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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

 

 

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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

York Open Studios – nearly ready.

3 days and counting!  Time is galloping.

logosecret tree textiles (2)

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.

The March of the Sprout

I have promised to stop calling this Sprout,  the same way that the Big Beastie is supposed to known as Middle Moor. Yeh, that worked.

I have sprouted away this week to good purpose. The tipping point is past, and it is now that manic downhill race to completion, exhilarating  and getting faster and faster but so easy to lose concentration and end up flat on your face.

From bones and structure this week has been about clothing and fleshing, some so subtle that it barely shows, other parts have made dramatic impact. It is now about detail, balancing formal elements and making sure the image reads in the way I want.  Spot the difference a week can make? (8) I think you have to be here to see them.


Main areas done would be the sky – inked as promised and fairly gloomy – it is Yorkshire in a soggy January.  And the road way.  This isn’t yet complete – but it reads better with the texture  and the sudden flashes of colour,  but both will be damped down to get that contrast in surface  quality to the undergrowth that I want.  I did try straighter lines of couching but it felt false , and gradually added more and more fluff and contrast. So it may look ambiguous – one friend saw it as a river – but ….. And the pink? Rather like the pink  ( a piece of sari silk)  it does make me question the state of my eyesight – the reds and saturated colours are all so close to the front.  I think more contrast in the verge. Navy or purple?

And the sky? Not impressed.  I like the cloudiness and the subdued tones but the physical surface is so flat and matt. I may feel the need to stitch, possibly quilt just to give it some life.  Quilting is likely anyway – I have not used stablisers so there is a fair amount of  ripple.  The calico has done well coping with the uneven weight and drag of the stitching but if it is going to hang it could do with a bit of support. This did begin as a good rectangle, cut on the grain, but that is distant memory.

And so the saga of Sprout continues. I do intend to have the imagery finished by the end of the week – I think about another 3 or 4 hours of concentrated stitching, with lots of pressing and pondering (coffee breaks).  Achievable? The to do list is nearly in single figures- the time of sprout is passing….  and I have a series of other deadlines to meet.

 

Don’t forget workshops/tutorial times available  on Wed evening and Friday mornings – check the Want to try  tab.

anything other than the Sprout!

img_20190106_095710824This was last week, rough and scruffy paint to give me some idea of where and what when I roll it up to sew, ( also handy when upside down and stitching!)  It is very sparse and undeveloped with the two blobs waiting for attention on the right- they will become thorn trees.

I worked on this on and off during the week and then took it as my work in progress/demo piece for the open day at Viking Loom yesterday. It has progressed in many ways. This is it now –  the blobs are very sprout- like,  day old boiled sprouts. I do love this colour but at this time of the year the associations are somewhat unfortunate….

IMG_20190113_103426461 The bottom left is just about done – some areas will be plucked to break up the colour and surface, and a top dressing  required on the conifer belt and the major bushes, but they will happen later as part of the ‘balancing’ stage. It is a case of where has all the brown and orange silk gone? Waste putting it in? Never – it peeps through in places and lends an intensity to the colours above.  and most of all it makes the thin spots in the stitch work as a positive rather than look like holes! Really pleased with the mad green varigated section of tufty chenille wool and the scrunched  and shredded bleached sari lengths at the bottom.

Pics below show some of the evolution – working in layers front to back, the type and density of stitch and the fabrics used.

I don’t like working one section up like this but I kept losing sight of the whole and started to get worried by the scale of the thing.  It really does show how dense to work is – the plain calico looks blank and bland, the paint looks flat, the sprouts and tree line look like a bit of nonsense. The other problem is the distortion caused by the stitching. This badly needs stretching before I do more. I had meant to leave the distortions as part of the nature of the beast but the piece is already very out of true.-

Next tasks – fore and middle ground to the right- sort out hillsides, get some flatter stitching in , maybe partially  happen to a sprout or two as well.

