A few months ago a friend who lives some distance away visited me in my studio and brought with her some of her embroidery to show me. We decided to work on a collaboration--she would bead some cloth and then I would make a book using the cloth for the cover. We agreed on A6 as an approximately size. Weeks later a exquisite beaded piece of silk arrived and I began to wonder if I had bitten off more than I was prepared for...I make books that are imperfect: papers of varous types, papers hand-cut and folded, no one book the same size as the next. What is more, the cloth was stripped
(meaning that placement on the book board had to be exact) and the beading filled most of the surface. Cloth shifts as it is attached to the board, so I made some prototypes as I also felt the embroidery should be placed over a layer of (quilt) wadding before attaching it to the cover board.
And I've been left wondering: was this a collaboration? Yes and no.
Yes, because we had discussed it as a joint project and more specifically, as a collaboration. As such it involved trust (particularly because my friend has put a significant amount of work into the embroidery, which I could have damaged or destroyed during my part of the process).
No, because we put the end-product at risk because we had not had an understanding of each others processes in the making--a dialogue in the intial stages of planning...type of cloth, size of design...an understanding of each others working process. Perhaps these are the reasons I was wanting to be involved in a collaboration--the chance to discuss processes of working with, and learn from someone else. And to make connections one with another.
I think I'm asking to be involved in another collaboration!