Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Cure for Post-FoQ Blues

 It's always a bit difficult getting started again after being so overwhelmed with beautiful  work at Festival of Quilts. But the  deadline looming for submission of JQ's for CQ challenge by end of August focuses the mind! At least I've been posting mine monthly this time rather than having to submit 4 in one go ( which rather defeats the object of a journal quilt  in my mind). Augusts offering 'Door scraps I' is made from the offcuts of the sample below which I mounted on a canvas for Cwilt Cmyru 'meet the artist'.  
 It was made with photos of doors and acrylic paint applied over masking tape stencils rather then the paper lamination of 'Peeling Portals' below ( which I've just posted off for Harrogate quilt show , cross fingers!) . This technique does have potential, far simpler than paper lamination but it doesn't yield such complex results

 While my offcut basket was out ( just some of the trimmings from finished quilts...) I had fun composing some more 'door' pieces - so September is sorted out !

This   door JQ (scraps of African indigo fabrics) has been on the go since February, a nice size to hand stitch on  train journeys, it might get finished for October. I initially thought the 8inch size would be too small for my liking but this years challenge has proved a delight, permission  to play and see what happens.
Another little quick project was making a present for  intern Ebrailon  who has been such a help in the lab, particularly chopping up slices of orchid roots we've collected to see if they have any fungi in.  He goes back to Brazil next week  and we'll miss him.  I printed some photos of root samples on Jacquard cotton sheets and ironed them onto  a cotton bag with bondaweb

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Turner Contemporary at Margate

Wednesday 13th was our 9th wedding anniversary  and we took the day off to travel down to Margate by 'Javelin' train to visit Turner Contemporary for the Mondrian exhibition.  A picture of 'Dune Landscape' has been in my sea inspiration  folder  for many years so it was wonderful to see it  in the flesh, it's much larger than I imagined. Also to see  how the grid  paintings he's known for developed. The Spencer Finch exhibition was also interesting.
There was colour everywhere - I couldn't resist this fading, peeling, beach hut! I also took lots of photos of the art installation by Krijn de Koning  , with and without Ian and his pink shirt which looked different against different colour backgrounds

The building itself worked well with  colours of the sky and sea ( as did the site specific installation by Edmund de Waal)

Apart from viewing the exhibitions , we had a lovely lunch at the café  there  followed  by a walk along the harbour and a few sketches in watercolour ( the   clouds were spectacular but luckily the rain  held off ), returning to the café again for coffee and cake.
We returned to the  station at the same time as lots of families who'd spent the day on the beach ( lots of sandcastles and stripy windbreaks in evidence!) A lovely day with a space out of time quality, back to work on Thursday.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014

Spent my usual 2 days ( Saturday and Sunday) at the Festival of Quilts , it just gets  bigger and better, the galleries were particularly good this year. I was blown away by the recent work of Ann Johnston 'The contact- quilts of the Sierra Nevada'( above) both the inspiration behind it and the wonderful marks on fabric used to interpret her theme. It's rare to see a body of work that rewards both from a distance and close-up. The book had sold out -  I ordered it online (print on demand) as soon as I got home!
I did  buy a copy of the  catalogue for European Art Quilts VIII as there were some outstanding pieces in that gallery- Roberta Le Poidevin's 'A Thousand Acres' especially . Robbie won 1st prize with her miniature ' a hundred acres' based on this ( above)  but the larger scale piece was stunning.
Another gallery with amazing pieces on show was 'Art Textiles made in Britain: identity' - I was side-tracked meeting up with people I hadn't seen since last year so didn't take many photos apart from  a side view of a piece by Louise Baldwin - the  use of what looks like a section of drainpipe was inspired!
In other galleries, there were a few pieces that grabbed my attention, especially those using red old textiles ( I wonder why...!), including this piece using old red shibori by Gabi Mett  and some work in the French Patchwork Association (  unfortunately I was in a rush and forgot to  note the maker)

After writing about Pojagi in my last post , it amused me to see that a pojagi piece had won First Prize in the Art Quilt Section! I think it was rather a controversial decision but it  had a lovely luminous quality.  

