Monday, 14 March 2011

Textile Food for Thought

'Summer Rain'  Jo Budd  2007
'Shadow I' Gill Banks

Inspired by a weekend of textile events , I rushed back to my sewing room and rather than setting to work I cleared my design wall , table and hopefully my thoughts.

On Saturday, the talk by Jo Budd at CQ AGM was as good as I anticipated, covering over 30 years of  her work from painting to painting with fabric to  painting on fabric. Ruminations on why she uses fabric; the ripples that are produced by stitch; her love of backs-the 'unconscious side'; the importance of edges; the 'unprecious' scraps that become the most treasured. I look at the small piece of hers I own and see in miniature the concepts she was describing - the layering of transparent and opaque, the use of rust, the frayed edges, the anchoring hand stitches. She talked about her sketches in fabric of which this is an example and the difficulties scaling up ( her large pieces are huge!) - hopefully a chance to explore this further in 'microcosm to macroscosm' summer school. Those of us lucky enough to have places talk in whispers  and also in a small voice I confess I didn't go to the Quilt Show at the V&A  and therefore was probably  the one person in the room who hadn't seen Jo's work there.

At the Contemporary Textile Fair at Landmark Centre on Sunday (going early to avoid the Rugby at Twickenham) I succumbed to an atmospheric  piece by exhibitor Gill Banks which now I look at it again shares some of the same qualities as Jo's. This will be my birthday present from Ian once we find a frame.
Interesting to compare the mounting techniques (both effective ).Unlike Jo's piece which is secured  behind a mount frame, Gill sewed the fabric onto a piece of foamboard which was then glued to mountboard. This means it stands proud and the frayed edges cast shadows .

Equally valuable over these 2 days were the opportunities for discussions about  working practices and preferences. Sandra Grusd (who's work I greatly admire) asked whether I only worked for exhibitions/ competitions or for myself. That got me thinking ! I do find deadlines motivating but on exploring this subject further with Sue over coffee and carrot cake realise that this sometime means making compromises that result in work I'm not so happy with. For instance I love a lot of things about Tunisian Door - particularly use of fabric and colour ,but the composition isn't what I originally intended or hoped for as it grew too big!
I'm worrying a bit about not having done any large pieces since then and even Journal Quilts are proving a bit more of a challenge than usual with the extra 'rule' besides size and shape - can't just make my sample pieces up to the correct size. Mainly tho' it's having too many ideas and not knowing where to start.
So I've decided to concentrate on doors and boats ( both incorporate peeling paint on wood and metal!), going back to using  fabric as paint which means that the Weir  is off the  design wall (sorry Ian!) as it was holding me back. Lets see where it takes me.


Hilary said...

Nothing to stop you mounting your journal quilts to bring them up to size. Hilary

Julie said...

Now, that's a very interesting comment, Hilary! I have to whisper that I too didn't get to the V&A exhibition either. Can't remember why now. Life was just too hectic I think. I lapped up Jo's talk on Saturday too Mags and came away with a lot of inspirational notes to remind me of the ideas she sparked off in my head. Just need to get to work now!

magsramsay said...

Good plan in theory Hilary but what I meant was that rather than as in previous years using my samples as my journal quilts, this years JQ's will be a real challenge as I'll actually have to plan them as my samples won't necessarily have circles, text or buttons on.