Friday, 4 November 2011

Exhibition at Deda

Here are just a few pictures of my exhibition hanging at Deda in case you are too far away or just don't have time to get there.
If you visit their website, check out the information about the withdrawal of their funding by the council and what you can do to add your voice to the protests - here

I think that it looks great - plenty of space and light for the pieces.

The pieces are all from the 'Continuous Thread of Revelation' and the 'Restriction and Release' series both of which are concerned visualising with the feeling and words which I associate around time split between 'normal' life and 'creative' time. As I am sure is the same for everyone, time and life is not split easily into separate categories.
My mind wanders whilst walking the dog or driving - so quick capture that thought:
Household or domestic jobs which need attending to intrude into time spent in the studio:
Balancing acts between all of  life's diverse aspects are visualised as sections of the canvas and patterned, patched, distorted and stitched ....

The full statement is more wordy - read it if you wish:
I work primarily in copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel and pewter in both metal shims and woven metal fabrics; often altering the original surface by burnishing, texturing, printing, patterning and patinating.

Many unusual materials such as soluble fabrics, heat distress-able materials, dyes, paints, embossing powders and image transfer media are subtly incorporated to develop the surfaces, textures and messages I wish to achieve.  By combining these materials with textile and embroidery techniques I reveal new dimensions of textiles in contemporary works which exploit the boundaries of these surfaces creating subtle combinations explored through dense, repeating and interlocking pattern based designs.

Many works are composed of evocative forms and figures incorporated into surfaces articulated with complex, undulating, knotted and interwoven designs and text. Patterns emerge slowly as the work is viewed resulting in warm harmonies through subtly gentle, yet obsessive mazes at once disconcerting and fascinating.

Patterns and figures derived from personal markings such as fingerprints and body markings along with the working of a mostly unconscious human ancestral memory and through to the pixelization of an image, create a mosaic of forms and patterns which appear to move and change swaying in the tides of unseen forces.

A happy invention of form and daring conceptualization conspire in these pieces to combine a composition of lines and geometric patterns with a narrative which considers the spark of creativity and its’ constraints in real life.

Upstairs is another exhibition by artist Barbara Bristow -who says that she usually works in bright colours, but has chosen, very successfully to restrict herself to purely black and white primers - allowing them to dribble, splash, run and merge to create very organic, intricate absorbing canvases.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My new exhibition opens next week

This is the invite for my new exhibition to be held at DEDA in Derby (UK).
The work will be drawn from my Continuous Thread of Revelation Series and the Restriction and Release Series. If you can't make the preview on Thursday 3rd November, the exhibition continues until 19th December.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Textiles, textiles everywhere ...

At the Beetroot Tree our exhibition 'Rooms' has many textiles in the current exhibition, though I am so late in telling you that you only have the rest of this week to come and see. Check it out online here.
Vintage textile panels and three dimensional tea sets from Priscilla Jones are always a joy to display.
A new artist for the gallery is Brenda Boardman. Her statement reads:
"Bren combines her love of texture and vivid colours with paper, paint, fabrics and stitch. She works with unusual synthetic non-woven fabrics that can be screen-printed, painted, stitched and melted to create beautiful unusual patterns and shapes. This is then constructed into layers and deconstructed to produce original contemporary works for wall hangings, framed pictures, lamps and garden hangings."
What this does not convey is the obvious love of colour and texture, line and observation which her sketchbook clearly shows. A couple of images from her book are much more eloquent:

Coming soon is an artist whose work is causing great interest already, Matthew Harris.
In his own words: "Matthew Harris is a graduate of the textile course at Goldsmiths College and has been working with textiles since 2000, having for the previous ten years made and exhibited drawings and works on paper. He has shown in a number of group and solo exhibitions throughout the U.K, Ireland and Japan.
Matthew Harris makes work that employs dying, cutting and hand stitching. It is concerned primarily with abstract imagery and the translation of drawn marks into cloth. By making work that is pieced, patched and assembled, he aims to create pieces that explore repetition, pattern and the disrupted or dissonant journey of line and image across and through the surface of cloth."
Again the reality is so much more than this bare description.
The Beetroot Tree is giving the main gallery to his work from 20th Nov. to the 8th January -so why not make a visit? He will be talking about his work on the last day of the exhibition (8th January 2012) -I'll post the link as soon as it is on the website, but get it in the diary now!

