Tag Archive | landscape

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.

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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 –

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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

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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?

 

 

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?).

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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)

Machine Embroidery Big Beast 2

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This is the life cycle of a large piece of machine embroidery. It began early last year. But only got going in the autumn, therefore has no oilseed rape. And the hills have grown, and the farm buildings were taken down by the developers, and……

Sketched in situ – should have taken a rubber. Under painting  with dye and ink, trying it wrapped around the stretcher (120 x 40 cm! ),then happy sloshing time in the garden – dilute ink/dye and coffee/tea stain and lots of water. Left it out for a day or two.  Lastly, drying on the hall floor, so completely in the way.

 

Can’t find the early textile photos. Layers of gauze and stitched lines suggest the landscape. The trees are more complex –  ( last week’s slideshow!)

At this point it is nearly finished, but not quite p1060369near enough. There is balancing to do, adding, and taking away. Hard to stop this becoming fiddling.

Tweaking is fine, but no one likes a fiddler.

Spot the new (deliberate) holes!  Might even see the extra orange by the trees, and the deeper tones in the landscape.  I do like this section the best, but it does make the rest look out of focus. Might be a good thing! The two on the right are the back. Again really like the tree section.

And the finished article – not yet stretched onto the frame but at least it is pressed.

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Haven’t settled on a title yet, so is known to its friends as The Big Beast 2.

Updating my mailing list – if you would like notices about my own workshops and exhibitions please send me a line – franbramm@gmail.com

Upcoming events-

Exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery, York. Til 15th March 2017.

Stitchy Day. 8th March. A day workshop exploring and experimenting with freehand machining,  held in my workroom, York.

York Open Studios 2017- last 2 weekends in April.

 

 

 

 

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.

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!