I'd got stuck. I was still making the shirts, but I started to feel like they were too shirty, and not communicating enough about the stories they hold. I talked to other people and have to thank Catrina McHugh Artistic Director of Open Clasp Theatre Company (www.openclasp.org) for the advice. "Ask more people, write about it on Facebook, ask other people if they think the shirts are saying anything." So I did. And now I'm making shirts that I feel much happier with. I hope that the shirts are starting to move beyond interpreting masculinity through colour, texture and design. I'll leave audiences to judge.
I've done two more events with Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives. The first at the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead again. Things went better this time. Thanks to Kate Sweeney (www.thumbprod/wordpress.com) for reminding me to keep it simple and keep it clean. No pens this time, no extra sewing machines, just the simple stripped bear shirts and sewing machine. It worked so much better. And, without any signs or instructions people just asked if they could try on the shirts. Success!
Big thank you to Phyllis Christopher (phyllischristopher.com) for the beautiful photographs. Here are just a few....
On 12th April I had my first shirt-making at The Discovery Museum. It was great to be in such a busy space, with children charging through the gallery and exhibition spaces. Museums are so different from my childhood, and that's a good thing, more playgrounds and attractions that quiet places of reverence.
On boy said a brilliantly philosophical thing that made me think about what an artistic object really is. He can only have been 6 or 7. He picked out the shirt made from the Financial Times;
Boy: Look it's a shirt made out of newspaper
Me: Do you like it?
Boy: Yeah, I like the colour
Me: Would you wear it?
Boy: No it's not a shirt, it just looks like one.
...Is that this the Schrodingers cat of the quest?