Friday 31 August 2018

Drawing Tuesday: A quick trip to Swansea

 On Tuesday I headed off to Swansea   to  help take down the Cwilt Cymru  exhibition and bring home my quilts.  With 5 hours on the   train each way, I had plenty of time for 'trainstitching' working on 2 pieces . With a whole table to myself  for most of 1 journey, I also had plenty of room to spread out!

  I was staying in a Premier Inn, very conveniently  located opposite Swansea Museum , so after dropping off  my bag, I visited there first . I loved this  ancient stone ( a male priest in a kilt apparently but I like to think it was a feisty  woman!)  and these fabric  and driftwood boats  by 'ContexArt' as part of Swansea Festival of Stitch
Just round the corner, next to the Marina was the National Waterfront Museum which had a fascinating  array of exhibits including thought-provoking films and recordings of people describing their lives and  work as well  displays highlighting the  importance of  coal, metals  and other industries
In the section on  Welsh artists  and authors, I was drawn  to these slate and pebble sculptures by Kyffin Williams ( one of my favourite artists)
With the museum about to close, no time for drawing  there. When buying Welsh Cakes in the  gift shop , I asked directions for the quickest route to the  sea  and  spent a very pleasant  hour walking along the promenade and the almost deserted beach. 

 I found a bench ( with  a  poignant memorial plaque : " Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day")  and sat and painted with my very mini ( or should that be minty!) travel watercolour set.
Pretty poor  results but it was all about  the experience  ( and a passing small child was impressed!)
 The light was going, time to head back  into town  via the sand dune  plant restoration trials.
 After  dinner at Pizza Express  next door to  Swansea  Castle ,  I walked around the marina area ,  using the very impressive ' Sail Bridge' 
 The following day, most of the  Cwilt Cymru exhibition  apart from my 4 pieces ( below)  had already been taken down  and were placed on large sheets  of bubble wrap.   It was great to catch up with Judy Stephens  as we companionably  matched up  quilts with wrappings  and poles , carefully packing   them up into rolls   greatly assisted by a member of museum staff  who'd helped to unwrap them . I don't know how  Judy managed to  get them all in her small car!   My quilts  fitted neatly into my   bag  (  a Berghaus  Mule II 80-  expensive but it's proved invaluable on many trips)  but then I deliberately  make my quilts narrow so I can post them easily! 

Saturday 25 August 2018

Festival of Quilts 2018: Favourite Galleries

Christine Chester "Just Got To Finish The mending"

So many interesting galleries this year at Festival of Quilts,  these were some ( but by no means all) of my highlights
unfold: The Button Box  ( above) , took its inspiration from the book of the same name by Lynn Knight ( which I'm currently reading),  exploring  ideas about domesticity and women’s position in society in  a variety of thought-provoking  ways.  I liked how individual artists  had  interpreted   it in very different ideas , and the  interaction with the public recording  memories. 
My mum had a button bag  rather than a tin or box  and I delighted  in tipping out the contents, making groupings of similar button  by colour , shape or  material (  showing in interest in classification at a very early age which stood me  in good stead for my scientific career!) 

Christine Chester  ( from interview  on  textileartist)    on 'Nevertheless she persisted'                     "This latest work records a timed one hour of stitching with all the interruptions, breakages, bobbin changes recorded as absences of stitch.There will be 48 separate panels, all reflecting an hour of mind-numbing work that a female fustian worker, a general term for fabrics such as velveteen and corduroy, in the 1930’s would complete in a working week whilst walking something like 91 miles up and down a long table cutting the fabric pile" 

Elizabeth Brimelow
WILD ( Art textiles:Made in Britain)  contained work  by several of my favourite  textile artists. I revisited several times  ( particularly to see the pieces by Elizabeth Brimelow). The outer part  of the gallery with its paper shards was inspired!  

Elizabeth Brimelow

Louise Baldwin 

Louise Baldwin

Cas Holmes 

Edwina McKinnon 

Christine Restall

Sandra Meech

I initially missed the  Contemporary Quilters West gallery ' Unfolding Stories 3'  as it was in an area  of a hall separate  from where many others were sited.  I'm glad I found it though, such interesting work from artists that I knew and  several that were new to me. A bonus was the excellent catalogue:  well designed and very good value .

