A (postponed) solo show by Mew Welch

My first-ever solo show was going to open at Stella Dore Gallery on July 3rd and this piece was going to be sandwiched in perspex to hang in the window. For obvious reasons, my show won’t happen now and neither will this piece get framed in perspex (I hadn’t quite finished it before lockdown became an everyday thing for us).

It then became clear that these rules resonated a little bit more than they had when I started making the piece last September, so last week I decided to finish it.

I’ve loved the work and the ethos of Sister Corita Kent for years. If you’re aware of the artist (activist/educator/nun) then you may be familiar with the rules she created for her students in the late 60’s. I have always found her rules both interesting and timeless and extremely relatable to my own practice, placing the importance on both work and play (play and having fun are two references that crop up loads in my stuff).

You will also notice that I have chosen only 4 of the 9 rules. The last rule, Rule 10 is actually a John Cage quote, its ace, check it out! (Cage would later appropriate Kent’s rules for his own teaching, calling them 10 Rules for Students and Teachers).

There are a few reasons for my choice: I was working within the restrictions of the window size; I could only afford to go this large for framing; there are four walls in the gallery and I wanted each wall to reflect a rule, well, my interpretation of the rules;I also wanted to choose four that were relatable to me, that resonated with me but also rules that I felt really meant something for now (now being the end of last year and the beginning of this and Brexit/post Brexit s**t show). 

I’m definitely not a political artist but I felt by using her rules as my restrictions, they would give some light relief and a different perspective on ‘now’ and the sense of unease. In my opinions Rules 1, 4, 6 and 9 did this.

Unfortunately, there will indeed be ‘new rules next week’ for sure, something that we are becoming all too familiar with but why not incorporate some of these into your everyday life also?

To make this piece, I bought some vintage fabric (locally) cut it into four pieces, hand dyed, painted and screen printed to create four slightly different backgrounds. I then individually cut each letter and smiley by hand to create stencils for the silk screen. Because I have only one screen and one table to work on, I was only able to print a maximum 10-15 words per day. Unintentionally, the banner has ended up measuring just under 2 metres in width, so I guess you can look and be socially distant all at the same time! 

It’s all so strange right now, don’t be too hard on yourself, ‘failing’ is so positive! 

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