Tag Archive | landscape

Words and Wolds. Fact or fiction?

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P1170707What has happened to November?  Who’s nicked it?  I started the big mission piece and have just resurfaced to find that  a month has gone!  Admittedly not every spare moment has gone into the piece but  it has gobbled up time and so much thought and energy. It has been on the wall  having fester time for  about 4 days –  since when I have constructed a toile for a new  jacket  pattern,  started little embroideries for the Tree Project, made stockings for the local foodbank appeal,  been to the Knit and Stitch Show in Harrogate, taught a whole day workshop at the Viking Loom, and have sorted out a day of sewing to do today (silk velvet!!!!).

The fester time was supposed to allow detachment, a separation between making mode and  hard eyed assessment.  It may be working too well., I was  expecting a dialogue about the legibility, the weight of the image, the relationship of past and present, but as  yet have no traumas, arguments or quibbles.  I even have new angles and  proposals to take the core idea forward, and instead of slog,  the future  making looks exciting again.

….. I am     content   with it,  at the moment.

 

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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.

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 –

 

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.

 

The new Silver Birch

hThis is sat stillish at the moment – sorting out the nature of the background. Will prob go with the washed blue uneven dyed with texture.  The sample piece was the scrap used to wipe the surfaces clean after post-microwave ( oh it’s hot!!!!) minor spillage.  So currently diluting and re-dying with a touch more sky blue in the mix. And remembering that PING means hot. This has been quick to come together and simple to do, but of course I didn’t really enjoy it. It became mechanical, and the physical separation of the layers meant less experimentation and arguing with colours. A little tweaking and balancing was possible after washing out and more will happen as it is compiled but if too much is added then what was the point of the separate layers?

In the interim this has been happening – imaginatively known as The New Silver Birch for the moment.    Early progress was quick, now working harder but  progress is only at breakneck tortoise pace. At the really slow and annoyingly intense stage – will be at this for a few more days yet.

Quick sketches- just to get started with – intend to keep returning to refresh the ideas each time gathering more and specific info. Unless it rains.

First layers – rich blue base colour and first stitch and fray to establish the central tree. Then building up the trees to the left, patterned silk for the lower and then mix of sheer and tufty silk pieces for the foliage. The pics show it as the fabric layers are built on.

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When I woke this morning the stitchy fairies had not arrived, so had to stitch again today. Below is today’s effort – working on the left section, fraying and stitching, and then beginning the foreground.

A good idea, looks good, but so time consuming. There is a coloured base then  thin silk which is loosely stitched, and then the bulk of the silk is pulled away.( Repeat. Sore fingers from some serious tweezering.)  Love the ghost patterns and textures but the surface is very soft so a lot of sewing to moan about is required.  At least now I can get a feel for the whole composition, it will continue to change as stronger colours are added and shapes and textures defined – maybe another week? Month. Lifetime?

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Close ups of the stitching,  just because,- crude, long, mostly straight. Just getting the fabrics and composition sorted ready for the finer top working.

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Will be putting July and August Workshops on the Me page here and on the facebook page in the next week. Only planning a few over the Summer, so…..

 

Back to the Woods

Weellll…..    the new creative burst began with an encounter with curious bullocks, dragonflies, two hares and a crazed cyclist ( his lycra must have been too tight).

At this time of year I like being up and doing early. I think my neighbour would object to sewing machines  before 6 am so I am going out sketching instead- just collecting ideas and options, (this did lead to the bullock encounter). P1060814

This morning was in the local woods and it was the little places, the ordinary ones that caught my imagination.  This was a simple view at the edge of the wood, the sun catching the birch tree on the fringe and it was glowing with light seen through the trunks and delicate foliage of the wood proper. A very quiet beauty. No great drama of composition or texture, or even colour, but…..  The sketch is crude and under developed but that view and idea was the one I thought about on the way home.

It is now beginning in stitch. To be honest it is at the questioning phase, so looks like nothing. Hopefully the questions will lead to answers and the whole may be resolved but it will take time.

P1060806Layer 1 the birch – worked on water soluble fabric.  When washed away the black lines  should also go leaving a lacy  web.  I quite fancy manipulating this to create differing densities and concentrations of colour and textures, so the overall shape may change. And it may need some blue for shadows. And….

 

 

 

 

Layer 2 – mid ground – tree trunks. The purple pen is air erasable so should have faded by morning. Used a heavier thread, and for the top set of branches worked over crewel wool to give it more body.

And then decided to add on foliage. This was delicate and almost silhouetted, so the first pass was a dark teal stitched in a stop start pattern. Added in purple for more density, then dark red for dark contrast, bright jade for light and a mid blue to fill in the holes. So the planned 3hrs sewing turned into 5. (Sorry hedge, may be we will get together with the trimmers tomorrow) And this is how is staying for the moment. At least until  tomorrow morning.P1060812

Questions –  What will happen when the fabric is washed out.   I am imagining adding a stitched layer to each of the floating layers as they are fixed down, or perhaps not. It will depend on how they wash out.   Also may need to add more colour  in each layer – again won’t know until the soluble is washed out.  Is there enough for the idea to work?  It may get washed out and then put straight back on another piece for more content to be added.

Do I put it on  a neutral background? or a colour or a worked ground? Or none at all?

And the foreground – how much/ how little? Inclination is to go very dark for strong contrast, but……   I don’t even know if the composition is going to work – will it have that little bit of magic that I saw?

Oh well. I will find out tomorrow, you may have to wait until next week.

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.

P1060732P1060712

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 –

P1060715

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

P1060714

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?