Tag Archives: exhibition

Making Space

Next week I am helping to put up the 62 Group, Making Space exhibition at the Knitting & Stitching show, Olympia. This is the next stop in the tour for this exhibition that was first shown last year at the Silk Museum, Macclesfield. The theme of ‘Space’ has been interpreted by members in diverse ways using hand and machine stitch, print, weave, installation and mixed media inspired by textile techniques. I will have one salt work showing, Holed Cloth.

P1000539

‘A hole is just a space – an immaterial emptiness that is surrounded by a physical material that describes its shape and allows us to see a nothing. Debbie has made holes in cloth to give form to space and to make visible the invisible.’

I’ll be stewarding all day Saturday if you want to come and say hello!

The Knitting & Stitching show is open from 2 -5 March, 10am – 7pm Thursday and 10am – 5.30pm Friday  – Sunday.

 

 

The Signalman

I am making new work for an exhibition that is coming up in a couple of months time.  It is  for a group exhibition, The Archive Project. The group consists of four artists that explore ideas through responses to archives and collections, using textile and mixed media. The exhibition is at The Cello Factory, 33-34 Cornwall Road, Waterloo London SE1 8TJ from Thursday 4 May 2017 – Friday 12 May 2017.

fullsizeoutput_4ed

The starting point for my work is a personal archive – a journal that was written by my grandfather, Charles Thomas Sewell, who was a Leading Signalman on the Light Cruiser, HMS Southampton, during the Battle of Jutland in 1916. He survived the battle and left a concise, but personal, account of the events of 31 May and 1 June.

fullsizeoutput_4f0

The morse code spells out: ‘The sea was very calm with a light haze.’

The main events of the battle are told using key words and phrases that have been taken either from my grandfather’s memoir or from the record of Naval signals that were sent during the battle.

fullsizeoutput_4f6

During WW1 signalling methods in battle were a mixture of flag, semaphore and Morse code: both wireless telegraphy and searchlight. Flags had been part of the Navy’s core skills since the Napoleonic Wars and a signalman would be able to read and transcribe messages with ease.

fullsizeoutput_4f2

The Leading Signalman ‘badge

The Signalman takes the form of three ‘flags’ where the narrative of each is notated with a different method of signal communication. Each flag commemorates a different part of the battle. 1. The beginning, 2. The day action and 3. The night action. I have finished the first flag …

Flag 1: The beginning

Message: The sea was very calm with a light haze.

Signal method: Morse Code

Materials: Linen, wire, cotton, brass

Written by Charlie Sewell in his memoir:

‘On Tuesday afternoon May 30th 1916 the Battle Fleet under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe (in his flagship HMS Iron Duke) and the Battle Cruiser Squadron under Sir David Beatty (in the fleet flagship HMS Lion) put to sea on customary sweeps…. my job was as a Leading Signalman, acting foreman of the Action Watch and my place on Monkey’s Island was the passing of orders to make signals.’

 fullsizeoutput_4f3

My Grandfather’s Official Number

 

 

Thank you

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!

p1030503

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.

p1030522

p1030505

p1030474

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.

Moments of Being book

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!

p1030574

The Sluice Creek Cloths

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.

p1030104

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.

Version 2

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.

dsc_2744

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.
p1000118
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.
dsc_2414
Do come and say hello if you are there!

Liminal Objects

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.

p1030267

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.

p1030272

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.

p1030305

The works here are Sea Purses. They are small, salt encrusted containers to remind you of the seashore.

p1030289

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.

 

Marshscape Collage

P1030239 web

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.

p1030378

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.

p1030245-web

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.

P1030232 web

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’.

P1030243 web

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.

Cley16

For the past couple of days I have been at St Margaret’s church, Cley-next-the-Sea, helping to get the Cley16 exhibition off the ground. Today I hung my large suspended work, Curlew Song.

image

I have been working on this piece for the best part of four months and it has been a stupendous effort to get it done on time. Because of its large size (350 x 150 cms) I haven’t been able to get a proper sense of its scale and proportion. Hanging in my studio it seemed enormous, but I knew that in the vast, airiness of the tall church aisle it was likely to get lost and I felt very nervous this morning as we suspended the pole, slung the cloth over it and hoisted it aloft.

image

I think it’s ok. There are other works around it (a 6m tall dress, a swan in flight and an angel)  and it feels right. The open, drawn thread work reflects the black leadwork of the latticed glass windows that line run top and bottom all down the side of the church. The large, sewn rings provide ‘holes’ through which there is a clear view to the other works and the beautiful architecture of the church. It has been made so that it can be viewed from either side. It moves back and forth gently in the breeze from the open door. Yes, I think I’m pleased.

image

You can read some of the background to this piece here and here.

The exhibition starts next week on 7 July and runs for a month until 7 August at St Margaret’s Church, Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk.

Right …. I’ve got to get on with the work for the Knitting and Stitching Shows in the autumn now …. I’ve a busy summer ahead!