Friday, 29 March 2013

Indian Textiles

I've been very spoilt! My friend Laura has recently been to India on holiday and has brought me back some lovely things. It was my birthday in February and Laura suggested that I wait for my birthday present so that she could get me something in India. I was all for that but I think she has actually brought me back several years worth of birthday presents. Here are some of the lovely textiles that I received.

This bag is hand printed with natural dyes and I'm going to love using this.

There was also this lovely make-up bag made with printed fabric and it has a lovely beaded cords on the zip closure.

And a print block so I can so my own printing but it looks almost too good to use. I'll enjoy just looking at this for a while until I do actually print with it.

Then there was this bag which is covered with beautiful and delicate hand embroidery both back and front.

This detail photograph gives you an idea of the amount of stitching in the piece even if the colours have become a little bleached out.

There was also two hand stitched cushion covers but being white makes them difficult to photograph but hopefully you can see some of the detail. I thought I might make the cushion covers into a bag but I need to give that some more thought but I do anything drastic (and no, I haven't got enough bags!). 

I also had a beautiful woven silk scarf but I have found it impossible to be able to get a decent photograph of that, so I'm afraid that's missing. Who's been a lucky girl then? Thank you Laura.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Taking Textiles Further - Feb 2013

At our last Taking Textiles Further (TTF) weekend, I continued to work with my collection of cotton reels. This time we worked with layers.  I took one of my images of cotton reels in the landscape, placed cotton reels on top, then suspended a layer of glass over them and then added more cotton reels on top of the glass.

I then drew from the layered structure, which was made more difficult by everything 'moving around' every time I shifted in my chair. Anyway, this is the pencil drawing I did from my layered cotton reels.

I then coloured in a photocopy and started to draw on top of the image but then wished that I hadn't drawn on top. 

or maybe you prefer it in a landscape format?

We then used canvas and thick threads to continue our design explorations. I have never enjoyed working with canvas and this time was no exception but I did like the affect I achieved by stitching with some of my dyed fabric. I think it's the randomness of the colours and the texture that I like.

What next? Well I won't be progressing the canvas work but it has provided inspiration for my fabric printing and with a bit more tweaking of the image it may inspire a new piece of work. 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Grayson Perry - food for thought

Last week I heard Grayson Perry speak at the V&A and he came in all his finery! As usual he had some interesting views and was very easy to listen to. I'm sure he would have something interesting and provocative to say about contemporary textiles.

Grayson, said two things in particular that made me think about my own work. Firstly he said that artists need to take risks. So, sitting in the V&A I decided that I would take a risk with my Another Place piece and that I would complete the stitching before painting dye over it! A couple of days later some of my natural cautiousness reappeared, so I stitched a small sample and brushed dye over it, to see what would happen. I think this (risky!) approach could work quite well, so now I need to keep the faith and get on with the stitching. 

Here's the sample. The blue dot was an accident!
Grayson told us how his college tutor asked him to write a 10 page essay about himself and then to create a piece of art based on himself . This he said was a great lesson to learn and suggested that our art should contain something of ourselves. What do I give of myself in my work? What does my work say of me? Does it say anything about me? I know I enjoy creating textiles inspired by holiday landscapes. Is that giving something of myself? This question will need a lot more thought. Maybe there's no simple answer to it?

Do you feel that you give something of yourself in your work? How do you achieve this?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Matthew Harris and Tim Rowan Exhibition

Yesterday, I managed to leave work early enough to go to the Matthew Harris and Tim Rowan  exhibition at Erskine, Hall & Coe.

Images taken from the exhibition catalogue

I really liked the earthy colours in both Matthew and Tim's work and they worked well together, although they were very different. I always admire artists who, like Matthew, are able to place individual elements together to create a new coherent piece. Whenever I have tried to do that, I feel over whelmed and don't know where to start. As for Tim's vessels - well I wouldn't know where to start with those either but I particularly liked the chunky ones and I don't remember seeing anything similiar before. 

The exhibition has been extended and is now on until the 28th March, so if you find yourself in Old Bond Street, picking up your latest YSL or McQueen outfit then it is well worth a visit. If you can't make it, then there are images of the work on the Erskine, Hall & Coe web site.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Another Place

I really enjoyed my visit to Antony Gormley's Another Place, last year and I hoped that it would inspire a textile piece. I thought my recent dry brush trials would would lend itself well to the subject and that kantha inspired stitch could create beach like ripples.

I created a very pale piece knowing that I would add additional depth of colour by laying organza underneath the top cloth and with the thread I used.

This is the piece with the layered organza underneath.....

....and here it is with some stitching.....

....and it's still looking too pale, although the colours are slightly darker than these photographs show.

What to do next? Unpick the stitching and repaint the stripes, which is probably the safest option? Or do I complete the stitching and brush on some fabric paint to darken up some of the areas? This could be interesting if I could mange to limit the colour to the top of 'ripples' but this is risky. It would be a lot of stitching time wasted if it went wrong and it would be pretty irretrievable at that point. The problems with my 'Changing Times' piece has reminded me that not everything is retrievable. A small experiment is in order but I am gearing myself up for a bit of unpicking. 

Hopefully, I'll be back with news of things that have gone to plan soon!

PS thanks for your encouraging feedback after my last post

Sunday, 3 March 2013

When to give up?

My first piece of paper lamination was made from newspaper and I was pleased with the results. I was particularly pleased because it was made from discarded fabrics and did not involve hours and hours of planning or preparation. You can see the newspaper images I used in the piece in my previous post - Changing Times . I felt the piece would be better if I stitched into it  to add texture and bring out the red in the piece. 

When I'd finished the stitching I decided to mount the work on thick felt and that's when my beginners luck started to run out. The felt I use is a creamy colour and so I wanted to paint it in a colour that would  further bring out the red elements in the piece. But I just couldn't create the right sort of red and the more I over painted it, the more the felt took on a plasticy look and feel.  There was only one thing for it but start the background again. 
This time I was much happier with the colour. My plan was to glue the two pieces together and then to add a few catching stitches for security. Firstly I used fabric glue but the paper lamination just peeled off. So I used some 'posh' PVA which has (unfortunately) stuck very well. Although the two pieces each seemed to be cut squarely, they don't quite so square when they are layered up. I probably wouldn't make a very good patchworker. There was only one thing for it....pull it off and go back to the drawing board. By this time my beginners luck had well and truly run out and the glue was now holding it very firmly in place! 
I don't usually give up easily and indeed I have perservered with this piece but I think now might be the time to cut my losses. Shame!