In this weeks artist interview we share Jan Millers thought provoking response to the questions.
Are the ideas for this project ongoing or are they new ?
Making new work for a group project and exhibition with an agreed title or given brief is not the same as following my own interests and ways of thinking and working. I make notes (selecting a suitable sketchbook is the first challenge, as if that matters to the outcome, yet somehow it does) to record lines of development … words, layouts, sequences, quotes … gathering information … a game of consequences.
In the case of Insights, TSG started the thought processes with a suggestion to look back at our individual previous work. This was invaluable to prompt a personal dialogue for me and start to recognise my own practice . There are many recurring themes and passions in my process. Do we always make the same piece of work? I don’t think so … but there is an identity unique to each individual maker, which may be more important to them than to the observer
What is your favourite part of the creative process ?
I really enjoy the sampling process: working new textile sketches with freedom without worrying about an end-product or to satisfy a brief. Spontaneity is important to me.
I have always enjoyed handling materials: I enjoy the touch, the feel, even the smell … I remember the fabric shop in Altrincham, its location in George Street opposite Woolworths, the few steps down and then the formaldehyde, burning our eyes, tickling our throats … I am not sure what part that played in the manufacture nor if it is even allowed today. For me cloth still reaches all the senses, but I do know the feel/handle gets better over time and use.
We each have our own ‘handwriting’ even in cloth and thread … though it may take someone else to recognise that individuality – read it and identify it. I enjoy the memory and story–telling held in each piece, a hidden history that is personal and individual to each maker.
On my studio wall there are a few postcards that have retained their position … others come and go … I think these will always be markers of the most beautiful and influential images of textile process (wrapping, physicality of process, perfect folding) for me:
Bellini, Presentazione di Gesu al tempio
Pablo Picasso, Woman Ironing
Robert Campin, A Woman
And that is not to ignore paintings of the Last Supper and the attention to the crisp folds of the tablecloth.
If you have time, I would love to see your cards!