Marion Hall's piece in the 'Fine Art Quilt Masters' also had a luminous quality
I loved the quirky 'drawings' by  Susan Chapman with  loads of stitching adding texture
On an Australian theme, 'Bushfire' by Louise Peers  was evocative, reminding me of the gardens on that theme at Hampton Court Flower show last year and I was pleased that my friend Sue Sheriff had entered her 'Journeys across Australia', such a good use of photos in a very personal piece.
Also reminding me of holidays   was 'Triassic Trio ' by Exe Valley CQ group ( and they won 3rd in Group Quilts)

I'm surprised I managed to see anything with so much catching up with various people, including fellow Cwilt Cymru  members; 'International Threads' participants  Gillian Travis and Uta Lenk (below) ;  some interesting conversations  about landscape and archaeology with Gillian Cooper ( 'Loops in Time' above)   and lots of other CQ and SAQA members

I was thrilled to have not 1 but 2 'Judges Choice' - from Barbara Weeks for 'Nautical Dawn' (above) in Art Quilts  section and from Sandra Meech for 'Weymouth Waves' in Pictorial Section. A delightful surprise and they mean a lot especially from  quilters who I admire. I also had a quilt in Linda Seward's gallery(  which looked amazing) , my 'Tideline'  was hung between quilts by Linda and Laura Kemshall!!
So after some retail therapy (including  blowing my budget on  yet another basket and some fabric from  Magie and Bob ), we headed back to London avoiding the tail end of Hurricane Bertha  but seeing some amazing  dynamic skies.
Today ( Wednesday 13th) was our 9th Wedding anniversary and we went to Turner Contemporary at Margate  but that will be another post....

Monday, 4 August 2014

Korea: East and West - SDA Journal

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Surface Design Association (SDA)  about renewing my subscription ( I've been a member since 2006).  With regret, I've  come to the decision that  at $75  + $20 postage I no longer afford  it .I'm not making best use of my membership,  and although I've dabbled with other textiles (like the infamous 'Taplow Vase'), art quilts are my primary  interest and membership of SAQA  ( along with CQ) best serves this need.
My main reason for joining was hoping that some day I could attend a conference and learn Pojagi techniques with Chunghie Lee . So it seems fitting that the last issue of their excellent journal I receive has Korean textiles as it's theme and it's an absolute cracker with many innovative works, particularly  the  3D structures such as 'cloudscape' below and the work of  Do Ho Suh 

 Cloudscape -Sojie Feliciano Solomon  

As I've said before, I've long appreciated Pojagi techniques, making this door curtain with machine stitched seams many years ago ( unfortunately it was 'site specific' ,there's no place suitable for it in our current house ) . I really enjoyed the Masterclass  with Chunghie Lee I  participated in at FoQ in 2009 but  although I'm still intrigued by layers of organza (such as recent 'Dislocation' piece) I haven't taken  Pojagi  techniques  further   (unlike Molly Bullick who also attended that class and has used them to fantastic effect).
I'm coming to the conclusion that  this may be because they belong to another culture  and I'm more concerned with exploring techniques and marks personal to me ( not just because  my stitching is getting larger and larger, which wouldn't meet  with approval!) I do however have plans for some of the semi translucent Japanese fabrics I bought with Pojagi in mind following interesting discussions with Ruth Axson at Rydal Hall retreat.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Shabby Delights - another Boro find

Another 'shabby chic' find from ebay  with (to me) delightfully peeling and disintegrating layers of fabric. Washing it resulted in lots of tiny bits of rotted fabric in the machine and over the floor when it was drying (think large tissue left in wash) but worth it! No large woollen scarf as batting as in my previous hidden treasure purchase but scraps here and there which make me think it's a similar vintage and the backing is a heavy homespun twill like the red and white quilt I used for my Cwilt Cmyru pieces which was lovely to hand stitch.

