Monday, 19 June 2017

Feeling Stones

Touch is crucial to our experience here on earth.
I suppose some of us become more immersed in the sense of touch than others.
I surely am drawn to expressing myself with thread and cloth
simply because of the immediacy and honesty of touch.
After all, your eyes can deceive you
but touch confirms that which your eyes can't believe.

In his book 'The Senses of Touch'
Mark Paterson reminds us of the expression
"Seeing is believing, but feeling's the truth".
Interesting how nowadays we seem to have dropped the second part.

Touch also makes me think of intimacy and proximity.
Holding my loved ones in my arms
gathering those little grand-girls in a close embrace
and I am eagerly awaiting being able to do exactly that very soon!

But there is more than the immediacy of touch on the skin.
I have always felt that
"Art can and should be a touching experience."
And Paterson goes on to explains this further
"Standing in front of a painting, appreciating a sculpture, or walking through a building, even if we are not permitted to physically touch the work we should at least be touched by it."

Therefore we feel or have a haptic experience
not only through our skin
but internally because of our aesthetic ability
for feeling, sensing and being affected
by what we see.
"Haptic Aesthetics"

 As a teen, before I thought of stitching as an expressive art form,
I loved (for teens always love or hate don't they!) the paintings of Cezanne.
I never understood why
but reading this book I am trying to understand why.
"Cezanne himself rather boldly declares that talking about art is almost useless since the man of letters expresses himself in abstractions whereas a painter, by means of drawing and colour, gives concrete form to his sensations and perceptions."
I think it must have been his direct approach
his ability of creating an aesthetic haptic experience for me
because of his ability to translate depth, smoothness, softness, hardness and even smell into paint.

He was able to "paint the sensation".
I am still absorbing and thinking
trying to simplify Paterson's complex thoughts
and bring them into daily life in the studio.
Working towards stitching the sensation
Sometimes successfully
Sometimes not so
but somehow people like us are driven to try and try again.

I hope you have a haptic aesthetic experience today!


  1. Great rocks as usual. Also rather like your philosophical essay.

  2. l love your rocks, I'm right with you on touch, I am keenly aware of it, I touch everything! It is so hard to see beautiful stitches and not touch. I understand the damage that could be done but the aching desire to touch is very real for me. I am a gardener and getting my hands dirty is a pleasure. I've not been a fan of Cezanne, his work, to me, is really out there, in your face, intense

  3. Yes indeed. The astronaut Alan Bean is a painter as well, and his paintings of the moon and moon landings are very colourful, not at all as they are for real, because he says he's painting how it felt to be there. Looking at his paintings gave me my one moment of understanding how one might want to be an astronaut!

  4. that last rock is perfect Penny, I can feel the stitches through the ether! exploring the need to touch too by investigating what we read through the haptic sense of touch in stitch with my current body of work, Braille for the Soul

  5. Just holding a rock in my hands makes me feel so insignificant ... it being SO OLD and poor me feeling 'so old' ... wishing that I could be THAT old ;) ... we are but blips on a radar ! Then I am touched !

  6. Good post Penny - thank you. xx

  7. How true that touch is so important. For me, the sense of touch is all part of seeing an object. So many things I see , particularly on the internet, would be so much better if only I could touch them too.


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