such that i would like to be pro-active in encouraging visitors to knit. so the second person who is invigilating with me will have little responsibility, but i need an additional person in the space with me for security reasons. i am really interested to see how easy or otherwise it is going to be to fill these slots. if anyone reading this would like to sit in the gallery for art, knitting, coffee and some fun, please click here:
invigilation timetable – blue jumper exhibition
i got an email yesterday from katie martin (radio solent) asking when would be a good time for her to broadcast live from the show. now that is exciting.
today: flyers, ironing, floor oil, postcard pricing decisions, remembering the really important thought i had late last night but did not write down …
Posted: September 7th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper | Tags: art, art house, blue, blue jumper, blue knitting, community knitting, exhibition, exhibition preparation, knitting, sarah filmer | No Comments »
so, the plan is to write short but daily for the 2 week build up to the opening of the blue jumper exhibition.
why? 2 reasons – you lot might find it interesting to be part of that process; and i am going to need some tool to keep me focussed and grounded when the stress and pressure of the desires and wishes i have blind me to all real perspective.
today’s plan: i have started the day with the packaging of limited edition sets of 6 postcards that will be available to buy at the exhibition. they are wrapped in the wool labels that i have kept from the wool used to knit the blue jumper. i like them very much.
i am collecting the flyers today so will start to distribute them later – exciting. on them i have attributed the blue jumper to ‘sarah filmer and 400 others’. i wanted to reflect frankly the importance and the value of the time and effort of all the lovely knitters who made this project possible. i am hoping that as many knitters as possible are able to come to the opening event on september 20th from 6-8 pm. hand written invites are on my list for tomorrow!
i am spending the morning trying to write a collaborative film project proposal with a local poet … we will do our best, but have left it rather late ….
then a meeting about our group show ‘elevenses’ coming up at the art house, before a small gathering to celebrate steve’s birthday – i advise you to find the time to catch his show ‘rapport’ at the bargate between now and sept 16th
Posted: September 6th, 2012 | Author: sarahfilmer | Filed under: blue jumper | Tags: art, blue, blue jumper, blue jumper exhibition, blue jumper postcards, blue knitting, community knitting, exhibition, experience, knitting, living history, sarah filmer, value of knitting | 1 Comment »