Sunday 14 June 2020

I'm just popping by to let you know that you can see more recent work of mine on my website . Here you will also find my new blog. If you would like to keep up with all my art news, why not subscribe to my newsletter here.

Sunday 12 May 2019

Print Making Update

My first blog for some (very long) time, so firstly I need to tell you my good news. I have now given up my full time work in London, which will give me more time to spend in my studio - hurrah! I say hurrah but I've been very lucky in that I have generally enjoyed my job and I'm grateful for that. But now I'm much more excited about developing my artistic practice. I think my blog posts will still be relatively infrequent but I hope to be able to do quicker, more frequent  updates on Instagram (#textilesnippets).
Monoprint on paper
As you may know, my work usually contains an element of screen printing on fabric but last year I went on a Print making course at Cit Lit and really enjoyed it. I even got a 'starter' press for my studio but still need to test it's full potential. As with most things, there's more to it that meets the eye! But I love it.
Etching on paper
I used an image of tyre marks through snow as my starting point and the images got simpler as I progressed. I mostly printed on paper but also printed on fabric towards the end of the course.
Etching on sized fabric
The fabric below came out pale but it gave me the opportunity to try some stitching out and although it's never going to be a finished piece, it's given me some more ideas to progress. More ideas indeed, I've lost count of the number of ideas that have come from one image of snow. I think it shows that the more you work with a theme/idea the more fruitful it becomes.
Etching on fabric, stitched
I have included a couple of these images with some digital fabric printing order and can't wait to see how it turns out. I'm using a printer I've not used before, so I've got my fingers crossed they'll come out well.  

For more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram #textilesnippets

Thursday 9 August 2018

Quilts: Connections & Tunnel Vision

The Chilean Salt flats were hugely inspiring to me and I lost count of the number of ideas I had from my visit as well as the number of yards of fabric that I printed and dyed in pursuit of those ideas.

One of those ideas and one of those yards of fabric have been used to create the 'Connections' quilt below, which I have submitted to the 2018 Festival of Quilts. The lines represent marks and shapes in the salt flat landscapes.  The subtle marks on the background cloth are created using the angular shape of the salt crystals and then liquid dye hand painted on top. 
Connections = 103cm  x 63cm
My artist statement explains the title: 'Marks in a landscape connect us to its history. Away from that landscape, images of those marks have the power to re-connect us to the emotions we felt when we were there'. I felt a real buzz when I was there and I am easily taken back when I see one of my pieces.
Connections - detail
Then for a big change of approach, I made a small quilt - Tunnel Vision. This quilt references Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels, which are situated in the desert in Utah. The image in the middle is a picture of my much larger piece Desert Blue.
24 x 30 cm
My artist statement: 'The Atacama Desert has inspired my work for some time now. The centre of this quilt is reproduced from one of my other Atacama inspired pieces. Is it time to look for a new source of inspiration?' And the answer to that is Yes! It is time to move to a new source of inspiration as most of my ideas have been realised and now I'm starting to work with some inspiration closer to home.

I'm off to the Quilt Show on Saturday and I'm always a little nervous when I have work included. Will the quilts have travelled ok? Will they be hanging properly? I hope so.

Preparing to pack and send the quilts did solve a mystery that has been bugging me for about 18 months now. In 2013 I made a red and grey piece Gridlock II, a red & grey piece of work that I thought would add a bit of colour to one of the walls in my new kitchen. It seemed that it was nowhere to be found. The loft was searched several times, how could a big piece of work mounted on a canvas frame be lost? When I was looking for a tube to send my quilts off in, I found the piece inside a tube....not stretched over a canvas after all. After all that fretting over the lost red piece, the grey piece I also found in the tube looked better in the space!
For some time now, I've thought I should record details of my finished pieces and I think this experience will spur me on to actually do it. I think my blog will serve as a handy reminder of what I've created. 

Friday 16 March 2018

Xenotopia IV

I've finished another piece of work in my Xenotopia series. I had a clear vision of the look and feel I wanted for the HUE exhibition and it took a lot of printing and dyeing to achieve it but in the process I created a number of pieces that didn't made the cut and this is the story of one of those pieces. 
61 cm x 92 cm
After spending a lot of time dyeing and printing this fabric I got to the point where I realised that it was never going to be the fabric I was looking for and so with nothing to lose I decided to over dye it with a view to using it in other pieces. The only problem was that I liked the resulting fabric so much that I couldn't bear to cut it up and despite it's darkness, the pattern inspired by the salt crystals was still coming through. So I decided to use it to create a piece in a similar style to Xenotopia I .
The fabric along the horizon line was something I had printed years ago and was the first fabric I'd used in this series that wasn't inspired by the salt flats but it does show that all those bits of fabric will (hopefully) come in useful one day. 

It wasn't my plan to enter a piece for the RA summer exhibition but I couldn't resist after reading the message from Grayson Perry encouraging artists to apply, especially as Grayson has created textile pieces himself. But this week I heard that it hadn't been accepted but then I always knew it was a long shot but you've got to be in it to win it.

