The Knitting and Stitching shows have finished. It was a wonderful experience and so good to speak to so many enthusiastic people and to get such positive feedback. Thank you to everyone who came, looked, asked questions and were fantastically encouraging. I was exhausted at the end but have spent the past week catching up on domestic things and having a bit of a sit down!
For me this has meant catching up on some reading. I divide my reading matter into ‘upstairs’ books (a secret love of detective fiction) that are for reading in bed and ‘downstairs’ books (books I can get my teeth into and learn something new). I read from a wide range of topics: anthropology, history, natural history and science, and both poetry and prose, to name just a few.
At the moment I have a pile of books waiting to be read
and two journals that I have recently bought.
Elementum describes itself as a journal of nature and story that includes writing from Cornwall showcasing art, photography & features inspired by our connection to the ocean & landscape. This is the first volume and it explores the theme of Calling. It is beautifully produced on nice paper and has wonderful photographs and artwork. I have ordered the second volume that will arrive soon. The second journal, Reliquae, is printed by the Corbel Stone Press and is also a compendium of poetry and prose about landscape, place and philosophy.
There’s nothing I like better in the winter than to draw the curtains when it gets dark, make a cup of tea and sit down and read …. this lot will keep me going for a while. (I always have a pencil for marking interesting passages and this one above is particularly good!)
I’m taking a break from all social media over the Christmas period. It will be a time to relax, recharge and catch up. I’ll be back in the New Year to let you know about an idea that has been percolating in my mind for a while.
Finally, you may like to know that I have put four Marshscape Collages into my shop.
This week I’m gearing up for the next Knitting and Stitching show that starts in Harrogate next week. My gallery is a slightly different size and shape to the one at Ally Pally and so I’ve had to do a rethink of what I am going to show and how it is going to look.
This gallery is squarer and smaller than before and so, like at Ally Pally, there won’t be room to show all of my Sluice Creek Cloths. At Ally Pally I was able to include the largest of the cloths – Curlew Song, but there won’t be room for it in Harrogate. Because of its large size, Curlew Song needs to be hung on an outside wall of the gallery, (inside it dominates the space and overpowers the other exhibits). On an outside wall it has space and you, as a viewer can look at it from a distance. Unfortunately I haven’t got a large enough outside wall this time around but I am very pleased that the wall is big enough for the Sluice Creek Cloth, Tidal Flow, which I haven’t previously shown. This means that I will be able to hang all the smaller cloths together for the first time.
I want the gallery space to look uncluttered and let the cloths have room to ‘breathe’, but I think there will still be wall space and so I have made some more small Marshscape Collages to replace the ones that I sold at the last show. I’ve made quite a lot! There are two groups of nine – one greenish/black group and one bluish/black group. They are the same format as before: 20 x 20cms, mounted on painted board with a waxed linen ‘frame’. Until I get there I won’t know whether I will hang both groups – it depends on the space, how I feel, how they look etc. etc….!
Here are a selection of photos from the greenish group.
Do come and say hallo if you are at the show.
I’ve had a spell of doing workshops recently and as a result I’ve had a few enquiries about future ones. I will be teaching Waxed and Stitched Collage at InStitches, Wokingham, Surrey on 19 and 20 January 2017. This is already full but it is worth contacting them to go on the waiting list as they will be adding another date later in the year.
We’ll be doing this sort of thing ….. these are mine!
I’m also teaching an Exploring Place workshop for Tex Art Academy amongst the chestnut trees and mountains in beautiful Mugena, Switzerland. This will be an exploration for me as well as you as I haven’t been to this place before. It is a wooded environment full of light, shadows and birdsong rather than a coastal landscape and I am very excited to have new materials and experiences to play with.
We’ll be sensing and documenting the environment using drawing, mark-making, sound recording and writing and then back in the studio will experiment with paper, cloth, stitch, collage and printmaking to create a record of the explorations.
Here is some student work from a previous workshop – mark-making and collage.
We’ll also do some 3-D work …
The student work above was made on the Sculptural Forms workshop that was held recently at the wonderful Studio 11, Eastbourne and I am going to do another Textile Re-Treat there in 2018. Details are yet to be confirmed but again it is worth contacting Christine Chester to go on the waiting list.
I update my website as new workshops come up so if you are interested please keep an eye on it.
I haven’t been up in Wells for a month as my life recently has been taken up with exhibiting and teaching. It has been hectic but exciting. I had a flying visit yesterday for one night as I wanted to go the the AGM of the North Norfolk Exhibition Project. I showed work for this wonderful organisation at Cley Church in the summer and I’ll be putting in a proposal for CLEY17 next year.
