Ravelling and Unravelling

It’s over a year since I last posted on this site. To be precise, 54 weeks. My husband died back in January after a very long illness and during the final months, and after his death, many friends suggested that I must be, or they hoped I was, or I should try,  throwing myself into art. This is in no way a complaint; these were positive and sensible suggestions. I thought so too. The only problem was, I didn’t want to.  I didn’t want to go to galleries; I didn’t want go up into the studio;  I didn’t want to pick up a paintbrush or make something; watching Netflix and eating chocolate biscuits seemed way more appealing. Even though I suggested to Patrick Jones who runs the amazing Project 78 gallery in St Leonard’s that I might do something there; when the time came to start, I didn’t really feel like that either. But I was committed, so something had to happen.

Project 78 is a space which allows experiments to take place; unlike many galleries, there is the opportunity to develop something rather than just display a finished product. I showed  my floating sculptures there back in 2016; this time I had a different starting point – Black Hole; New Beginning which I had made last summer.


This piece was inspired by an article I read in New Scientist that it was possible that black holes sucked in matter, and maybe pumped them out into a different dimension. I find that thought appealing.  In case you wondered the blue gassy bits are being pumped out, the swirly bits on the right are being sucked in.

On  Monday I put it on the wall. It seemed small. It in no way filled the space, far less met the brief to respond to it.  More was clearly needed. I pulled out Fault in the Fabric of Time from under the eaves of the studio; previously it had been wrapped round the wall in the Murmurations Gallery. This time I set it up as a free standing version. This is also about time; the stripey bit are rock strata; the multi coloured bits represent the Anthropocene, the era in which we live. They all eventually get pulled through the funnel of time and end up, with a nod to string theory, as deconstructed matter.


Still the space seemed to require more. More stuff on the floor, I decided. The strings are created from unravelling hessian. I feel this works in several ways; the act of unravelling seems appropriate as the whole piece is about time and change;  it produces these wonderfully sinuous fibres. Unravelling is in itself a restful, relaxing activity. So Wednesday saw me with a growing heap of hessian strands. Then it struck me that the half unravelled  piece I was working on resembled a prayer shawl.  Maybe it should go on the wall. It appeared human; I made it more so. From there six hessian figures, or,  possibly, shrouds, appeared; all partly unravelled as will happen to all of us one day.


Somehow the space still demanded more. Black Hole; New Beginning still seemed too small and insufficiently complex. I added more material both being sucked in and being pumped out.


I was happier now that this work was interacting with the space but it seemed curiously detached from Fault in the Fabric of Time. We pushed that piece into the far corner; they both had more room to breathe.

Clearly they needed joining up as well. It was only then that the thought occurred to me, which should have been obvious all along, that the unravelled matter should also be sucked towards the black hole. It could then start the process afresh in a different universe. Ravelings, unravellings in infinite space and infinite time. And so the hessian heap stop being random and gained a sense of direction.


It all comes down later today but visitors who watched the process seemed to like it. More important to me is that I think I now might, just might,  start work on something else.