The ‘real’ moths of the Solway are going to be joined by six fictional moths based on illegal night-time activities.
They are based on an incident last year when, during lockdown, someone dumped two televisions, a glass TV stand, a dart board, a shattered bathroom mirror, speaker and two vacuum cleaners in the ditch in the wood nearby.
I am in the process of creating moths using Rorsach ink blots, layering up colour. I am using colours and forms that connect to ideas of sickness, pollution, corruption, otherness. The coated paper and the viscosity of the ink creates dendritic patterns that in turn look like feathers, ruffles, veins, staining or fur. The patterns mirror each other in minute detail.
The work becomes performative. I concentrate on the gestures and the pressure of my fingertips. I take the paper over to the window and look at the sheen of the ink, how it drips when I tilt the page. I work quickly, making branches of a evolutionary tree where one moth generates another in form and colour, speeded-up mutations dependent on the ink on my palette and brush. I create a moth-house of fluttering, varied shapes that are shuffled around like playing cards.
I reject very few moths. I do not know the outcomes and leave the judging until I have completed a series.
The weighting of my criteria for keeping a print are varied but can be categorised with these questions:
- Does it look like a real moth?
- Is it too pretty?
- How would it survive alongside the illegal activity? What would be its food, its behaviours? What smells, lights, chemicals would attract it?
As usual, I am drawn to making this work with others. I think it’s the openness of the activity. I shy away from saying that it can reveal how calm/agitated one is feeling, but the concentration and focus requires a meditative state of mind.
I like the ink moths as objects in themselves.
I now need to select 6 moths, create scientific names, common names and descriptors for them. I need interpret them as reduction linocuts and print them onto the partners of the pages already printed with real moths and use letterpress to print the text. Then binding the books. Edition of 10. This will take a while.