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New Garden Projects

20190516_124404-COLLAGESunshine, warmth and of course rain (it is Britain), and the garden is getting busy.  In the quest to be too busy to mow the lawn or cut the hedge I have been quite diligent  in exploring the idea of the textile garden.20190506_093118-COLLAGE

It began well; layers, lines shapes, but then it went all cutesy and fluffy minded.  OK, one target was to create an easily accessible method and style for teaching.  Mackintosh flowers later and that was done, shame about the rest.

IMG_20190509_135538576img_20190509_135503315.jpg In the time honoured manner I tried to make progress by going sideways. Sketching focused the mind and made me think about how I wished to use line, colour, shape etc. Then a taster pack of Setacolor fabric paints arrived. The initial experiments with them were only partly successful –

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I was playing with getting the balance of line and colour wash,  handling the interaction and density of colours and then seeing what would happen with a spot of over dyeing. So, the lines are tooo heavy in one area and too fugitive in another, the colours  went muddy but it has potential.

And then, can I translate drawing and painted lines into stitch? For some reason I chose a touchy feelly base fabric rather than  flat calico-  a two tone velvet. I  trid to bleach it to break up the colour but very little happened apart from wreaking the pile so it is now rather crushed.  The rayon threads work well although the varigated fades in and out a bit too much.  Single lines are swallowed by the nap and colours will probably need to be more saturated than usual. The high contrast bobbin thread being pulled to the top surface is looking promising.

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Questions will be about scale? how much definition or detail? how do the fabric inclusions work with the line? How much realism? is it visual texture or actual lumps and bumps?  Plenty to play with! Trying to re educate  is always a pain but I am beginning to like the jumbles/intricate layers of shapes and want more spaces and less lump. I have painted  some scrap silk to tear and apply with the same shapes and colours I want to stitch.  Quite looking forward to next week!

Thank you to all who supported my sale event, very sucessful though there are still a few pieces waiting for a new home. Check out my facebook or website for a fortnightly offer.  I have also volunteered to take over writing the monthly newsletter for the York Textile Artists group. I did warn them and hope they don’t expect me to be too sensible!

 

 

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Textile Artist, mid dither.

20190503_150538-collageLIMBO. I am amusing myself with the big stonelandscape- now called Bob. I have worked hard on it but it still feels as if I am waiting for the some thing else to happen.  

Setting up for the sale event this coming weekend is not helping me to focus – selecting and hanging the work was the easy part, trying to publicise it on social media is frying much needed braincells.

If you would like to come it is running Sunday and Monday in Acomb, York – contact me for details.

Hopefully when that is over it will settle down and I should be able to close the door on the junk/storeroom without fear of avalanche.

I am also toying with a floral theme for workshops for the Viking Loom (most strange). Mad, crazy things full of texture and colour, or should they be serene and controlled and terribly elegant? No prizes for guessing which. Doing samples tomorrow, so bye bye clean carpet.

The head is definitely not fully engaged- probably good thing – I keep having random thoughts and distracting myself-  seeing as I work with an uncaged powertool (sewing machine) should I be wearing protective clothing – steel toecapped boots? hard hat? One of those chain mail gloves that butchers wear to protect against the unguarded blades (scissors) puncturing tools (awl, needle, pins). Can I have one of those saggy tool belts constuction workers wear? Hmm, problem with being a textiley person is that the braincell is now wondering if I could make it in some left over chintz? And which interfacing?

But as for Bob? He is blocking the hallway at present. img_20190505_161610861I did subtle paint treatments to add depth and more stitching, yet random thought this morning was it needs drama, big gestures, lines etc. String didn’t hack it, so out with the strips of waste sari silk. I can’t decide if this is a good idea or not, or how many or few, so placed it where it would cause maximum disruption and I can not ignore it. (Plan well and truely scuppered by going out to the Pocklington area Open Studios for the day. Some lovely textiles on show, but fell for  a little lino print.)

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Scratching Hare – Pete Edwards

 

 

New Beginnings.

It feels like waking after too deep a sleep. I sat down to do a bit of stitching  and have just come to a stop  roughly 6 hours later.  My fingers hurt, I am stiff  and tired. I think I remember enjoying it, I think there was a brief lunch stop too.

The piece that caught up my attention so completely is a coming together of several ideas and processes, and is BIG.  The stone landscape ideas meet text, meet pattern and meet string.

The plan formed as I discovered a torn blank canvas when clearing out after Open Studios.  Rather than discard I decided to try  an experiment and work with the damage. I also had some reject pieces of cotton lawn with text  and stitch on from a previous good idea, and well they had to be made to work.  As you do.

 

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Glued and inked, drying in the garden . See the hole on the right?

