Its too long since my last blog entry, but a very busy summer has been compounded by preparations for my one woman show at the Knitting and Stitching shows this autumn.
“A Stitched Timeline” showcases my work from the 70s to the present day, and is the first time I’ve shown this work together. It’s been a fascinating journey, searching out old, forgotten pieces in the attic, and contacting people who I know bought pieces from exhibitions, especially in the 80s and 90s. There is a really lovely catalogue to accompany the exhibition, which goes to all 3 K&S shows at Alexandra Palace, London, Dublin and Harrogate. It’s also going to the Sunbury Gallery in 2019.
From the 70s, never been seen before, hand embroidery onto hessian. The threads are as vibrant now as they were then!
the 80s and 90s, some drawings from my sketch books follow, which will also be on display
the 2000s, hangings based on maps- this was from my local landscape near Arundel in West Sussex UK and only exhibited on two former occasions, its quite large, about 120cm x 50 cm per panel, and includes some felted areas.
….and finally work from the last ten years includes land, sea and skyscapes from the UK, Spain, Italy and France. You’ll have to visit to see most of them, but a few follow. So for UK friends I do hope to see you if you come to the shows, and for those further afield, I hope you enjoy seeing these.Its a slide show (clever !)
Your comments are always appreciated. Carol
I have just had a great week from May 7th-14th near Chicago , teaching super members of the North Suburban Needlearts Guild. There was time for some sight-seeing too, but that can wait for the next post! The techniques I use look deceptively simple when I’m demonstrating, but are hard to control, so I am always amazed that students with varied levels of experience create such delightful pieces. I do not teach by rote, no kits, no photos or images of mine to “work from” but ideas that stem from their own lives. Some get finished, others go home unfinished and I always hope they do complete what they start. So here are some of their embroideries.Some great stitching, adventurous choice of colours and materials, and you looked after me so well too, thank you.
Students please forgive me for not putting your surnames here if you read this, but you know who is who and there were two Joans and two Vals! You are all stars! A couple of other students were unable to attend the final session so I am sorry not to show anything by you here.
Liz, Shelley, Sue and Val 2
Maggie, Frances, Joan 2, Val 1
Jan, Ronna, Shelley, Joan 1
and finally, I did do some work! Here we are hard at work all of us, and huge thanks to lovely Liz shown here with her piece for being such a wonderful hostess
I am indebted to a good friend for this title which she suggested when we were talking about forthcoming exhibitions this week, so thank you to Myfanwy Hart, as it has inspired a new blog post! I have been very involved in the natural world for some years, and increasingly found myself emphasising colours and forms in the skies. Some of these are very detailed, others show simplified shapes of colour and stitch. I’ve put more information with the images that follow.
Firstly, if you don’t know Myfanwys blog site then take a look at https://crochetalongwithme.blog/author/nuvofelt/ with loads of lovely colour!
So here are some images where sunrise and early morning skies played a part in the work. The first image is very recent and uses memories of the South Downs where I live in the UK. It’s followed by two other locally based pieces. Finally I don’t write a lot as I hope the images speak for themselves but your thoughts are always welcome!
On the left, Silver Lining, a windy morning, and on the right a bright sunny winter morning at Petworth, which I’ve shown before here. The blue-grey palette of Silver Lining contrasts strongly with the rich morning late mid-winter sky on the right. They are followed by “A Quiet Summers Evening” where memories of travelling through France and the UK combined to produce a palette of golds and blues, as I tried to echo the sky colours in the fields below.
Sunset from Lanzarote, with the night sky gathering and darkening from behind the distinctive mountains there, and a softer Sussex sunset of gentle pinks
And finally a piece from 2017 where the sunset has faded away giving way to the night. You can see more of these on my earlier post called Skyscapes.
