Garden is still growing.

img_20190712_095536111The garden is expanding. I found a tiny patch of North Yorkshire where some dumped topsoil has bloomed with a vibrant collection of poppies. So how come the ones in my garden are naff colours and these, orphans on the roadside, are fabulous in colour and form!!

And the result? Can I mix the garden style with a broader landscape? I don’t want it to be a standard applique picture,  but something more….. other. How can the garden style adapt?

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Detail of gardenV

In its barest form it is multi layered line drawing, some bold, some more pattern orientated. The richness and improbability of the velvet gives it  luxury. Combine the two and you get an exuberence, changing as the sheen and pile on the velvet catch the light so the colours and stitching appears and disappears.

I use line differently in the landscapes- there it also is used to create direction, or hatched to make tone or volume. FBrammer-Folding Landscape (2)


And what about perspective? The landscapes rely on it, the gardens mostly work as a flat picture plane. It isn’t really surprising that I am hovering on the brink of this one.

 

It is the contradiction in approach that really has me stumped. For one it is about adding and adding, more colour, more line, moreness personified. On the other it is about making spaces, reducing, removing, using less.  Are they  going to have a common ground or is this about working the two as conflicting ideas and let them argue?

Is this a new situation? Nah. It is frustrating- I want to get straight on in there. But even more frustrating is that this seems to be an essential part of my creative process. I have always hated it if asked a question when the answer is already known. I do get stale if it is too easy….Pah.

And today-  nothing will happen- I am manning the exhibition at Art in the Mill, Knaresborough, with others of the York Textile Artists.  We are there to engage with the visitors, trying to appear knowledgeable and interesting,  but I think alot of gossip and giggling will also happen. Please do come by if you can, the show is on until the 19th, it would be great to say hello!

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I won’t even be watching the Wimbledon Mens’ final!!!  Hope it is as good as the Mens’ Doubles last night.

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New Garden

20190702_083204-collageAnd this what happened…..  P1180545

after those more exploratory photos, after deciding just to use line and layer  and layer. I want the complexity of the plants growing in and through each other, the idea that it changes, it is emphemeral, and makes its own rules….   then there is the sheen on the velvet – as you can see at times the stitching just disappears. Usually when I am trying to sew it!img_20190703_171509739

At the next stage – some how the pink helps a little- it is the hottest, boldest pink I have over the top of flame red! The background isn‘t really this dark,  more of a golden greeny darkish sort of colour – but mostly all you notice is the velvet’s plush surface quality.

All this is how it is now. It is in a plain frame testing whether it looks finished – I think it might be. The temptation is to add more, and more, and then some fabric bits, some texture, but I am still trying to keep it pared down in the lumpy bumpy department.  Still not sure it looks like mine, some of the shapes…. ? and that emerald green… far too close to veridian…more adventurous with detail or less?… variety of scale?  I guess more to do.

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And don’t forget the York Textile Artists’ exhibition in Knaresborough – on until 19th July and totally amazing. See our social media or sign up for the group’s newsletter for the preview’s photos. I also heard this morning that I have been selected for the Great North Art Show so see you in Ripon!

 

Exhibition ON

The Art in the Mill Gallery, Green Dragon Yard, Knaresborough, Yorkshire.  Wild about Textiles, summer selling exhibition by the York Textiles Artists group. On until 19th July.  Utterly gorgeous, please visit, and if you don’t know Knaresborough, it is a gem of a market town, medieval castle, Mother Shipton’s Cave,…..

Advert over: back to the garden series.p1180508

Well, that didn’t take long.  All of the garden worp1180487-collagek so far is in Knaresborough, looking good, but it is their first public appearance so please be nice!  A new length of muslin has been painted to make scarves, a piece of velvet has been tie dyed and is drying in the garden so new work is about to happen.    I have been sat in the garden with a camera while I wait, which  is fine,  but I don’t want to stitch a photo. The first batch are too ‘ picture’, I would end up copying detail and perspectives. Not what I want from this series, so I have been changing depth of field, focus, lighting, really playing with how I use the camera.

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And  so much better. This is closer to how I have been painting the fabrics and stitching, those layers, part seen shapes, edges, blurring, patterns and suggestions. Is this more control or less?   Now to start on the front flower garden! 

 

 

Meet Garden IV – It has come together quite quickly, not finished, but not far away.img_20190616_131721563

This is again based on my little front garden. This is my colour space, my home head space – it is right out side the workroom window. It is a joy watching it grow, even the weeds, and given half a chance I sit on the front step in the sunshine with a coffee and see the plants at their own level. Apologies to the neighbours.

The idea is not to reproduce as in a photograph but to try to give an impression of the garden, so no individual plant details just notions of shapes, scale, textures and colours, and back to no real sense of perspective other than by layering.

This has a fulltime velvet ground, two differnet kinds, one part dyed and pieced with the nap running in different directions so that it catches the light differently. And then off with the stitching, and then more stitching, and even more. The fabric patches – silk chiffons and red velvet were scrap donations from Natalie and Ruth, local textile artists who have just joined the same exhibiting/support group-  York Textile Artists.

