I set myself a task of reworking ( repurposing?) an experimental piece I found lurking in the deepest, darkest cupboard. It must be at least be of an age to be taking exams and leaving school for an exciting future – well, it got me and my rotary cutter.
Carrying on with this compromised landscape theme of imposed divisions, patterns and shapes being distorted by having to fit onto an imperfect surface, it seemed appropriate to play over the top of this discarded piece.
It was sliced and diced totally arbitrarily into 3″ish pieces and patterns and lines from the current sketchbook worked over the top. The images are from Great Fryupdale and Rosedale on the North York Moors.(and yes, they are real names). The level of aesthetic consideration and planning was kept to a minimum – after all most landscapes are the result of practical and pragmatic decisions. Some I think have worked well – they retain an element of landscape, others are more abstract, some have all the charm of the Vale of York on a cold and soggy Sunday. At this scale the stitching often feels crude and working over the mixed layers of flimsy synthetic sheers and net was a bit of a nightmare – no wonder I shifted onto heavier fabrics.
These are going to be presented as greeting cards rather than get reassembled, so may achieve that exciting future after all, as they spread far and wide.
Please check the workshops page or website for the next classes – the next, Colour, is fully booked but there are spaces after that.
Do make a space in your diary for the York Textile Artists exhibition in November, and I have taken an opportunity to stand in a hut in the middle of Middlesborough 2 Sundays in December selling my wares, so please come along if you can.
Yep, it is a woodland view. Honest! Can’t you see it? Arching canopy, meandering path, tree trunks, sunlight? It is a leap of faith and an act of will. Even at this stage the thinking about stitch patterns is apparent – directional to describe surfaces, and more random for textures. Spent ages on the detailed study – went round the corner and preferred that composition! Typical. Only had time for quick sketches to record the general idea. The sketch with the arrows is the stitching plan. Flat lines, some zigzag, lots of little happy squirms for the canopy. On the whole the machine stitches follow the basic patterns set by the hand work, but in some areas an under strata of filling stitch were put in to increase the density or to surpress the bulk of the wools. And this is what it became. Looks a bit 18th century to me. The frame is the same as used for the rest of this series but without a mount – it was just too stark, the mauvey colour is the fabric colour.
This may be last of these for a while – I want to get back to the happy anarchy of lots more texture and building as I go rather than in predetermined layers. They are soothing and relatively swift but a bit like white bread – great in small doses, bland if over indulged in.
And the whole series?
Thank goodness that is the end of June. Far too much going on. July looks like a just getting on month… fewer workshops and classes, and major deadlines looming.
I have proposed the evolving landscapes and the Falling Light series for Knaresborough, they are now at the framers, but still want to make more. I am applying for the Great North Art Show again, that will be the Written Wolds series – I want to re frame one or two of those but haven’t decided how exactly, what ever it will be mega bucks. Also got the Staithes Festival at the same time – hmm……
So, just got myself a little bit of stitching to do.
Can you tell what it is yet? I went back to an older technique with the hand understitching (Roger Federer was playing at Wimbledon). It gives a structure, some bulk, a bit of texture and colour to work on. The flatness of fabric can be just too flat some days. This was from a 5 minute pen scribble sketch – took an awful lot
longer to stitch. Not yet entirely sure it is done – the machine stitching has lost the energy and directness – might be the addition of colour and a bit of the tonal range. There are lots of tweaks to do now I look, – the right side of the tree does look a bit too Harmony hairspray, the path is too stark, could do with a dull tone in the distance. Maybe a leaf layer in the foreground in a contrast green? Just in line to keep that Summer undergrowth jungle theme going. The tree trunks to the left have disappeared – subtle I wanted, not invisible.
May be try a more monochrome one over understitching?
And as for the last landscape stone – mounted onto some more fine cotton, glued to make rigid, painted and stitched…. the frame is temporary.
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.
Once it was a flat piece of cloth, then it encased a stone, then it was broken off and made flat again, showing all the c
First stages- tacked on and a few lines stitched.
uts, folds and pleats as pattern and scars.
It is now being stitched down to hold its shape and its history. The backing cloth has had its own saga, loosely snagged up in elastic bands before tea staining and then drenched with dilute inks. The plain cloth was too machined and perfect, this now is offering more.
It is slow at present – hand stitching outwards, following lines and seams. I have tried to raise some, the backing is a bit thick but it is trying to behave.
I have tried various threads, matching the ones sewn with on the stone and also experimenting with the frayed threads of the backing fabric. It may be an odd shape but I have hopes – It has a sense of landscape, it has a sense of having evolved rather than being designed. There are plenty of decisions still to make – blending over some of the edges to hide the fusion of the two layers of fabric, how neat to stitch, how much to stitch, whether to work in some paint, how about pencil marks and shading, or graphite powder?
Some of these techniques are covered in my classes and workshops – check out the list on the Want to Try page.
Well it is Bank Holiday……. How many excuses do you need to sit under the apple tree and stitch…,
Just plugging away on these landscape stones – trying various scales and also inserting them into a whole section of cloth. Not convinced they have mileage in the current form, but it does allow me to be outside in the garden. The sun is warm, the light is soft, the blossom is so delicately fragrant and alive with bees, have icecream ready. Ignoring the weeding and mowing and clipping and…….
Just started on the summer classes and workshops – I just reall enjoy enjoy teaching in my own place – everything I could need isright there- but a shame about the tidying up required. The list is on the Want to try Page (tab on title bar or side menu)
I have been waiting and waiting for the Spring – not the calendar days, but the warmth, the sense of growth, the change in the light….. and a minor explosion of activity has been going on. Pushed the ghosts of the winter landscape in their subdued colour and restraint to one side and went back/forwards to the anarchy of the early Summer.
These are all on elderly oilpaintings, rescued from the loft and cut off their stretchers. The gessoed canvas is like cardboard but does take a limited amount of stitch, it is quite fun to find out just how much. The idea is still to work with fragments, part seen, part understood, so layers of fabric, all different qualities and origins, couched yarns, strips and blocks of text have been added, sometimes working with the image underneath, sometimes working against. Great fun and entirely intuitive. The text for these is more personal, reflecting some of my thoughts from walking through the Wolds, hills and dales. Some are very basic observations, others a little more thoughtful.
These needed different framing – the slick modern mouldings were too hard, too ‘finished’. Experiments occurred (denying responsibility) with chalk paint . Sadly I liked them much more than I expected so have spent days painting, sanding and waxing. Should be all done for Open Studios, and a lighter, fresher look.
And speaking of Open Studios…………..
Launch/taster exhibition this weekend!!!! ( in the old church at the bottom of Micklegate)
Open Studios week ends are the 14th ( the weekend after!)and the21st.