Liz Hewitt

Colin Brandi

Kara Chambers

Jane Brooks

Pam Bealing

Judy Stephens 

Maria Harryman 

Janice Gunner 
Finally in the ' New Horizons: Connections '  exhibition  I was moved to see the latest  work by Janice Gunner , very different to her usual work  and much more personal, based on her thoughts and experiences when she was critically ill . 

Friday 24 August 2018

Festival of Quilts 2018: Competition Quilts

Karen Callaghan (Winner FAQM) 
It was very interesting  looking at the  competition  quilts  this year , especially Fine Art Quilt Masters , as I didn't have  anything in myself and so could be rather more objective! 
 Each member  of  the local contemporary quilt group I belong to( ' Edgy Stitchers')   posted on our Facebook page  what we thought might win FAQM  this year  based on the photos submitted.  I  said that I liked Caroline Ramsey's best  but  thought it would be Linzi Upton's  piece as it was innovative  involving  a projection . When seeing the quilts 'in the flesh'  several were much better than the photos , others disappointing.   I had a long discussion with the winner Karen Callaghan   who  had a display  of samples and pieces produced for  her course   in the City and Guild Graduate showcase. A very worthy winner, I'm delighted for her ( and her tutor Barbara Weeks who encouraged her to enter)    

Caroline Ramsey 
 Although   I  loved some of the details  on Caroline's  entry, a lot of the  area  was not stitched ( one of the problems with scaling up ), the work on her website however is spectacular.

Linzi Upton 
 The projection  on Linzi's   piece was not working ( one of the hazards  of  doing something more innovative ) and I was a bit shocked to  read in her blog  that her entry was meant to be ironic!  

Ruth Singer 
I liked Ruth's  work much more in  reality than  in the photos ( mainly because I've got a bit of  a thing at the moment about  the seams remaining in old disintegrating quilts  ) The shadows it cast were intriguing too.  I went to a talk of her work on criminal quilts at FoQ   last year so it was great to see her gallery of thought provoking work  on show.  
Olga Gonzalez-Angula
 The work that had gone into  Olga's piece was mind boggling - all those different sized dots placed individually, no wonder it was worked in 'tiles'.  It had already  won major prizes.
Ann Barbara Smith 
  From the photos, Ann' s  entry  looked like a  relatively simple piece of art cloth but on closer inspection there  was a lot of hand stitch and  layering of marks. Much more interesting  than I'd imagined.
Susan Hotchkis
The work of Sue Hotchkis  always pays closer inspection- the  details, the textures, the  folds !  Photos never do them justice, it was a lovely piece.

Louise Jessup
 This depiction of Venice by fellow Oast Quilter , Louise Jessup,  was another quilt which looked so much better in the flesh than in the photos. It helped that it was  displayed on the  well -lit outer wall of the gallery  which showed off the exquisite  patterns  quilted in gold thread. It was one of those rare quilts which  draw you in from a distance then reward  you with intricate details.  Much as Ian  appreciates my artwork,  this  was his favourite, he'd have liked  to take it home and we both agree that we really must visit Venice! 
Laima Whitty (Winner 'Contemporary) 

Jean Mclean (Winner 'Art') 
It seems  that among the competition quilts, the formula for a  winning  quilt is that it be intricately machine  quilted to death with tiny stitches  and/or be photo realistic .   These  show stoppers of perfection personally leave me cold, I like rawness , meaning and  big stitches! 
 My ' Best in Show' would have been  powerful piece ' Global Harming' by Susan Sami which won  the Novice section with  layers of print and stitch representing ' an unwanted sea of faces  behind fences'   

Susan Sami ( winner 'Novice') 
  These are some of my favourites  from the Competition quilts ( apologies for  some of the photos -  first time I was using my phone rather than camera and the lighting was very poor) 
Gail Parker 
Yvonne Kervinen 
Suzette Smart 
Ana Buzzalino 
Marion Hall
Lesley Brankin
Jane Nairn
Nicola  Perren 
Antonia Stanford

After hearing Linda Sewards excellent talk on Contemporary  and Modern Art quilters ( including what makes a 'modern'  quilt) , Ian and I had a fun half hour going round  the modern quilt section deciding  which showed these characteristics and which should have been in the Contemporary ( or even  Traditional )sections. These below are my ' Modern' favourites 

Sarah Hibbert
Hanna Farquharson (3rd Modern)

G094 (not in the catalogue )