Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Printed explorations

 Braving the rather cold temperatures in December and January, and finding inspiration in the wonderful wetland area at Avalon Marshes, Somerset. 

Reeds, trees and water: rhythm and reflections. An atmospheric sense of history as you walk along the rebuilt Sweet Way of laid wooden planks to keep your feet above the water level. Imagining the ancient foot steps of people walking along the paths connecting villages in the wetlands areas of Somerset.

A collagraph printing workshop with Sue Brown (suebrownprintmaker.blogspot.com) was the opportunity to explore the drawn marks in a different way. Scoring, layering and ripping back mounting card created a printing 'block'. Using a combination of two delicious colours of oil printing inks, produced some wonderful results on the  fabric surface as well as the printing block itself.

Printing onto translucent surfaces such a organdie, organza and previously coloured fabrics, it was possible to overlay and produce the ethereal effects I am trying to capture in my marshland drawings.


A collage of different fabrics made an interesting 'bed' for printing showing a combination of actual stitches and printed stitches.

Friday, 13 August 2021

Resolved pieces relating to the buttercup study


Pulling of buttercup stems after they'd flowered, showed a different side to this plant; the amazing tangle of their root system. These shadows show this off beautifully and suggested how the root could be considered a positive feature. So, thinking of how the world often appeared quite 'upsidedown' during the pandemic lockdown, I allowed the roots to be the positive feature and not the flowers. 

So I had fun playing around with different permutations and using the text 'upsidedown world'.

...and using naturalistic formations and more formal composition as below.

Long grasses were also entrancing as they swayed in the wind. Here the grasses are couched down with stitches the different angles denoting the rhythms of the movement.

Returning to work done during the 2020 'lockdown' period.

 This posting continues the story of the investigation I did when only walking around my garden and along a few close country lanes during the Covid lockdown. A previous posting shows how I used the inks created from buttercup and dandelion flowers to make marks on paper, describing the circular repetition of my daily walks enjoying the numerous plants and flowers starting to blossom. The bright yellow of the buttercups and dandelion flowers were especially vibrant and joyful. See October 2020 posting.

By boiling and sieving the fibres from these plants, I made a warm, soft, yellowish stain or ink. The residue pulp also looked useable so I tried pressing it against garden stone shapes to see if they would dry and hold a shape. This pulp made rather a fragile 'paper' when dried as it had no 'body' so I added pieces of scrim to strengthen and make a firmed moulded shape.

The pulp is used here to partially cover the garden stones, displayed on a drawing.

I also tried making paper shapes - and added spots of bright yellow ink when dried. 

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Whispering messages

A series of concertina book structures in folded vellum.

'Covers' of acrylic squares, painted with marks to echo the swaying rhythms of the grasses.

 Velum pages covered with lines of small punctures and threaded with fine yarns and narrow fabric strips.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Next stage for the drawings

 Looking at all the 'play' ideas I've been making during the summer, it was time to resolve a few and give them some refinements to resolve the ideas. I started with the drawings made with the inks made from plants - dandelions, buttercups and nettles. These drawings showed the rhythm of walking around the same space repeatedly on a daily basis. Often this was a short walk around the garden, then progressed onto longer walks along local footpaths, following hedgerows.

You might remember the process for making inks from plant material from my previous posting 'Stitching and Rooting' last June.
I coloured some threads and fine cane as well as painted shapes onto paper to reflect the repetitive rhythm of walking round the same small area.

To make  it easier to add hand stitches, the drawings were perforated with threadless machine stitching.

Hand stitches were then added using strong linen thread that was stiff enough to make loopy effects with loose tension.
Rows of perforations were made through the drawings, making small holes for easy hand stitching afterwards: stitches to reflect the rhythmical lines made by the grasses and the small shapes of leaves and flowers.
The compositions shows the paths into the garden and the circular movement of pleasurable walking round and round each day. This piece is called 'Round and Round the Garden'.

A similar process was used to develop a second drawing, producing another resolved piece called 'Round and Round and Round Again'. Two drawings were placed close together to give a suggestion of the continuation of the painted circle lines.

Holes initially made by machining into the drawings and hand stitches added afterwards. Continuous lines made by couching down 'cords' of dried bindweed.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Grand Opening

Myself and two fellow artists, painter Pauline Lerry and photographer Lesley Roberts set up a small exhibition in Bridgwater Arts Centre to help them celebrate the opening of the doors after a full closure during our Covid19 summer.

The inspiration for the work on show is the wonderful Wetlands and Wildlife area, Steart Marshes, a local place beloved by people locally and of national importance in its management of wildlife and wetland environment. I was taken on a routine data gathering walk across the mud flats by a scientific research group and saw areas of the wetlands not open to the public.

I learnt how important marshes and wetlands are in conservation as mud sediment absorbs more carbon dioxide than a similar area of tropical rain forest. This surprising fact shows how important areas like this are to the planet, so I gilded my fabric fragments with gold paint to show off it's newly acquired status for me.

'Hidden Treasure' is composed of fabric fragments that have been coated in mud from Steart Marshes with added touches of gold paint.

I was pleased with the situation of a large piece, 'Marsh Cradles' as this high-relief piece was highlighted by the shadows cast over these linear structures.


A close-up detail of 'Marsh Cradles', showing how the shadows enhance the linear features of the willows structures.

'Marsh Cradles' is displayed on one side of a large pillar in the gallery and is show here alongside two paintings by Pauline Lerry that seem to complement the textural quality of the textile.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

And now for something completely different

 A most exhilarating weekend workshop with an inspirational tutor - Eleanor White from Bridgehouse Studios. This was one of our wonderful workshops with my friends from the Textile Study Group and presented through the medium of Zoom.

The tasks Eleanor set us were very challenging with several writing exercises to help us understand our chosen object. Just the sort of way I enjoy working.

My chosen object was this compressed plastic bottle and continued my passion of making art work that commented on an aspect of conservation. Hence the topic I chose to develop for the TSG two year project to collate contributions from all members to compile our new book 'Insights'. So it felt natural to continue with this theme, hence the choice of this object to study this weekend.

The first stage was to prepare a large sheet of paper with a painted ground of gesso, followed by  Asemic writing. The study drawing was then built up with line, using pencil, graphite, chalks and charcoal as well as a rubber, giving delightful lighter, revealing marks as you rubbed away some of the darker areas.

Continuing to work into this piece to highlight the distortions more.