Tag Archive | making

Garden is still growing.

img_20190712_095536111The garden is expanding. I found a tiny patch of North Yorkshire where some dumped topsoil has bloomed with a vibrant collection of poppies. So how come the ones in my garden are naff colours and these, orphans on the roadside, are fabulous in colour and form!!

And the result? Can I mix the garden style with a broader landscape? I don’t want it to be a standard applique picture,  but something more….. other. How can the garden style adapt?

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Detail of gardenV

In its barest form it is multi layered line drawing, some bold, some more pattern orientated. The richness and improbability of the velvet gives it  luxury. Combine the two and you get an exuberence, changing as the sheen and pile on the velvet catch the light so the colours and stitching appears and disappears.

I use line differently in the landscapes- there it also is used to create direction, or hatched to make tone or volume. FBrammer-Folding Landscape (2)


And what about perspective? The landscapes rely on it, the gardens mostly work as a flat picture plane. It isn’t really surprising that I am hovering on the brink of this one.

 

It is the contradiction in approach that really has me stumped. For one it is about adding and adding, more colour, more line, moreness personified. On the other it is about making spaces, reducing, removing, using less.  Are they  going to have a common ground or is this about working the two as conflicting ideas and let them argue?

Is this a new situation? Nah. It is frustrating- I want to get straight on in there. But even more frustrating is that this seems to be an essential part of my creative process. I have always hated it if asked a question when the answer is already known. I do get stale if it is too easy….Pah.

And today-  nothing will happen- I am manning the exhibition at Art in the Mill, Knaresborough, with others of the York Textile Artists.  We are there to engage with the visitors, trying to appear knowledgeable and interesting,  but I think alot of gossip and giggling will also happen. Please do come by if you can, the show is on until the 19th, it would be great to say hello!

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I won’t even be watching the Wimbledon Mens’ final!!!  Hope it is as good as the Mens’ Doubles last night.

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Garden III

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Garden III is making slow progress,  more of that, garden II is about to be properlyframed, but what has taken most energy is prepping for the Knaresborough exhibition. All that needs doing is finishing work, framing, newsletter, social media promotions, co ordinating group members and gallery, herding cats, biting furniture, gentle running round in circles and mild panic. And all of the usual day to day business as well. Which all equals chaotic headless chicken-ness.

It is going to be fun. Just a couple of weeks to get it sorted out.

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And back to Garden III  – This has been stitched, trimmed, plucked and stitched; and still doesn’t look much different. The first layers of flowers are in place – these will be the amorphous blobs in the background with bolder shapes and tufts of fine silk to give it body over the top. The velvet is enjoying itself, it is eating all of the colour I put on, do you believe there is burgundy, royal purple, dull straw and  bright straw, bright navy and of course 5 shades of green, and pale grey and white in there?

There is the splashes of flower colour, stems and balancing to do, and then it will be done. Say it quickly, and it sounds easy….

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Garden II

Great things are happening! Huge progress made!! It looks fab! You will be amazed!!!

Well, I would be too.

In other words – status = fairly normal. But in a big way.

There are elements that are coming together – I am not trying for an identify the flower, walk that path, kind of image – too obvious?  My garden is about growiness not rigid control or any form of ‘aren’t I clever’. It tends to happen, mostly without me. I let things grow to find out what they are and also let them stay long past their ‘best’. It is this chaotic nature I want, the mixture of shapes and forms aswell as colour. At the moment a native geranium is wrestling for world domination with the ladies mantle while the bugle knows it is still king, the rebellious  forget me nots  are in colonising mode, and the giant poppy plants – new arrivals this year- who have seeded in weird places  currently looking like snooty lettuces…..

I sit and watch and just dwell. The individual plants are not important, it is the whole, seen from the corner of an eye,  how it moves in the wind, the sounds, the light catching foliage edges or reflecting off raindrops, glimpses of form and colour. That is what I want on cloth.  Not too much?img_20190526_085215897

So layering, cutting away, drawing shapes and patterns, multiple layers of colour and stitch, incomplete edges, suggestions and hints. And this is the beginnings. The shot velvet is a menace but also gives alot, I have found that I can pluck it with the Pointed Tweezers of Doom and create areas of a smooth soft brick red. The thread colours are gobbled up by it but remerge if enough stitching is done. The laid fabric goes into a strange perm-like frazzle if pushed. All in all it is an adventure.  img_20190526_085241263

At present the purples dominate but the next colours are going to be other brights, pale blue, mauves, hot pink and an orange or two, to create more focal points. Then more green and blues and deep colours to disrupt or emphasise those and then….. don’t know. Everything is changing as the idea gets its corners worn off and new opportunities arise.  Bit of a roller coaster actually, and not a gin bottle in sight!

