How to find the way in

In the Wandoo Conservation Park

After finding bones and bark in the Wandoo Conservation Park west of Beverley

110420131247I drove back through the farm lands; fence posts whizzing past, paddocks on both sides.

Murray Bail said that the indent of a paragraph is like the gate to a paddock. It is the way in.  For a long time I have been looking for a way in to a piece of cloth. What is the gate or indent that allows entry? Otherwise it is too much like a painting or photograph, it is just there, take it or leave it, dictating instead of revealing and relating.

The reader can’t take in the paragraph instantaneously, the eye must move along the text, even retrace and repeat if necessary. A visitor to a paddock also has to enter and traverse the paddock. Think of seeding or harvest, going methodically over the paddock ground. As grazing sheep do in their own practised way.

A painter would argue that to properly see a painting the eye must move across the surface. True, but it is possible to have an instantaneous, complete impression in a way that is never possible with text, or land, or the complete qualities of a textile.

To journey two (detail)How to get beyond the surface, to cross over the selvedge or hem.

Is touch the way in?


  1. Ruth,
    Love this piece if writing. A real insight to your thoughts. Has they way into the cloth not been there all along? The cloth IS the indent and the mark/stitch the way in. Particularly when you have woven the cloth to begin with. Just a thought.


    1. Thanks Franco,
      I was thinking mainly about a large piece of cloth, dyed with lots of marks. The marks seem to fill the surface and seem almost like a barrier. I experience a physical resistance to cutting, folding or piercing the cloth with stitches. With the two cloths I’m working on now I have had to persist with stitching and tearing for at least six hours to overcome the resistance; then it is like a switch flicking on, and suddenly the work starts to flow. It is an odd sense of collaboration, between the cloth and me.


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