I'm going to try and make a floating frame for this piece. I've thought about making one before but tight deadlines have stopped me doing this but I've got no excuses now. The cost of framing adds so much to the cost of the piece, it would be nice to think that I could do it for myself. I'll let you know.

Friday 20 October 2017

Xenotopia II and III at K&S

K&S at Ally Pally came and went and we (HUE) were pleased with the response we got to our exhibition. Lots of people told us they had read 'The Old Ways' and lots of people said they were going to read it as a result of our exhibition and it's nice to think we have inspired people enough to read the book. If Robert McFarlane sees a spike in sales, I hope that he will link it to our exhibition 😊. 

My previous post  only showed one of my pieces, so if you didn't get to the exhibition here are the other two pieces in the series.

Xenotopia II
This is the detail of my square stitching near the horizon which I rubbed with white fabric paint to suggest a white salty surface on Xenotopia II.

Xentopia III
Xenotopia III had stitched paper in the foreground and appliqued rocks on the horizon line which I now realise I still need to photograph. 

One of my favourite comments in the visitor's book was 'I felt I could step into the Salt Flats', and I'll take that any day.

As well as our 'main' pieces, we each created another work which was the same size and colour as the book but in the style of our 'main' pieces. Each piece would be sold in aid of Macmillan nurses. Mine is in the middle of the top row although the detail is difficult to see in this photograph.
I know these pics of the gallery don't do justice to the work and talents of the HUE members but hopefully they will give you an idea of how the gallery looked and if you didn't see it at Ally Pally please come and see us in Harrogate,  if you can. I'll be stewarding on Saturday and Sunday (25th and 26th November).

I was only able to steward on the Saturday but I really enjoyed talking to the visitors. I spoke to a number of people who knew me through my blog and it encouraged me to try to post more frequently. I hope that I do but I have also just started back to full time work and I'm feeling quite enthusiastic about it at the moment so let's hope the new girl enthusiasm doesn't leave me any time soon. I've lots of other salt flat ideas that I would like to pursue.....and that's just the way I like it....

Saturday 7 October 2017

Xenotopia at the Knitting & Stitch Show

I'm very pleased that my Atacama Salt Flat pieces will be exhibited in the HUE gallery at the Knitting & Stitch Shows this year. I dyed a lot of fabric in my quest to get the effect that I was looking for and there were many, many times when I thought I wasn't going to get the results I wanted but I'm so glad that I didn't give up. 

This piece is called Xenotopia I and if all goes to plan it will be joined by Xenotopia II and III in the exhibition. Each piece is approximately 1 metre square. You can see some of my original design ideas here.

Across the horizon is a bright red line but the impact is lost somewhat in this photograph. Thinking about the salt in the Atacama, one of my early experiments was to pour strong salt solution on cloth and wait for the water to evaporate, revealing the square-ish shape of the salt crystals. I printed this shape on the fabric and used it to inspire the rocky elements in the foreground. In my other two pieces I have also used square stitches to add rocky elements but more of those in another post. 
Xenotopia I - detail
The work in the HUE exhibition has been made after we all read Robert McFarlane's book 'The Old Ways' and we have all responded to the book very differently. The book is about walks in the landscape which I was pleased about as most of my work is inspired by landscapes. In his book Robert says that we need a word to describe....

'somewhere we feel and think significantly to describe the lands that are found beyond these frontiers?  ‘Xenotopias’, perhaps meaning ‘foreign places’ or ‘out of place places’, a term to complement the terms utopias and dystopias'.   

Xenotopia seemed to describe my experience of the Salt Flats. It was like nowhere I'd been before and I certainly felt differently when I was there and almost three years on and it is still inspiring me.

For some time I've been thinking about getting fabric printed with an image of my piece and making a top to wear when I was stewarding but have been put off by the cost of digital printing, particularly as there was a risk that I would make a mistake and not align the image to the pattern pieces correctly. Fortunately though I recently came across Fashion Formula who had more favourable prices.

The colours of the top are more olivey than my artwork and more olivey than this picture shows but overall I'm very pleased with it. It's gone from design to coat hanger in less than a week, which is just as well because the exhibition opens next week. Maybe it's just me but I think it will be wearable on other occasions too.

If you're going to the show I hope you enjoy it and if you're on Saturday 14th, you'll know how to spot me!

Sunday 2 April 2017

HUE exhibition opens in Bishop's Stortford

Yesterday we installed HUE's 4th exhibition at  the Rhodes Gallery in Bishop's Stortford. There are 40 textile pieces exhibited, 5 of which are mine.  

Three of these pieces are the first of my Atacama series to be exhibited, with the one on the right only being completed late on Friday evening. Tight? Definitely! It took longer to install the exhibition than I anticipated, perhaps they always do, and had planned to take a couple of close-ups when my pieces were hung but at the end of a busy day, I completely forgot. 
I have previously posted about the 'Hidden Pathways' piece is here and I will post about the other two pieces just as soon as I have some more detailed photos to show you. If you are able to why not visit the exhibition? It's free to enter and there is a lovely variety of work on display.