At 5am, before sunrise, I wake immediately thinking about my making process – what it is and why. I thought it was the middle of the night because it was still not light at all but when I looked at the time, it made it acceptable to get up and develop the thoughts I was thinking. ‘What is my work’ is the main point that I keep coming back to when I’m reflecting on my making. I research craft, mending, repair, reflection, authenticity and tradition. What is my work about, if it’s about anything at all?
And, this is how I come to be in the avenues of the Hanging Water allotments at 6:30 am with the heavy scent of a late flowering honeysuckle in the air whilst picking fat ripe blackberries – sun rising to my left. The ground is very damp, wet in fact. The late summer sun is rising with a hint of Autumn snapping at its heels. Quickly, I threw on any clothes just to get out in the sun rise. I noticed that it was the first time I reached for a jumper before leaving the house. The mustard fair isle cardigan was the first choice – a perfect choice to greet the sun.
All the world is here in this moment in the allotments. Whilst picking the ripe berries, I think about what people have said about my work. The first thing that someone said about my work was stridently expressed in a tutorial at NTU. ‘You’re at Textile Artist, I’ve already told you’. So, I assumed that mantle – an impressionable 53 year old taking every word as the truth. But I’m not only a textile artist and this I have learned along the way through reflecting on process, result and reason.
The rising sun catches my face, plump berries from a cultured, thornless bush fill the bowl. Nature’s sounds fill the air – the brook at the bottom of the avenue, pigeons calling, a bee. You can almost hear the fruit creaking with weight.
My process is to see, think, feel, have an idea, run with it, see what happens along the way, make modifications, see the outcome, accept the outcome and either embellish it or just let it be – as it is and the outcome feeds another idea and it develops. I’m constantly learning – rarely is anything repeated, which makes it more of an art practice.
I’ve realised that there is a narrative that runs through all of my work. There’s a story. Even the innocent blackberries that I am picking, weave a story or a moment into my work and process. It could be colour or texture or taste, even. Can’t work just be about the journey of making textile and memory? How can this small avenue of long wet grass that runs between old allotments, with the sun rising to my left be a starting point – but it is. All the world is here, if you just look.
Tracey Doxey is studying at NTU on the MA Fashion, Textiles Knit course.
She will be carrying out an Artist Residency at The Booth in Scalloway during December 2017