Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Festive Interlude

 I love the 'space out of time' period between Christmas and New Year  and what better way to experience it than a weekend with friends Adam and Kate at their Northamptonshire  house in Woodford. We were met off the train at Kettering and then taken to various viewpoints on the trail associated with battle of Naseby. Interesting  interpretation  boards  and an insight into what  Ian and Adam  get up to on their battlefield jaunts!  Like my visit to Brussels Military Museum, I earnt lots of brownie points and  to compensate  there was a lovely light over the fields.
 Rather more to my taste was the intriguing Lyvedon New Bield near Oundle.

 Lovely light again and I was rather taken by the 'marks' of all the laid hedges everwhere, a very rural setting compared to the shopper frantic London we'd left that morning

 The following morning there was  more sun and a hard frost overnight ( saw so many stars at night with the clear skies and low light pollution). 
Perfect for a walk with the dogs to blow the cobwebs away along the abandoned railtrack  looking over the flooded area around the River Nene. We finished with  a delicious lunch at 'Good Friends' , (excellent lemon meringue pie).   

Monday, 30 December 2013

Christmas at Home

 We had a lovely quiet Christmas - presents in the parlour after devils on horseback and crumpets with brandy butter followed by a very late lunch of glazed ham from the Farmers market

 On  Boxing Day, after a breakfast of ham and Tiramisu (not on the same plate!) while watching 'Room on the Broom' we walked through Syon Park for  real ale at the London Apprentice in Isleworth - 'Rudolph's Ruin' and 'Roasted Nuts' . Somebody was feeding the ducks but was mobbed by gulls.

 On the way back - santas and snowmen in the gatehouse of Syon House and lovely green lichens on an old iron gate. Then Sue and Peter came over for late lunch to help us with the ham!

Update on the shed which lost  part of it's tar paper roof in the winds and it's Xmas present from Wilkinson's!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve

Back in July, when it was really hot, I reported on hearing 'Silent Night' at 11pm  as they filmed the Xmas special of 'Citizen Khan' down  the end of our road. It felt really weird  seeing  our house in the distance  when we watched  the episode on Friday evening ! You can still catch it on iPlayer. We were thinking of all his  last minute shopping as  besides collecting our order from the Farmers Market this morning   we bought a tarpaulin in Wilkinsons to cover our shed roof - the wind  tore off the tar paper covering last night! 

Monday, 23 December 2013

On not returning but moving on

For one my quilts on the theme of Connection for exhibition with Cwilt Cymru next year, I had decided to  finish off a quilt I put together based on Osterley Weir started a while  ago - it fitted the theme, it was the right size, I'd already done quite a lot of work on it, it would save a lot of time ,wouldn't it, especially with deadlines looming ?   A big mistake on so many levels! I'd worked on lots of samples resolving different issues  but not a  major one- scaling up. The main problem however was I've moved on so much in the last couple of years, my quilts taking a more abstract leaning that I just couldn't make it work to my satisfaction. I couldn't get away from trying to represent what  saw in photographs and sketches.  
Elements of it work well (like the feeling of rush of water above)and the samples like below have appeal.


 But I don't like the whole piece (below), admittedly abandoned mid -paint,  and the elements are disconnected, ironic given the theme!

 One of the inspirations for starting this piece was a painting I love  by Terry Frost ' Winter 1956'. I played around in Phoshop layering this painting over my quilt to see how I might introduce a bit of energy through large painting /stitching marks
 It has potential, perhaps by cutting out the sections I like, but not now. I've set it aside to concentrate on another quilt assembled from all the leftovers from 3 quilts made from an old red and white quilt, making do with what scraps I have. So in between  Xmas  activities featuring ham, tiramisu, devils ( such are our traditions ) I'll be stitching with red thread. 


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Remembering Cloth and Memory

My blogging has been rather patchy this year,  mainly with so much going on in work and play ( which is a good thing!) that there's been little time to reflect. Looking back through old posts as I do towards the end of the year, I realise  that  on several occasions I never got round to  reporting in full  as I'd promised on what I'd been up to.  For example in a post from July, I never did elaborate on seeing Bellowhead at 'Kew the Music';my starring role  (wearing orchid earrings!) in a film narrated by David Attenborough; on my trips to various orchid sites and  to Hampton Court Flower Show or to re-write my post on RA Summer Exhibition  that I accidently deleted while attempting to blog with my tablet!

Too  late now  but  before I forgot completely I did want to mention my visit to Cloth and Memory 2 at Salt Mills Saltaire. It's nearly 2 months ago when I  had a day trip combining handing over some precious Lady's Slipper Orchid seedlings with  seeing this exhibition. It had some of the same exhibiting artists as ' Bite Size' a couple of years ago but obviously on a completely different scale!!! The space, the  168m long spinning room, was amazing in itself and the way that the work  was derived from  its different qualities and memories was thought-provoking.

