Tuesday, 30 March 2010
I can finally reveal my entry displayed there "Bexhill Breakwaters"
It is 60cm square, based on photos and sketches of Bexhill-on Sea last year , constructed from an old Durham quilt, stitched and painted, with inserts of old Japanese Kasuri fabric.
I made lots of preparatory materials including the handling sample required and a 'toile' to solve problems along the way. I'll share more about the process in next few posts- good practice for the Gallery Talk I'm giving at the Quilt Museum on the 28th April!
Friday, 26 March 2010
My favourite of all the spring bulb displays at Kew however is that of the 'Glory of the Snow' Chionodoxa siehei. Apart from the glorious colour, they shimmer in the breeze . Magic!
We won't be lacking in yellow though as we're keeping the 'Jews Mallow' Kerria japonica in front of it which is far less of a bully and a more elegant plant altogether. It's just beginning to 'spurt' into flower.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
I was thinking how well cells work as inspiration for textiles. I've done a few small quilts before based on bits of plant and lab equipment, mainly as leaving presents for staff/students.
Off tomorrow to 'Country Living Fair' (not sure it's quite my thing but I received a complimentary ticket) and for preview of Margaret's Foundation Course Exhibition. Having followed her work with baited breath I'm looking forward to seeing the results.
I'm also wondering whether I can squeeze in a visit to London Graphic Centre - not content with stocking up at Cass Arts sufficiently to acquire a free magenta bag.
Friday, 19 March 2010
I've been rereading 'The elements of drawing' by John Ruskin and one of the exercises is building up the shapes and contours of stones with consecutive washes of watercolour. Sounds like it might be useful observational practice - I'm going to be working larger next week, on a piece of gesso primed Durham Quilt.
I'd used cream or fawn fabrics rather than white to co-ordinate with these old Ndop indigo fabrics from Cameroon - I'm still interested in integrating old and new cloth as I'd done here
These 2 were my favourites- the background is a mocha coloured silk noile and takes the dye beautifully. (and I've got lots more yardage)
This Japanese yellowy fabric also took the dye well
And I threw this commercial patterned fabric in too, thinking ahead to CQ Summer School and sea and sand ripples
I also did a trial with my smocking pleater machine - have to use thin strips of fabric and brute force but some interesting effectsSue had some wonderful samples she'd done using my bits of drainpipe - still the best shibori technique I think. Her stitched sample was interesting too - worth investing some time in stitching for next opportunity when have access to an indigo vat.
Looking forward to Regional Day tomorrow in Kensington where Janice is speaking . I don't suppose I'll be able to resist stocking up on bargain art materials at Cass arts....
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
January's 'Indigo Knife Edge' is a photo of a Henry Moore sculpture printed on some Indigo fabric and then stitched using the ideas from my drawing class of rhythmic lines very close together. I'd forgotten how tricky indigo can be to photograph- the above image was scanned, the one below photographed, the reality somewhere in between! The Henry Moore was from when there was an installation at Kew, I'm looking forward to seeing the large exhibition of his work at Tate Britain. February's 'Llangollen Snow' is inspired by the snowy landscape when we went up to 'QuiltFest'. It is recycled from offcuts from 'Thin Blue Line' and 'Breakthrough' quilts, already partially stitched and painted, just a bit of stitching required to join the offcuts and suggest the trees.
I'm rather taken with the back of this piece. Although it doesn't show my machine quilting skills in a good light(was having terrible problems with the tension- the needle didn't like going through gesso!) I rather like the loopy effects. I'm sure if I was trying to obtain this particular 'stitch' I'd fail dismally!
For several months I've been struggling with a barely functioning computer. I'd decided that this would be the weekend to back-up everything and grit my teeth and do a total re-install. Ian remembered that the cause of similar problems had been an incompatability between an optical mouse and XP , why didn't I try using a wired USB mouse instead. With nothing to lose ,I plugged in the teeny USB mouse from my laptop. Magic, problem solved, it was worth marrying him!! I've ordered an 'intellimouse' from ebay but while I was round the back of the computer plugging in my printer again (I'd been forced to print from my laptop for the last few months ) I found that although I had separate remote devices for keyboard and mouse, that the keyboard device worked for both. With 2 sets of signals,no wonder the poor mouse was confused and refused to respond to either!
Friday, 12 March 2010
Then (with due consideration to the Gods of Health and Safety) with candle stuck in some self hardening clay, we drew with chalk on black paper (above) and then charcoal on buff (much easier, apart from anything else could see a bit better). A very vivid exploration of 'chiaroscura' '
The shadows cast by my glasses frames were pretty scary ( as were the students artwork of ghouls behind me reflected in the mirror!) . But once again my tutor has found an interesting exercise from (for me anyway) art materials and subject matter I'm not very keen on.
The next 2 weeks are dedicated to our own project work - I missed these sessions last term as I was either interviewing or unwell. Deciding what I want to work on is actually very difficult - something where the tutors input could help is probably the most useful.
Sunday, 7 March 2010
My last fabric gathering exercise was early last year when I was compiling fabrics for my 'Weir' piece ( still to be quilted) That was a relatively controlled process on a table with rejects going back in a box. Perhaps the new approach is the fault of my design wall!!
In most recent drawing class we were looking at the figure in motion. First of all trying to very quickly draw someone in multiple sketches (but without taking pencil off paper) as they walked towards you; then taking it turns to pose for each other - again all sketches on the same piece of paper; finally drawing the tutor in 3 different positions, all on top of each other in charcoal on a large piece of paper. It's a long time since I did any life drawing so it's just as well the objective wasn't accuracy! I lost where I was doing the 3rd sketch , realising I'd made the very svelte tutor ginormous , so I'm not going to share that with you!!
However one the ideas behind the 3 overlapping sketches was to crop it and find pleasing abstractions - definately more up my street
Next week it's portraits in charcoal and pastels - not my favourite subject or materials but I'm sure there will be an interesting twist. Then it's 'own project' for 2 weeks. What to choose?
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
I concentrated on trying find a sheltered spot to sketch from - the rain obliterated the ones I did of the bathhouse
There were compensations in watching the changing skyscapes and spectacular rainbows.
After giving up the painting as a bad job and going for a coffee, the skies cleared (or so I thought) and I did a quick painting from the car park. The rain reappeared before I could stuff my sketchbook in the pocket of my kagoule but I rather like the speckled effect. Of all the paintings I did in Tunisia it's the one that instantly conjures up the spirit of time and place.
Dougga, the last Roman site we visited on our tour was probably the most impressive. Apart from the size of the site and the number of relatively intact buildings which gave a real sense of a city ( and the fact it was sunny!), the real star was the setting, in a wonderful landscape of distant mountains and olive groves. While Ian went on the guided tour of the site, on the tour leaders recommendation, I headed for the Temple of Saturn which had panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and did a bit of 'colouring in' , trying to capture the ever-moving shadows.