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Persevere

Perseverance, sticking to a task, dogged determination or just plain stubborn. Either way it can pay off, or it is the biggest waste of time, emotional energy and effort.

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Before- detail.

I do suffer from this, but this time it has worked well. This piece was conceived years ago, sliced and diced when it didn’t work out and then has lived in the bottom of one of the stash hide aways – it came back out a few months ago, lived in full sight since, and then last week it met the scissors again. The same people who apparently have never seen it before ( been on the main wall in the work room!) suddenly went Wow! so I guess it was an improvement.

moors and coast

And the After – still needs de-whiskering and framing.

Considering this- looking at the working methods it seems I do go round in circles while travelling forward. I use materials differently now – far less fusible and fibres, more lumps and rawness,  less precious,  but the colours, contrasts, ideas of line are so familiar. Even putting it along side the landscape stones there is the same thinking, the same perceptions evident, but these new quiet monochrome daft pieces are far braver and far more challenging.

 

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woodland stitching

P1070181 Yep, it is a woodland view. Honest! Can’t you see it?  Arching canopy, meandering path, tree trunks, sunlight?  It is a leap of faith and an act of will.  Even at this stage the thinking about stitch patterns is apparent – directional to describe surfaces, and more random for textures.P1180092small         Spent ages on the detailed study – went round the corner and preferred that composition! Typical. Only had time for quick sketches to record the general idea. The sketch with the arrows is the stitching plan. Flat lines, some zigzag, lots of little happy squirms  for the canopy.  On the whole the machine stitches follow the basic patterns set by the hand work, but in some areas an under strata of filling stitch were put in to increase the density or to surpress the bulk of the wools. And this is what it became.  P1180091small  Looks a bit 18th century to me. The frame is the same as used for the rest of this series but without a mount – it was just too stark, the mauvey colour is the fabric colour.

This may be last of these for a while – I want to get back to the happy anarchy of lots more texture and building as I go rather than in predetermined layers. They are soothing and relatively swift but a bit like white bread – great in small doses, bland if over indulged in.

And the whole series?

Field View

This is a record of this way of working with colour in its most simple form.

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  1.  Select subject – clear shapes and lots of tonal contrasts. Colour palette is restricted, so is the texture. Should have photographed without the front stuff and before the sun went down!IMG_20180713_143459425_BURST001
  2. hand stitch. This is the main source of colour, but can not be too dense or the machine will grumble. Use direction to give ideas of form and textures.IMG_20180713_143732604
  3. Threads – muted range, chosen more for tonal value and warm/cool values than hue. (the purples were far more brown and dull, the end colour is dark olive!)Aviod plain grey – too stark, use more sophisicated colours.  One or two stronger colours for get out jail free cards, but to be used sparingly.IMG_20180713_151235095 (1)
  4. First layer- establish main tonal zones, vary stitch patterns to create more separation.IMG_20180713_162948339
  5. Second  layer – highlights and shadows, working in a variety of ways to build surfaces.Spot the vertical lines, cross hatching, wriggly squirms and zigzags.                      IMG_20180713_163841876
  6. Top dressing – final tweaks, adding details, evaluating and finishing. This style has to be at a distance- pin up, make coffee and walk towards it to make sure the contrasts and values work.                                              IMG_20180713_163905165
  7. Drink coffee. Still need to press it. Later will do.

These method at this scale is relatively quick and surprisingly effective. This mini series is part of the Falling Light family of woodland studies so this style which encourages me to emphasise tone works well. This little beastie was done in a morning – or would have been if I remained focussed  (blame Wimbledon and the Tour de France). I find it quite limiting so the selection has to be strong enough but without too much fuss. The limited palette range could be expanded at will though I like the simplicity of focussing on tone – been doing a lot of pencil drawing at the moment so I guess the two disciplines are cross pollinating again. Scale is a problem – bigger means more time hand stitching and the need for more complex stitch patterns.

Peeling II

These landscape stones are becoming a bit of a fixation. Sewing them became welcome relief from the weight of sewing the robes (fingers still sore).  The second one is painted, dry and ready to peel. This should be easy – would be if I didn’t paint it first. I literally smear base coat all over it, rubbing it into the fabric, it changes the nature of the surface, blending and pooling around the stitches and pulled details. It also stiffens the fabric and unfortunately glues it to the stone. Oops. Does make the peel difficult and destructive.

Post Peel-  It took 3 hours this morning of creative sunbathing to get it free. The peeling has lost all pretence of being precise or new, the fabric is distorted and torn, the paint has been disrupted in places and flaked in others. Flattening it caused even more damage and the whole effect is aged and worn. So much better. It does have a history now, a character, a story to tell. It has the shifts of texture, shapes, I associate with landscape, those sudden details and concentrations in the midst of big spaces, on the down side, it does make me think of roadkill.

