A quick post to catch up after three weeks away charging my creative batteries in Spain, and I’m now thinking of my next series of machine embroideries. This year both the wonderful landscape of the meseta and the Cantabrian sea at Isla have offered me ideas. I have used Spanish landscape on many an occasion, but this year dramatic changes in the weather on the northern coast produced some wonderfully contrasting sunrises. I hope to start a series of small images that explore sky and sea as well as land. Here are just some of the sunrises and also an amazing red field seen in Castille, with a drawing also from this area near Covarrubias, so look out for future developments. Light and shadow, sol y sombra so difficult to capture but what most of my work is really about. The final image is called “Sol y Sombra” that is sun and shadow and is from an earlier series. It found a new home this summer
I’ve recently been re-visiting some of my earlier work and am surprised how much my techniques have developed and changed. Up to around 2004 my work was quite vigorous and gestural, but as my fascination for landscape took over, I began to work more regularly on a less dramatic scale, concentrating on building up line upon line. This allowed me to really draw more with the needle rather than making sweeps of colour. In the images here, you can see how the very heavily textured earlier pieces contrast with the more recent ones. THe first image is a detail from a series I made based on rivers. This was a trial piece for a much larger hanging. (1999)
I used a very loose top tension which was dragged over the heavier threads in the bobbin ( I do most of my work this way!) I’ve spent today repairing and re-working a larger hanging from this series and hope to show it at a later date.
The next image is a hanging called Harbour. One metre in width, it included ideas taken from aerial photography. I was happy with the ebb and flow of the watery section and the overlaid white highlights. I made a companion piece to this which found a new home last year! (2004)
Finally a more recent piece that shows the way in which I try to now build layers through over stitching with many different threads. This is a detail of a piece I made for a textiles challenge on facebook. I’ll write more about this next time! (2014)
It’s been awhile since I posted, but I’ve been getting ready for my exhibition “Sewing the Land” at the Old Chapel Textile Centre in Greenham, Newbury, UK. This is an interesting venue, as in the 80s it was the chapel for the troops on Greenham common during the nuclear missile crisis. It’s now the home of the National Needlework Archives and I was invited to put on an exhibition in their gallery area. This has been an interesting challenge. I wanted to do something a little different, so I’ve put up work that spans the last ten years, from a hanging made for another one person show in 2004 to some of my most recent pieces. The exhibition is now open until December 6th,details from the centre on both facebook and of course from the following websites
When people say to me “what are you doing next” my answer is invariably “I don’t know until it happens” This exhibition shows how both my imagery and stitching have changed and metamorposed during this decade. From large abstract river hangings, that used both aerial photography, maps and memory, to site specific pieces that draw on landscape observed on my travels.
The Mountains of Mourne are on show again and contrast well with the more abstract hangings
Blue and Lilac shadows is part of a series of smaller works looking at lavender fields in the UK, France and Spain
Arunscape is a diptych based on local area maps, experiences, rivers and many other ideas, this is part of one of the panels.
Arunscape is part of a diptych rarely seen, and I have enjoyed looking at it again.
A busy few weeks since the January London exhibition Designer Crafts, making new works as well as completing a small commission that will soon be going to its new home in France. As the commissioner follows this blog I’m not showing an image if this until it’s in its new home. I think the owner should see it first!
It did inspire me to start on a new series of small canvases, so “The Scent of Autumn” is a follow up piece and I hope to make more.
It’s also so encouraging and reaffirming when a new visitor to the studio finds an earlier piece to their liking. “Estuary” is one of my favourite hangings inspired by maps, aerial photography and flying so that is also going to a new home. Both pieces follow here.
These two works required very contrasting approaches. The constant building up and layering of fine threads over a heavier thread base features in “The Scent of Autumn”, whilst the larger hanging uses rich, bold lines, strong colours and merino wools embedded and overlaid with thread. These techniques all result in a more abstract end product exploring shapes and patterns observed rather than an identifiable image.
Scent of Autumn