Sunday 30 December 2018

CQ Journal Quilts 2018 ( and earlier years)

 A composite  of all 12 of my CQ Journal Quilts from 2018, 7 x 9 inches ,  mainly pieced from offcuts and scraps and experiments in excavating sections of old quilts and  stitching to emphasise the holes and creases. Beauty in found marks.  Read more about January to April; May to August and September to  December.

I've been making Journal  Quilts since 2003 and over the years  they've been important to me as  experiments and samples and  a sense of achievement in squeezing  at least some stitching into  a busy life. Some have become the basis of larger works,  others not (or at least not yet). Since 2007 I've  joined in with the challenges set by the Contemporary Quilt  specialist group of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles  and seeing what others do with the same theme and the variety of sizes and formats  is so inspiring.

 Here's a few groupings from previous years.









Friday 28 December 2018

CQ Journal Quilts September to December: Foundmarks and breaking rules

  I haven't been doing  much stitching   lately  and my  time on the train has mainly been spent on catching up with notes/ preparation  for EDAM classes.   I have however been continuing to explore the layers in sections of old quilt , carrying on from my 'indigoboro' journal quilts but this time working with the original colours rather than overdyeing. It's  difficult to know how far to go  cutting through the layers and adding stitch,  wanting to  enhance and preserve the ragged beauty of the original . In a very small voice, I must admit that I haven't trimmed them down to the  prescribed  7 x 9 inches  as I love the uneven ragged edges and will probably mount them to  show them off.   Also against all the rules , I took photos for posting  on CQ   group in full sunlight   but look how that raked light shows the peaks and hollows of the quilting.

It's slow  work ,so  running out of time ,  for November's JQ ( above)  I found a section of  old quilt  with a light layer of gesso on and added 'stitch' using   Pitt pen and for Decembers ( below) I found a section of machine  quilting tension sample  and added paint and pen marks. 

  Just shows you can find inspiration anywhere  and  I like the idea of recycling, reusing and  returning to the salvaging of offcuts I started in January.  I do like to get involved with the Journal Quilt projects - this was my 15th year ! Next year it's a return to A4 size thank goodness  but with an interesting challenge involving trying different techniques  I think I'll try and keep to one theme -  the year of  Indigo was  one of my most successful. 

Sunday 23 December 2018

Oceania at the RA

 Several weeks now since I went  to  see 'Oceania' at the Royal Academy. As I'm no longer a member , I paid full wack and thus spent as long as possible to get value for money! I normally don't bother  with the audio guide  but I'm glad I persisted as there was disappointingly little interpretation.  or description of items apart from that. As the exhibition was principally about how the items were used or  the cultural  and spiritual significance, the stories told   on the guide added another dimension.

What I also found of great value when looking round were the teachers resources I'd printed out  and read beforehand  (KS1&2 ; KS3,4,5  ; art detectives ). Apart from featuring what were some of my  favourite pieces, they provided a different  way of looking at things. For instance ,  for the Marshall Islands navigation charts ( below)  students were asked to think about the materials used; the senses other than sight; how do you get somewhere you don't know ; examples of different kinds of maps.  Linked art activities  included creating symbols for visual features  and for younger pupils,   asking them to think about their journey to school - could they draw it on paper  with their eyes closed  or explain to their friends   and using matchsticks and Blue-Tack to create their own navigational  chart.

The rooms were dark ( I presume to preserve the materials used )  so the lighting produced very interesting  shadows while proving a bit frustrating for taking photos, certainly too dark to draw.  When the piano was being played in room 2  it was also very loud. Nice idea but  you didn't feel you could linger and look at the items on display.

Some of the artifacts on display ( above ) were similar to  some  I'd seen and in some cases drawn at the British Museum  , for instance  the headdress , masks and barkcloth  below were part  of the fantastic barkcloth exhibition 

 The stories behind  some of these objects  such as the Polynesian deity A"a  are   on the RA website and their powerful presence reminded me of  drawing this  figure from Papua New Guinea,  again at the British Museum  

 The piece that most  moved and inspired me, based on format of barkcloth  was  ' To all New Arrivals ' by John Pule  ( interview here ) . Taking on the themes of war, global warming  and nuclear testing,  he says  " I don't want to show our gods  safe in nice , clean  dark storage rooms , I wanted to show these prized objects out in the open world." The  monumental  size  of it , with  variation in  media and scale from large paint daubs of  enamel to tiny intricate drawings and the multiple layers of meaning and story telling was  breathtaking.  I spent a long time  looking and discovering. The art activities in the teachers guides for this work included  discussing environmental issues and proposing designs for a floating island to carry environmental scientists, activists, journalists and artists  to different parts of the world that need their help. What a wonderful idea.  

Saturday 8 December 2018

Space and Light: Drawing Tuesday at Science Museum and EDAM week 9

Drawing Tuesday  last week was  in the 'Flight' gallery at the Science Museum. I've drawn there before, and  again enjoyed  trying to capture the fragility of the very early planes. It was the monoplane made by John Stringfellow that attracted me this time 

I was particularly interested in trying to capture the delicate patterns of the worn fabric (  fine crosshatch in pencil with use of fine Tombow eraser). It reminded me of Rauschenberg's  'Jammers ' and his transfer  drawings

Before I made it to the 'Flight' gallery however I was in 'Space' one ,  gathering ideas for my own model of a spaceship for the current EDAM project.  It was too dark and noisy with excited small children  to stay and draw  !

  This one ( heading to Mercury?) was covered in quilted fabrics ! 

Realising  my model  from last week was too complex, I brought in fresh supplies : a juice bottle  and 2 Teapigs Chamomile tea  boxes  ( expensive but   worth it, completely  different to the usual bags of dust ) 
After a quick scribble in my sketchbook  to work out rough idea, I worked hard measuring and   using set squares  to construct the drawing  in pencil. 
But having shown I could do it 'properly',  I was encouraged  by Ute to go bolder  with compressed charcoal. Now that's  more like it, charcoal is much more forgiving and the layers of corrections, trying to find the shape , add to it. 

 I then had fun with  the lighting set up, placing my model  in different positions  and angles to see the effect of light on form and the shadows.

    'Teapigs'  kept  reminding me of 'Pigs in Space' on the Muppets ( I used to love how they looked up every time there was an announcement) 
'Live-a-little'  ( wine carrier from Waitrose) 
And  who knew an eggbox could look so monumental ! 
 I never got round to using the 1:50  scale  figures  with my model ,  but then then they don't particularly look like they're dressed for space ( maybe stewards?) Like their shadows though , they look  so different  to the figures themselves.   Searching for small figures online, I found a link to this film 'Dot', tiniest stop-motion film ( link here). Enjoy !