Thursday, November 05, 2015

If only I didn't dislike getting my hands dirty ....

I'd be tempted to take a pottery course, and no this post is not inspired by the Great British Pot-off!

There is something about ceramics that can make the hairs on the back of my neck tingle. The ability of a potter to create a simple form then, using skills I can only guess at, create a surface that ranges from the most simple to almost peacock like (I'm thinking raku firing!) leaves me feeling quite humble.
On a recent visit to Cambridge I had a brief opportunity to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum. I'd intended to view their contemporary art collection but didn't get that far! Once I'd seen the ceramics rooms I was a lost cause and right at the end of my time there I came to some pieces by Jennifer Lee that had an impact that I can't really find words for. Alun Graves, V & A Curator can do the waxing lyrical:

"Confronted by Jennifer Lee’s new group of pots in her south London studio, I am at once  struck by their quiet but insistent beauty, their unassuming elegance, their balance and poise. Caught between movement and stillness, their fine, standing forms appear simultaneously rooted yet weightless, both silent and exerting considerable presence, holding within themselves a concentrated energy."

Suffice to say, her work made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle ...

A trip to Manchester Art Gallery

Today I went today to see Grayson Perry's 'The Vanity of Small Differences' tapestries  at Manchester Art Gallery . The work was well documented both in video and text and further informed by a display of some of Hogarth’s engravings.
What I haven't resolved is whether by putting the spotlight on, and stylising the class differences between, his 'subjects' in Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and the Cotswolds he hasn't added to the stereotyping of class. That said his observation is superb and I loved seeing these pieces executed as textiles rather than in paint. I'm not familiar with the detail of The Rakes progress so having some pieces on display meant that I spent a lot longer viewing the exhibition than I might have done because there was the opportunity to see how the tapestries were informed by Hogarth's work.

Before going to the Grayson Perry Exhibition I took a look at the Manchester gallery which used to be full of cases, full of 'stuff' - too much to assimilate usually. Currently on exhibition is 'Art for All: Thomas Horsfall’s Gift to Manchester' to quote the catalogue 

"This display explores a selection of nature-themed artworks and objects from the city’s little-known Thomas Horsfall collection. It is co-curated by local school children from St Augustine’s CE Primary School in Harpurhey, Manchester.
Thomas Coglan Horsfall (1844-1932) was a remarkable philanthropist and pioneer of art gallery education from Manchester. He collected over 1700 objects and artworks for his groundbreaking Manchester Art Museum, which he set up in 1884."

With associated quotes from Horsfall it was easy to see him as having clearly identified the benefits of  providing people with examples of 'beauty' and of using the art gallery as far more than a safe haven for his collection. I'd loved to have spoken with the children who 'co-curated' the exhibition!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Time to play again

On a recent break to Cambridge I saw an un-labelled piece of pottery that really caught my eye. Looking at a list of ceramicists that the gallery sells I think it may have been a piece by Tony Laverick. The excitement stayed with me and I've been making small pieces ever since:

There are plenty of influences at work here, a friend recently commented on how often I have a solid piece of fabric on the left hand side of my work. I'd be extremely flattered if you saw a similarity with Lisa Call's work but that is unintentional. Lisa's work is a reflection of the colours of her landscape whereas for me the original pot and these pieces are about control and restraint. Even that left hand 'margin' is about stability, holding things together.
But mainly my starting piece was my recall (Incorrect, as it turns out.) of this little, more figurative, piece I made several years ago:

But whatever the influences I'm having fun playing and developing this idea. I need to stop stitching long enough to photograph the growing pile of other pieces and to consider whether they would would  work on a larger scale.
One added bonus of playing at this small 6" square size is that I think I may have found a way of frame mounting that is both neat and relatively simple!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Getting the paperwork done

means that you can reward yourself with a bit of fun. Today is about the first pull of fabrics for a new piece, looking for the right deep dark colour and the right spark of contrast. I'm not there yet but I do enjoy this stage ...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Another etcetera member...

... I don't usually post links here but I thought it might be interesting to see something of the other members of the textile group etcetera. Today - Leah Higgins

Ruins 5 - Leah Higgins

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Had a good day

meeting with fellow members of etcetera. Our meetings are always inspiring and informative in equal measure. We try to mix work and business in equal parts with cake eating and good coffee, thanks to Helen and Leah!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nice feature....

