Saturday, November 26, 2016

heard her speak

   It was the miniaturist Ambreen Butt who talked about the lengthy steps making her art. The wesselly was a paper surface made of gluing fine cotton to silk - then flattening the sheet with pressured passes of a conch shell. Top to bottom and right to left - over all. Brushes were made from squirrel tail hair put in a pigeon shaft. Tiny distinct marks placed in layers to create the intended pattern. 
    She described the intimacy of working. Sitting on the floor with her painting in her lap, taking the time to do it. "A very meditative process," she said. 
     As she continued about her ideas, she kept coming back to the layers, the process. The words that came to my mind were TEDIOUS and INTENTIONAL and ENGAGED and IMMERSED.   
    Mylar plastic sheets with the slight brushed on layer of transparent acrylic paint. Something for the watercolor strokes to rest upon.     
    Outline drawings of people. Her pushing a threaded needle through the layers of plastic. "piercing the layers with thread" for the six foot tall creation.  
    Gentle mark making with pencils shaved careful to a point for her work "Ideas Of Rightness And Wrongness." How she had trained to apply slight pressure in those graphite drawings.      


    My mind drifting to the nylon thread stitched under burlap and around the tree branch. Selecting shapes from materials I have chopped apart - squashed dirty plastic bottles and slivered aluminum. Laying out arrangements on the burlap screen. The absence of music - shuffling shoes on the floor - my mind engaged - drinking in - floating on - what will click what the materials will speak - the arrangement being next to butted up against another shape. The opened bent back flanges of soda can remind me of The One, like a bird, like a star, his presence  wanting to be right next to mine - active - influencing  leading  cheering and molding our dance together. Mashed and stripped long bean pods from Shanklin Street - a rust fuzzy layer from inside a carpet pad - sunglasses in a bottle. I am placed   where his ways   can be remembered. His hands shaping my heart to receive his mercy and laughter.      
    Ambreen's talk on Saturday left me feeling KINDRED to those important steps of making - what I call lemteyoso.  
   I told her afterwards that "all the time you put into the producing the work will not be appreciated by the audience. But I am glad you told us about the steps and their importance to you." I shook her hand and blessed her. She smiled. And gave me her signature.  
    Collages for me. Arabic letters and resin for her.

bean pods 

fuzzy rust

 me in bottle

being next to another shape

untitled collage
karl marxhausen

Pakistani artist Ambreen Butt website:

Ambreen's presentation in Kansas City.


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