We have created this blog to give contributors and anyone interested an insight into the work going on behind the scenes of The Unfinishable project. We will be updating every couple of weeks with pictures and news of the project's progress as we head towards the big unveiling of the 'Extravaganza' at the Knitting and Stitching Show in October, the first venue of the Tales of the Unfinishable exhibition tour. We will also be keeping you up to date with developments for the tour, the book, as well as any media coverage.
The Unfinishable project started as we questioned the motives behind creative work that had been started but never finished, kept, maybe hidden in cupboards, but never thrown away or made into anything else. Across the world ideas are often started but never completed- poems, paintings, songs, sentences...
As textile artists ourselves we realised we had several such pieces of work tucked away, unseen but carefully kept. So, focussing on our own area of textiles, we decided to ask our fellow makers to share with us their Unfinishables and the stories behind them. We have been overwhelmed by the response and, one year on, have been given well over 200 examples of Unfinishables and their stories, some funny, some sad. This is all the more amazing as we've seen that it's often hard to let go, to admit that what has been started will never be completed and for makers to consider the emotional and personal value of a piece. We look forward to sharing with you the next stages of the project. As we bring the Unfinishables out of the cupboards and into the light!
Felicitys Unfinishable- This is my appliqued patchwork that I started at the workshop, my first ever, which inspired me to embark on a City and Guilds embroidery course. I only had a little left to complete, but after the City and Guilds course I had changed too much in my sewing style to bring myself to finish it even though I had laboured so diligently over it before. It has been in the cupboard for 15 years, kept because it is full of the excitement of learning my first textile techniques. Also the fabrics hold memories of my childrens' clothes, now long grown out of.
Hazels Unfinishable- A few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop given by textile artist Karina Thompson in which she showed how she made and worked into faux chenille in exciting and radical ways. I was inspired and set to work using the technique over the following weeks. The outcome can often be a little random - different materials respond to slashing and brushing in differing degrees - but I liked the frisson that gave. My aim was to make a small panel which I could box frame. I did the layering using only recycled fabrics - old family clothing and offcuts friends had given me - and wanted the finished piece to be quite calming, rhythmical and aesthetically pleasing (to my eye). This Unfinishable piece is the closest I got to achieving this, and I was initially quite pleased with it, but what I hadn't bargained for was the strength of the memories/baggage that would accompany the fabrics peeping through from lower layers. Extra working and brushing to try to resolve this just made things worse. I can't look at the piece now, but I can't quite manage to discard it because it so easily could have been what I aiming for. So so close.
Due to its nature (and its name!) this project is a continuous undertaking so we are still collecting Unfinishables. Although the date for inclusion on the Extravaganza has past, amongst other ideas we are planning an online display of Unfinishables with their stories so would still welcome your contributions. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or clink on the link at the top of the page to visit our website for more information.