I’ve become very fond of Pinterest of late. For anyone who doesn’t know what it is, I guess I would define it as online mood boarding that can be shared amongst friends and colleagues (or just kept to yourself – I know several friends of mine are secretly planning their wedding on Pinterest.)
I’ve seen it become much more prevalent amongst colleagues, using it to generate ideas and explore themes and images. It is a brilliant way to do visual image searches and collate inspiration and expand upon ideas. I’ve been using it recently just for that. I set up several boards and have been pinning to them as I see fit. I guess, if anything, it tracks my interests and provides me with a huge, already processed, visual archive of material that I can turn to when approaching work.
One of the things I have been pinning is a lot of fabric manipulation. A board I created entitled “Textures and Materials” I started purely because I work with a lot of different materials, and I’m always inspired to see things used differently or how someone else has used the material.
A colleague, in going through this board, commented as to why I had pinned such much of this style of work. Images of neatly pleated fabrics, crazy patterns and twists encorporated into panels, samples of other materials being woven and interlocked into fabric. I took a moment to think about it, I had never really considered this before. I just liked it.
I taught a class this week to a group of foundation students at a drama school. The class focused on working with objects, not necessarily puppetry specific, but a more overall approach as to using objects in performance. One of the things that I was trying to get across to my students was that to a certain extent, the object will dictate. It will hold a certain set of qualties that will mean it will like to work in a certain way. Going against this will look odd or comical. For instance you could have a sword fight with two sticks as they remain straight and long like a sword and can be used to replicate many sword-like actions. Do the same fight with two belts and it will be a very different scene. Belts may be straight, but they aren’t stiff and are affected by gravity in the different way than a stick is. They like to be floppy – in this sense, your sword fight would become an effective battle with two ineffective whip like objects.
A eureka moment!
The reason that I like fabric manipulation is because whatever has been created is sympathetic to the qualities of the material. Some things like to be folded, somethings like to be cut clean and made structural, some things can support a different material in it etc etc. Yes, in this instance, the fabric has been directly tampered with, but it is all done in a way that the material “likes” to be tampered with. It’s why it is so effective.
As a lesson, materials and objects like to work in a certain way, let them. Think of it like a job interview… Recruit the best one for the job, and never be scared to explore other possibilities.
If anyone fancies perusing my Pinterest, link is here.