Hello, Gary (Dartagnan) Gowran here, writing the first guest post on Too Folk to be Cool. It’s slightly intimidating, very flattering and mostly stimulating to be the first person other than Sadhbh to post here. What I’d like to write about is how I perceive Sadhbhs work, from both working alongside her in some cases and just sitting back and watching the magic happen in most cases.
What I’ll state straight away is; I’m a nerd. I love thinking about and examining the minutiae and history of art-pieces, and Sadhbhs pieces do offer me that opportunity. Take this Snug (but not really, because someone owns it) or Snugs in general.
For me, the Snug as a range is upheld by a good foundation of strong design. This foundation is my favourite part of them, it is the simple division of the knitting pattern from hairy wool to regular wool with a couple of eyes on the top part, just that. It creates a solid base character on to which personality is added by the choice of embellishments, accessories, colour, stitching and other techniques.
So Sadhbh has a canvas onto which to place a personality. Not so much a blank canvas though. I've seen a good few Snugs now, sitting idly on a work surface, just knitted and eyes in place, waiting patiently to be outfitted with lace or ribbon or buttons or beads or all of the above. And there is a personality there already; I can just catch it out of the corner of my eye. By some alchemical process, leaden wool has been transmuted into golden pattern. Now I will say I don’t always like the personalities, some I could take or leave, but I do have to respect that they come into being and I have to share my living space with them (think about it, coming down the stairs on a market day to be confronted by many pairs of eyes staring at you from woolen bodies, not so cute now eh? What are they thinking, what are they thinking?).
My mother is a seamstress so I fooled myself into believing I had a good knowledge of the world of cloth, wool, ribbon and the various accessories of working with fibre materials. But nothing could prepare me for the sheer variety and number of beads, buttons, clasps, ribbons, wools, feathers, jewellery, stones, felts, threads, wires, glues, fabrics, papers, paper flowers(!) and patterns that I have come to know. I’m used to working with a pencil and paper and then colour, it is with these that I make my choices as an artist and this is what makes me the artist that I am, my choices with these tools. And I am comfortable with these. I once had a go at working with the materials that Sadhbh uses, I cut out a bee shape (not a Fat Bee!) and went to work then on beading it and embellishing it and that’s when it hit me, all of these materials, all of these varied colours and shapes, threads and fabrics and I have to somehow find the pieces that correspond to the vision in my head. It is a blessing and a curse and I don’t know how Sadhbh does it sometimes.
But that’s what makes Sadhbh the artist that she is, her choices. Presented with infinite possibilities, how do you find the right combination to create the piece that you imagine? And as she has written in these posts, sometimes she’s more successful than at other times. The Snug images in today’s post, I think, represent one that succeeded. It was a commissioned piece and in the mixture process of real-life information and artistic inspiration, Celestial Blaze was born. A piece of beauty and complexity.