Saturday 22 February 2014

Making Visible

 I've  long been an admirer of the work of Paul Klee, this stitched silk painting from the 1990's of 'Florentine Villas'  being an early example of textiles  influenced by his work  ( I saw this  painting in the Pompidou  in 1980's and for a long time had the poster on my wall ). So the current exhibition at Tate Modern was unmissable - I went last night after work ( late night opening on Fridays). I debated whether to buy the catalogue in advance - after all I have 6 books of his work  but guess what , I succumbed! The approach was very different from the Hayward exhibition in 2002  being chronological  which   gave an insight to how series developed. Also I've moved on in those  12 years and my tastes have changed a little although I've still a soft spot for the patterns of  'Pastorale' and Structural II 1924 126 (below)
While I was disappointed there weren't any of the Tunisian watercolours I love, there was a lot that was new to me, like the wonderful lively marks in 'looking out of a cave'  1929 281. And with using a lot of red in my own work recently , I was more aware of how he's used that colour as a focal point.
 What really grabbed my attention however was the luminosity of the works  from 1932 using a form of pointillism with form given with  watercolour washes laid partially over the top. I loved  'Lowlands'  1932 9' reminiscent of the subtlety of the mudflats I've  taken so many  photos of!

 The  emerging form of a bird in the next picture to it (below)  reminded me of the egrets at the Chesil Beach visitor centre
 I think it was partially the marks that attracted me. One of the highlights of the Australia exhibition at the RA was a linocut  by GW Bot ' Gethsemane' on tapa cloth, so much so I bought a lino printing press with the intention of replicating my stitch marks  in a similar way.
But in the meantime, as a form of more instant gratification, I've been using pens to make 'stitch' marks on an offcut of a quilt painted with  acrylics and gesso.

Thursday 20 February 2014

Journal Quilts from scraps - something out of nothing

Red Scraps 2014
 This years Journal Quilt challenge for Contemporary Quilt is for an 8 inch square with a line from side to side across it.This size is a bit small for my  usual practice of using journal quilts as samples for larger quilts and it could be a bit testing ensuring it doesn't end up  looking like a potholder or 'mug rug'! So I've been thinking a bit over the last few weeks about how to  get the most out of this years challenge.   
Last week I gave a talk ' A Journey in Journal quilts' to Guildford Quilters and as part of the process  enjoyed the process of picking through 1l years worth of JQ's to  identify themes, bringing back memories of  making them , like looking through a photo album or sketchbook.  
I talked about  telling stories through JQ's; trying out techniques such as Photoshop, monoprinting, acrylic painting, stitching by hand and machine, embellishment;themes and joining in with challenges; finishing techniques  and display options.  
What I found when I chose my examples were quite a few where I'd used scraps and leftovers  and  remembering how much I'd enjoyed making something out of nothing! Some of these are shown below. Rather than repeat the methods I used, I've linked the JQ's to the relevant blog post.
So that's my theme for the year  and my first example above is a sample testing stitches  for my Cwilt Cymru 'Connection' pieces. Well I did say I'd used almost every last  bit,but  the scrap basket never seem to deplete despite the number of bookwraps I made last year!  




Cyclopean Walls 2006


Sunday 9 February 2014

Connection at Forge Mill Needle Museum

 'Red Remnants'  detail
 'Red Remnants'  24" x 48"
 'Red Ripples' 24" x 48"
 'Red Ripples' detail
 I'm thrilled to say that 2 pieces I made as guest artist  with Cwilt Cymru for an exhibition on the theme of 'Connection'  will be at  Forge Mill Needle Museum from 11 February to  9 March. I won't get a chance to see the exhibition there but will definitely be going to Llandidloes Minerva Gallery  when it opens there in the summer.  Both quilts were made from the same ragged red and cream strippy coverlet I use for 'Red Flotsam' and 'Nautical Dawn'  ( which is currently touring as part of the CQ Horizons exhibition).  'Red Remnants' literally used almost every last scrap from the previous 3 quilts!
I would love to have the opportunity to show all 4 pieces together  at some point.

 And the 'connection' to Wales?  My first job after I graduated was  doing  grassland surveys of Gwent in 1993/94  and I lived in Abergavenny, joining the local quilt group, helping with the quilting on their Castle  quilt which featured in the local paper. The start of both my botanical career and quilting journey.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Sand Ripples

The combination of high winds and  high tides around Ferrybridge made for some interesting sand ripple patterns

Big Skies, High Winds, High Seas, Low Tides

 An exhilarating weekend in Weymouth for Ian's birthday,  with strolls on Portland between meals experiencing the varied weather and its effects, and a bit of sketching from and on tablets while it was still fresh in our minds.   
First thing on Saturday the combination of high tides and high winds meant you could see the waves crashing against Portland from our cottage in Ferrybridge ( about a mile away!)  It was a bit calmer ( still 30mph+ winds) and heading towards low tide when we went by bus to Jackson Gallery and Café for lunch - delicious mini pizzas and Florentines and views out over the sea
 We headed down the hill to the Cove House Inn for  a pint, very blustery and difficult to keep the camera still. You can see the high water mark right at the top of Chesil Beach ( going over the top in places) with sea spray like smoke.

 After a lovely dinner at Floods on Saturday( red mullet baked with fennel -yum) , Sunday was a little  calmer although still windy  with incredible skies and cloud formations as the sun rose.

 After a leisurely lunch at Blue Fish Café  we walked back over the causeway, stopping off at the Chesil Beach visitor centre to admire the mudflats in the waning light  and then headed to the oyster beds at Ferrybridge - I took so many photos!!!

Finally at the end of the Rodwell trail, the sea was so far out that you could see the remnants of the pier associated with the  old Whitehead Torpedo  factory  and there were hundreds of seabirds where land met sea.  There was a very high tide again as we left on Monday but nothing  as  bad as in January.
Update 5th Feb - video of waves crashing over Chesil  earlier today.

The return of a helping hand

 'A Helping Hand' , one of the pieces included  in the touring exhibition 'Textile News :Freedom '   has  arrived back home after more than 2 years on tour ( 'Sometimes Chains are Just Shadows' which featured on the 2012 Bernina Calendar,  was sold!)

They certainly had an adventure - 14 places in UK, Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Kazakhstan. When I saw  the display at FoQ in 2011 , the variety of work was amazing and it's wonderful that so many people have been able to  share that experience. Thanks Gudrun!