Tag Archive | art

Middleton Wolds

 

The Wolds.

Chalk upland. Mix of arable and pasture, characterised by steep, dry valleys, scattered with small, isolated villages.

Never told me about the nosey cows.  The wind.  Wild flowers and small, high speed, unidentified squeaky things.

What was a little walk became 8 miles and took forever! Loved it.

I have been struggling with a piece over the last few weeks  based on this landscape, still trying to redefine how I work and use colour  for these very different hills.

Trouble is I have got so used to the Moors and Dales, the sparse often gnarly hills, the subdued colour, the spaces.  I saw these hills in bright flat sunshine, there was no depth in the shadows,  I was half way up one side of a tight dry valley, couldn’t see the bottom and even the tops were rolling away from me.  I sat for ages just soaking it up until I stopped looking analytically and just absorbed. It became patterns,  the linear qualities dissolved. The movement of the wind through the barley on the hill tops became more important than the shape of the trees. It waved and rippled and then broke into squares and diamonds and back again.  The light was so unforgiving that the barley shone as brightly as the sky and the whole sparkled with reflected colour.

In this piece I set up a flat perspective, tried creating definition and depth with blocks of fabric before stitching. The grand stitching plan was little  down to lots, again trying to push the tops away and bring out the foreground with denser stitch patterns . And again with the colour – lighter and subtle  down to brighter,  mixed and contrasting. Having made friends with purple, now it may be time to work on orange.

It all made sense but it was the result was flat and as unexciting as an elderly Jaffa cake ( found some in the cupboard – very disappointing). Too safe and too considered, where was the personal narrative, the fun, the unexpected elements?

Since finishing (1st time) the piece has been attacked with the demon tweezers, the horizon has been broken up, sections of land turned into sky and the land pattern quilted up into the sky  trying to blur that boundary.  The diagonal of the path up the face of the hill was too strong,  a lot of fabric has been pulled out  and re coloured to soften that. The trees are upside down, colour stitched onto roughly dyed green fabric, spot the orange. Rather than tone the stitch patterns show the differences in the hedgerow. The darkest tone was a deep blue/green put on the second bank of trees and worked as a single colour.   The foreground is stitched vertically with small inclusions to break it up.middleton wolds nearly done

Since finishing (2nd time)  This has been festering, on the wall, under the table, at work, in a bag. Working in perspective lines would have been so easy, but so predictable, so safe.  So…. demon tweezers – the rematch,  soften the horizon even more. Draw the attention away – bright yellow stalks crossing foreground/middle ground boundary, contrast detail colour shouting  about that same boundary – red on green was the loudest option.  P1170439

Has it worked? Does the  piece have more life? Does the simplistic composition give rather than take? Has the colour and pattern compensated  for the narrower tonal range? Do I want to make the trees to the right more distinct- or is that old thinking?

middleton wolds machine embroidery

And this is now finish 3. This has been difficult, but happier now. Not entirely convinced still…..   time to move on.

Okay may be give it a day before the really official declaration of Finishedness.

Don’t forget – Summer Salon exhibition in Knaresborough from next weekend and there opportunities still available this month to come and join a Stitchy Day  workshop.

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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?).

blog april

Cornish Cliffs

I fancied seeing how far these patterned and transparent collages on top of images could go. I had this elderly left over canvas from a Cornish holiday – elderly painting -Cornwall coast dodgy paint techniques, over thinned colour, uninspired composition.  Not an ideal choice, too big, cheap thin canvas. Nevermind….  Planning involved more dithering than doing, selecting pattern and colour, fabric types and threads.   Did remember to do one important cheat – traced the big tonal areas onto the back.- more later.

Cornish Cliffs -planning  The Cliffs are 2 different patterned silks – big bold patterned stripes and a coarser faded floral for the headland. The proposals for the sea were layers of sheers – to be decided later.

Back cliffs first- vertical patterning to mimic the rock formations, working from the back the first stitching anchored the fabric and then roughly blocked in the shadow areas. I would recommend working from the back – you just roughly place/pin the fabric on the front, flip over, stitch the lines drawn on the back, flip back and trim the excess away.  No worries about placement or accuracy.

The fabrics were build up block by block – already much more vivid than the paint. The stitching from the back worked well to establish the shapes and masses. The decision to use purple as a shade colour didn’t, it was to clean and strong against the fabric, it was removed or adapted immediately.

I got too excited by the sea to manage to record the sequence. (Lie – didn’t expect it to work so didn’t bother to photograph) It is strips and pieces of 2  tone organzas, purple orange, green red, blue orange, sari strips with frayed edges . Stitching was in one colour using a less regular utility stitch ( think its for sewing elastic) A sheer was over laid and  ripped into.  Was hoping the frays and uneven edges will create a sense of depth and movement.    Did remember to record the beach/surf!

And the sky happened. All as one piece of metallic sheer  with an offcut  underneath to ease the bland flatness. The front bit off cliff was the last piece to do – purple orange organza over the dark areas and a fine metallic green yellow as a wrinkly top dressing.  I ripped the green and stitched areas open  to reveal the purple to give shading.

A

bit of top stitching and…..

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This felt like a rough and ready process. The stitching isn’t beautiful, even, or using exotic thread. The fabrics are recycled clothing, donations or synthetic, but it does seem to work. Where I had started doing more controlled stitch I have removed it. It drew attention to itself, too self conscious too fit in with the wrinkles and tears. The whole is very sketchy, but it has so much more life than the original. Perhaps the years of painting were just a way of getting over the need for technical perfection. The  patterned fabrics give so much into the mix. The way the patterns fall is  at best a happy compromise, it really makes me respond, to orchestrate rather than dictate what is happening. And as for colour theory – in practice it is best guess.Cornish Cliffs close ups

So what are the essentials for free hand machine work?  an obliging machine who doesn’t know any better, an appropriate foot that lets you see what you are doing, a seam ripper that doesn’t hide, and really sharp scissors. Only trouble is I now appear to have more scrap fabric than before!