My  favourite piece was by Masae Bamba ( who also  made 'Black  Water' for 'Bite Size'): a large scale 'sea' of indigo cloth  printed with her daughters' first attempts at writing.
The peeling paint layers left on the walls were wonderful and I liked how Rachel Gray had referenced these, with several narrow brick-like works  of layered, patched, embroidered, printed images from the archives local to Saltaire  
Yoriko Yoneyama's  instillation of a web of dried rice threaded on fine thread was intriguing, reminding me of the rain outside ( and occasionally inside, there were strategically placed buckets...) blurring the images glimpsed through the camera obscura ( by Hannah Leighton-Boyce ) placed in the ventilation cavities.
You were encouraged to add your own memories of cloth - mine was photographed but didn't make it to the website. 

My CQ Journal quilts this year have the theme of indigo, many of them assembled from scraps. I was thinking of my experiences  at Saltaire when I was putting this one together: the  crumpled indigo  dyed strips of  'jemima' laid over dyed cotton wadding, slashed and peeled back to reveal underlying layers;  the fine  machine stitching using  white polyneon thread(slightly shiny); the effect of clouds and rain.    

Structural works from Cloth and Memory 2

 Kasuri structures of Yoriko Murayama

Combination of 2 works by Koji Takaki 

Friday, 13 December 2013

Indigo Journal Quilts for 2013

My collection of Journal Quilts for this year for CQ Challenge . Apart from sticking to a 12" x 8" size and submitting onto yahoo group on time, we could choose our own theme.  Mine was indigo and I've enjoyed experimenting with different types of indigo cloth , both real and manipulated in Photoshop to look like indigo. Some of them were sample pieces for larger quilts, others used up scraps from those quilts, most of them were about mark-making and responding to the cloth itself. I still have a basket of pieces  and a head full of ideas.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Benefits of Blogging

I've not been blogging as much as I'd like at the moment  with various deadlines to meet, frustrating as I use the process to sort things out in my mind  for example what stays in my memory from  exhibitions I've visited. At some point I'll have a posting blitz! Meanwhile , I've still been reading other peoples blogs, I'm glad that they at least are keeping it up. So I was thrilled to win a lovely oak linocut postcard  from Sheila Barnes('Idaho Beauty')   in a draw to celebrate 8 years of blogging. By coincidence I also won another postcard from her in 2008 to celebrate 3 years! Thank you Sheila and Congratulations.

Another benefit of blogging is  as a showcase for my quilts, drawings and paintings and the unexpected opportunities this brings. Yesterday I received my copy of 'Playing with Sketches' by Whitney Sherman  which includes a couple of the drawings I did at the National Gallery last year under the heading ' Sketching from the Masters'. Whitney contacted me   having seen my blog posts  - it's funny seeing them in print when I've developed much further this year.
The book itself is very interesting with 50 different exercises to try(or calisthenics as she calls it!) , including things like smoke drawing which I tried for the first time in Puglia. I'm looking forward to trying some of them out.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

National Gallery drawing -putting into practice

 Last  Friday evening session drawing at the National Gallery. We could  chose to either do a further exercise with the tutor ( on cinematic effects looking at Caravegio and Rubens) or to work from paintings we'd selected  ourselves. I did the latter, attempting to put what I'd learnt over the previous weeks into practice, looking at Dutch painting 'Shore at Egmond  ann Zee'  by Jacob Van Ruisdael (above) and 'Weymouth Bay with Jordan Hill'  by John Constable (below) . In both cases I did a 30 minute drawing followed by a ten minute one, concentrating on mark-making, finding shapes  and simplifying.

Filling in the evaluation forms (important for continued funding)  we were asked whether the course had  met our expectations.  The answer was yes and no - I was expecting it to be a repeat of last year  but with a  different tutor , the approach was also  completely different. Both courses were enjoyable and I learnt a lot, last year on analysing paintings  and sustained drawing, this year on quick sketches and  mark-making

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Magical Lights at Kew


Staff preview night  of the Illuminated Trail at Kew  was magical. With light and sound effects (interactive at times!) there were  highlighted individual trees; lanterns around the lake; a Fibonacci fire circle that was other-worldly  and ended up at the Palm House with spectacular light show and the amazing lotus in the Lily House  Also had a slide down an old fashioned  helter-skelter - probably just as well they ran out of mulled wine...
Looking forward to revisiting with friends in a few weeks time.