The pieces were soaked and glued onto the canvas  letting them form mini landscapes of lumps and bumps, shapes and patterns, then a fair amount of acrylic paint and ink were sploshed (carefully) around.

 

 

 

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What do you do with a large canvas with holes and glued on wibbly bits and thin paint? Well stitch it of course.  There is no point in doing things by half. Lots of little holes….

It is still on the stretcher so all hand stitched. The scale required really chunky yarn so out came the hairy string I use in the garden-  all of the fancy wools and cords  looked too slick.  I am now using 2 strands of  unbleached cotton yarn and making denser areas of stitch, just about to begin stitching across the hole.

This is  quite intuitive in approach, letting things happen and responding to them, yet there is  direction. I intend to add more layers of paint, some monochrome to absorb some underlying colour, some layers of thin washes/glazes so that the colours float, haven’t really decided.  It may well depend on the weather – I will paint it in the garden if fine so I can be really messy and the colours used will be stronger in sunlight! There may be fabric added to extend the textures but I think I want this to be sparse. How it will look in the end I will tell you when I get there. Whether it will come off or not  is not truely important, this is a learning curve crossed with a twitchy fingers project – it is all about the doing.

And as for everything else?  I have signed up to do Staithes Festival in September, have submissions for a few other things out there and am waiting to hear back. The York Textile Artist group have a show in July, a new exhibition in November in York and  are already booking venues in 2020. My own little sale event is  getting closer –  I have found more of the older work that I would like  to move on so instead of a tasteful selection  I have 2 wall fulls to sell!   I will have to tidy up again.  Contact me if you would like an invitation. img_20190426_082332

Grudges in Textiles

It is wrong to hold grudges. They are a waste of energy and can be damaging. On the other hand they can be such fun.

This is a stonelandscape that I was working on over the York Open Studios weekends. How sweet.  Looks well behaved?  Even when ‘peeled’ off its fake stone and laid out for sizing?

It still looks deceptively  ‘nice’ after some dye and ink experiments. What lovely detail and texturing  after that loving hand stitching.

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And so I go out to retrieve it  after a little weathering…..and there it wasn’t.

 It chose the wrong morning to hide.

The collage below shows the next 3/4 of an hour…. look in the workroom, check through piles of stuff, check the front garden – I often leave things on the front step to dry. Check more piles of stuff . Check in all random bags. Double check outside, the hedge, under the bushes and then……

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Returning to where I had sat to have breakfast in the sun…. right next to the garden chair….  oh what is that resting on the back??

I took this personally and inbetween attacking the garden plants have brutalised the piece with first paint, then screen printing ink, spirit-based  cleanser and now drawing ink. The original idea was about lines across a landscape, field edges, plough lines, harvesting patterns. But mostly it is about vengence.

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It is now drying on the lawn. It had better be there when I go out after posting this!

2 points of interest –  don’t forget the new run of day and evening workshops starting this week. Check the ‘want to try’ tab at the top of the page for details. And  I have a proper sale of work – some at over 50% off the listed price- coming up soon. All those who follow me on the various social media or subscribe to my mailing lists are invited. If you  should have received an invite but somehow escaped my mail shots please email for details.

 

 

York Open Studios – nearly ready.

3 days and counting!  Time is galloping.

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April 6th & 7th, and 13th & 14th,  10-5pm. 

All are welcome to come and visit artists and makers of all descriptions in their own spaces. Come and see what is happening and where, it is amazing what secrets can  lie behind the most ordinary front doors.  Grab a free brochure/guide from  a  local library, shop, pub , cafe, or go on line to yorkopenstudios.co.uk to get a list, pretty pics and maps and just roll up! We would love to meet you.

My  venue is no.96 and my workroom is still just that – a room for working in. I have been clearing out all the things that have crept in  from the storeroom and have firmly taken them back upstairs. The workroom door is off again – this is the point of no return.

This year the work is in a series of series, all inter related but also distinct. It will make displaying them all quite a challenge in what is a modestly sized room.  There is a lot more small things, more 3D things and then the ginormous painted scarves.  It will be an interesting week. And don’t forget the eternal tidying up.

This is the current state  I was going to leave the hang until Thursday, so began it on Tuesday. So of course it went ‘hammer hammer hammer,  mutter  mutter mutter, oops’ as I had to keep stopping to move things, complete some framing, trip over some bits that are awaiting relocation, fill in holes in the wall and find the matching paint.  But as you can see most of the chaos is being resolved, the work is up apart from one or two pieces -one is currently hiding, at over a metre tall it can’t hide for long, and the other hasn’t been released from exhibition yet.

