Orange art group: August 2020


Stitching memories from the past, into the present and following the stitches to an anticipated future isn’t a way of life any more.

We have had to cut so many threads in mid-stitch because of the effects of the virus.

Travel plans, family reunions, shopping, schooling, daily routines, seeing friends, touching, seeing full faces and many more patches that make the cloth of our lives, have been cut into or cut up. We have been cut off from so much of what we did, what we thought we knew and what we took for granted. We are, after 130 days of lockdown learning to live with adjusting ourselves to change.

Each day brings new threads, dangling, ready to be imagined into a future which we hope for; but even hope is retreating and is often absent these days. Unexpected memories surface and memories, like nursery rhythms that we knew so well, are difficult to retrieve. There is a fatigue as the virus persists; a cutting edge between crippling anxiety and pragmatic living has to be negotiated daily.

The stitches that join the past, present and future have been cut by the COVID-19 virus; a pandemic of the mind and of the body. We find threads to stitch and mend this cut with what energy we have on a daily basis.

The cuts made by the effects of this virus need all our attention. The cuts affect each one of us and the whole wide world. We need to take a good look at what is exposed and find ways of gathering the threads, threading the edges together and move forward, slowly and surely, making a great quilt of healing.

 To Cut paper. To Cut cloth. Cut lino. Cut out. Cut into. Cut across. Cut off. Cut back. Cut around.

Cut down. Cut loose. Cut hours/cut time. Cut and stitch. Cut and paste. Cutting, as in a remark.

Cut flowers. To cut hair, (this takes you into many stories and rituals) A woodcut. The cutting edge……. cutlet, cutlery, cut e.

Other words that relate to cut.

 Separate, Lacerate, wound, chip, rip, shave, slit, snip, trim, mark, notch, furrow, incise.

Cut your coat to suit your cloth.

Task 1;

Please make sentences using the word cut or a related word.

  • g. to cut across our expectations.
  • A deep cut into an orange provides more juice.
  • We cut the cake and sing….
  • A short cut across the field.
  • Cut into the design, not across it.
  • The acid made fine cuts into the plate…
  • The sharp blades from many boots cut shining patterns into the ice.

From your sentences, you can grow paragraphs.

You will discover an image, many images when you start seeing them in the sentences.

 There are certainly many sentences and images out there using cut as a starting point.

This is a way into finding new images.  

Options; You might be able to join the images into a story. OR, each image you find may grow into its own story.

For this project keep the sentences short and descriptive so that you see the colours and shapes in the images.

The point is to keep writing sentences and high light the images as they come up.

e.g. “cutting across the field of fading yellow wheat in the late afternoon on my horse, I saw a new path up the mountain. I sat under the umbrella of the old stone pine tree, feeling its trunk supporting my back while I listened to the geese nesting for the night, deciding what to do next.”

 My picture/image would be of a yellowing field, a tree, the evening sky, a mountain, a horse and geese and me perhaps.

 All of these together make a narrative in a landscape.

 Or I could edit these two sentences and make new images, e.g. a tree in a field at sunset, with a path cutting across the field to the tree.

Task 2;

writing is drawing

Please handwrite these sentences with different media on to sheets or notes of paper and stick them on the walls.  Cut the sentences and stick them next to other sentences, making a new image. Keep playing with the images that come up until one “rings a bell”, “you see it” and then highlight it.

Those are the images you will work with.

(Imagine every room, dining room, bedroom, passage, bathroom, kitchen…. full of handwritten sentences that are actually images; A kind of graffiti in your home. You could write on the walls directly and then paint over the sentences you want to change. Or make a board to stick your sentences to or a blackboard you can write on in different colour chalks.)

Materials; typing paper, newspaper, brown wrapping paper, till rolls, press stick, masking tape, acrylic paint, markers, charcoal….

Please photograph these “artworks” and post them.

 Task 3;

Once you can see a few images clearly in your mind because of what you have written, you need to make those images.

*You might continue with your miniatures to begin with.  You may start with a narrative in a landscape and change it to a collage of shapes. Working small allows for easy shape-changing.

 *You may work large and then crop into areas that work well. (crop into means cut out)

*You can make changes to your story, (I will use my story as an example) by leaving the horse out, or enlarging the tree in relation to the mountain etc. The evening light might change to full summer, mid-day light.

 *You might just start painting, collaging or drawing on paper or canvas and let the image take you on a journey.

 *You might illustrate a story, one paragraph /image at a time, like a comic or cartoon or storybook.

Use an old book, a yellow pages or phone book, an old diary or a new journal. Make a book by folding paper to the size and textures you want to work with.

(e.g. the person on the horse may camp under the tree and the next morning take the new path up the mountain and discover…. a lake….)

*You might decide to do a series of little clay sculptures of horses or trees……?

*make a mobile of geese flying.

* a woodcut or linocut, or print from a potato cut….

 (these images are from my story; you will find your own images.)


The point is you need to cut into your imagination and cut loose from preconceptions, habits and expectations so that you can find a new way of working with new ideas and images. Old ways often inform new ways; I am not saying cut away, cut off from your experiences. I am suggesting there is more to find; ideas, skills and item in your “making box”, will take you forward.

I hope these ideas give you a clean cut into a creative future.

As a painter, I will probably always go back to paint on canvas or paper but deviating into using and exploring different materials and /or ideas informs my practise, my way of seeing, use of colour and application of materials.

 I look forward to your images posted on the Monday gallery WhatsApp group. (Task 2 and task 3)

 I will share them on the Monday_orange Instagram page.

 Enjoy August as we head towards spring.

Jill Trappler.