It was also one of the big shows of the year  - the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally in London from the 6th -9th October. I made lots of new work to display, as usual working up to the last minute to get ready!

A selection of small mounted pieces using patterned, distressed and layered techniques onto metal fabrics.

I am not quite sure what I would do without the shows -such a joy to catch up with friends and other artists from all over the world, to do some sneaky shopping (of course) and to see the fantastic exhibitions which are hosted by the organisers.
One such friend, and inspirational teacher, check out her courses in France. She also is working hard on her major exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching show to coincide with her book about print techniques for next autumn.

A selection from this years which took my fancy, not at all scientific, organised or comprehensive, just a mixture:
Chunghie Lee created her stunning version of traditional patched pojaji

These paper and stitch creations from Jiyoung Chung were just sensational, deeply meditative and I spent plenty of time with them in the quiet times before the show opened.
Jiyoung Chung's statement talks about the importance of conversations, relationships and connections between people and their God, she says: "My interest in the art of ancient Korean Joomchi papermaking techniques have taken me on an exploration of the significance of women’s work in Korea to our relationship to each other across cultures and then to our connection with nature and ultimately to God."

A friend who is venturing back into showing work after teaching for many years is Jo Beattie. She is also a member of the 'Living Threads' group which I belong to. Her work shown here concentrates on fragments of precious memories and how shadows become a part of a piece.

Another artist local to me, this time Jean Bennett finds the use of Angelina fibres fused and formed into figures, angels and faces as wall pieces reminiscent of the grand masters and as sculptural work also with a classical edge.
 More colour in clothing from the amazing work by Jilli Blackwood:

I think that will do for this round of artists for you to look up.
I am now planning articles for 3 magazines and have had my planning meeting with Search Press so am ready to launch into the projects for the book.

Next week is the opening of a solo exhibition of my work at DeDa, though nothing shows on their site yet. I will post images as soon as I can!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Mostly not my own work.

I'm almost unable to get to my workroom right now as it is having new windows, which of course means that it will need re-plastering as well, and everything has to be kept covered in an attempt to keep out the dust!So creatively I have done nothing special.
Setting an example for my regular students, I have finished my sample for their next project. We are looking at a soluble stitch and bead technique described by Jan Beaney in Stitch Magazine. A simple design would seem to be best, though at a larger scale you could get more involved, this is stitched onto soluble, the areas of design linked together and the main outlines worked over in a narrow zig-zag a couple of times. Then beads are added wherever wished in the colours of the stitching. Beads are both the making of the piece and the section which takes a long time - I was grateful for my 'Tacky Bead Mat' again and had it to hand so that I could add a few beads at a time whenever I had a moment. Eventually the whole thing is dunked in water and the soluble removed.
As Jan said in her article, it could be a useful technique not only for decorative panels, but lace additions to clothing etc.
In fact my mum made one to send to a friend in the States to attach to her fly-screen - so decorative and practical, and my student Jackie decided that if she used metallic threads that it would be a great solution for her Xmas cards this year.
Overall image. The piece is approx. 14cm sq.

Detail of the beads and the thread after soluble was removed

Detail of a corner section

It has however been a good month for getting images of work which my regulars have made, a couple of projects have been completed:
Jean has been busy making a bonded appliqué and free machine stitched piece which was eventually stretched over a canvas from studies of rosehips. She has done a fabulous job with bought fabrics, including cotton, velvet, silk-metal tisu and others and sensitive stitching to create the feel of her sketches. I think you can tell that she has painted and drawn for years so has a sensitive eye for shape, form and colour.

Detail of bonded appliqué and stitch

The finished piece
The second piece is by Sheila. She has been working, on and off, on this memory book for a couple of years. We have used a concertina spined book structure which allows the book to hold bulky and heavy components without being distorted. There are several image transfer methods, machine and hand stitch, paint effects etc.
The book was designed with a page for each room of her grandmothers' house and a couple of pages for the garden. A mammoth effort, but such a fantastic object to remember her family with. Best of all, the planning and thinking got us all back in touch with the sights, smells and quirks of life in the UK decades ago.

