Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Some new work

I'm not totally convinced that anybody actually reads my blog, but I find it useful to keep a diary of sorts of my work so I thought I'd update it with what I've been up to recently.

I recently finished making some work inspired by the "desire lines" on the local town fields, caused by people taking shortcuts across the grass.  It's not a literal interpretation, rather it's more abstracted from my sketches and photographs.

I've also been working sporadically on some small stitched pieces based on my sketchbook work with old photographs - inspired by ideas around memory and loss.

I have about ten of these that I plan to mount into vintage photo frames.

Also based on memory and loss, I made this using all those eggs that I blogged about a while ago.

I've now started on a period of experimentation and playing to try and get some fresh ideas.  I'm using my large collection of natural found objects as my source of inspiration...more about that in my next post.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Antique and vintage textiles fair

I took a trip to Manchester on Sunday to visit the Textile Society's Antique and Vintage textile fair.  It was the first time I've been so I didn't know quite what to expect.  I was not disappointed!

The hall was packed with stalls selling vintage clothing and accessories, antique lace, French linens, old patchwork quilts, retro fabrics, paper ephemera, haberdashery, ethnic textiles and quirky collectables.  I'm sorry about the lack of photographs, I took lots and my phone didn't save them.

I could have spent a small fortune there, I passed over so many beautiful pieces of fabric, haberdashery items and things that would be just too big and heavy to lug to the train station.

These found their way into my bag though:

Two old and very worn aprons for a fiver each?  Yes please!  I have an idea already of what these will become.

Lovely 1920s French magazines - in the sort of condition that I like to buy paper ephemera.  The tattier the better for me, I don't feel as guilty using things that are beyond repair.

39 doilies, pieces of lace and linen, tatting etc for only £2!  I can't even buy them at that price in the cheapest of charity shops.  They'll probably lurk for a while as I don't have a plan for them...yet!

I also bought tons of vintage cottons on wooden bobbins to add to my collection.  I really like to sew with vintage yarn, it has such a lovely faded quality and the best thing is that even when the yarn is finished I then have a lovely wooden bobbin.

All in all, I really enjoyed the day and it's going to be a new date for my calendar each year.  My only complaint is that it was in the middle of a bank holiday weekend - a poor choice of date I think.  I'm sure the fair would have been busier if it had been a week or two earlier and it would have been less of a pain to get there on the train.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

From conception to finished work

When I started making this quilt I never thought for a minute that it would take me the best part of six years to finish it.  I probably wouldn't have started it if I had.  I thought it would be interesting to show some photographs showing some of the different stages it has gone through.

Visual reasearch

Recycled materials

Making a start

I intended to leave it like this - a traditional patchwork quilt.  But then I decided I wanted it to be more of an art piece and be a little more interesting.  So, I did this to it:

Drawing the mill and transferring it to the quilt

Then I messed it up... as I attempted to add wadding and backing and then quilt it, the whole thing distorted, puckered and looked a mess.  I got in a big strop and threw the toys out the pram.  I didn't touch it for a while after.

Starting again...without wadding or backing!

Couched quote of an ex weaver from Hudderfield Mill Memories by Vivien Teasdale

It was all looking a bit flat so I hand stitched over the mill area.

I had already backed the quilt with an old blue sheet, but I wasn't happy with how the fabric handled as it didn't feel as though the sheet was weighty enough to support all the patchwork and stitching.  I also wanted to blend the edges of the quilt, so more hand stitching and a heavy calico backing was in order.

And finally, six years later...the finished quilt.

I'm my own worst critic and I could point out plenty of things that I'm not happy with, and I could spend another 6 years working on it and still not be happy with it.  I've learned a lot from making this.  I can't see myself rushing to make another quilt but I have really enjoyed the slowness of the hand stitching.  I hope you've enjoyed seeing my process.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Julie Arkell at the Harley Gallery

Last weekend I visited the Harley Gallery, it's one of my favourite places to visit on a weekend and they show a good range of fine art, textiles and craft.  At the moment they are showing Julie Arkell's Away Away exhibition.

As usual, I found her work to be slightly unsettling and sometimes melancholic whilst at the same time being humorous and whimsical.  I find the dolls a bit creepy and the rabbit-like animals amusing, like three-dimensional children's illustrations.   I really like how she had given lots of her figures a context - with many of them having knitted shadows or set into landscapes of trees.

Anyway, some favourites below

I was drawn to the ones pulling little carts of yarns along.


I found this one a bit creepy!  Maybe it's the doll's arm attached to the doll illustration.

Love those toadstalls, I'm decorating my daughter's room with a woodland theme next year, so I think I'll be making some of those for her.


Is it just me who finds the doll really unsettling?

Look at those gorgeous shoes!



There were several that I'd like to have taken home - this was one of them.

Entering exhibitions

I had a trip to Scunthorpe on Saturday to enter work into an Open exhibition at the 20-21 visual arts centre.

I've entered a few of these Open exhibitions and have even sold some work through them.  However, I think it's about time that I set my sights on getting represented by a gallery and also try to get myself a solo exhibition.  I've never written an exhibition proposal and my university course was sadly lacking in teaching us useful things such as how to approach galleries, so if anybody can offer any useful advice on this I would appreciate it. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

New work using limited materials

A couple of posts ago I talked about the difficulty in finding my creative voice and what I felt to be my lack of focus.  I talked to a good friend from uni about this and she pointed out that you can't find your own style unless you've experimented lots and naturally found the style or materials or techniques that you are drawn to.  She suggested that I should gather a small selection of favourite materials and make some spontaneous and intuitive work using only those materials.  I took her advice and below are pictures of some of the results.

I think I've learned that I already have a favoured color palette, a liking of found materials, an enjoyment of simple collages and recurring themes in my work.  It's a case of needing to have more confidence in my work and trying not to constantly compare myself with other artists and makers.