Monday, 2 October 2017

Necessary Beauty


  ''Beauty is not adventitious but essential''.
Nan Shepherd made this observation on a mountain.She was speaking of the curve of an eagles' wing or the movement of a running deer.Form and function are one and since nature is very efficient the shape of a birds wing is not coincidence. Beauty lies in the total fulfilment of purpose.
 In conversation with my partner in this residency, a consultant vascular surgeon, we tried to express this by saying that if it looks good it is good. Although this phrase is not as eloquent as Nan Shepherds' we were trying to get to the same understanding of our work, the idea of form and function. Some would consider beauty in a surgical stitch unnecessary but to us it implies a deeper understanding of our materials and their interactions.
  As an embroiderer a finished piece has different requirements to that of a healer and surgeon but we take the same route to get there. We understand the mechanics of the needle in material, the effect of tension on thread and needle and the micro movements involved in seating a stitch in place. If all these are correct and we fulfill our purpose in doing the stitch it is then beautiful.
  At this time of year my garden is busy with the work of the finest lacemakers in the world - spiders. I take advantage of the master class outside my studio and watch them not only create webs from nothing but also repair their successful  but damaged ones. I say this because such an efficient creature does not choose its spot in the garden lightly. It sets up a place of work and knows when it is a good one and stays there.
  The use of tension in their spinning is a thing of wonder. Science is still exploring the biomechanical marvel of spider silk and spider 'glue' but one thing is clear in their webs - there are no ugly webs only beautiful ones that keep them alive.

(quote from Nan Shepherd's 'The Living Mountain'.)

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