The front cover. Transfered images with Fuse FX and transfer solution. The daisy chain runs through the whole book, remembering summer lawns at Grandmas.
Trellis around the old bomb shelter with roses and wisteria. Small, delicate flowers and weeds in the garden.

The kitchen and pantry - linen t-towel, vegetables, oxocubes, blue washing bags, the mangle, washing buttons and cakes, jams and recipes in the pantry.

Detail of cakes and recipes in the pantry

The living room with its' dark furniture and large dresser. Family photos displayed and the cupboards are full of  trinkets, napkins, shoe polish, darning threads and needles, doilies and spare buttons. The parlour was for the dining table and the piano, and pictures with ornate gilded frames.
The spare bedroom with toys, books and sports gear. The Monopoly money is worked in Or Nue! The Main bedroom has its' grand fireplace and candlewick bedspread which was a great place to play with Nana's jewellery.
The centre pages are pockets where jewellery, keys, purses and powder puffs can be displayed.
The gate to the 'jitty' at the end of the back garden, strawberries, blackberries and herbs all over.

Sheilas grandparents on the back cover.

One view of the book ...
Another ...
And finally another to show the construction of the spine.

What an effort Sheila has put in to this piece.
It sits well with the current gallery exhibition about Memory. Fundraising for the Alzheimers Society has been well supported by visitors and raffle tickets to win artwork by our selected artists are being purchased. The exhibition finishes on Sunday though, and we are into the next setting up the week after, so I'll send you the links for that display as soon as it is available.

Enjoy the remains of the summer .... my girls are back to school from today - for better or worse?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Almost toast myself

My Burnt Offering this month was to almost be toast myself!
I went climbing at Black Rocks in Derbyshire the other week. I had been belaying all evening and thought it would make a change to climb myself – so I started up, and eventually with much puffing, complaining and expectation of falling, made it to the top. The climb if you are at all interested was Lone Tree Gully. (UK Trad S4a grade) -apparently not all that hard!.
Much to my embarrassment a local photographer, Pete Reeves, was also taking pictures of me. Here we are:

Alex making it safe and preparing to have a good laugh at my expense.

Me - pretending to know what I am doing
See the book on the rock at the bottom? It felt further than that at the time!

The rest of the early part of August was taken preparing for the Quilt Show at the NEC. This was my second year as a demonstrator and teacher at the show. Though I am not a quilter, I did make an art quilt last year for the show, it was dedicated to my son, who was about to embark on his first year of university and who both loves climbing (therefore the above incident) and is a terrible procrastinator. So I chose the theme of climbing for the visual impact and a quote often heard of Nelson Mandela’s
‘Vision without action is dreaming,
 action without vision is just passing time,
but with vision and action you can change the world’.
Whilst I am not expecting him to change the world in a big way, just getting on with converting his dreams into actions would be fine for me! (Is that a normal parental reaction to boys, or just mine?)
The overall Vision, Action, Change  'quilt'


More details

Even more details

The piece is nearly 2m long and 1.2m wide. It is made from stainless steel fabric, some dyed Lutradur and lots of machine and hand stitch. Whilst it won no prizes, it was very satisfying for me and I hung it on my stand this year, where it looked much better in fact and was admired by at least some of the many, many visitors to the show.
I sold out of  my new pack called 'Richly Stitched’, designed to be an introduction to stitching with metals and allows you to create a lovely, lush panel on a canvas like this one:

We have now made more and they are available from The Beetroot Tree. Click here to find them.

Enticing Entrapment Vessels - fill with something special please!
I was teaching 2 workshops, a short version of ‘Not So Standard Angelina’ and ‘Enticing Entrapment’ which is a quick taster about Evolon, FuseFX and Transfer Foil, with the end result being a cute little container. One lady was taking it on her impending trip to Hong Kong and hoped it would be filled with diamonds! (Might have to try that one myself!)
A sample from the 'Not So Standard Angelina' taster.