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.

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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.

landscape books

This is an extension from the standing landscapes. It is a combination of old trends and fascinations and new materials and priorities.

Fun!

Fascination list 1.

Folding. Inside/outside. Angles/ curves. 2D into 3D. Front and back.  Out comes that can be changed rather than rigid. Perspectives. Mark making, textures, simplicity of line. Rhythm. Less not more. The seen and the understood . Denying  the sanctity of vision. Enclosing, revealing. Communication. Enigma. Questions. Narratives.

Oh dear – how many contradictions!

The standing landscapes addressed many of these areas.  But I am going further – or at least trying to….  Communication and narritives – tehse already speak of visual things, of space and textures, lines and perspectives – all physical things, all expressive but have underlying rules and conventions. I wish to introduce some of the deeep and wonderful thinking that happens as I move through the landscape. For me they are entwined into the physical. The obvious is to write – a familiar route. Underlying or overlaying? Woven in ?  to be read or just hint? With or across the lines of the landscape?

Giving the folding a purpose – making a pull out book. Having a cover and the landscape folded within. This seems a very York thing. Driving around the city I see distant hills in 3 directions,  blue and purple horizons, or gleaming in the sunlight, once I get to them they unfold into complexity and character, opening up their secrets and corners.

Proto Landscape Book 1

Construction-  Samples,  vilene panels cut and fused onto muslin to act as hinges. The tall narrow strip will be the spine,  the ones either side will be the covers. The last is of the final blank ‘book’ , stitched around to seal the muslin to the vilene.  The scale is too small for anything other than the briefest experiments.

 Nothing over special about the image – do like the layers in the foreground but the covers are where the interest lies, should maybe have a greater disction between cover and extension – colour? content?  density?

There is no writing on it yet –  that is next. Down the spine like a title? following the perspective lines? in the pale, in the dark or in a slight neutral? 10 minutes later and there is writing! As if by magic! or sewing machine…

The text is one I have used before, and always reminds me of leisurely walking through the Yorkshire Wolds on a bright and breezy day. It  is whimsical rather than deep,  it comes from watching the wind ripple through ripe barley as the clouds scud about above them.

Problem – front and back – writing has a right and wong way round.  Very much a problem on the front cover, so the text has to start only on the inside panels. Should I be colouring the cover? Thread or paint?  I shall try paint……

Who am I kidding? Is this a way to avoid thinking about York Open Studios?  April 6th is just how many days away?? Please do come and see me if you can –  I promise to have tidied up by then…..

Painted scarves

These are fabulous, but dinky.  I wanted to get bigger again but to keep the pace  and the challenge without getting trapped by the scale or technicals,  so I decided to paint, of course! Let’s make a scarf, or two.

Matt acrylic and textile medium? Brusho? Indian ink?

Brusho is a powder – often used as a watercolour- and is often used on fabric. Problem would be making it wash-fast. Do not want a scarf where the colour rubs off on to skin or gently dribbles into your clothing.

Indian ink – waterproof ink – more liquid, very strong but will it stay where it is put?

Acrylic paint plus textile medium is tried and tested. Just mix the two and paint it on. It needs to be heat fixed (ironed) before it is washable. It can be clumsy, can create hardspots and can sit on the top surface.

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Play time. results – the red is brusho- far too enthusiastic even with the medium- red everywhere. The black is Indian ink – so strong but better manners.

Decided on the devil I know- the acrylic plus medium, the first a fairly neat mix, the second more dilute to get more flow.  The pieces are 2m x 1/2m muslin.  Far too easy – so dyed over it to give a  warm dove grey. The paint is resistant. Great fun to do even if the room and sink area look like a battlefield and the only place I had to hang them to dry  was the stairwell. But then comes the finishing- hand rolled hem.  It is only 2m. Then 1/2 m across, 2m back, and another 1/2m to complete. Now hate rolled hems, and muslin. (been out and bought 3m more)

Still have a few Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings left if you would like to come round to play with creative textiles. York Open Studios is approaching fast – 6-7th and 13-14th April and I will do more formal workshops after this. Also have a piece at the gallery in the Ryedale Folk Museum on the North Yorks Moors, in their Open Exhibition – things are getting busy…..