Saturday, 30 January 2010

Words & the Slow Revolution

Today we went off on an adventure to Edinburgh. It really is a beautiful city, though the east coast wind can certainly make it feel chilly! It's nice to see that seagulls are just as cheeky that side of the country!
First stop was TEXTiles a exhibition of work from the Edinburgh based Frayed Edges textile group. All the pieces shown were inspired by words. These varied from novels, poems, children's books and folk stories. From the book a piece of string is a wonderful thing, Sara Macaulay created a knitted hammock full of fun characters lazing around. Despite them not having features on their faces, personalities are shown through posture and costume. The knitting was very textural with natural colours. And just who wouldn't want to wear trousers on their head?
Jennie Louden took Wizards by Alfred Noyes, to create not one but two pieces. Three delightful wizard puppets and very organic growing felt with sprouting bulbs and flowers. This smelt wonderful! A Nigerian folktale about mankinds greed inspired Nathalie Cortada to use commonly discarded items. Carrier bags are turned into crochet strips spilling out of a takeaway carton. It is amazing the power of advertising, as we found ourselves trying to work out from which shops the bags originally came from!
Philippa Johnston took the poem The Panic Bird by Robert Phillips to create a powerful and frightening creature. Tin wings spread out and wires surround. Its beak could certainly rip off strips.
After a hearty lunch at Henderson's, we went across the city to the Dovecot studios for Taking time: Craft and the slow revolution. A direct response to our fast paced, want now, society. Over printed polyester shirts by Becky Earley hang alongside stone drawings by Sue Lawty. And an interactive piece by Shane Waltener and Cheryl McChesney Jones encourages the viewer to knit, crochet, knot and create an addition to Garland # 21.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Code breaking Chewit Monsters?

My plan to blog at least weekly is slipping... I spent the last few days in my home town of Bletchley (most famously known for its code breaking). The delightfully retro leisure centre is currently being pulled down. It is quite sad to see this iconic (if not rather bizarre) structure with a chunk out of it. I wonder if it is work of the Chewit monster?
A walk round the corner revealed some beautiful mehndi patterns painted on a path. What a welcoming entrance to a house!
Finally thank you to art4moi for introducing me to the work of the artist Ton Schulten. His broad bands of colour remind me of patchwork quilts and are very inspiring. Hopefully by my next blog post I might actually have some work to share!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Playing with warp & weft

Finally I have finished my 3rd tapestry sample (though it is not yet cut off the loom!). The idea was to use as many different materials as possible for the weft. Here is the rather messy back before trimming:
The wefts include tissue paper, ribbon, mohair, eyelash yarn, wire, ripped chiffon, carrier bag strips, sock yarn, plastic bag ties, embroidery threads and many more. All this is interweaved with axminster rug wool. Using papers & ribbons I have also been creating some bright & fun weave sample structures.
Getting into the weaving mood, I have been listening to WeaveZine podcasts on the bus. Certainly makes my journey to work more enjoyable! Episode 48 introduced me to Rodrick Owen, and kumihimo and Peruvian braids. I can't wait to try this craft! Another great internet find is The Josef & Anni Albers Foundation website, which not only has an enormous amount of information on this extremely talented couple, it also has galleries of Anni Albers weavings. Interestingly, it was only because the Bauhaus barred women from certain disciplines than Anni reluctantly studied weaving!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Inky sketches and a mouse

I have been continuing to sketch with inks. Starting off with this rather coy birdie. I quite like the unforgiving nature of the ink strokes, this means that I have to work with my so-called mistakes, rather than reach for an eraser.
I have been using old copies of BUST and Selvedge magazines for sketching inspiration. Some are more successful than others. The ink colour washes remind me of old children's books.
Finally I had a request for another mouse - though not filled with catnip this time. This little fella was made at a chilly stitch 'n' bitch. After sampling some cheese he will be off to his new home tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2010! I have been playing around with inks on both wet & dry surfaces. I like the way the colours bleed into each other.
My current craze for playing with ink even extends to covering old Christmas wrapping paper with colours. The gold print remains unsaturated by the inks, to create a vibrant pattern.
I am also working on my third (yeah!) tapestry sample. I am trying to use a variety of threads, here is a sneak peek:I knew that charity shop find of blue & white mohair yarns would come in handy one day! And yes that is a Black & Decker logo you can spot - the loom is currently being held by my partners workmate! The weaving is coming along slower than planned, this due to a rather poorly guinea pig. Fletch is currently recuperating from an operation yesterday (all together now "ahhhhhh"). Here he is helping me finish off a plum stone earlier.