I’ve started this year by continuing last year’s theme of skyscapes. My obsession and passion for colour is especially indulged by autumn and winter skies, the latter somehow always the richest and most varied due to the sun’s low position. I’ve also shown a few of the skies that I found inspiring, always fleeting, impossible to “draw” unless you are a Turner or Constable! I record these rapidly changing vistas by putting down words, quick sketches and by memory, and then the threads and stitches take over. They are all 5 in (13 cm) square and double mounted to 12 ins (30cm) square. I am always interested in what visitors to my blog think, so do comment if you would like to.
On the left, the stitched piece, and the quick drawing on the right, Costa Teguise sunset. I start with a drawing then put it away, never trying to copy. Below two night skies from the UK, “As Night Falls” on the left, and “Wintry Sky” on the right, this week’s work.
The magic of sea, sunrise and sunset. I havent really looked at using the sea very often although it does feature in some of my work, maybe I’ll do more—
And finally, these four all found new homes after my last exhibitions in 2017.
Preparing for, and selecting pieces for exhibitions is a time consuming task, and although I’ve done this many times it doesn’t necessarily get any easier! In 2017 I made work for, or sent work, to venues that were very different. Walford Mill in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, is a fabulous venue that always has an amazingly eclectic selection of artworks from small and delightful, to the thought provoking and dramatic. I was asked to send 3 pieces to Textile Textures from April to June, and was lucky enough to have this piece, “Poppies Beneath The Downs” featured on all the publicity. It didn’t come home!
I also made work for an exhibition with a local group of contemporary artists called ARTel, on the theme of Transience. I worked on the idea of sky, and the fleeting moments of colour that we see at different times of the year. I exhibited a series of six pieces, only 5 inches square, but mounted an framed to 12 inch squares, intimate, densely stitched, with rich overlapping lines of embroidery. Showing with artists who worked in paint, print, clay and photography was a very worthwhile and challenging experience.
Recently I held a joint exhibition with my painter husband Albert at the local Oxmarket arts centre, Paintings, drawings and textiles that combined to give what we hoped was a rich and diverse experience. Some images follow.
As always a busy summer schedule included work and play! Our usual month away in Spanish hideaways, wonderful landscapes for inspiration, staying with friends who are like family, was swiftly followed by a flight to Glasgow to teach for the Scottish Region of the Embroiderers Guild on the stunning campus at Stirling University. You can see some of my drawings here, plus examples from the summer school, an amazingly responsive group of students who played and worked hard in equal measure! The first images are from Spain, followed by a selection of work from Stirling summer school.
Sunflowers near Sepulveda, sketch book drawing. I hope to use this and the second drawing as starting points for embroideries this autumn.
Carol Naylor drawing
This is the wonderful Posada de San Millan in Sepulveda where we stay with our delightful friend Pilar.
Lavender and sunflowers growing in fields side by side on the tiny road between Santo Domingo de Silos, and Lerma inspired this memory drawing as there was nowhere to stop the car safely!
Carol Naylor drawing
And now for Scotland. The wonderful campus at Stirling University
Here are some if the wonderful pieces made by my students. The theme was The Land we Know so nearly all had images from the wonderful landscapes of Scotland. Many of them had only done basic machine embroidery before. It shows what you can achieve in under 4 days. Maybe the late evening wine helped! There were 15 students so I can’t really show all the work here, but I felt so proud of their achievements.
, By Ruth Blakey, taught by Carol Naylor
by Isobel Shaw, taught by Carol Naylor
by Maureen Griffiths, taught by Carol Naylor
by Susan Gray, taught by Carol Naylor
I think these give an idea of what is possible if you are brave enough to fly on your sewing machine!
Working towards a new exhibition is always challenging. I recently joined a group of contemporary artists called Artel, all of us based in, or near the city of Chichester in the UK. The theme is Transience. This started a train of thought that began with my passion for the natural world. One of the most transient aspects for me is the sky. Skies change as you look at them, colours and cloud formations drift, move, merge, disappear. The light changes constantly, and the winds create rhythmic patterns that dance and swirl, offering endless possibilities that are perfect for abstracting and experimenting.
