Wednesday 30 August 2017

Drawing Tuesday(s) : Horniman and Design Museums and the Mosaic Rooms

 I've got so far behind with blogging  that I'm  catching up with 2 different museums   on   Drawing Tuesday  visits  a fortnight ago and yesterday.

  2 weeks ago   we were at the Horniman museum   where I retreated from the hordes of excited small children to the relative peace of the balcony with old-fashioned cases of fossils and corals.  I've drawn them before at the Beaney and Natural History Museum, while fascinated by their intricate diversity I always seem to forget how devilishly difficult they are to draw!  Although I brought a whole array of  drawing materials with me , I end up using just a 0.1 unipen and a small amount of pencil.

These are best I think,  leaving space and only adding a suggestion of detail

Yesterday  we were at the  Design Museum in Holland Park ( which I haven't been to since it was the Commonwealth Institute) That whole area around South Kensington, Kensington, Earls Court, I knew very well when I was at university  at Imperial College in the early 1980's  but   of course its changed a great deal in that time .
 On this visit the children were older ,quieter, and very well informed, telling their parents and grandparents all about 3D printing (  which was the gallery I ended up in )

 This 'Femur Stool'  had  coral like properties ( off white and textured) - for all that it  was designed around the user, it didn't look very comfortable!

 The patterning of the texture looked very interesting although difficult to see in the low light levels.
 We had lunch outside in a secluded seating area ( improvised in some cases  )  and  as we were more spread out than we usually are sketchbooks needed 'offering up' to the camera for  blog photos.
 On my way from Earls Court Station to Holland Park I'd noticed what looked like an interesting exhibition ' Shift' at the 'Mosaic Rooms' so a few of us went there afterwards on the way back to the tube.  

  The intricacy of the 'Islamic Tiles' made from dyed sand ( designed to be swept away at the end of the exhibition  as shown in the accompanying film)  by Dana Awartani  was stunning ,  contrasting with the earthier handmade textures in sand clay and cloth of Zahrah Al-Ghamdi . Both however reference the loss of old skills , cultural identity and material heritage.

 After Margaret, Janet and myself had collected our artworks from the  cabinets  of the READY/ MADE exhibition at City Lit ( my submission was 'Mussel Interior' ) we rewarded ourselves with coffee and cake at LSE on Aldwych ,  a sweet bargain at £3.65. And we couldn't resist making artistic arrangements and taking photos.

Saturday 26 August 2017

Favourite Quilts from Festival of Quilts 2017

I wasn't able to get to the CQ Kent meeting where we discuss favourites and trends from the Festival of Quilts  but in preparation we'd each posted 5 quilts on our Facebook page  that caught our eye ( or in my case 5 from the  competition and 5 from the galleries because it was so difficult to choose!)  With 100's on show  when I look at others photos I sometimes think I must have been at a different show entirely  but in this case  a lot of us had chosen the same quilts ( although there were some I wondered how I'd missed them ). My excuse was that with ecoprinting on Thursday and stewarding ,meetings,  going to talks ( Ruth Singer and Matthew Harris)  and chatting to so many people, the only opportunity I had to look round was before the show opened.  The exception was 'Two Man Cell' which I spotted on the way to the awards ceremony.

725 HMP Bullingdon Boys 'Two Man Cell'
Apart from the fact that it's an amazing structure, all hand stitched with attention to detail and interesting perspective, it's incredibly moving being a collaboration between Fine Cell Work Tutors  and prisoners,  making an accurate depiction of a 2 man cell in a modern British prison. I overheard some crass comments from people who thought it was a teenagers bedroom and too tidy!
264 Jackie Smith  'No Boundaries' (Judges Choice) 
 How could I not  like pieces that were made from recycled items or quilts?!!!

285 Jennifer Hollingdale 'The Red Centre'

683 Connie Gilham 'River' ( 2nd Contemporary)
The textures  and subtle colour changes in 'River'  made it a worthy winner.
344 Jo Coombes' Erasing History'

Another quilt that moved me with it's depiction of the tragic destruction of Syrian and Iraqi cities " a golden culture..... reduced to rubble ..........with shattered lives and an erasing of history" .   I'm filled with sadness wondering  what has happened to the historical sites and lovely people I met on my 2 trips to Syria.  
269 Leah Higgins ' Liverpool Street , Salford' (detail)

It was good to see  one of Leah's latest constructions ( I've been privileged to see her in meticulous action on Rydal Hall retreats ).   The combination of large scale composition and intricate detail and subtle marks  was wonderful , as was seeing how her series are developing.

4 Liz Heywood 'Cliff Shift'

 My favourites from fellow ' Fine Art Quilt Masters' .  I just love the subject matter, mark-making  and abstraction in Liz's work  and the meticulous subtlety of Robbie's. I wish I could be so neat.   

