Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A day out at The Whitworth Gallery

The Whitworth Gallery has a lovely exhibition called Art-Textiles on until 31st January, it seemed like a good reason for a day trip there and a catch up with my best mate who lives up that way.

Many of my favourite artists were represented in the exhibition.  I've always wanted to see the tapestry work of Magdalena Abakanowicz up close.  I'd seen it before in many publications but the monumental scale of it still took me by surprise.

Another artist whose work I've admired since I came across her at university is Anne Wilson.  I had written about her work as part of my studies, so it was fantastic to see some of her work in person.

It was great to discover work and artists that I wasn't familiar with such as Jagoda Buic's Flexicon 2

and Dorothea Tanning's De Quel Amour

There was was work by Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry, highlighting the fact that textiles are increasingly having their place in contemporary fine art.

Although I take a lot of photographs when I am allowed to do so, I still like to take the time to sketch.  Photographs are so instant that it is tempting to take a picture and move on.  I find when I sketch that I look at the work for a lot longer and as a result I engage a lot more with it and learn a lot more.

I always come away from trips like this full of motivation and ideas for my own work.  If only I could find more time.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

My portable collage supplies box

I put this box together a few months ago when I realised that I could make better use of the times when my little one is busy being creative and absorbed in what she is doing.  I never know how long these moments will last so I can't be faffing around deciding what I want to do and gathering materials.

In it I have:

a selection of recycled and vintage papers (some ready painted and others plain)
snippets of fabrics
a small selection of ribbon, lace, trimmings and embroidery threads
a tub of paper ephemera (such as stamps, photographs, old tickets etc)
a tub of bits and pieces (such as buttons, old jewellery, buckles etc)
a needle box
tape (masking and double sided
glue stick and pva

I also have a big pad of heavy water colour paper that stays with the box.

While my mini Matisse is at work I can use the time to make small spontaneous collages.

Usually they look something like this (I definitely have a comfort zone when it comes to using colour)

But today was such a dreary, miserable day that for some reason I came up with this!

I dashed upstairs to grab letter stamps and oil pastels to add details today but usually I'm happy with the limited supplies in my box.  I find that setting parameters in which to work helps me to stop dithering.

Do you have a toddler at home?  how do you find time to do arty things?

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Wandering around Sheffield

I had a lovely afternoon wandering around Sheffield this afternoon.  The Winter Garden was the first stop, where I happened on a pop up shop by Sheffield Makers.  Lots of lovely handmade goodies to be found inside.

Favourites were beautiful hand made coats and dresses for toddlers by Steph Jenkins of idle sew and sew.  I checked out her blog when I got in and it's full of beautiful things and I like the coats even more now I've learned they are made from recycled adult coats.  I also liked the simplicity of Peggy's jewellery made from rope and embroidery thread, elevating humble materials to make something tactile and wearable.

Next stop, the Millennium Galleries, where it was the last day of the Handmade for Christmas exhibition.  Again, lots of beautifully made jewellery, ceramics, glass and textiles for sale.  Unfortunately I didn't take any pics inside as the little one was jumping up and down alarmingly next to the cabinets and we made a hasty exit before something got broken!

I had a quick look in the Metalwork collection, for which Sheffield is famous and saw these amazing sculptures made from stainless steel by Japanese artist Kyoko Kumai.  She's used waste stainless steel filaments to make work that looks delicate and almost soft.  Not qualities that you'd usually associate with stainless steel.  I googled her when I got home and found that I was already familiar with some of her work, having had a strong interest in Japanese textiles during my degree.

I drooled over Samantha Bryan's Fairies and Abigail Brown's birds in the gallery shop:

then bought something I could actually afford - a sketchbook with funny little prompts on each page.  More of that in another post when I've started working in it, I think.

The area where we parked had some impressive street art, I wonder why there is so little (if any) in Doncaster?

I'll be heading back to Sheffield again in a couple of weeks to see the new John Ruskin exhibition and to visit the galleries and shops I missed. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Creativity and toddlers

Some days this is about as creative as it gets  This has been one of those days.  I'm sure anyone with a toddler will understand.

I did however manage to get out in the pouring rain to the local museum, where I bought life drawing tickets for the end of the month and did some sketching while the little one scribbled in my spare sketchbook.

Many years of experience and trial and error have taught me that I can't get on in museums and exhibitions with tons of drawing equipment, so nowadays I just carry a small sketchpad and a permanent ink pen (and more recently a spare pad and pencil for the little one!)

I just draw what catches my eye for whatever reason.  This time I particularly liked the pots and I'm thinking a series of coiled textile vessels might be in the pipeline.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Messy Studio

I thought I'd let you have a peep in my studio space today.  I like my studio to be a bit messy.  I'm lucky to have a space that I can shut the door on and I don't have to clean up every day.  I have a purge on it every now and again, but it's usually only a matter of days before it starts looking untidy again. 

What does your studio look like?  Do you work in pristine cleanliness or organised chaos?

Monday, 4 January 2016

A new blog for a new year

Hello and welcome to my little corner of the world wide web.  Thank you for stopping by! 

So, why is my blog called "Making Room"?  Well, the title has dual meaning - I have a spare room at home where I make art, my Making Room if you like.  But the title also refers to making room in my life for creating art, for experimenting, for taking risks, for taking the time to observe and think, for finding pockets of time in which to make.

I graduated in Textile Crafts in 2010 and left uni full of ideas and ambition.  What happened? - Life, that's what happened.  Bereavement, moving house four times, pregnancy and now my lovely little girl.  Time for creativity has been sparse, but this year I am determined to find room in my life for making again.  

This quilt was started about five years ago and has gone through many transformations.  I have picked it up again recently and I am aiming to enter it into the 2016 Festival of Quilts


It's great to be making again and this is something that I can pick up in spare moments and put down mid stitch if I have to.