Pony 4

Pony antimacassar in situ

Helen says the Pony piece of work confused her for ages, she liked it and had looked forward to working with it. Perhaps at the beginning it was the piece she would have chosen if the participants had selected the first piece to work on. However she was unsure what to make of the work that had been done to the pony piece and how to respond to it.

Helen liked the fact that it had been taken from a kneeler in a church and the character of the kneeler as an object. She started doing stitching and distressing the photograph further but felt unrewarded and frustrated as if that was what was expected of her rather than something she considered that she wanted to do. She continued with this enjoying it less and less but unsure what else to do.

This in a physical and intellectual sense was not fun, a property Helen had felt that the piece did posses. She really wanted to embrace this fun characteristic again so she cut out the horses head! This was revealed with exclamations of surprise from the rest of the group. The piece now appeared as if a giant fuzzy felt of a horses head had been added as the hessian showed through the distinctive silhouette. It did seem something had been added rather than taken away.

Helen had enjoyed peeling the photo away from the hessian and the back of the picture layered with glue and fragments of hessian had looked like an interesting surface. She felt liberated. The horses head was liberated and the photo piece had also developed, becoming more fabric again.

Helen wanted the horse’s head to be incorporated in something interiors and home furnishings based, though originally a kneeler the object was seemingly more domestic than religious artefact in character. The horses head was revealed to be superimposed on an antimacassar, stitched down and looking very much ‘at home’.

detail of Pony antimacassar

There was brief discussion about antimacassars being an historical domestic accessory to protect chair backs from hair products, and the fact that this was also the idea behind the traditional large white sailor’s collar, it was designed to be removable and washable to protect the rest of the uniform.

Back to Pony, Helen felt that she was initially burdened by taking the piece too seriously, where as that was not her instinctive response to the piece, she felt she had been rewarded when she loosened up and took seemingly drastic action; trusting the instinct to play about with the piece.

Helen felt the entire process had been revealing and highlighted certain aspects of her practice. The nature of having a brief is quite rewarding sometimes the control or choice of subject matter is a burden. She felt it was benificial to have the peer group to talk things through with and most rewarding was the recognition that her own artistic voice was in fact unique, her contribution would be her own, not what anyone else would do, in that way it gave a kind of definition to her voice.

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