Friday, 25 July 2014

A weekend in Llanidloes

A week ago now, Ian and I headed off for a long weekend in Llanidloes for the 'Meet the Artist' event associated with Cwilt Cmyru exhibition 'Connection' at Minerva Arts  Centre. We're getting better now at  acclimatising to peace and quiet relatively quickly. We struck gold in our B&B, the Coach and Horses - we were in the Owl Suite on the top floor  with views out over the fields (below)  with excellent hosts, facilities and breakfasts. The  main sound was that of the swifts swooping around after insects ( makes a change from planes descending into Heathrow and the elevated section of the M4!)
I particularly liked the old  Welsh woollen quilts in the summer show at Minerva, the examples above made from tailors samples and from Welsh flannel  and I found some peeling doors to photo!  Saturday was very leisurely - a couple of pints (from the Waen Brewery ) and lunch in the Old Mill reading the  Saturday Grauniad  and a wander round the town including the museum and the old market hall  with its exhibition on half-timbered buildings.
Perhaps because  the preview had been the previous weekend, we didn't have too many visitors to 'Meet the Artists'  but those who did come were very interested in our work. This meant we had more time to look at the quilts: the antique ones: the interesting arctic pieces  by Sandra Meech  and seeing each others work in the flesh having only seen it in photos on Dropbox. Everyone's work is different  and distinctive but shows the same degree of  professionalism and thought, I'm very proud to have been asked to be a member.  Being quiet it was great to catch up and plan our next exhibition.  
Ian meanwhile was very happy to re-visit the Old Mill and the Angel and read his book  which tied in nicely with seeing the display on the Chartists  in the Museum ( I was more interested in the display on flannel weaving and the old Welsh quilt in the Victorian parlour).
On our return ,the train from Caersws ( just about learnt how to pronounce this!) was delayed by half an hour because of 'police assistance' required at Machynlleth so we were in need of refreshment from the trolley - The Rev James for Ian , coffee and bara brith for me.  I'd bought Welsh cakes from the bakers to take back for work - they disappeared very quickly before I'd had a chance to taste them myself!
It was refreshing to be in a place where everything wasn't  open 24/7 and the shops weren't chain stores.  Staying over on Sunday night it was just as well we like curry as that was all that was available. We look forward to our next visit.  

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Dislocation Dejection

I was rather disappointed not to have my entry' Hidden Fractures'  selected for the CQ 'Dislocation' challenge to be exhibited at the  Festival of quilts but with 79 submitted and space for only 44, and an incredibly diverse selection ( see the website here), the judges had a  tough job!  My quilt was also difficult to photograph well being so dark and with a  floating organza layer which gave almost a 3d effect, much  more intriguing in the flesh. With more and more quilt exhibition juried by photo it leaves me with a dilemma . This quilt was an experiment, trying out new techniques and effects  and I'm increasingly using indigo fabrics where the colours and tones are subtle and often difficult to get good photographs. With juried exhibitions selecting from photos looking for impact, do I  really want to make work specifically that  will photograph well at the expense of working to my own criteria?
Anyway  a bit  about the quilt. It was  inspired by marks on cloth: this piece of cloth from bought from Jo Lovelock, and  a piece of my own  indigo arashi shibori  dyed brown silk organza.  Searching the internet for photos linked with dislocation brought up various MRI  scans and X-rays of dislocated bones which these fabrics reminded me of. A few years ago I had a 'mallet injury' of my left hand pinkie  and  had a sneaky look at my x-rays  on the way between hospitals.   It was a very peculiar angle and required splinted strapping for 6 weeks. I briefly considered that as a quilt but decided on something more abstract related to it.

I cut up the fabric and rearranged it  and after a bit of a search managed to track down the right colour of blue threads to machine stitch with
Once  quilted ( I particularly liked the 12wt Wonderfil ) I  took photos of  the 4 different permutations of the indigo organza over the top, spending quite a while deciding which I liked best.

Deciding how to 'float' the organza over the top was quite a challenge - I tried samples with machine stitching the edges or raw and then  decided on hand rolling ( I used to be quite an expert when I made my own scarves from yardage) - time consuming given I was running against a tight deadline  but I'm getting to be a bit of a perfectionist. And then I had  to work out how to attach it by stitching it into the facing ( the bottom took 3 attempts, 1 too loose, 1 too tight!)
Artist Statement:

Inspired by accidental marks on cloth reminiscent of bone fractures and dislocations revealed through X-rays and MRI scans.
Even with modern scanning techniques, detection depends on the experience and interpretation of the viewer.

Tray-dyed cotton sateen fabric dyed by Jo Lovelock cut up and reassembled, machine stitched with 12wt and 40wt cotton threads. Floating top layer of silk organza with hand-rolled hems, attached at top and bottom, hand-dyed with indigo using arashi shibori.