I managed to fit in 2 walks in the 24 hours that I was there – a chance to stretch my legs and to take some deep breaths of fresh air. This morning I got up at dawn (which isn’t that early at this time of year) to have a look around.
It was high tide and there wasn’t a breath of wind. The sun was just coming up, peeping through building clouds and silhouetting the pontoon and boats as I looked back towards the town. The still water was like a mirror as the sunlight was reflected back into the sky. Geese were chattering, out of sight, over on the marsh and every now and then there was the peep of a redshank. The wash of a lone fishing boat split the flat water in two as it wended its way, twisting backwards and forwards, along the channel out to the open water.
I sat on a bench quietly to look and listen – there was no one else about.
It’s good to breathe deeply and relax.
It’s been a week since the end of the Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching show and I have taken the time to ponder how things went. It was exhausting but exhilarating!
By working alone in my studio and spending so much time and mental energy in creating, and making a new body of work, it was with great trepidation that I allowed my work (and by default myself) to be open to public scrutiny. Although I show you things here, it is a different matter to put the actual work up on the wall and to have to stand in front of it in person. I needn’t have worried. Thank-you to everyone who came and spoke to me. I was touched by your positive reactions and I really enjoyed talking about my work and your work and hearing your recollections of the North Norfolk coastline.
For those of you who wanted to buy my Moments of Being book when I had run out of stock on Sunday afternoon – I have received another batch from the printer and it will be available in my shop in the next couple of days.
The most frequent question throughout the week was what next? Well I still have the Harrogate Knit and Stitch to consider – but after that I think it will involve this magnificent beast that I acquired a few months ago!
There is only a week to go before the Knitting & Stitching show! Nearly everything is packed up in copious amounts of bubblewrap and I am running around deciding on slightly strange things like how to transport 2 buckets of dry sand without it spilling out everywhere. Today I’ll give you a bit of information about the main part of the Moments of Being body of work – The Sluice Creek Cloths.
Sluice Creek is a tidal inlet just off the main channel at Wells-next-the-Sea. It runs north/south and narrows to the north in a labyrinth of seemingly endless inlets and creeks. It is a quiet place but at the same time it teems with life and movement – there is always something new and interesting to see and experience.
The Sluice Creek Cloths are inspired by the memory of encounters with physical processes that I have encountered whilst out walking or sailing: the sun moving over the marsh and creating shadows, the clink of halyards knocking against masts, the shape of a bend in the creek or the way saltwater marks my clothes.
I have invested a huge amount of time and effort in these cloths and they have taken me about 18 months to make. There are seven cloths in the series. Each one is made from linen and hangs double over a shiny, varnished pole. The mark I have chosen to use as my personal notation for this body of work is the hole. It is a space – an immaterial emptiness that is surrounded by a physical material that describes its shape and allows us to see a nothing. The holes I have sewn into the linen of The Sluice Creek Cloths are edged with thread-bound iron wire. These evoke the small metal eyelets and fastenings that are in tarpaulins, boat covers and sails found in a coastal environment. Each cloth has been dipped in the sea several times to rust the eyelets and to mark the cloth.
The information I have written over the past three posts has come from a book that I have designed and self-published to accompany the Moments of Being exhibition. It is a 20 x 20cms, soft-covered book with 60 pages. It includes text that describes my inspiration and way of working and has photographs that I have taken myself of the work and the environment that inspired it. It will be on sale at the show next week. It will also be on sale after the show in my shop
Do come and say hello if you are there!
I thought that in the lead up to the Knitting & Stitching show I would give you a taste of the work that I will be showing and a short explanation of it’s inspiration. Liminal Objects is the collective name for the salt works that I am exhibiting. I originally made them for an exhibition early on this year but I have made more pieces and will be showing the complete series here for the first time.
I first started using salt in my work when I noticed the tide marks seawater left on my navy-blue sailing trousers (another ‘Moment of Being’). I thought that saltwater marks on cloth had potential and I have experimented with salt water solutions extensively to get the effects I presently employ. When salt is mixed with water it dissolves. As the water slowly evaporates the salt’s crystalline structure is revealed. This cyclical process takes time and many of the small salt works I make can take up to six weeks for the process to be completed.
The series of works in Liminal Objects come from my memory and imagination. They could be the remains of creatures that have been washed ashore and caught on the strandline – the threshold between land and sea.
The works here are Sea Purses. They are small, salt encrusted containers to remind you of the seashore.
The first of the Knitting & Stitching shows is at Alexandra Palace, London from 5 – 9 October. Please do come and say hello to me if you are there.