Last night saw the opening of a new exhibition of which ‘A Common Thread’ is a part. It comprises some of the work which was displayed at the Knitting and Stitching Shows plus a load of extras that did not make the final cut.
I loved the window display and my pieces blend really well with Frances Marrs beautiful ceramics.
I am particularly indebted to Ian and Nichole Wall for their efforts in providing the lovely recycled wood frames. Link here to their website.
The exhibition is open until March 14th and well worth a visit if you are in the area especially with the added incentive if the cafe with its delicious fare
The 5 days at Alexandra Palace rushed past in a whirl and I did not get to see half of what I intended. However given that I am going to Dublin and Harrogate which will hopefully be less frenzied I shall hopefully be able to post more about what I see there. I am particularly looking forward to Dublin since I have never been before. However there is no rest for the wicked and I am back at work again. In the New Year I am joining the two halves of my Common Thread work and exhibiting it all together and since the Gallery in question likes to sell off the wall on the spot I am going to need backups. More details about this later when the publicity comes out.
I have taken the opportunity to do a bit of experimentation and also to revisit something that I singularly failed with at the beginning of the year which in the previous year was very successful. This time I was sucessful
This piece (still wet) is composed of mulberry tissue. When I tried this at the beginning of the year it was a singular failure and I wasted a huge amount of paper. It also has a radically different look to the paper I did last year. I cannot put a finger on why this should be so, there are so many different factors at play. I guess one has to go with the moment
I also have been experiment with some Japanese Printing paper. Again a completely different look
I like the precision this one gives me.
The last experiment is on very thick but very cheap lining paper. This has a lovely surface and gives extremely good results
Last night I finally managed to crack open my jar of fabric with honesty flowers in. The lid had stuck fast and all occupant to the house and several visitors had failed to get it off. The contents looked promising…
Said jar is on the far right and when the fabric came out it was a lovely shade of lavender. However when dry it was clear the colour was completely fugitive. I had expected this but felt I ought to try. Since for me colour is not a priority I will be happy with fifty shades of grey and will work with what I get
Meanwhile another cloth in a ‘before’ picture about to be completely transformed. While I really like it as it is it does rather look like a lot of other work around
Am somewhat preoccupied at present but wanted to share the variety of flora to be found on the common at the moment
One of my aims in my study of the Common this year is to discover the range of colours that can be achieved from plants/tress/berries etc from the Common. Working with colour is not my usual remit so it should be an interesting experiment.
This became number 2
Following on from this I have added oak bark, cherry bark and honesty flowers. I am using the slow technique of leaving the fabric with the plant material in Kilner jars in the hope of getting as strong colours as possible. I am also hoping for some interesting marks. The jars will sit on my conservatory window ledge for most of the summer.
Following on from my success of printing with willow and in pursuit of a darker green, I thought I would try this
The jars of fabric and plant material are processed in exactly the same way as one would bottle fruit. This is in order to seal the jar and prevent mould from forming. Time will tell whether some of indeed any have been successful.
Thinking ahead I have been wondering what I should do with these fabrics. Musing about the Common and what images immediately come to mind I think it is almost always the row of beautiful Scots Pines by the underpass on the Avenue that were planted in commemoration of the First World War.
In particular I find the bark of these trees very beautiful
Today I found some pieces that had fallen off so I took them home
Not sure where I am going with this yet but food for thought
I am very pleased to announce that I have been awarded an Embroiderers Guild Scholarship. This will run from now until April 2015 and involves a project and an opportunity to exhibit (again) at the Knitting and Stitching Shows and at the Embroiderers Guild AGM next year. Since the work I did last year surrounding Southampton Common threw up so many possibilities, most of which were unrealised, I am going to continue with this line of investigation. The papers from the previous post are a starting point as are the birch bark experiments from the one before that. There are so many more leaves available this year compared with a year ago. I also have the luxury of a lot more time to experiment.
During my daily walk on the Common this morning I was shocked to discover there had been a fire during sometime in the last 24 hours
Luckily it was confined to a fairly small area, it could have been so much worse. It occured to me that were the Common were to be devastated then again I would be thwarted!
I have been doing a lot of printing on paper. I am looking for new possibilities for collage on muslin. This selection is on cheap watercolour paper. I am always intrigued by the differing results gained by different papers. More results in another post
I am continuing to use the Common as a starting point for new work. During all the windy weather many birch trees came down and I have been collecting bits of the bark with the view to exploring its dye potential.
A rather lovely piece. The bit that has the dye in it is the layer of bark under the white outer. It was extremely difficult to prise it away from the wood. However I managed to put together enough for my purposes. I decided to use the ‘slow method’ of leaving it in a jar I wrapped one of the pieces of fabric in some old beer bottle tops also gathered from the Common. It has been stewing away on my window ledge for about 3 weeks. The intention was to leave it longer however I noticed this morning it was looking distinctly murky so I decided that enough was enough and I tipped the whole lot into a pan and then boiled it up to kill anything that was growing in it. These are the results
I think there is potential here and the whole process merits further investigation.
I have been somewhat quiet of late. Definitely a case of the winter blues and also waiting for things to happen. It is interesting how much my work is dictated and defined by the seasons. I have decided that there is still a great deal of mileage in terms of inspiration from the Common, more about that when I have decided on a direction. In the meantime some recent images
The Common is finally green at last and the trees all have their new sets of leaves. The vivid limes we have at present will gradually tone down. It is lovely to see how things change on a daily basis, particularly after such a long and protracted period of hibernation