I have barely scratched my to do lists –  I think I need a new approach to list making, but have bought cable ties to put up the signage and a supply of biscuits.  This blog was on Sunday’s list, the draft was done but only remembered it today – and rewrote most of it anyway! There is still much to do, the scarves need to find a home, labels etc, setting up the standing landscapes, reorganising the furniture and so on. But it will be ready on Saturday to welcome people into and hopefully share my enthusiasm for textiles and making.    Must remember to remove that post-it note. But on a happier note, every time I think about mowing the lawn or cleaning the windows, it rains. Must have been good in a previous life.

York Open Studios Countdown

logosecret tree textiles (2)Somehow I feel aggrieved that YOS has snuck up on me.  Oh no it hasn’t, we all cry. I have been posting and distributing  brochures for weeks.  All of the major work is done, there is some stretching and framing to do, I could get more things printed and get other bits tweaked but I am not sure.  Something about 2 weeks to go gets me anxious that 3 weeks to go didn’t.

Little Things Made and To Make – –

  1. img_20190217_103939266Pot sleeves.  The prototype is growing on me.  That it is covering up an upside down lampshade I use as a brush pot may influence my response.

2.   Two bookcovers have been made out of old  sketches.  An old img_20190322_163111347piece I have fallen out of love with will be next to be chopped.  These are a very basic design,  slip covers, but  are time and material greedy. They also require straight lines and measurement, it is like being back in school.

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3.  The printed fabric – still debating about how to use it. The scarf has had mixed responses (mostly from me) but at least is a fair make even with the topstitching. I have lined it with a very soft fine calico ( bit too bright but….) I have one more full width of the double  mirrored design – scarf 2? and a strip of single mirrored which could end up as book covers – eek, or pot sleeves – ok, or be sectioned off  individually – easiest to do but then what. Would quite like to hand embroider over the central stand of trees….. Sounds like a comfy sofa and decent film kind of job. hmm –  potential.

4.  Individual stitched cards,  trees using the mini transfers I made earlier.   img_20190324_160227065b2

 

5. More Landscape Books – volume II & III at least – much more like fun.

6.  Anything else I can think of.  Maybe a scarf or two?   Must not forget  samples for the workshops in April and May…….   oops, the list is growing…..  Haven’t even got to the pricing, hanging, blurbing, admin, invites, hoovering, the annual window washing…….

landscape books

This is an extension from the standing landscapes. It is a combination of old trends and fascinations and new materials and priorities.

Fun!

Fascination list 1.

Folding. Inside/outside. Angles/ curves. 2D into 3D. Front and back.  Out comes that can be changed rather than rigid. Perspectives. Mark making, textures, simplicity of line. Rhythm. Less not more. The seen and the understood . Denying  the sanctity of vision. Enclosing, revealing. Communication. Enigma. Questions. Narratives.

Oh dear – how many contradictions!

The standing landscapes addressed many of these areas.  But I am going further – or at least trying to….  Communication and narritives – tehse already speak of visual things, of space and textures, lines and perspectives – all physical things, all expressive but have underlying rules and conventions. I wish to introduce some of the deeep and wonderful thinking that happens as I move through the landscape. For me they are entwined into the physical. The obvious is to write – a familiar route. Underlying or overlaying? Woven in ?  to be read or just hint? With or across the lines of the landscape?

Giving the folding a purpose – making a pull out book. Having a cover and the landscape folded within. This seems a very York thing. Driving around the city I see distant hills in 3 directions,  blue and purple horizons, or gleaming in the sunlight, once I get to them they unfold into complexity and character, opening up their secrets and corners.

Proto Landscape Book 1

Construction-  Samples,  vilene panels cut and fused onto muslin to act as hinges. The tall narrow strip will be the spine,  the ones either side will be the covers. The last is of the final blank ‘book’ , stitched around to seal the muslin to the vilene.  The scale is too small for anything other than the briefest experiments.

 Nothing over special about the image – do like the layers in the foreground but the covers are where the interest lies, should maybe have a greater disction between cover and extension – colour? content?  density?

There is no writing on it yet –  that is next. Down the spine like a title? following the perspective lines? in the pale, in the dark or in a slight neutral? 10 minutes later and there is writing! As if by magic! or sewing machine…

The text is one I have used before, and always reminds me of leisurely walking through the Yorkshire Wolds on a bright and breezy day. It  is whimsical rather than deep,  it comes from watching the wind ripple through ripe barley as the clouds scud about above them.

Problem – front and back – writing has a right and wong way round.  Very much a problem on the front cover, so the text has to start only on the inside panels. Should I be colouring the cover? Thread or paint?  I shall try paint……

Who am I kidding? Is this a way to avoid thinking about York Open Studios?  April 6th is just how many days away?? Please do come and see me if you can –  I promise to have tidied up by then…..