Thursday 21 March 2013

My World is Green (Doorways)

I'm very happy with how  my quilt for Sue Ridgewell Challenge for QGBI AGM has turned out. The theme 'My World is Green' was inspiring and I'd forgotten how much I like the 24 inch square format - I've made a lot this size in the past. It's mainly inkjet prints of doors from my travels  on Jacquard Cotton sheets or bubble-Jet set treated fabrics quilted to death but what really makes it is  the silk lamination of inkjet prints of doors, again  heavily stitched and cut back in places to reveal what lies underneath.

Have yet to give it a title  that  sums up the layers and glimpses of doorways - "Green Door I" seems a little dull! Any ideas?

Friday 15 March 2013

Indigo Journal Quilts

This year for the CQ Journal Quilt Challenge the size is 12 x 8 inches landscape format  and you choose the theme for the year yourself (the list is amazingly diverse). My theme for the year is indigo, with the intention of using the JQ's as studies and trials for larger pieces. In addition, as the colour will unite them, they'll  display well as a set at the end of the year. I first started making Journal quilts in 2003 so this is my 11th year! They've built up into an interesting collection. 

For January, a strip of arashi shibori dyed muslin was placed over a piece of arashi shibori dyed silk and stitched with hand dyed sashiko threads. I like how the semi transparency adds to the sense of movement, with the underlying fabrics partially seen. I'm putting together a much larger project based on this at the moment!

The fabric I used for February was the result of wrapping silk dupion around a bath outlet tube and tying thread tightly in the grooves. White quilting thread and hand dyed sashiko threads were used in a lot of hand stitching to emphasise the wonderful marks

Sunday 10 March 2013

Morandi -Lines of Poetry

When I went to the WEFT exhibition at SOAS a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a leaflet about an exhibition of Morandi etchings ( very stitch-like) at the Estorick Collection in Canonbury Square. Researching it further, found it had received some excellent reviews here, here , and here.
I visited on Friday  - it's an absolute gem of a place with a wonderful Italian Cafe.  I get into most exhibitions for free with my staff pass (as a member of Consortium of Museums and Galleries). On this occasion I had to pay so perhaps  appreciated it more - I spent a couple of hours looking very closely at the marks and cross hatching, making notes in my sketchbook, slightly marred by an elderly Morandi fan telling me I was not drawing properly!! Bought the exhibition catalogue  and have ordered a couple more books too.
Perhaps she would be reassured to know I signed up for  an art class on 19th April for a Morandi-inspired still life, looking at the techniques he used.
There was a subtitled  documentary  on Morandi on show which gave a fascinating glimpse into his life and surroundings - and an excuse not to dust ( most of the bottles he used had years accumulations!)

On Saturday ventured by bus to Landmark Arts Centre for the annual Contemporary Textile Fair. Always good to catch up with various  people. This year I was particularly taken with the atmospheric work of artist Debbie Lyddon.

The View from Room 32

My favourite location for  sketching was my  bedroom on the top floor.
I was spellbound on the first  morning,  only just making it to breakfast on time as the sun gradually crept  down the mountainside, areas in shadow gradually getting lit up , first the trees on the left then the right, then the whole area turning  from purple to orange. Total magic! I took lots of photos through and of the balustrade and managed a pencil sketch. The second morning I was a bit more organised and had my mint tin watercolour box in my handbag so I could colour in my sketch.

The third morning I set my alarm and had my shower before the sun rose ( those of you who know me well will find the idea of me doing something before my first coffee extraordinary!) and was armed  with  several sketchbooks and my proper watercolour box.  


I came back to my room at midday to change into my walking gear and the view was different again, with the colours and shapes of the balustrade more pronounced.


Rydal Water - Ice and Fire

The weather on retreat was sunny but  cold - Rydal Water was partially frozen  which gave  refections interesting effects. The first day I went I found a bench almost straight away and started sketching. The second afternoon the views were so spectacular I couldn't settle and just kept walking, absorbing it all, taking many photos as the light changed.  

I've never seen such large ice crystals, these were almost 2 inches long!  The stepping stones into  Rydal Caves were also frozen and slippy so I only ventured a few steps , worth it for the amazing colours 

The ice contrasted with the smoke from a large bonfire some volunteers had built.

Friday 8 March 2013

Rydal Falls from the 'Grot'


On the first day I discovered the 'Grot'  and in the steps of better artists  like Constable and Joseph Wright of Derby , took photos  and did numerous sketches  through the framed view as the light changed constantly, trying to capture the huge range of colours. 'Picturesque' indeed! 

Daily Art Colour Catchers at Rydal

Besides working on my green door and journal quilts and sketching, I also continued my daily(ish) art colour catcher series based on my surroundings. I'd come prepared with bondaweb backed colour catchers in various colours that I could cut out and stick on as well as crayons and my snarl of perle threads I've been dipping into for stitching.
From the top:
Applique colour catchers inspired by textile sculpture
Rubbing in crayon of the tiles in my bedroom
Applique colour catchers of stones in Rydal Falls
Crayon rubbing of applique of stones
Stitched landscape outline
Crayon rubbing of stitching
Back of stitching
Another rubbing of stitching

Interested in pursuing the 'Chinese whisper' effect of making rubbings of stitch , stitching into thsose and then taking a rubbing etc etc

Textile Sculpture at Rydal Hall

The best of the numerous textile sculptures  by Dianne Standen in the grounds of Rydal Hall were those that were integrated with the environment around them ( I was less keen on random felt spirals hanging from the walls) . I especially liked those that you could look through, that gave a different perspective on your surroundings

Thursday 7 March 2013

Retreat : quilts, walks ,sketches, sun and CAKE

I made quite a lot of progress playing with the arrangements of my 2 green door quilts while on retreat last week  as well as some stitching on 3 Journal Quilts  but that stranger the sun was too much of a distraction despite the ice and frost and I spent  more time walking and sketching in the beautiful surroundings.

 Glenthorne last year  was a welcome  break but the house and setting of Rydal Hall were amazing- lovely grounds with sculptures dotted everywhere, many of them textile (more in another post)

 Rydal Falls was literally on the doorstep   and Rydal Water just on the other side of the road.
The light in our work room was very good ( and handily situated next to the bar which sold beers from microbreweries) . The food supplied was excellent  as were the cakes which we'd each brought for morning  and afternoon breaks (photo above taken on the first day through the window with 12+ stacked up). Despite a valiant effort, there was still a large spread left at the end of the week which we divided up to take home (below). 

The company too was excellent - a lot of laughs and exchange of ideas while still giving space for personal time, as expressed in this carved plaque  in a quiet spot :
" You must come away to some lonely space all by yourselves and rest for a while"