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A Stitchery Interview.

I made a pact a few years ago not to say ‘no’ to new  opportunities just on auto pilot.  Self made ruts can be very deep and then become destructive. Being ‘safe’ isn’t always safe. When things go wrong there is always comfort eating (indulgence), hillwalking (exertion) or attacking the garden with sharp implements (aggression).

This is why I said yes, cautiously at first,  to the approach made by Susan Weeks to ‘appear ‘ on her stitchery stories podcast.stitchery stories

I hadn’t come across Susan’s work or site before, well worth a look/listen, the interviews are fascinating ( go very well with a coffee and bourbon creams).

I hate the sound of my own voice,  cringe at the pompous vocab left over from the formality of the education world, and generally like to change my mind and opinions every time the wind blows from the west. So, yes, an obvious thing not to do. The last interview I did was for local TV news when doing costumes for the York Mystery Plays – seriously embarrassing – even my specialist doctor saw it and commented on it several months later!

 

So said yes and did it – over the internet, so not even properly face to face! Feel the terror at giving up control! Susan was very good, easy to talk to and completely professional in her approach and preparation – unlike me.   Thank you  to her for the opportunity and outcome!  It was broadcast last week.

Fran-Brammer-Stitchery-Stories-Textile-Art-Podcast-Wide-Art

http://www.stitcherystories.com/franbrammer/               podcast interview

Not yet decided if this was a masterstroke or not , so I am  viciously cutting back several huge buddleia bushes ( with a bow saw!) and indulging in pre-emptive comfort eating, again.

In the mean time –  don’t forget – I will be selling bits and pieces at Askham Bryam  next Sunday, have only  the Twisting Tree stitchy workshop day  left before Christmas, still have work up in Art in the Mill, Knaresborough,  work is for sale  on the website ( nowhere near  all is listed so just ask for availability/ price etc) and don’t forget the offer of  gift vouchers to use against workshops, purchases or commissions, and the new ‘stitchiness’ group on facebook ……

For some reason I don’t feel busy!

 

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Stone in My Shoe

Yup. Annoying, painful, niggling, just has to be dealt with before moving on.

Meet Wold and Vale – the latest offering from House of Brammer ( or at least – Cluttered Workroom of ‘Er on the Corner).

 

Fran Brammer_Wolds and Vale _freehand machine embroidery

This caused some real heart ache. I completely lost the vision and faith in that vision. It became a mess – bitty, dirty, un-everything,  in fact the total focus of a major grump.

Now I nearly like it, some days.    It has been  cut about, dyed, abandoned, rained on, bullied, brutalised,  and now  it is plucked, preened and pressed. It hasn’t the clarity  I wanted initially but has something else that I haven’t defined yet.  The all over composition doesn’t have the theatrical space that I usually build in – something I have been experimenting with this year. Some  look askance when I say that linear perspective is an easy composition device, but working without those zooming lines and focal points, or even a defined picture, is  still a struggle.  I look back to those happy days of abstract painting and collage, I wish I had kept that brain and not swapped it for one that now sees pictures.

The stages of making are in the slide show- click on them for brief captions, play spot the sequins.

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The surface on this one is delicate due to the extreme plucking , see detail  pics, so it will have to be under glass ( didn’t stop me hoovering it to pick of the stray fibres though….)Wolds Vale plucking detail.

Usual questions – do I take it further? Make it more pictorial?  Too obvious-  Is this piece really only a background?  I think  frame it as is but have a rework as an option – so leave on the surplus fabric and plonk it in a frame (sorry- carefully stabilise and place carefully in an entirely enchanting mount and frame).

 

 

Just  another day in textiles land –

 

Sketching for stitching

This isn’t about making pretty pics but about reducing the landscape into a manageable form and language ready to take to the sewing machine. I work in pen for these- it gives an even line, more like a sewn line than pencil does.

And just for fun I’ll put the process in reverse.

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Spot the differences. OK some are sloppy draughtsmanship, but others are intentional modifications.  The foreground hedge is sharper to give more umph to the composition,  the spaces between the horizontal hedges are greater – I’ve given the Vale of York a new hill!  but I want these hedges to be seen separately so something had to give. The heavy dark of the foreground  is reduced – it shifts focus to the middle ground. The foreground shadows are omitted as clutter but some may make come back as colour. Some areas I don’t like (trees to the left) so they will be edited further when stitching. Doing the sketch highlights problem areas, lets me work out, or at least work towards, solutions. Beats taking photos.

Five minutes earlier –

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All the main areas are there but the image is unbalanced. The background is more solid and clearer than it should be, where the hatching is lighter, has fewer directional changes, it is more successful.  Will add lines last to give definition and emphasis where needed.

 

 

 

5 minutes before

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Established the middle ground. Using smaller marks to help sense of distance – just the major lines at the present, no outlines (they would  fix the shapes too soon) Mixing areas of diagonal hatching with the vertical to create shadings of tone and texture.

 

 

After the first 5 minutes.

