Category Archives: collage

Burnham Overy Staithe walk – drawing and collage

Last time I showed you photos taken on a walk to Burnham Overy Staithe and today I am showing you some drawings and the work that came from them.

As always, I document what I notice about the conditions on that particular day and on that day I wrote in my sketchbook:

The sky and sea reflect each other.

There is so much light.

The land is in relief against it – a dark, almost featureless mass.

Shape – light – dark.

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It was a grey day and the tide was out. Huge expanses of wet, shimmering mud were exposed and were reflecting the light from the sky so that a pale grey light almost totally filled my view. If I squinted, half closing my eyes, the overall impression was of dark land silhouetted against the pale sky and mud.

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My interest was not the detail but in the sinuous, muddy shapes formed by small channels and creeks that cut the marsh with ebbing and flowing tides.

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I looked at the light, the dark and the in-between tones.

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In the foreground a scribble describes the chaotic, abundance of late summer wild flowers and plants.

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These collages have been made in response to the drawings. They evoke the light of the mud and sky and the heavy, dark shape of the marsh on that day. The colour is subdued and there is just enough detail to suggest the natural rhythms of the aural and visual landscape. Each collage is 20 x 40cms, mounted on 18mm board and has a waxed linen ‘frame’.

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These collages will be exhibited at the Cranleigh Arts Centre, 1 High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8AS, from  5-16 September as part of The Makers’ Art 2017, The Society of Designer Craftsmen, North Surrey Group. The exhibition is open from 10am – 4.30pm and entry is free.

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Marshscape Collage

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It is only three weeks now until the Knitting and Stitching show and I have finished making all the work for my gallery. There are just the fiddly (but surprisingly time consuming) things left to do to make sure that everything is in perfect order – finishing off, sewing in ends, thinking about what I need to actually hang the work and other paper/computer related things.

I thought that in the lead up to the show I would give you a taste of what I will be showing and a short explanation of the work’s inspiration. First the title of the work – Moments of Being.

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Moments of Being is a concept that occurs in an essay by Virginia Woolf called A Sketch of the Past. In it she wonders why it is that some ordinary, but powerful memories rise above the forgotten trivia of everyday life. She concludes that there are two types of experience: moments of non-being and of being. Moments of non-being are experiences that one lives through but are not consciously aware of, whereas a moment of being is a flash of conscious awareness.

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My new body of work is inspired by a series of vividly remembered encounters and engagements with the marshes and beach of the North Norfolk coastline. I have taken my own quite ordinary, but powerful, recollections to form the basis of the work. Each work notates the memory of a commonplace event or observation: 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. These are not unusual experiences, but are personal and intensely remembered moments.

The last of this work to be finished is a set of 16 small Marshscape Collages and so I’ll start there. The collages are mounted on thick board and framed with a waxed cloth border. They are 20 x 20 cms each.

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The collages have been created intuitively. They are images of the Norfolk coastline that come from my memory: the shape of a bend in the creek, the rocking of moored boats or the outline of the saltmarsh. They are about shape, colour, light and space. I have made them from bits pulled out of my big bag of odds and ends (mainly unfinished or discarded work and left-overs) and specially painted paper and cloth. It is rather like doing a puzzle. I move shapes and colours around until they suddenly jump into the right place – what Sandra Blow calls that ‘startling rightness’.

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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.

Slow progress

Do you ever feel as if you have been beavering away with nothing to show for it? That is how I am feeling at the moment. I have been working on a large piece for about three weeks now and things are definitely moving forwards but it is very slow progress.

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The cloth is for the Knitting and Stitching show where I  have a gallery in the autumn. It is the fourth in the series (I expect to make at least two more) and at 2.75 x 1.50m it is the largest so far. The cloth will hang doubled over so the actual dimension of the cloth is 2.75 x  3m.

I am pulling out the weft threads of a medium weave linen – a technique I have used before – and on this cloth there is more hole than cloth ….. an awful lot of threads to snip and pull out. It has taken me over two weeks to do one half, but yesterday I finished and could hang it up, look at it and then paint it. It is presently drying in the garage which in the damp, cold weather we are having at the moment is taking time. Normally I’d show you a picture but the light in there is poor so the photo above is of my sample.

Today, while I’ve been waiting for paint to dry, I thought I’d get on with something that takes a bit less time, gives me something immediate to show for my efforts and is useful …. 3 teaching samples for my colour/collage workshop.

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Here are my sketchbook and finished samples…..

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with holed wax and stitch,

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loops and an eyelet,

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french knots,

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and more loops.

However, sometimes things don’t go to plan. I cut up the third collage because I didn’t like it ….

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and this is all that’s left!

Tomorrow my big cloth should be dry and I can start on the next stage. I had hoped the whole thing would be finished by Easter but I think that is wishful thinking. I’ll keep you posted.