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.

Friday 18 September 2020

Invitation to 'Somerset Reacquainted'

Especially for those who live in or near Somerset - I invite you to visit this exhibition at the Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury. It's a project called Somerset Reacquainted that I've been taking part in throughout the Summer - organised by Somerset Art Works (SAW) as a support project for Somerset artists during 'lockdown'.

It should be fascinating. The recent posts here in my blog show how I've been exploring elements of my garden during 'lockdown' which will be represented by my contribution to this exhibition by 63 fellow Somerset artists.

Please note that you'll need to book your visit with the museum in advance 

If you'd like to listen to the podcasts that these Somerset artists are making, you can listen to them talking live or if you wish to catch up, as a download. The podcasts are being broadcast live between 6 and 7 on 21st, 23rd, 25th, 28th and 30th September and 2nd October from this link 

The 2nd of October would be a good one to listen to!!!!

Friday 11 September 2020

A new skill learnt and a tour around my garden and studio

A skill I wasn't expecting to need but has becoming very useful in this period of 'lockdown'. I've learnt how to edit simple films that I can take using my phone and I've been very pleased with the results although lots of things I would improve next time. 

Somerset Art Works (SAW) have provided training sessions by zoom and have encourage all members to contribute images and short films to show glimpses of you and your work to the public who would normally visit our studios and galleries. These are now being collated on a newly up-dated website At the time of writing this, this seems a few days away as I can't see my film or artist details yet.

So here is the short film I made showing you around my studio and showing you how I have responded to some of the elements in the confines of my garden during this summer.

Sunday 23 August 2020

Bindweed and binding

I never thought I would appreciate having so much bindweed in my garden! It's long flexible stems proved such an exciting element to play with. 

I started by removing the side shoots and leaves and twisting the main stems around a tube and kept in a poly bag for a couple of days to set a regular spiraling effect in the stems. 

Then I used them to make rings, wrapped around my fingers and left to dry. Others I wrapped around previously made bindweed rings and started to make a construction that grew and grew as the rings were linked together in different ways - a sort of playful 'sample'.

Other rings were stitched into open weave scrim, forming outlines to holes as the weave was pulled apart - forming a sort of lacy structure, echoing part of a garden drawing beneath.

Friday 10 July 2020

A hedgerow of roots

Hedges that form the boundaries of my small garden environment and walks along narrow lanes of the village are full of linear texture and rhythms of branches, twigs and grasses.


I love the linear lacy effect of the roots of some buttercup plants I pulled up, so I cleaned off the earth to see the intricate linear effect.

If you look at an object long enough, you start to see things in a different perspective.Turning them up-side-down suggested a different character, perhaps echoing how the above ground structure reflects the below ground structure of plants, with a distinct connection with the linear effect of the hedges. 

Drawn lines seemed to relate to the lines of the roots and marks made using a root as a drawing tool made a connection for me too.

A few root wrapping trials using, scrim and wires, returning them temporarily to the garden as a bouquet.

Then looking at the root structure more carefully and working out how to present them - as I was keen to echo the marks and colours in the sketchbook drawing.

Using wire, pieces of scrim and fine threads to add to the network of fine roots and wrapping the stems with slithers of scrim and dyed silk to transfer the colours and lines of the drawing into the textile.

Each set of roots positioned on individual fabric strips as if demonstration root samples.

Saturday 27 June 2020

Work table lines

Gathering my thoughts and painting more roots.

Thursday 25 June 2020

Root marks

Root drawings to record the stems and grasses in my garden

More detailed sketchbook 'thumbnail' studies and photos

then worked more freely using wax resist and inks

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Rooting around

I was initially drawn to flower heads in my current foraging in the garden - buttercups, dandelions, roses. Now I thought I'd look at the compost heap. I'd previously buried scraps of fabrics there and used them a few months later, washed of course, in some textile experiments.
Placing a string of different fabric scraps into the compost heap

A few months later.

Washed and layered

My latest forage into the compost heap gave me some lovely roots - at the end of buttercup stems I think. These were washed to remove the soil.

Noticing how beautiful they were, I thought to feature the roots as you would a bouquet of flowers and stuck the stems into the end of a spool of thread - leaving one on the table as in a traditional floral still life.  

I was intrigued to arrange the roots to form a flower head above and also realised I had a spider - [re Louise Bourgeois?] below.

Now to paint my roots! (reading too many Facebook pages of people's hairdressing plights during lock-down! )
 Hedgerow drawing with inks

 Painted roots with touches of pale lemon to echo the hedgerow drawing behind.