Thursday, 2 July 2015

Drawing, embroidery , sculpture, air pollution

A strange mix of a title, but all aspects covered in one day this week.

The drawing course only has two sessions to go, and I am still finding it incredibly difficult to transfer what I see on to paper.  I do find it more straightforward to identify tone ( albeit with no subtlety) and spend time while travelling gazing at scene, objects and people identifying the main areas of contrast.  Last week’s challenge was 6 x 15 minute poses with Conte crayons.  I liked the medium, less fragile than charcoal, and a more varied line than graphite.  We had to do two portraits of our class members, who were drawing us at the same time - I found this really difficult, then 4 seated poses which I found more straightforward.

 Before the course, I went to see the embroidery of Magna Carta at the British Museum, by Cornelia Parker.  I like her work a lot, and this piece is remarkable to see, mostly due to the range of people who she persuaded to contribute to the stitching.  The vast majority of the text was stitched by prisoners from Fine Cell Work , a charity close to my heart, and there were also contributions from judges.  The panels embroidered by members of the Embroiderers’ Guild have exquisite workmanship.  Interestingly, there are mirrors set up underneath three sections of the embroidery so it is possible to see the back of the work.  As it is the back, mirrored, the text appears the correct way to the reader.  I am intrigued why this has been done, as i know stitchers often want to see the back of a stitched work, but do non-stitchers?

Outside the building, an odd sculpture / art piece with surprising juxtapositions - one to practise the drawing with?

I had been at a meeting in the Wellcome Trust in the morning, for the national launch of an air pollution monitoring project, so got an opportunity to marvel at the installation by the  Heatherwick Studio in the Gibbs building.  I would love to see this in different light, as it must change all the time.

Startling air pollution figures at the launch of the project and an announcement of a third runway at Heathrow in the same week.   Where are we going in our impact on this planet and on ourselves?

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Obsessed, me?

Perhaps, as the weekend has produced this 14inch square.  Cotton, two layers of 80:20 wadding, 60 weight thread.  All white stitching on one side, and mixed white and blue stitching on the other.  I marked the circles, the grids and the main radiating lines with washable blue pen and quilted them with the walking foot.  I then just quilted the rest freeform.  It has still to be trimmed to its final size.  Looking at it with a critical eye, it would be more balanced by lining up the middle row of diamonds with the very base of the circles, but live and learn.
White thread
White and blue thread

Friday, 26 June 2015


Thinking about the quilts that I was most drawn to at the exhibition last week, it seemed to be those with very dense machine quilting.  As the June journal challenge is due, I took the machine quilting inspiration in to this month’s piece.  Below is 6 x 12 inches, cotton, two layers of 80:20 wadding,  60 weight thread and a twisted yarn binding.  other inspiration came from the book, Graffiti Quilting, lent by Plum. I like very much the effect of the two layers of wadding, but I think it would be too heavy and cumbersome to manage the quilting in a large quilt.







Sunday, 21 June 2015

Quilts, by other makers

It is a few years since I have visited the National Quilt Exhibition at Sandown.   This year, our quilt group had a group quilt in for exhibition, a Dear Jane, started by one of our members who was a terrific hand piecer and quilter.  Sadly, she died, before finishing the quilt, and as a memorial to her, many of us finished off the remaining blocks.  We could not get to the triangle borders, that would just have been a task too far, but we did get it professionally long-arm quilted by Isabel Compton.  It was very moving to see it finally exhibited.  We are also raffling the quilt for funds for the hospice where our friend died.


The show was much smaller than when I last attended, with far fewer quilts on display.  That did give time however, to see all of those that were there.  New to me was the fantastic long-arm quilting of Janette Chilver, fantastic use of negative space.



Best in show was this masterpiece go piecing and quilting, by Gilli Theokritoff.  The photograph does not do justice to the quilting, which is the story of David, quilted in text across the whole surface.



More to blog about on this show, but i need to gather my thoughts before writing.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Drawing on a coloured ground

I have been very busy with  a local campaign, therefore time for drawing has been limited.

 I did not complete an exercise from last week's class, on identifying tone in a painted portrait and felt a bit despondent about that.  Thank goodness I was more successful with these week's efforts, drawing a vase of flowers using charcoal and chalk in to a coloured ground.

I quite like this as it looks rather Victorian and gothic, which I think is due to the purple ground.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Click… in two senses of the word

An art day today.  First a visit to the Jerwood Space to see the work of  two new artists, in Jerwood Encounters.  Interesting pieces of work, but I'm not sure that they really said much to my psyche.  Then to Tate Modern for a quick art-based shop, and a great photo of the now filled-in crack, by Doris Salcedo.  I can't believe that it is 8 years ago that my lads had such a great time interacting with this piece.


Next to Bankside Gallery to drool over the prints on display, particularly those of Norman Ackroyd, Meg Dutton, John Duffin, John Bryce and Jeremy Blighton.  Close by, the sun had come out, I think that is the window cleaners at the top right.


After all that stimulation, we then studied tonal drawing at Mary Ward, and I really think something finally clicked about assessing tone, resulting in this, of which I am very proud.  Pencil on a graphite powder ground, about A2 size.


Still has many wonky bits ( and I doubt whether that table would stand up on is own) but real progress.  Thank you Sophie.

Monday, 25 May 2015

PRISM textiles and Geffrye Museum

A visit today to the annual PRISM textiles exhibition, where the theme was "Lines of Communication".  A new venue, at Hoxton Arches, was much more straightforward to get to than I had anticipated, to Clapham Junction, and then overground to Hoxton.  A very good facet of this new venue is that the exhibition is on for two weeks, until 31st May.  The standard of work on display is as always superb, and in some cases very moving.  It seemed very monotone this year, with bright colours in evidence in only a few pieces, but particularly in those of Gina Ferrari, who has been inspired by the graffiti in the garden of the venue and in the work of  Ruth Issett, whose overlaid and stitched organzas are marvellous.

Many familiar names this year.  It was wonderful to see the devoré pieces by Peta Jacobs whose work I had admired at the Cloth and Memory 2 exhibition at Saltaire.  A very moving piece of 64 hand knitted lace gloves in memory of visits to the artist's mother who was suffering from dementia, apologies, I did not get the name here.  Intriguing stitching on ventilator mesh from Niki chandler, giving excellent shadows which were integral to the work.  Crunchy, vibrant map of a river by Amanda Bloom.  Fabulous work as ever from Bea Sewell with stitched memorabilia in a series of boxes.  Fantastic to have Amanda Hislop's  sketchbook available to view alongside the finished piece of work, so much inspiration and understanding of her artistic process from viewing the two together.

Photography is allowed at the exhibition this year, but images are for personal use only, so not shown here.  It is a bold move of the PRISM group to move from the Mall Galleries and I'm not sure it has been completely successful.  The gallery was very well lit and laid out, but it was very cold due to the unseasonal weather ( and there was no obvious source of heating anyway).  There are minimal toilet facilities and no cafe - although there are many good eating places in less than 1 minute's walk.  The exhibition was not busy on a Bank Holiday Monday, which was not a great sign.  Something for the organisers to think about I fear.

I had not realised how close the Geffrye Museum was to the venue, so I managed to ft in a visit to a place hat has been on my list for several years.  Not enough  time to see everything, but enough to get a flavour  and persuade me to visit again soon.  The flowers in the garden were spectacular as another bonus.  Good cafe as well.

2015 05 24 mosaic flowers