Yesterday I went to an opening at my very favourite gallery, Swoon. It is a smallish gallery to look at, crowded into a house, spotted by its huge pink sign on Hammonds Plains Road. Without the sign, you’d drive on by, assuming the house was merely a home of someone with eclectic tastes in outdoor sculpture.
Inside is a texture- lover’s paradise. I can hear my father’s voice telling me to “look with my eyes”, but I can’t. There are luscious pottery mugs, earthen ware ones beside thin thin deliciously wobbly lighter ware. There are rough raku pieces, their metallic sides calling for a touch. I meant to buy a smoke-fired vase there yesterday but was too dazzled to remember – I’ll simply have to go back, soon.
Ceramic geese women, dressed in bathing suits, lounge on the antique furniture, the wood gleaming and caressable, history in every line. Crows and squashy pottery animals with haunted eyes peer out from china cabinets.
Upstairs, vintage clothing hangs out with shoes made of melted records, salt and pepper shakers of every kind trot along shelves, and folk art carvings make visitors laugh while they cuddle the stuffed animals made from reclaimed wool. There’s a dragon in that room that desperately wants to come home with me…
In another room, felted household objects lead you to carved tree roots that are so smoothly turned that your hands cry out to cup them, stroke them, hear the tree stories through your fingertips.
And everywhere on the walls, spectacular art: etchings in one room, encaustic oils and watercolours in the upstairs bathroom, acrylics here and there, hung to optimally show their colours and lights.
In the hallway, paintings of sea creatures that never were enchant the eye and cause a smile.
On the main walls this time, a wonderful display. The challenge: copy in rug hooking a painting or art object previously on display at Swoon. The results? Fantastic! Such creativity in choice of materials for hooking, such patience (many of the rugs were hooked with tiny tiny width wools), such wonderful mimicry! The original art chosen, splendid in its own right, was enhanced and reinterpreted in the hooked interpretations.
I couldn’t help myself. I touched everything. I’m sorry, artists of Swoon, and Brandt. But it’s your fault. Everything is so touchable.
And now I feel like ripping out every rug I’ve done and starting over, trying again for the right colour, the right feeling, the best it can be.
See, the worst thing about Swoon is that I’ve tried most of the art techniques demonstrated to such a high level in the gallery. I’ve tried them, so I know how much work and thought and time and practice it takes to make them so good.
I know there’s not enough time left in my life to get anywhere close to such mastery, but that won’t keep me from trying, in some areas at least.
Thanks for the inspiration, the feelings, the utter joy….