I am trying out Instagram (oops), so see daily-ish updates if your life is lacking sproutiness, and of course don’t forget about the upcoming opportunities – every fortnight Wed eve and Friday am  from 23rd Jan – introductions, techniques or project work, as you please.

Landscape.

I decided it was time. All the elements were coming together, at least in the head.  The vision was nearly there.  Time to get to grips with more than the visual again.

England is a very lived in landscape. It wears the past up front, it has been altered, adapted,  scarred, as needs and fashion dictated.  This isn’t the romantic wilderness but a  work place.WHERN K WELL

I have spoken before of  tenuous thoughts of how to combine the different strands of my work, the flat work and the historical costume, of how they should entwine,  and this may be the most successful  attempt so far.

I want this to be made of parts, remnants and fragments of things,  a landscape of layers and ghosts, of things half seen, half understood.

P1170577It is worked over a found piece of crewel work, a chair back. The style has roots in the Jacobean designs, even the idea of a chair back or antimacassar is an old one ( They were to protect the furniture from the late Georgian’s hair oil!) Some will be unpicked leaving  holes to mark the pattern. Some will be exposed, some painted into the background.

On top of this are the usual lines and divisions of a landscape, but these are muted in colour and are worked across with text from an 1840 publication. I had thought of using text from the Domesday book, but it seemed contrived, this will take more plotting.

The text is also worked across the next layer-  a miniature lawn frock coat split in 2 and laid out along the lines of the landscape. Did make a pig’s ear of doing this – it began with experimenting with writing the text in pen and then washing it out. Fairly safe? It wasn’t . Across the collar and on to the front I had written ‘moors’ but when the coat was washed  the collar  was opened out. It  left me with a collar that quite clearly says ‘moo’. The ‘rs’ on the front had been erased.

The coats are stitched in place and now I am building up more, vintage lace and more strips of lawn.  This is only the beginning.  The coats dominate too much at the moment but the plan is to work the crewel design back on top, maybe  even do some hand work. The cotton lawn is easy to pull and fray or dye, so is open to creative vandalism. I think is definitely going to be made to suffer, it is too ‘nice’ and clean and pretty and delicate and even prissy.

What this will be like next week…. who knows?

General reminders – work is still on show at Art in the Mill, Knaresborough, and in shop windows in York as part of the Micklegate Art Trail.

If you fancy having a go at any these techniques ( not writing ‘moo’ but freehand/motion stitching, etc)  have a look on the workshops tab on the website, or just email me for the latest newsletter.

Yorkshire Wolds-

After all the intense woodland work I felt the need for horizons, to be in amongst landforms and feel the effort and stretch of moving through it. At the root of this is the simple fact that I like lumpy and bumpy country.

 

The Wolds are chalkland rather than limestone country like the Dales, so they have their own character. The flat land seems to be the hill top not the valley bottom,  smooth, steep hillsides and oddly, more Highland cattle than sheep along the route I took.  After a morning of wandering and looking an idea was formulating. This is ‘smaller’ then the Dales, and I kept seeing pattern in the arable crops, the movement of wind through the crops, the networks of field margins, paths, stands of trees. I tried my best to ignore the infestations of the Greater Lycra Cyclist in full summer garb.

Huggate, Yorkshire Wolds.

Huggate. Collages of plucked and stitched fabrics – mostly silks. The exposed oil painting seems to blend in well.

This has emerged initially as a patterned landscape over an oil painting –  still not sure about that dark red. I think it is a bit on the busy side but has a sunlit quality that I like – the contrasts are in brightness and colour rather than just tonal value. I will get it famed up this week then it is ready to go.

It has spawned a little gaggle of mini  ones  as I played with pattern and  shapes. Still want to be bolder and less fussy with this but keep losing sight of what I am aiming for and get side tracked by the fun details.  Just to keep things interesting I am trying two versions of the same view side by side to see if I can separate the safer responses on to one and the dodgier responses onto the other. I fear insanity.

I have added July workshops and dates for exhibitions over the Summer to the Me page- or just check the frantextiles  facebook page.