5 Robbie Le Poidevin ' To walk Invisible' (detail)
 In the galleries, there were many examples  where I took photos  but as I can't read the labels,  I'm not going to post them as I won't show items without the artist's name. I was stewarding the SAQA stand  which had ' Made in Europe II ' on the outside walls (photos on the blog here)    and 'Turmoil/ Tranquility' on the inside - unfortunately the catalogue sold out  on the  first day!

Diana Harrison

The best gallery by far for me was that of Diana Harrison - I've admired  her work for such a long time (  seeing it first in the early 1990's at the Crafts Council)  and seeing the piece below again reminded me  how 'Cloth and Memory II' at Salt Mills  was such a memorable exhibition in all kinds of ways.  
She'll also be at Knit and Stitch so I'll get a second chance to see her work.   

Dianna Harrison

Dianna Harrison

 My second favourite gallery  was Stone + Water + Wood with Susan Denton, Janice Gunner and Cherry Vernon -Harcourt. Their shared vision of landscape  using different approaches   was a calm and contemplative place to be   in the maelstrom of the show.
Janice Gunner

Susan Denton

Cherry Vernon-Harcourt

 In other galleries , it was often just one or 2 pieces that  drew my eye:
Brigitte Kopp

Elly van Steenbeek ( Perception, Art Quilt Fusion)

Jean Wells

Ineke Berlyn
Finally it was  lovely to see the work of Ineke Berlyn  brought together. She's sorely missed.

Wednesday 23 August 2017

More Breakwaters

Thank you for all your kind comments  about ' Birchington Breakwaters' winning  Fine Art Quilt Masters.   Names went in a hat and the winner of  the small textile sketch to celebrate 10 years of blogging is  ' Jill' .  Congratulations and thanks for  reading.  If you leave  your  address via  the contact page on my website, I'll post it to you.

Also at Festival of Quilts, I had a second piece made using a section of old quilt, this time painted, selected for  SAQA's ' Made In Europe II' imaginatively  called 'Birchington Breakwaters II' !
This exhibition will be on display at the West Country  Quilt and Textile  Show in Bristol  1-3  September.  Sadly won't be going this year as it clashes with the 'Hop Festival'  and a Proms concert  but had a super time last year exhibiting with Cwilt Cymru

I'm gradually coming back down to earth,  catching up on washing and boring house stuff and working out what to do next! I discussed mentoring with Christine  Chester at Studio 11 when I was on the 'Printing the  Coast' course  and have now booked a session for October to help me make some decisions.
Meanwhile on the stitching front  I had a  lovely day at the Rosegarden  in  Westmarsh  stitching bunting for Jan's wedding fueled  by cake and Pimm's   and finished  August's CQ Journal Quilt (  my theme is 'Traces, Places'  but it might just as well be 'Breakwaters' ! )

Monday 14 August 2017

Winner of Fine Art Quilt Masters 2017

 I'm recovering from nearly a week up in Birmingham at the Festival of Quilts. I had a fabulous time   and  will write posts on the  ecoprint/natural dyeing course I did ( again!) with Brunhilde Scheidmeir and some wonderful quilts  I liked.  But after being rung on Wednesday evening to say I'd won Fine Art Quilt Masters ( and having to keep it quiet until the awards ceremony), I've been in a state of joyful disbelief ever since.

The various painting and drawing classes I've been doing at City Lit  have made  a big difference to my approach  to working and you can see some of my preliminary design work  in this blog post from February.  My statement for this piece ' Birchington Breakwaters' :
" The fragility of disintegrating sea defences rendered using the reverse and reassembled bindings of a threadbare antique log cabin coverlet , holes and tears revealing glimpses of underlying structures"

I was still stunned when this photo was taken ( don't look too closely at the  dark blue fingernails from  dyeing with logwood)  but was more relaxed by Saturday ( photo at the top) . The contents of the envelope: this certificate and a bank transfer form to fill in ( the prize is  £5000, thanks to generous sponsorship by Vlieseline). The icing on the cake for me was being chosen by Pauline Burbidge  and Diana Harrison, both artists whose work I've admired for a long, long time.
Thank you so much to everyone who congratulated me in person  with whoops of joy , generosity of spirit and lots of hugs  and to those of you who contacted me by email  and Facebook  with your good wishes, I'm overwhelmed.
What a way to celebrate 10 years of blogging, you can still leave a comment, I'll be drawing a name randomly next weekend.   and then I should probably be updating my website....
I was going to collect my quilt entry  tomorrow from Upper Street Events  but  the  winning quilts from the show, including mine, will be at the Knit and Stitch shows  in London , Harrogate and Dublin.  I might have recovered by then !