Making Meaning Membership

I’ve been a part of Ruth Singer’s ‘Making Meaning’ membership for a few months. I didn’t really know her work well, I’d seen some bits. But after reading up on it, I realised my work lacked this ‘deeper’ meaning. Where every mark and material choice and size and shape is there for a reason.

Ruth Singer ‘pierced’

After beginning to go through the course materials, starting a sketchbook, reading up on a topic – I’ve hit a block.

It’s one I recognise from university. And one that leaves me confused and stops me from playing with textiles – my favourite thing to do.

Here is my question within the membership group, explaining where I’m at. (Responding to a post about going deeper in your research instead of broader).

Hi Ruth, I’ve been thinking about this for a while… I don’t have a very defined question but writing the thoughts below seems to be helping.

There is something about this way of working – bringing in meaning and deeper research – that I do really enjoy (when it flows and sparks) but it also brings up a sort of overthinking block where I start going around in circles and not thinking straight or getting anything done (thinking ‘too hard’, I think!).

I’m flicking through my sketchbook, which is loosely about marks of time/memories and the physical act of recording time/memories. V. broad and there are about 20 ideas there which I could go deeper into. Every time I try and focus in to one thing I seem to get pulled back out into another. 

In general I enjoy systematic approaches, my dyslexic brain appreciates order and a certain way of doing things. So I get lost in the abstract and overly ‘big’ but then am really interested in very ‘big’ topics: space/time/connection/memories.

I think I need a hook which draws me in to one area/question to explore which then allows me to go deeper into it. I guess my question is, do you have any quick-fire approaches to narrow the thinking?

Writing this ramble, I keep going back to a personal memory linked to my research which was the reason I started on this topic. But I can’t imagine how to begin deeper research on this memory, without going back to the overflowing sketchbook…

So… just leaving this here for now really. I miss the simpler days where I could embroider a river and be happy with it. For now, I’ll continue to overthink. (I hope the membership gods answer my call, too.)

Amazing Arachnophilia by Tomás Saraceno

When you come across something that is so incredibly interesting it stops you from doing anything except going back and reading and scrolling and reading. Not sure how I found it but the Arachnophilia project by Tomás Saraceno and his studio and collaborators is incredible.

It seems to be a series of projects, spanning years and covering many different things relating to Spider/Web – written like that because the link between a spider and its web seems to be more ingrained and integral than most people think.

“The spider’s world is one of vibration. Essentially blind, the web-building spider creates an image of the world through the vibrations it sends and receives through the web, which also functions as an organic and specialised instrument for transmitting these seismic signals. The spider/web is thus considered a material extension of the spider’s own senses, and—some argue—of its mind.”

It’s quite hard to explain all the facets of the Arachnophilia project. (there are bloody loads!) But what I was most drawn to is the 3D mapping of the webs. It is, understandably, a very hard thing to do, and something that I think no one had done before. From figuring out how to do it they learnt about how different species live side by side and build these networks of shared information.

From these maps they created large 3D structures for people to interact with.

I like the analogies they make on the site between webs / networks / society / the cosmic web. It’s hard to explain but it’s super interesting.

(Also, kinda relevant – not relevant I just found an amazing spider silk thing which I’ll write up about here very shortly!)

My work in the theatre

It was a path I had no idea I would go down, but during 2021 I worked on the costumes for three plays in the Porto theatre.


The most recent was an adaptation of Shelagh Delaney’s play ‘A Taste of Honey’. Directed by Emanuel Rodrigues with a great cast of actors, it was really fun to pull these costumes together and to develop the characters through their clothes.

As Espingardas da Senhora Carrar

By Bertolt Brecht

A play about the Spanish Civil War by Brecht. Involving a priest, revolutionary, fisherman and widow.

Para não morrer assim, à vista de um sol assim

An emotional play about loneliness. Featuring a single actress ‘unravelling’ on stage.

Daily Practice – Day Sixteen

Couldn’t face / didn’t have time to do stitching today… but I sorted things out and played a bit and grouped things together and tidied my desk and generally stopped ignoring things. I even made a list of new samples I want to try AND samples I need to finish – or maybe adapt.