Tuesday 27 July 2010

Under African Skies at Quilt Museum

Magie sent me a photo of my Tunisian Door quilt on display at the Quilt Museum as part of 'Under African Skies' exhibition. Seems quite appropriate to have windows either side, like a play house ! The other quilts and fabrics on show look great ( Magie has more about them on her website) and I look forward to seeing them on August 23 when I visit en route to my painting holiday at Malham. I'll be picking up some postcards made of my quilt which are on sale in the shop. The journal of SDA had just arrived and appropriately is titled 'African Sampler'!

Friday 23 July 2010

Tate Modern

As I was up in town dropping off my Festival Of Quilts entry at Greenwich I took a boat to Bankside and visited Tate Modern as I haven't been for a while. The turbine hall itself is always worth looking in itself as it's so monumental. The Michael Clark Dance Company are currently working there developing a dance piece inspired by it. Seeing him dance as Apollo at Brixton Academy in the 1990's still sticks in my mind so intrigued to see what develops.
Rather then the special exhibitions I concentrated on the collections which are arranged by theme - revisiting infrequently it's interesting to see how they recombine different artworks ( for instance Monet paired with Jackson Pollock!) In 'Energy and Process' I was struck by these huge textile sculptures by Magdalena Abakanowicz , using rope and sisal in what she calls 'Abakans'
In the 'States of Flux' theme , the 'pop' artwork of Jacques Mahe de la Villegle constructed from old posters appealed to me (thinking of all the peeling papers I've been collecting from the hoardings on the Great west Road!)
The 'Material Gestures' theme was where I found most of interest with Anish Kapoor, Victor Pasmore, a quiet room of Agnes Martin and some Rothkos to commune with. Judit Reigl was new to me - the scarred surfaces suggesting archeological layers
The star of the show however was the room of 'Cage' paintings by Gerhard Richter - I spent ages gazing into them seeing all kinds of dreamscapes and landscapes . Best of all there was a book showing the process of painting them - going through all kinds of transitions before the final work was realized - absolutely fascinating.

Monday 19 July 2010

Sargent and The Sea

Ian and I made our annual trip to RA Summer Exhibition on Friday - more about that in another post. As I was a bit early, I thought I'd make use of my staff pass and complimentary entry to go to the 'Sargent and the Sea' exhibition that was also on there. Only knowing his work from 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' ( not my cup of tea at all) I was pleasantly surprised by what I found, sufficiently to buy the catalogue! I particularly like the dynamic paintings of transatlantic voyages painted when he was in his 20's - you can tell he actually experienced the full force of an Atlantic gale !! There were extracts from his sketchbook from this time with detailed drawings of crew at work and ship's equipment - a fascinating record

I was less struck by his paintings of fisherfolk in Cancale or small boys in Capri although some of them capture the light wonderfully
His pictures of ports and harbours and highly original watercolours painted towards the end of his life (especially those from Venice) were what really interested me - so immediate and atmospheric, helped by use of a close viewpoints and interesting compositions.
A pdf of education leaflet is available here.

Thursday 15 July 2010

July JQ: 9 Part Indigo Wave

Apart from dyeing lots of luscious fabrics at CQ Summer School, we were encouraged by Edwina to think how we might use them. One exercise was constructing a piece made of 9 parts inspired by the images we'd brought. July's Journal Quilt is the result ( note the accent piece of my 'star' fabric!)
I struggle sometimes with simplification and so this was very useful for me. The image I used (of a wave at Paralio Astros in Greece) is one I've used several times before.
This 12 x 12 piece was too photographic for my liking
This energetic watercolour and acrylic ink painting is beginning to get there
The simple stitching of a Journal Quilt from last year showed the possibilities of mark-making in achieving what I want.
Writing this I realize that there is a series developing here!!

Monday 12 July 2010

Fabric Gloat 2

This is my star fabric produced on CQ Summer School. Edwina had brought along a used breathing tube from a hospital and wrapped thread tightly around fabric along the corrugated ridges. The fine lines it produced were fantastic.

So I tried it myself wrapping an odd shaped piece of silk, dipping first in Potassium and then once dry re-wrapping with the brown section in the middle and dipping in indigo.
Instant landscape!

Fabric Gloat

From my design wall - the best examples from my recent CQ Summer school, from L to R : Potassium permanganate (mainly pole wrapped); Indigo stitched: Indigo pole wrapped
I just love the markings that different fabrics produce even under the same pole and dip regime in indigo
This top piece in potassium is about my favourite and mainly due to serendipity - I forget to wet the fabric and it's a calico with a lot of dressing in it - I just love those sparse lines.
Below it is my experiments with a Thermofax screen screen printing and discharging with lemon juice! And finally , the more usual results from pole wrapping - subtle but useful
Silk produces much darker results than cotton or linen

These stitched samples looked very disappointing whaen I first took them from the vat but as I washed them out they've grown on me- the subtle blue on blue is rather intriguing
Still not sure whether it's worth the time compared to the wondrous quick and easy patterns achieved with pole wrapping. Perhaps I just need to pull harder!!

Roesel's Bush Cricket

Not a game but a creature taking refuge from the garden on Ian's sunhat drying in the conservatory. Poor Jiminy has lost a leg so don't know how well it survived once re-housed in the vines. Apart from establishing it was a bush cricket rather than a grasshopper (those long antennae are the giveaway) don't know who she is.
Having a weekend at home with no engagements, the garden got some attention - chopping down the Philadelphus at the bottom of the garden to place compost bin no5 and training the vine over the arch covering our G&T bench. First Pimms of the season to celebrate the last of potatoes being unearthed (tasty)

UPDATE - a bit of 'Googling' has revealed that most likely it is a Roesel's Bush Cricket - with longer wings associated with warmer weather to aid migration.

Tuesday 6 July 2010

CQ Summer School - Indigo

Back from a very enjoyable and productive weekend at Alston Hall on Contemporary Quilt Summer School meeting up with friends old and new. I had chosen to do class with Edwina MacKinnon using indigo and potassium permanganate on theme of 'sea and sand' and having access to an indigo vat, I'd done a bit of preparation stitching lines in cloth (my train sewing projects) and seaming fabric tubes for pole wrapping.
I hadn't used potassium permanganate before (at least while not at work) - it was very straight forward and produced some interesting colours, particularly on silk
I was very pleased with the results from the pole wrapping, producing some lovely marks. The stitching results were a bit disappointing - I thought I'd gathered them up well, but obviously not enough although the blue on blue subtle markings I'm sure will prove useful. Just not sure worth the effort. I'll show some of my stash in another post.
Alston Hall is a lovely venue with glorious views over the Ribble Valley , friendly and helpful staff and very tasty food. We thought the meringues were spectacular until we met the banoffee pie.....Picture all these ladies saying 'I shouldn't really' and tucking in with gusto. Dyeing, painting and stitching is such hard work.

There were lots of photo opportunities - this door into the beautiful walled garden was striking
I however prefer a bit of weathering - revisiting my favourite fence post (I'll be very upset when they get round to repainting it!) and discovering the door to the glasshouse. Hope they don't renovate it too soon