The Black Orchid
Simplicity, light, colour, freedom, movement - everything your heart can feel may become visual. For a long time, I have been dreaming of getting an idea of what Japanese ink painting is. Fundamentally different in style and tradition from what I have got used to. It has more in common with meditation and philosophy than traditional painting that I did at art school.
Since different degrees in tones do not represent various shades of light or brightness. They create a sense of colour by building contrast. Our understanding does the same, reflecting the diversity of humans. Ink painting is not aimed to create a realistic image. It interprets an expression of perception by simple strokes and floating movements.
This inspired me to try embroidery, for which I thought I had lack of courage, skill and patience. I thought blackwork to be strict, incredibly precise, well-disciplined, an activity conducted by the head, not by emotions. Luckily, even in such an extremely fine technique, I have found a loophole to do this with freedome. With a fine strand of silk thread I “retell” the story which I have painted with ink. I use the same approach as Sumi-e explains: “By a single line, a variety of textures can be created”. I would rather say it a bit differently: “By a single stitch, you may create an illusion of surface, texture and objects”.
Black and white turned to be simpler than I have thought them to be, but at the same time, they made me plunge into a new form of interest. Blackwork opened me a sort of enjoyment and rewarded my efforts with a piece of which I feel a certain pride. Sumi-e exercising deliberately challenged me to “reconsider” the painted design using embroidery; to escape from the difficulties of choosing the best colour, taking the most simple and surely, extremely complicated ones.
Each stitch, looking plain, turned my critical eye on and gave me mental food while I have been choosing between light and shadow, “colouring” the leaves with dozens of nuances of black, simply embroidering them by a single strand of black silk. From now I can say that it has been like unfolding a long, sustained argument of a proposition, composed of many parts, driven by a unity of concept and discipline. Also, behind all that deliberate strictness, I still found some room for my spontaneousness, freedom and intuitive action.