Tuesday, 30 April 2013

"Into the Wildwood" Part 2

We returned, eager and ready to get down to some serious composition..... The daunting bit... all those printed textiles and papers but now we had to cut into them. This stage took up far too much of the morning!
Luckily we had the noticeboards, so started pinning up backgrounds and playing with ideas. Using the camera to record ideas so I could refer back to them later.
I really liked the idea of putting my mushroom red painted paper behind the trees, but felt that there was too much red in this one. I also liked the sheen on the acrylic waxed paper.
I also played with using a printed strip of fabric as the horizontal interest and using torn strips of the printed fabrics as the verticals.
After much head scratching I went for a third option of the red paper horizontal and a lighter grey background.
I decided to include mushrooms even though my horizontal picked out their red colour but went for an abstract, square design.
The red strip was machine stitched to the grey fabric, but I backed this with a medium weight Lutrador to give stability. I added silver/white patches of dense stitching to the red area in the manner of the texture of the birch bark to break up the very red block of colour. The trees were machine stitched, I did them free stitched but afterwards thought I should have had the feed dogs up and taken it very slowly as my stitches were too varied and wobbly!
I added buttons to some of my "mushrooms" and some sparkly stitches in the foreground.
An interesting experiment, but not a very effective image. I had not embarked on the course to create finished pieces but to learn new ways of creating interest in textile pieces. I learned alot abot composition but realised that there was alot of detail that I could have included but didn't.
I had enough prepared materials to try a second experiment, of which, more later.

Monday, 29 April 2013

"Into the Wildwood" part 1

Last week I spent two days on a course with Stephanie Redfern at The Bramblepatch entitled "Into the Wildwood". I have always enjoyed seeing Stephanie's work, recently at the Easter exhibition, and jumped at the opportunity to expand my skills in a different direction.
Planning for the course I looked at imagery that I thought I could work with. I really like Silver Birch trees,  graceful, willowy and the bark is so papery and interesting, so I collected images. I then thought about the mushrooms that grow with the birch trees and found that the common one is Fly Agaric, the pixie-esque red and white one!
Armed with these images I then tried to think about HOW I might use them in a composition to work on for two days. Knowing that "design" is not my strong point, I tentatively sketched out some ideas.
As you can see, my drawing has not improved!
After a introduction to her work Stephanie demonstrated some of the techniques she uses and then it off on our own to create!
I used most of day one to paint and print fabrics and papers that I might want to use in my composition. I was delighted to realise that one could use blown vinyl "anaglypta" (sp?) as a printing block and the one I had access to gave me a really good birch bark pattern!
I also tried this using a brown and yellow dye over printing on white cloth to achieve a similar result.
Eventually I had to actually try to create something rather than just playing with paint!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Woman with a fish

I'm a member of Contemporary Quilt, one of the specialist groups of the Quilters Guild, our AGM was in London recently. The attraction of the AGM is the afternoon lecture. This year it was given by Sue Stone aka Woman with Fish.
Sue is a child of Grimsby and its fishing industry. Some of her most well known works come from a collection of old photographs of fishing families. She is an innovative and creative embroiderer who manages to combine hand and machine stitch very effectively.In many pieces she subtly alters the image from a photograph and substitutes one element of the photo with a fish in the textile piece. This creates charming, quirky evocations of past times.
More recent pieces have taken images of areas of East London with their graffiti, street signs and serendipitous found objects and married these with the people from older photographs. Very modern and exiting work,
Have a look at her website and Blog.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Exhibiting over Easter

While away my work was shown at The Bramblepatch in their Easter Exhibition as a member of  ICE. Ten of us meet monthly and latterly bi-monthly, to support each other in our own work. We are a mixed media group who initially met as students of Bren Boardman.
"Ammonites Revealed" resulted from the happy accident of purchasing a length of cloth from Maggie Relph (African Fabric Shop) by Esther featuring a number of faded images of spirals which suggested ammonite forms. Pieced with gorgeous silks in vivid colours and with silk appliqué heavily embroidered and machine quilted.
I really enjoyed the physical making of this piece and felt quite bereft when I no longer needed to sit with it on my lap plying my needle!
Now I have to turn my thoughts to"what next", possibly a further piece using fossils, but also the two Sri Lankan inspired ideas. We'll see!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Sri Lanka

Leaving the UK in the middle of freezing March to travel to the warmth of Sri Lanka was a delight. We were so struck by the warmth and interest of the people we met, stunned by the history and monuments we saw and bowled over by the scenery and wildlife.
The rock fortress at Sigirya was amazing..... the palace is at the TOP of the rock you see, the climb sheer, not that I climbed wimp that I am!
At Dambulla we climbed again to the top of the hill to see the magnificent statues of Buddah. Carved and painted and all at the point that we Brits were fighting the Vikings! Every inch of each cave was covered with paintings in pinks and yellows and black and white. This shot just gives a small glimpse of the intricacy of the images.
Then at Polonnaruwa, the ancient Capital of the island we marvelled at the skills that created huge reservoirs and drainage channels with a really gentle slope that irrigated all the surrounding area. The Gal Vihara, consisting of the four immense figures cut from one long slab of granite. The reclining figure is 14metres long but it is the stunning serenity of the face that grabs your attention.
The roads were manic but the decorated Tuk-Tuks , lorry cabs and the lorry backs grabbed ones attention!
There are images I have brought back that will become pieces of work and I really want to do something with the Sinhala writing script which is beautiful.
The spicy food was delicious and the quality of the places we stayed fantastic. The azure blue sea and the elusive leopards made for a brilliant holiday marred only by my being there when mu father died.

Why the silence?

Life has got in the way! A wonderful holiday in Sri Lanka followed by the death of my father and all that such entails have meant that there was little time or inclination for this.
However I am now taking up the reins of a stitcher's life again and sharing thoughts again!