Thanks to British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine for letting the group give you a taster of this article out in the October issue on September 18th

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

10+ at the Storey Lancaster ....

nearly. This morning has been spent collating work for our exhibition at the Storey, Lancaster beginning 22 September -

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

etcetera at the Platform Gallery, CLitheroe

12 September to 28 September 2015


Etcetera is a group composed of seven nationally and internationally exhibited quilt and embroidery artists based in the North West of England. They came together to support each other in pushing the boundaries of their art. ‘Transition’ is their first exhibition together. Their interpretation of the theme ranges from socio-political to the more physical explorations of how stitch transforms cloth. See more about the group on their website.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

etcetera at the Platform Gallery, Clitheroe

We're open until 26th September. This photo from fellow member Leah Higgins shows my three pieces to the left and work by fellow member Helen Conway to the right:

My camera is mis-behaving so forgive me for linking to Leah and Helen for more visuals.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Being busy - part 2...

Yesterday I attended the penultimate meeting before 10+'s next exhibition in Lancaster - where we saw some amazing work, I was so sorry not to have had my camera with me. There was everything from a typewriter and retro phone made of felt to a portrayal of Richard III. Unlike etcetera this is a group with a long history whose members work individually rather than to a group theme. This is one of the smaller pieces that I've made for this exhibition  - 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Being busy ....

getting ready for not one but two exhibitions, starting soon. The first is with a new group of seven experienced textile artists who are all looking to develop their work. We are based in the northwest around the Lamcashire/Yorkshire border so the prestigious Platform Gallery at Clitheroe is a good place for our first exhibition - it would be lovely to see you there.

etcetera members:

          Helen Conway         Linda Bilsborrow
          Isobel Holland          Magie Relph
          Julie Bunter             Sandra Wyman
          Leah Higgins


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Printing, painting and stamping

.... with the NW Contemporary Quilt group to 'decorate' bags for the Quilters' Guild Tombola at Festival of Quilts. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

And my next challenge is ....

aside from the fact that I'm working for two exhibitions, my next challenge is .... thinking of the next challenge. When time is precious it's very easy to keep doing what you can do, but then things can very easily become stale, and it's hard to move yourself forward.
I'm working through my 30 days of sketching but at the moment there is no link between that and my quilting. I'm also trying to develop my sketchbook work and that is throwing up ideas, but only variations on what I currently do. I feel the need to focus more, I still like the idea of Edmund de Waal's 'Thousand Hours' but have yet to think of a stitching equivalent ...

The exhibitions:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 5 out of 30 drawings done

though it has to be said that my choice for today, 'Draw something made of glass' was a little ill-advised:

Far too many shadows and curved reflections for a novice, but I did my best!

Friday, July 17, 2015

30 Days of drawing

I'd like to draw but I don't, it's not something that has ever been part of my life and I don't really know why it should be! As much as anything I'm interested in what my 'style' would be - I'd love to be the kind of person who can capture an image loosely but I fear that I'd get bogged down in detail and accuracy...
Today I picked up a post on Facebook about a 30 day drawing challenge:

It isn't local to me so I can't physically take part but I am going to have a go to see whether I can develop the habit of daily drawing. And in the spirit of things I'll make a donation to my chosen charity, whether I complete the challenge or not. 
I don't intend to make things harder or embarrassing by posting everyday, but here is Day 1 'Something red':

Monday, June 29, 2015

CQ Summer School

seems to have whizzed by in a flash.
Alston Hall is a good venue for these events which are as much about friendship as learning. I signed up for a mark making course with Isobel Dibden-Wright and we spent our days working in monochrome on paper then fabric, following a series of guided exercises.
I'd promised myself that there would be no agonising over decisions so I found that I even enjoyed being sent out to sketch in the lovely grounds!

Seeing what you've done in a different light whether it is through a mirror or, as in this instance, reading your own blog post is always illuminating. When I was stitching the piece, middle right, those stitches felt quite long, now I'm thinking that if I started over I'd make them at least twice as long to achieve the effect I was looking for!