Come and see my work , may be even see some others as well, April 22,23 & 29,30. Click on pic for link to the website.

YOS 2017 Logo bleed_CMYKLarge

At Last!!!!

p1060412Inspiration Has Struck!

I stripped an old painting from its stretcher ages ago and stored it on the wall for lack of anything else to do with it..

Favourite Indian silk  skirt was no longer viable as a garment – the fabric was so thin it was unkind to take it out in public. So that had been stripped out and also hung on the other wall.

Ohhh, I wonder if……, what would happen when……. So, shut up and did it. Not really such an impossible mix – the painting was of Wharfedale  which had a long history of cotton and silk manufacturing,  even though most of the mills are demolished now, marrying the two  feels right.

p1060411There are no second chances stitching  on a painted canvas – those holes are permanent, get too many and they act as perforations and the whole thing  comes apart ( quite fun finding the point when then that happens). It also has the handling characteristics of adolescent cardboard. You bend it by thumping and never fold it completely. I feel I may now have biceps.

 

It is one way of clearing  the whole table ( cup of coffee, open box  of 500 business cards,  any passing small furry animals…..)

 

Process. Short version.

Layering  sheer and fine fabrics, stitching down, and then cutting away and shredding.

Process.  Long version.

p1060420The sky has non woven fibrous dark layer, stitched in horizontal bands to hold it and the areas of colour in the painting were sewn around. I am still working out how much to pull away, but I like the irregular mottled pattern that is emerging.

The patterned silk covered most of the middle ground with rather large blowsy red roses. Its  background matches the light on the hills  so somehow the roses work? Infallible logic!  The dark sky layer extended down across this. The stitching followed the rose pattern then areas were ripped or cut away, either the dark or both.  Some areas were just thinned out, tweezering  individual threads away to leave suggestions of colour and shapes .p1060417

 

The secondary patch of pattern is bright orange paisley ( ouch, but why not?) The  colour contrast was a bit much so out with the 2 tone organza as overlays. And the hideous ones – crimson/green,  purple/ orange…. This time stitching followed the paint shapes and colour shifts. Snip, snip, rip, and…. didn’t like it.  Lost the coherent structure, the story was compromised.   Back to the drawing and reinstate the idea of linear perspective with the tapering lines.  This is  randomly couched knitting ribbon with a wriggly approach to life,and of course, could use no pins. Quite a good game playing chase the  yarn  across the piece of work just spent far too many  hours on, but the end result is  fluid enough without looking staged.  Now I quite like it.p1060416

“Oh, how traditionally English…”

umm…     Asian  fabric with patterns of a  probably Chinese flower  and Indian symbols placed over a brutal post Industrial landscape….. ummm   romantic view of Englishness.

Like the colour shifts  due to light and viewing angle. Some of the stitching is fairly crude where I was fighting with  physically get the thing through the machine. The canvas has creased – normally this is ‘damage’ and devalues – I see it as a record of its history and as  such far more  relevant to the subject matter than happy perfection.

bsgfExhibition is still on – until the 15th March. I am there next Sunday doing a demo and trying to talk sense. (should be worth watching – but you must promise not to point and laugh)

video traumas and stitch techniques.

Camp Hands!   Camp Hands!       Aargh…… what happened to Mrs I Like Power Tools and Ohhh, Always Wanted To Do More Welding?  It seems that when I am not watching them, they have a worrying personality of their own!

I found a video editing download that I wanted to try, so  set up my dinky camera and filmed myself working. I find it very funny but at least the software seems fairly straightforward at this very basic level.

TECHNICAL HITCH ALERT – can only upload if I pay more money…….so please use imagination……or on my textiles page on facebook     What a palaver .-https://www.facebook.com/Frantextiles/

These are the end result – part of a season series.

But is it better than a slideshow?  This of a the on going large piece  which nearing completion at last!

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Answers on a postcard please.

Either way it takes longer to record then to do the actual work.

Hopefully the Stitchy Day  workshop on Wednesday will be easier  –  no cameras or admin involved – just me, and the pupils of course.

Messy Day and Exhibition

 

Quite a busy week. Everything is ongoing. At least now the exhibition is up and running. Booked to do a demonstration event on the 5th of March, which is pages away in my diary. I’ll worry about that in a couple of weeks.

 

These photos were just as they were getting settled in, the installation was causing some concern as it is so open ended, the legs will disappear and some of the banners may dangp1060347le  and entangle the jacket or squirm around the plinth. Still haven’t got used to seeing the Big Beastie and wish that I had made it longer!

 

The other artist’s work is diverse and so individual that the whole exhibition has a great energy. Comments so far have been very positive!

 

 

 

That is the civilised side of the week. Since then I have made a distressing elephant  and hosted a Messy Day.  That at least was excellent fun, thank you to the ladies who came and were willing to try everything. This was a day spent playing with micro dyeing and kitchen top colouring techniques. p1060349 So also thank you to Mr Teabags, Mr Dylon, and Mr Red Cabbage. Some great results  with lots of ideas to develop further.

The next ‘at Home’ day course is a Stitchy Day exploring and experimenting with freehand machining techniques on the 15th.            Exciting!

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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!