Then more stitch – simple leaf patterns, layered up in different colours, scale and orientation. The hard bit is not to get stuck in representation. The trick seems to be to have multiple viewpoints so the relationships between the different areas changes and boundaries are fluid.

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The back – remarkably like the initial sketch ( reversed of course)

The current status is close, the background needs more tone and contrast, and it is missing the yellow weeds which should give the foreground more pop. I feel a bit of a pluck coming on, so out with the pointy tweezers of doom.

There is only a week of making time left before the group exhibition so it had better happen quickly!!

Remember – 28th June 7-9pm Preview  Event, 29th til 19th July – exhibition – Wild About Textiles.  At the Art In The Mill Gallery, Knaresborough.

Garden III

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Garden III is making slow progress,  more of that, garden II is about to be properlyframed, but what has taken most energy is prepping for the Knaresborough exhibition. All that needs doing is finishing work, framing, newsletter, social media promotions, co ordinating group members and gallery, herding cats, biting furniture, gentle running round in circles and mild panic. And all of the usual day to day business as well. Which all equals chaotic headless chicken-ness.

It is going to be fun. Just a couple of weeks to get it sorted out.

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And back to Garden III  – This has been stitched, trimmed, plucked and stitched; and still doesn’t look much different. The first layers of flowers are in place – these will be the amorphous blobs in the background with bolder shapes and tufts of fine silk to give it body over the top. The velvet is enjoying itself, it is eating all of the colour I put on, do you believe there is burgundy, royal purple, dull straw and  bright straw, bright navy and of course 5 shades of green, and pale grey and white in there?

There is the splashes of flower colour, stems and balancing to do, and then it will be done. Say it quickly, and it sounds easy….

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garden II: ii

Not much mileage yet, but ideas and prep are in train. I shall claim to have been distracted by a visit to Croome Court, Worcestershire , and Grayson Perry’s Battle of Britain and Landscape tapestries.  His work is always worth a look, these were impressive, detailed and full of quirky character.

I am still not entirely sure that these are finished, they are loosely placed in raw frames, just to get an impression.  They are not as I had thought initially or planned initially, mostly because of the quality of the velvet, as a colour, and as a surface.

In garden III  there will be less velvet, more spaces, and a more simplistic approach.

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The hold up is waiting for the velvet to dry after last minute dyeing. It has a denser and longer pile than before and was originally a plush golden beigey browny non colour, and is now a lustrous beigey olivey green with a bit of a bed-head nap.

It will be based on this sketch from the parents’ garden. And to be awkward I might img_20190605_162822617try this old sample of embroidery. Current plan – loosely applique the velvet to the base-  underlying the hedge and flower areas. Probably patched to get different directions of nap. Dense cross hatching on the hedge. Then lines describing the foliage and flowers will be in a dark neutral and  colour and details will follow.

How much will be as expected? Hmm…

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Don’t forget the upcoming York Textile Artists exhibition, “Wild About Textiles” , in Knaresborough. Preview on 28th and then it runs until the 19th of July. Should be great fun, it is a very friendly gallery and a beautiful historic space.

Garden II

Great things are happening! Huge progress made!! It looks fab! You will be amazed!!!

Well, I would be too.

In other words – status = fairly normal. But in a big way.

There are elements that are coming together – I am not trying for an identify the flower, walk that path, kind of image – too obvious?  My garden is about growiness not rigid control or any form of ‘aren’t I clever’. It tends to happen, mostly without me. I let things grow to find out what they are and also let them stay long past their ‘best’. It is this chaotic nature I want, the mixture of shapes and forms aswell as colour. At the moment a native geranium is wrestling for world domination with the ladies mantle while the bugle knows it is still king, the rebellious  forget me nots  are in colonising mode, and the giant poppy plants – new arrivals this year- who have seeded in weird places  currently looking like snooty lettuces…..

I sit and watch and just dwell. The individual plants are not important, it is the whole, seen from the corner of an eye,  how it moves in the wind, the sounds, the light catching foliage edges or reflecting off raindrops, glimpses of form and colour. That is what I want on cloth.  Not too much?img_20190526_085215897

So layering, cutting away, drawing shapes and patterns, multiple layers of colour and stitch, incomplete edges, suggestions and hints. And this is the beginnings. The shot velvet is a menace but also gives alot, I have found that I can pluck it with the Pointed Tweezers of Doom and create areas of a smooth soft brick red. The thread colours are gobbled up by it but remerge if enough stitching is done. The laid fabric goes into a strange perm-like frazzle if pushed. All in all it is an adventure.  img_20190526_085241263

At present the purples dominate but the next colours are going to be other brights, pale blue, mauves, hot pink and an orange or two, to create more focal points. Then more green and blues and deep colours to disrupt or emphasise those and then….. don’t know. Everything is changing as the idea gets its corners worn off and new opportunities arise.  Bit of a roller coaster actually, and not a gin bottle in sight!