Sunday 26 January 2014

Green Piece

Despite this piece having the working title of 'Green Piece', I started it when I was on the 'Gorgeous Grey' course. It is inspired by a photograph I took of a barge, one misty morning on the Rhine.  I have used various strengths of grey and also a black mixed with yellow to create the green colour.   

I've lost count of how many layers of the grey dye I painted on, to get the effect I was looking for. The problem was, I was never happy with the boat. I considered cutting out a panel of fabric to remove the boat but I would have also lost some of the colour gradation that I worked so hard to achieve. Another idea I considered was painting over the boat with screen inks. I did some trials with acrylic paint, which proved it was possible to achieve but risky.

So on Saturday,  I asked the group at C2C to give me some feedback. They didn't seem to have the same issue that I did with the shape of the boat but did suggest that it was too bright , too well defined if it was indeed in fog... and they were right. I was guilty of not looking properly!  I used the colours I thought the boat was not the colours I could see.

The original colours of my boat

The suggested solution was to work on the back of the fabric, where the boat did indeed look misty. The problem was that I didn't have the same background definition I had on the front and although I added some more grey to the back it was clear it was going to take some time and effort to get it where I wanted it to be. I wasn't sure I could face all those dyeing sessions in the garage to bring the back up to the front's standard - what if I never achieved the same effect on the back? Besides, I had hoped to include it with my Lago Maggiore in an exhibition in April and time is running out.
Another plan was required so I got out these..... box of Markal Stiks and used the beigey one over the boat to knock back the colours and make it appear more like it was in the mist. As you can see by the length of my stiks, I don't use them very much but I'm usually pleased when I do.
So now I need to layer up the fabric, and get stitching. I plan to do simple machine quilting and then to add hand stitch to the boat.  I'll let you know how I get on but I'm feeling a lot more positive about where it's going and that I will have it finished in time for the exhibition at the start of April.

Sunday 19 January 2014

TTF- colour - Part 2

In my recent Post I showed the results of my experiments with blues and yellows. Here are some more of my experiments, randomly using 3 warm and 3 cool primaries and again isolating areas within the page. Mounting it on a thin border of red really brought the fd red out in the piece.
I emphasised the shapes in this next piece by outlining them in pencil. I think I should have left some of the highlighting off some of the shapes, so that some would appear to be behind others. Interestingly, I hadn't noticed this until I saw it in this post.
I don't usually work in bold colours but I think I could be persuaded to. Maybe I should consider it more often? More often? Who am I kidding? I never consider it! Isn't this what experiments are about? Sometimes I  just need someone else to guide/persuade me to try something different and this is one of the reasons I like to go to the Taking Textile Further workshops. I try something different and surprise myself with what comes from it.
I also experimented by layering strips of one paper onto another but the result didn't do a thing for me. Just as I have never seemed to create anything pleasing from weaving papers, a technique which is often championed. 

However, I was pleased with this arrangements of the off cuts, even though they look like an unpromising bunch on their own and are of different lengths.
I took a photocopy of the arrangement, rotated it and cut it into strips. I quite like this and the top 3 rows remind me of a log in the woods. Not quite pink trees but they certainly have unusual colours .
The joy of photocopies is that you can replicate and cut them up as often as you like in order to explore different ideas.

I'm off to C2C on Saturday and looking forward to getting back to working with fabric. I haven't been there since October and have lots of things I want to work on. Hopefully I'll have some fabric to show you soon. 

Sunday 12 January 2014

Take a View

Last week I enjoyed visiting the Take a View exhibition, which exhibits photographs from the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. As always there were some stunning photographs often of beautiful landscapes but there were two abstract photographs that made me think of different approaches I should consider in my own work. 

The first one was 'Icy Abstract' is by Robert Birkby and is a photograph of a frozen puddle.


The second one was 'Blue Sky Reflection' by Charlotte Burton,  which shows the reflection of the sky in an office building.

I think these would translate well into textiles, not that I would use these, but close-ups of landscapes could provide some new  ideas. if you would like to see the exhibition it's on at the National Theatre until 9th February and entry is free.

Another thing I have done recently is read Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It has given me some food for thought and as it's the time when we set goals and objectives, I thought I'd share this image from the book:

Although It made me smile, it did make me think. Maybe this is the year that I get a shed/workshop set up at home?

Tuesday 7 January 2014

TTF - colour - Part 1

In November, yes that long ago, I went to the first Taking Textiles Further workshop of the academic year. This year the theme is colour and one of the exercises we did was to randomly paint with two primary colours. I chose to use yellow and blue as it would mix to make green, a colour often found in landscapes. I painted the yellow and blue on A3 paper and with a postcard sized frame looked for 'landscapes' within it and it was surprising how many I found.

The first painting I made was with a warm yellow and blue.

There might even be more than 1 landscapes in these images.....


...and then I painted with a cool yellow and blue.

Some years ago I went on a collage workshop and only had pink paper left for the tree trunks, so my trees were pink! I really liked the image because of the pink trees, not despite them.

These abstract landscapes have reminded me of my pink tree collage because again I like the use of the 'unnatural' colours in the image. I'm inspired again to create some landscape pieces using unexpected colours but I don't think it'll be anytime soon. At the moment I seem to be generating design ideas, whilst creating textiles from designs I generated the previous year. It's not all bad, at least I have a store of ideas to dig into.

Sunday 5 January 2014

Making our Mark: exhibition photos

Happy new year! In December I enjoyed visiting the 'Making our Mark' textile exhibition, where there was lots of lovely work on display.

If you would like to see photographs from the exhibition, then they can be seen here and artists profiles can be seen here. I hope you enjoy it.