Normal Service has been Resumed

I have taken a bit of a break part of which has been spent in Cambodia. I thoroughly recommend it as a destination, the people are lovely and very laid back in spite of a very tragic history. Inevitably went to Angkor Wat and took some probably very cliched pics.

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These of of the area known as Ta Promh and the only bit now with the trees growing through. The rest of the site is vast and I took loads of inspirational pics

We also went to Pnomh Penh, Kampot and an island, Koh Rong Samoleon which was relaxing and totally off grid

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On our return I went to Birmingham to the Embroiderers Guild AGM to report on my year as one of their scholars. It feels like the end of an era especially as I am considering moving on from the ways in which I have been working for the past 3 or 4 years. It will still have an ethical basis but I would like to explore alternative ways of mark making.

However I have not quite finished yet. At the moment I am working on a very large piece that is to go into Romsey Abbey. It will go into a large arch and is double sided and will consist of 5 separate ‘banners’. Since it is time consuming I am hoping that the elements both together and apart will have various different guises over the coming months and over time will be altered in some way, hence title of Metamorphosis.

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This is how far I have got.
I will document here the nature of the changes as and when they happen so watch this space!


Another Direction

I have been experimenting with my jar dyed fabrics. I wanted to do something loosely based on the flaky scots pine bark that I have been playing with from the Common.

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These are a couple of samples. In the interests of testing whether the dyes are at all colourfast and to distress the pieces, i threw them in the washing machine. Apart from a slight colour shift the dyes held well including the elderberry.

I then went onto working on a much larger scale

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I am not sure this will make it into the exhibition since it is radically different to all the other work I have completed


A Reveal

I returned from my holiday and checked on the jars that have been stewing gently on my conservatory windowsill. Since it has been very hot I decided that it was unlikely they would go any further – the liquid in the jars were all clear. I also want to try some more plants etc and there is a limit to the number of jars I have

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As is soften the case with natural dyes some of the promise of depth of colour was lost when they were opened

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This one is oak bark on alum mordanted cotton. It was originally very much like the birch bark from my previous experiments so I added some rusty nails. It has come out a pale mottled grey with some quite lovely marks including some tannish areas
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This is the willow leaf and twig cloth I chucked in some copper staples which has definitely had some interesting effects
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This one is the Forsythia mordanted with alum. This has come out a yellowy green – I was expecting more green than I achieved
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This one is the cherry bark I was hoping for more pinkish tones but the mistake is mine. I added some vinegar when I should have added some alkali. I am going to repeat this experiment. I am still pleased with the results
Lastly and most interestingly I froze some elderberries last year. I kind of expected purplish colours and in the jar the fabric appeared black. I was surprised therefore with this result.
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a beautiful shade of teal. I am well aware of the notorious fugitive reputation that elderberries have. I am interested to see whether the act of freezing has any effect on this. I am going to have another go with this years elderberries too without freezing.
I am working very much on the principle of the need to work with nature and not try to influence it too much. I am going to use what I achieve with no preconceptions and let it inform me of the next step. Thus if the fabric fades so be it I shall still use it.
I still have 2 jars of St Johns Wort, one jar of honesty flowers and a jar of birch bark which has yet to exhaust.
In the meantime I need to start thinking about how I am to work with my fabricsP1020709