Having discussed the way forward, T and I will initially both focus on a different aspect of the project in the first stage of its development.
Based on our discussion last week, I have undertaken some sewing tests in regards to the
pattern envelopes, and typewriter tests for the insert cards.
The start of a project involves quite a lot of decision-making in terms of format, structure,
materiality and visual language. The tests will be posted to T for further discussion.
Although we haven’t yet had the opportunity to discuss the Windham Papers project, I have started to think about previous practice – and an area that I had started to explore as part of my MA several years ago was how applying a series of hierarchical systems to typographic content could affect the visual appearance of the page. By adopting different working strategies, i.e using a set of mandatory rules to develop work, meant control of all decision-making in relation to the visual appearance, was surrendered. However rather than the rules acting as a restriction, it meant that the work developed in ways that would not have been possible had I made subjective decisions at each stage of the process. Ultimately it meant that the system dictated the visual appearance of the work.
T has previously produced work that uses cataloguing systems, so this may be a way of bringing our individual practices together to develop something new, but in a different way to normal.
We had initially stated that if ‘Women of the Walk’ was not being accepted for exhibition, we would still progress the project anyway; however we have subsequently decided that it would be more beneficial to take other aspects of meeting in the middle, such as the village noticeboards, and develop new concepts instead.
However, in the short-term we have decided to resurrect a project that we initially began in 2009… the working title was originally an ABC of Stitching and Sewing, a follow-on book to our previous edition entitled ABC of Childhood Memories – we got as far as collecting a series of dress patterns from the 70s and 80s, along with personal stories from family and friends to use as the narrative, and then for some reason the project stopped. Although this isn’t unusual when working alone – I personally have sketchbooks full of unfinished project ideas – working collaboratively is different, as you feel a commitment to the other person and to the idea, so it is rare to dismiss a project once it is underway.
Whilst we both have some reservations about returning to this subject matter – as our most recent practice has moved away from this style of book – having discussed the issue, we realise that the idea of using previously disregarded ideas and material will in itself be a challenge. We see it as an opportunity to employ new knowledge and working practices in the development of a project from our past.
An email at the start of January laid out the bare bones of an idea. Talking face to face is the most effective way of developing a project in the early stages as it enables us to bat ideas backwards and forwards quickly – and it’s a process we are both comfortable with. During a Facetime conversation today we resolved the format and methodology and are now in a position to start developing the project further. We will adopt a similar working practice of developing the inside cards that we used for meeting in the middle and both take responsibility for all aspects of the cards, rather than T working specifically on the fronts and P the backs.