Tag Archives: Wool

The Ghost of Good Fortune

I recently spent a lovely evening in the company of Samia and Paolo Tossio on their excellent Knit and Mix Facebook Live mash up. Samia talks and makes art with a guest while Paulo plays some excellent house music. You can visit Samia’s art page, and watch the recording, it’s a good blend of chaotic tuneful fun.

My plan was to make a free art drop live on the show, integrating some of my favourite artistic themes (the elements, movement, and impermanence), with wool, one of Samia’s favourite materials. Over the course of the two hours we spent together – three pieces of art emerged.

It had originally been my intention for this week’s free art drop to be the art work in the top left of the above photos. I had provisionally titled it ‘Wandering and Wondering’, and overnight – as the images wandered and wondered around my mind, my thinking shifted. Instead I was drawn to the tall striped piece – and this morning i added a koi fish to the painting.

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The koi represents good luck and abundance, and as this koi appears as a simple outline, I decided to call the piece ‘The Ghost of Good Fortune’. This will be the next free art drop – keep an aye out for it if you live in the Wallington and Carshalton area.

Spaces in Between – Part Two

I’ve just finished reading Wool by Hugh Howey. It’s a nerve jangling, thrilling tale of a not so distant future world that I don’t want to live in. You can read a review of the book here and check out the official Wool web site which uses the wonderfully no win strap line, ‘If the lies don’t kill you, the truth will’, as its forerunner of impending doom.

There’s a passage in the book where one of the leading characters, an engineer named Jules, manages to persuade the powers that be to turn off a vital piece of mechanical equipment for a few days, in order that she and others can strip it down, do some maintenance and make adjustments on it and reassemble it. Once reassembled, the machine will be more efficient than before. It’s a big risk – this piece of kit is very important, yet Jules wins the argument on the basis that a) it will run much better after it’s been worked on and b) if we don’t maintain it then one day it’s gonna blow. Those aren’t her words, I’ve just always wanted to write that phrase.

The work is undertaken. The pressure is on. Things are taken apart, polished, adjusted and reset. Tolerances are checked and double checked before nervously, the machine is reawakened. In its rebirth the machine performs so well that Jules and her fellow mechanics need a few seconds to realise it is active. What used to rattle, now hums.

Clearly Jules and her team are skilled engineers, but the great thing about machines is that you can recalibrate them, take them apart, replace worn cogs, adjust tolerances and make them more efficient. And for a machine to be efficient, the spaces in between have to be carefully managed, exact and precise.

Neatly stacked

Tightly packed

Manageable

Convenient

Easy

Tidy

And I may be wrong, I often am, but unless I’m in some Truman Show-esque joke, you’re not a machine, are you?

Mechanical efficiency. Human effectiveness. There’s a world of difference between the two.