As seven of us –three craftspeople, four naturalists– work towards our show “Connections,” I have been reflecting on rigour. I associate it with care, attention to detail, and thoroughness. Detail comes by necessity to those who work in textile; we often we add up small stitches, weave structures and repetitive motions to produce the whole. In creating images, we pay attention to nuances of texture and composition to convey our ideas. Naturalists, too, whether amateur or professional, depend upon detail. The markings on a creature define its categorization. Small marks on a plant can indicate its health. Hiding places contain shy denizens. The quality of a sound can indicate the presence of something you would rarely see. Paying attention is important in either field. It sets the tone for how the work is done and received.
Herring roe on eelgrass, in progress
As I worked with Teresa Gagné, she examined my work with sharp eyes and pertinent comments: “That fish needs to be much bigger in relation to the others.” “That leaf’s veins are wrong.” “The slope needs more wrinkles.” As rigorous as I thought I was, there are things to improve, change and learn. And as Teresa compiles the small “field guides” that will accompany each piece, she finds that her depth of knowledge is increasing. As the components of and contributions to the work accumulate, so do the incremental interlocking pieces of understanding.
Wrinkled slope, in progress