I have been a little more experimental with this one. There are a wider range of stitches, the old favourites of chain, french knots, back, whip, seed and of course running. Some I imagined would trap more paint, others give more emphasis or surface. Totally right but not as expected, the bold stitches have become claggy  and lost definition and pattern. I think there was too much stitch, there is a lumpiness rather than a lightness.

I think I will mount this on more of the orginal cotton lawn and present it as something fragile and ephemeral, unless of course another idea occurs.

June

June means ‘ get over yourself and get on’ or ‘Help! it’s mother’s birthday!’.

P1180069P1180069 (2)Fun to do, Multi coloured layers of spirals in top of blue, and then variegated green on the leaves.

In response to the second – I ‘ve been playing with simplified and stylised flower forms – this is her card, loosely based on hollyhocks. Couldn’t deny the need for bright with the leaf stitch round the edge. Pink and yellow always makes me think of fruit salad chewy sweets from my childhood, but the Mother likes bright.

The stones progress, and to counter balance all of that ethereal stitching  this has been developing –P1180033

It is based on sunlight light through trees, not quite done – the bottom section isn’t quite strong enough yet.  May be a bit of quilting?  Not as defined as I want yet, the rich blue swallows colour as soon as tones get similiar. There is deep red, purple, deep navy, brown and green in those shadows! But it is all stitch….   a lot of stitch, but I like the areas left open in contrst to the density of the light.  Must remember that I don’t want to do needle painting.

Workshop frenzy!

landscape stones a  Meet the new sanity – these are landscape stones. I don’t understand the idea yet, but …… I enjoy doing them. It is something about fitting flat to 3D and the marks and tucks from the fitting becoming a landscape of lines, well something like that, ish.  At least they are relatively quick – emphasis on relatively –  They either are very right, or very wrong,  I don’t know yet.

Thank you for your support at Open Studios. Another year of interesting and interested people.  One day soon the house will be back together but in the mean time has anyone seen my cache of acrylic paints – colourful messenger style fabric bag?    One of the great things about doing a meet your public event is that it focusses the mind quite effectively.  The work has to be finished of course, but also if somebody asks about workshops it is probably best to have some  organised.

It did take much longer than expected (sorry first weekenders) but a whole new schedule is now together.  The grand plan is a  series of classes and also one off complementary day workshops.  That was the plan…….  hopefully folk will like this flexibility,  only a fortnight to the first intro class so I guess I will soon find out!

Classes, Summer 2018.    Each is 10-1pm, £15,

Introduction  May 4  /  May 6   Setting up, the machine, basic equipmentP1070027 equipment, getting stitching. Trouble shooting

Making Lines Work  May 11 / May 13  Controlling and exploring how to make and use lines to develop character and style in your work. Start to draw with your machine.

Lines- And now to make pictures  May 18 / May 20green lane fran brammer tmb Using lines in different ways in your designs and pictures.  Work with positive and negative ideas. We will go through creating your own design from idea to completion.

Experimenting with Applique  May 27
Different ways of adding fabric shapes to your work- simplehands raw, using precut shapes, stitch patterns, edges. An effective way to add colour, motifs, pattern or textures.

and this is only May.……… deep breath because there are also day workshops,  buttons/badges, twisting tree card makes, and water soluble day, and, and, and… the complete lists are on the Me Page.

I can not recommend freehand machining enough – it tickles the inner anachist and releases a little of that risk taking rebel – all with out wearing lycra or needing a special set of underwear …. unless of course you want to.

landscape stone 3a  Do they look like crop marks, plough patterns, trackways and field boundaries yet?   Will rockeries, riverbeds or beaches in N and E Yorkshire ever be safe again…..?

New Season!

I have been waiting and waiting for the Spring – not the calendar days, but the warmth, the sense of growth, the change in the light….. and a minor explosion of activity has been going on. Pushed  the ghosts of the winter landscape in their subdued colour  and restraint to one side and went back/forwards tofranBrammerListentotheStories1000 the anarchy of the early Summer.

These are all on elderly oilpaintings, rescuedfranBrammerTheOnlyHorizonisUp1000 from the loft and cut off their stretchers. The gessoed canvas is like cardboard but does take a limited amount of stitch, it is quite fun to find out just how much.  The idea is still to work with fragments, part seen, part understood, so   layers of fabric, all different qualities and origins, couched yarns, strips and blocks of text have been added, sometimes working with the image underneath, sometimes working against. Great fun and entirely intuitive.  The text for these is more personal, reflecting some of my thoughts from walking through the Wolds, hills and dales.  Some are very basic observations, others a little more thoughtful.

franBrammerVery Extensive500These needed different framing – the slick modern mouldings were too hard, too ‘finished’. Experiments occurred (denying responsibility) with chalk paint .  Sadly I liked them much more than I expected so have spent days painting, sanding and waxing. Should be all done  for Open Studios, and a lighter, fresher look.

And speaking of Open Studios…………..

Launch/taster exhibition this weekend!!!! ( in the old church at the bottom of Micklegate)

Open Studios week ends are the 14th ( the weekend after!)and the21st.

(oooh. Err.)