P1060713I like strong bone structure  for my landscapes – single point perspectives,  bold masses and spaces  contrasting with lines.  Tiny detail will get lost in stitch, so I don’t bother. Let areas fade in and out, it isn’t a tracing.  The mark making is important, it is experimenting with creating the different textures and tone. Most are variations of cross hatching, tight, scribbly short blocks  on the tree in the foreground, looser and smoother in the middle distance or directional hatching, such as the vertical lines starting to describe the front face of the hedge.  These first layers set the  shape and form of the image so I  leave them incomplete. As the image builds more density and definition can be added. This is how the sewing will start, working onto a very loose frame and working lightly until the whole is established and then getting more intensive. I have already  filtered out fussy bits or annoying things. I don’t want the image to get congested,   as the image is built I will see where to simplify.

Preparation. – Clear the head. You can not go out worrying about the washing. This can be helped by the acquisition of jelly babies or fruit pastilles. I also like to walk or cycle even a little way, I guess it is part of that separation process. Take time to stand and stare, we are not cameras, it takes a time to absorb detail, understand  relationships, to get beyond mere recognition. ‘Ooo it’s a tree’ just won’t do.  Move about, see how slight shifts in angle or eye level give different emphasis. You have control, exaggerate or edit at will.

And yes, it did take 20 minutes. Didn’t even have time to open the pastilles.

 

The textile piece will happen next week. Will be interesting to see how alike they end up. Usually the same reduction and simplification process will happen again during stitching, especially in the distance,  but the basic ideas will remain true. Wonder how many trees will magically disappear?

 

 

Silver Birch is Cloned!

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Last chance to come to the Open Studios this weekend!

I have been busy with the event but still managed to create big mess inbetween. Am quite proud of this, it proves that no matter what the stress level, scattering debris  is a natural part of my creative process.

I have spent this morning making up a tote bag with  the fabric I had digitally printed.  I have reservations about it but as I have already sold a couple of panels  I guess it looks alright.  What do you think? It is a little reflective so the colours seem a bit muted in the photo- the birch tree stands out well, and the fabric is nice quality cotton.

I really am not good at this marketing  photography!P1060684

York Open Studios 2017

Well, this is it folks. Nearly ready – just admin-y things to do.YOS 2017 Logo bleed_CMYKLargehttps://www.yorkopenstudios.co.uk/

Open Sat 10 -6 and Sunday 11 – 5.

Do hope you can come, it is excellent fun and usually informative – I have found some fantastic makey – do-ey people in my local area through this event, one, a jeweller, literally just round the corner!  Of course the highlight will be coming to me! No 38 (take away dish or taxi car?).

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5 DAYS TO GO…..

YOS 2017 Logo bleed_CMYKLargeItisfinallynearlyhere…NotthatIamgettingexcited….ohno, all calm and immaculately organised……

I am opening 22 and 23rd and then 29 & 30th April.  (no. 38)

Please do come along for a chat or at least to point and laugh. I will be doing quick demos on demand through out – rough timings for these will be on my facebook textiles page by the end of the week and bookings available for ‘ I want to try that….’ opportunities.

My event happens in my workroom – the question is- how far from the usual chaos does it need to be? Yes it should be a workspace rather than a the perfect white gallery, but  stuff has to come out so that I fit people in, the walls

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have to cleared so that work can be displayed. And having cleared stuff out – where do I put it?

No new work this week – just a quick taster/ teaser.

https://www.yorkopenstudios.co.uk/index.php –  Do check out the event website, there is so much going on and some fabulous makers around – who knows who is living down your road or just round the corner?

 

 

The Gentle Art of Wet Henning.

Feel like I am standing still while spinning round and round without ever finishing anything!      State of anxiety – damp, slightly warm.

There is a whole list of part done things, none of which are at an exciting stage- just slog, fiddle, and general chaos.

Cluck.   Proposals and applications for events and exhibitions to finish and send.

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Some of the exhibition stuff- blocking front door and workroom!

 

The Big Landscape is half way done. So also half not done. So also entirely populating one corner of the workroom floor.  Cluck.

 

Cluck.  Ronald the Robe is on his way – pieces for the toile are drawn out. Needs to be cut out  and the toile made up, then the cutting table can be put away and I get some floor space back. Cluck.

Prepping work for exhibition. Always takes for ever. and takes over completely. Can’t get out of the front door and have to duck into the workroom.     Very big cluck.

Prepping for workshops on stitching , dodgy dyeing and creative sewing with kids. Samples and ideas all over the place.  CLUCK.

 

 

Cluck.

Have spoken with the gallery and I am going to take a wide range of things in,  some  may not be practical for their space  or commercial enough but they want to try.

The Hospital Words installation may only appear in part and might end up on a mannequin if they can not dangle the jacket and banners as it was at the Old Fire Station. The large hanging is over 6′ and delights in the name of The Big Beastie (supposed to be “Middlemoor, Nidderdale” but ….) and the rest are more conventional landscape pieces. These are the bigger trio, there will be some smaller bits as well!

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I find the difference between the Winter pieces and the Summer piece quite mad, it wasn’t deliberate. I had wanted to make more use of vivid colour but hadn’t realised the compositions, style and even density of stitching was so different!