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.
Hurrah the first batch of work has been delivered – this was to Art In The Mill Gallery for their Summer Salon, part of the FEVA festival.
Bit of a scramble to get everything ready, only picked the work up from the framers on Friday afternoon – the one opportunity to get the work across was on Saturday after work. Rather busy Saturday morning, breakfast was on the hoof in the rush to prep, record, price and pack, then off to work for a rest!
I had wanted longer to reaquaint with the work in its new clothing, somehow framing does make the scruffiest work look ‘proper’. But it is gone now – hopefully someone will love and buy! (still waiting for my millionaire to come along and insist on buying all of it- I would resist of course out of creative modesty, but after subtle persuasions ( poss invovling chocolates, flowers, etc,) I would give in and then live in happy self indulgence until the next one comes along….) Lacking a millionaire I did settle for icecreams….. and then set about prepping the next idea – and as you can see the first ‘stones’ have been hatched. They are carved out of old insulation block so should be much lighter to work with now I want to increase the scale a bit.
These landscape stones are becoming a bit of a fixation. Sewing them became welcome relief from the weight of sewing the robes (fingers still sore). The second one is painted, dry and ready to peel. This should be easy – would be if I didn’t paint it first. I literally smear base coat all over it, rubbing it into the fabric, it changes the nature of the surface, blending and pooling around the stitches and pulled details. It also stiffens the fabric and unfortunately glues it to the stone. Oops. Does make the peel difficult and destructive.
Post Peel- It took 3 hours this morning of creative sunbathing to get it free. The peeling has lost all pretence of being precise or new, the fabric is distorted and torn, the paint has been disrupted in places and flaked in others. Flattening it caused even more damage and the whole effect is aged and worn. So much better. It does have a history now, a character, a story to tell. It has the shifts of texture, shapes, I associate with landscape, those sudden details and concentrations in the midst of big spaces, on the down side, it does make me think of roadkill.
I have been a little more experimental with this one. There are a wider range of stitches, the old favourites of chain, french knots, back, whip, seed and of course running. Some I imagined would trap more paint, others give more emphasis or surface. Totally right but not as expected, the bold stitches have become claggy and lost definition and pattern. I think there was too much stitch, there is a lumpiness rather than a lightness.
I think I will mount this on more of the orginal cotton lawn and present it as something fragile and ephemeral, unless of course another idea occurs.
I do like these, they feel right. Forming and deforming to fit a 3d form – it does feel like creating landscapes. And it does feel like those rolling hilltops, the field patterns and plough marks.
The fabrics are getting flimsier, stitching is getting more descriptive rather than pretty. I’ve enjoyed playing with surfaces – smearing thick paint into all of those little places and rubbing and rubbing. The last stone I decided to strip the fabric off – this is after about 3 hrs of stitch, then painting and drying- and then had to break the fabric to lay it flat again. WHY! Took ages to free the fabric ‘skin’ as the paint had acted like a glue and also made the fabric more rigid, So still why? playing with that flat-to-3d form idea, wanting to see how the patterns that were a response to the individual stone, could work without the stone. Hope that makes sense. I guess I have always been fascinated by that kind of transition, and that 3d makes me want to touch to ‘see’ it properly, while 2d I just look at, so the transition may be in my understanding and response.
I am toying with extending the stitch marks- may be quilting, or at least stitching outwards trying to match the different qualities of the stone stitches – contrasting with machine stitch might help or hinder….
with texture background
the stone’s ‘skin’ with quick pencil ideas
the stone’s ‘skin’ with quick pencil ideas
with texture background
Tried putting it on a textured landscape sample – similar colour- this could be another route or too muchy muchy samey samey.
Want to rub in more paint, and more paint (the Latex Gloves of Clamminess) how about graphite powder…….powdered pigment? looks like an aerial photograph….. keep focus on the little details, keep monochrome? too many ideas, not enough biscuits.
Sanity may suffer.
Remember to check out the classes and workshops- and if local, Bridget Bernadette Karn is exhibiting in the cemetery chapel first weekend in June – worth a look.
Well the body of the piece is together, all the water soluble is washed out, leaving great water marks. As predicted some of the lettering has unravelled, decided to encourage it in the background areas to start a sense of aerial perspective. I have been plucking at the trees on the right ready to work over on machine, even did some hand stitching on the big one to give a bit more colour and texture/pattern to it.
The text is White’s (1840) in the background, Baines’s Yorkshire (1823) in the middle and a Domesday Book translation for Pocklington (1086) in the front- thank heaven for Google books and the local library. Now thinking that it should have been the other way round, the oldest at the back as the history the other two were built on. A bit late now, live with it decision made.
Next on the task list is to establish the landscape fully, bringing in more colour and surfaces. The lettering is to be part of the land, not separate from it or superimposed upon it. Lots to do, but I think the back of it is broken now and it should be faster and faster towards the finish now.
Having ideas is such a pain, If this was a simple, straightforward image it would be done-ish. I’ve been at this for weeks and it is just getting to the picture stage! Pah.
Progress may be a little delayed, so I don’t recommend the holding of breath. Am having a bit of a self pity wallow post dentist visit, and have promised to paint the workroom! Double Pah.
The mission over the last week has been to tattify and break up an existing piece and re use it.
I can now say with some authority that a cheese grater (Particularly the bit for zesting) works on fabric. The edges are fluffier than intended but the general effect is worn and shredded, as desired. I feel this has improved this fragment of the despised piece of work no end so it is nearly ready for its reincarnation into the next ‘words and Wolds’ effort. I have a background of text to do and images to decide on, and then into construction again! Hurrah.
The grater also works very well on skin and nails.
There is a lack of foresight – a well trained and focussed hamster could have achieved much the same without the pain.
On the other hand had quite a productive week, a bit bitty but things are moving forward.
Completed 2 small painted and stitched pattern landscapes.
Still haven’t decided whether I like them or not.
Are they a little pretty?
Found a transcript from the 1832 inquiry into factory conditions so am constructing a mini waistcoat with this embroidered on. Uncertain about how far to go – the garment is a part not the whole of the idea – so how proper dressmakey do I get?
Inclination says NEVER!
Also set up a piece of rust staining, which is close to my idea of ideal hard work.
As a way of making unpredictable patterns on backgrounds I love it -some days a flat plain piece of fabric is a horrible thing. For those unfamiliar with it rust ‘dyeing’ is very simple.- prewash the fabric, wrap it around anything that will rust – dunk and leave. Then rinse and fix in a salt solution.
Mine was wrapped in a wire cage I made when I wanted to hang pebbles on the wall(!). It was abandoned on the backdoor step for 3 days (see what I mean about the hard work?), rinsed out this morning and left soaking in a salt bath.
Have several options for how to use it but will decide when it is dry, and then change my mind, probably.