Saturday, July 04, 2009

Meditations with Matisse

Last night I picked up the book "Matisse: His Art and His Textiles" I had waiting for me on the studio work bench. I would share a few sections of the first essay by Hilary Spurling that I liked.

"Matisse's Fabric collection served him as a combined archive and tool-store all his life. He called it 'my working library', taking sections of it with him whenever he switched studios between Nice and Paris, sending for others as and when he needed them, constantly replenishing the collection from oriental carpet shops and clothing stores, radically extending it at intervals in the bazaars, souks and market stalls of Algeria, Morocco and Tahiti, or at end-of-season sales of Parisian Haute Couture."

"Mattise drew on his working library to furnish, order, and on a deep, instinctual level, to compose his paintings. Fabrics made him feel at home. Like virtually all his northern compatriots, he had an inborn appreciation of their texture and design. He understood the propertites of weight and hang, he knew how to use pins and paper patterns, and he was supremely confident with the sissors."

"He said that sissors in his hands became a tool 'as sensitive as pencil, pen or charcol - maybe even more sensitive'."

Afterwards, as I sat pinning bunting triangles, watching the fabric, its treads, admiring the richness of colour dyed into the textile, I remember the lines above and smiled.

*text from pages 16 and 17. Image above "Still Life with Geraniums", Henri Matisse, 1910, oil on canvas, 94.5 x 116 cm.


jude said...

i love this post. it hits close to my heart as i sit here amongst recently stacked textiles of my own making. mostly woven. and as i cut into many of them to use as elements in new work.

Florence Forrest said...

It always means a great deal to me when something I've posted strikes a cord with you, Jude :)