Capturing moments in time like this with a sewing machine is not easy. Over a period of months I made notes or quick sketches that were no more than a series of hasty lines. I took photos to help me remember colours, although these were soon ignored as ideas began to form. I NEVER work directly from a photo but use them as aides-memoire. Here are some pieces. They are small compared to my usual works, between 4-6 inches square, (10-16 cms) but who knows, maybe they will lead onto larger pieces later this year.
The first image is from a sunset, and the second a late afternoon sky
This is a drawing/collage from my sketchbook. It has helped me make decisions, although it’s not been used as a direct starting point as I had intended to make a much larger piece, but a broken wrist got in the way!
and finally an explosion of gold and blues influenced by the collage above- I think I like it best so far! Your comments would be interesting and helpful.
I’m not talking wine here for those who know me well (!) but this is a follow up to my last post, where I looked at using the colour red in my work. Below you will see a number of contrasting pieces where different red tones and threads have been used either as one of the main colours or as highlights within the compositions. I always use first hand experience, even if its just a fleeting glimpse of something that can inspire a series of works. The first embroidery is called “Sol y Sombra” which translates as sun and shade. The image comes from the landscape of central Spain near Santo Domingo de Silos. The light was pouring through the valley, with golden wheatfields, terracotta earth, and blue shadows reflecting the mountains, catching my eye. After drawing on site, when back home, I stripped out the vegetation so that I could concentrate on the land’s surface, and the act of stitching took over.
I am always interested in hearing what readers think so your comments are welcomed.
This next piece is called “Winter’s Song”, memories of cool light and chillier weather and the changes wrought by these conditions on the landscape.
I showed this next piece in my post entitled ” From Drawings to a Stitched Landscape” where you can see how I developed the piece, but its so very red it needs to be seen again here! The cascading fields were seen against a backdrop of wheatfields and distant blue hills, Spain at its hottest and best, rich with colour and the sounds of insects.
From the fiery reds of Spain now to the rolling Tuscan hills peppered with poppies. I use a crimson rather than a scarlet thread in this series as I feel it echoes the landscape more softly. I called this “Tuscan Serenade”. I never tire of playing with ideas that take me back in my mind to Italy, with its cypresses, hills and late springtime poppies that permeate the fields.
Finally the following embroidery was a small commission for a French family who requested a red landscape. I took the reds from Spain and mountain ranges from France, and really enjoyed the challenge of adding richer scarlet colours combied with metallic copper and gold threads. Its about 20cm square.
I find red one of the most difficult colours to work with, and tend to add it into a piece of work to provide richness, splashes of colours, and to represent flowers such as poppies without trying to “copy” a flower. In this post you will see some of the landscape that has inspired me, and I explain some more stitch techniques. Sizes given are always for the actual embroidery and dont include mounts, or framing.
This poppy field in France was the start of what became a gentle obsession, looking for glimpses of scarlet amongst the corn, grasses and wheat in France, England and Italy. This post looks at French and English imagery
I made a series of works where I used photos to jog my memory, and then drew directly onto my base canvas having put the photos away. The following piece is one that I felt worked well. I used cable stitch from the reverse side for much of the work (explained in my last post, From Drawings to a Stitched Landscape) and then put a heavy red woollen Burmilana/lana no 12 in the bobbin, loosened the bobbin case screw horribly(!) tightened my top thread, a normal no 30, and stitching on the correct side of the canvas the top thread whipped the red thread through. If you try this be prepared to scream and shout a lot as threads do sometimes break! Its called “Glimpses of Scarlet and Gold” 21 x 28cm approx and was based on fields on France.
In the first smaller piece the red contrasts with the softer colours of cornfields as this is from my local landscape, The South Downs 14cm x 18cm approx embroidery size. The second one is smaller still, 10cm x 13cm, and is called “Poppies Ablaze”. Here I went back to cable stitch couching the heavy red from the back, then turning to the front and wandering across the red freely with greens and golds to get a feel of intensity broken by line
In my next post I’ll look at reds used in other landscapes from Italy and Spain and a private commission where “red” was requested!