|Turkmen child's kurta, Afghanistan ( from Amulets by Sheila Paine )|
Sunday 20 June 2021
Wednesday 26 May 2021
Over the course of the last 6 months on my daily-ish walks down Abbeyfields in Faversham, I've been mapping and recording my impressions of this ' Place' inspired by Alice Fox course ' Place-making Winter. I've finally got round to compiling some of the drawings ( on Abaca tissue, Colour Catchers) prints, texts, fabrics into a ' book of Marks ' . The structure is based on that learnt on Dorothy Caldwell course in Puglia 2013 of sewn signatures with a needle woven binding . I've used it several times ( in Rydal, Greece, Weymouth ) but not recently so it was a bit of a relearning curve but I love the interaction of the pages.
I've been making Journal Quilts every year since 2003 ( and with Contemporary Quilt of QGBI since 2007) . This year they are to be of a theme and shape(s) of your own choosing but designed so that at the end of the year they can be joined together in some way for possible exhibition. My favourite / most successful set of JQ's is from 2013 when I chose 'Indigo' as my theme so that is what I've chose to revisit but deciding on size/ shapes took a lot of pondering on graph paper! I decided in the end on a combination of : 8 x 8", 10 x 10" , 8 x 10", 10 x 8" which I hope will give me enough scope for experimenting. So far I'm on track , having completed January to April and May's the current piece of ' trainstitching'
As part of Alice Fox's 'Place- Making Winter' course, for the last 6 months I've been recording/mapping my daily(ish) walks down 'Abbeyfields' in Faversham in different ways.
So I was delighted to participate in another project with Kimbal Bumstead as part of his residency at the BasementArtsProject this time making audio recordings on my phone in my 'Place' and then drawing from the recording with my eyes closed, responding to the sounds and textures. From the submissions made by the participants he has created a digital collage ' map' and a 'sonic journey' to accompany it. The result is interactive - you can move through the 'landscape' accompanied by the soundtrack, highly recommended !
Thursday 18 February 2021
In addition to the City Lit Art and Ideas course , since November I’ve been participating in a monthly textile course with artist Alice Fox ‘ PlaceMaking Winter’ where we’re exploring means of recording our local natural environment . The different focus and emphasis ( on ways of retrieving the past and being in the present ) have complimented each other , but both share a lot of reading which I’ve enjoyed immensely. Books have always been important to me , to the extent that when asked about hobbies during a management course, I didn’t think to include reading as its more than that , its integral to who I am. For various reasons it seems I haven’t been giving myself permission/ time to read !
One of these books is ‘ Landmarks’ by Robert MacFarlene and lot of what resonated with me were the ways of looking and experiencing what’s around you, particularly the childs -eye view ‘ rapt by the miniature and close at hand’ . ‘wonder is now, more than ever, an essential survival skill’.
When the group shared memories , I realised mine aren’t generally about people but about places, plants and insects, colours, experiences . My first memory is of picking daisies and placing them in a pink eggcup ( I would have been less than 3 as it was on the lawn in our first house ) .
At the end of the final session of the course we watched some clips from ‘Afterlife’ by Hirokazu Koreeda . I think the memory I would choose to take into the Afterlife is of Prawle Point in summer 2013. I was sitting sketching the wonderful coastal scenery surrounded by rare plants , dazzled by hundreds of six-spot burnet moths flying around. It’s significant that it combines both my art and scientific sides. I was lucky that I was allowed to study art at ‘ A’ level as well as biology and chemistry ( it took some creative time- tabling !), continuing to draw and paint alongside my career as a botanist/scientist . What both disciplines share is a way of looking and thus my way of remembering
I’ve travelled widely for both work and pleasure and have always taken lots of photos. There are crates of slides and packets of photos in the garage unlooked at it 15 years. Like ' Funes the Magnificant ' I feel that if I started sorting through them there would be no time to experience the present ! I don’t feel the need to consult them however as I have ready access to my sketchbooks.
Quick drawings and notes made at the time summon up memories of places, time, and people I was with far more than photos as when you're drawing you’re already editing to record what’s significant . I’m really missing going to art galleries and exhibitions , seeing how other artists interpret and edit what they’ve seen and experienced, what they regard as important.
In this example from Xmas day 2002 at Thien Mu Pagoda Vietnam, dragonflies were hovering, there was background hum of Buddhist chanting. A monk admired my drawing and gave me a pear.
In 2003 I printed copies of some of the photos taken and drawings I made in Vietnam onto fabric . It was early days in experimenting and they weren't very successful and they were consigned to the scrap box.
However , through the process of layering and stitching , not only have I been remembering my trip there but it's beginning to result in pieces that are intriguing in their own right. This may be the start of a series but what would you call them ? Layers of Memory? Stitching to Remember?
A few years ago , for the Contemporary Quilt suitcase collection with the theme ‘ Childhood Memories’ I combined scanned photos printed on fabrics with a monoprint that reminded me of Bamburgh where we used to go on holiday. The black and white photos of my childhood in the 60's and 70's are mostly black and white but In fact it was very colourful time! So I used vintage charity shop fabric as backing and using machine quilting , stitched from the back with flourescent threads following the wild patterns.Perhaps because it was for public viewing it now it seems rather decorative and literal and my preference now is for a more abstracted approach.