Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Hockney and Chihuly

Two exhibitions in one day + spontaneous discoveries of giant eggs + detour to MacCulloch and Wallis + trip to Anthropologie = amazing day out.

What else remains to be said about the David Hockney exhibition? The scale of the works is incredible, and the colours are astonishingly vibrant. I loved the "Woldgate Woods" series, as it really showed me the way a painter can interpret the same scene in the same season, but in different sorts of light. No photography permitted, but there are images all over the web. If you do go, watch the film and stay until the very end, as the film created by the 9 cameras filming a group of dancers in his studio is wonderful.

Next up, Dale Chihuly at the New Halcyon Gallery. A totally different experience than seeing his glass at Kew Gardens, as you can get so close. Generously, photography is allowed, but no flash. To stand so close, under one of his chandeliers is a unique experience. Interestingly, two of the larger installations are set on to a bed of broken glass pieces - I've always wondered how many are broken during the making of the pieces. I was not so struck y the paintings, but could have spent hours looking at the glass, particularly at the combinations of the glass with the cast shadows. The exhibition is on until 21 April. I would not recommend taking young children unless they are very, very subdued individuals.


Then a wander through the super-expensive shopping district, finding a few giant eggs on the way. These eggs seem to have been put in more obvious positions than the previous such installations of elephants in London a couple of years ago.


The last one was my favourite, but I felt a bit cheated looking at it more closely, to see that the flowers seemed to have been glued on , rather than fired on.

Next past a very expensive tea shop, en route to MacCulloch and Wallis

but with lovely vessels n the window


Finishing up at Anthropologie, with their usual wacky approach to window dressing, paint on the window

Drips gathered on the window sill

The ultimate in dynamic advertising?


And to end an amazing day, a chance to play with the brushes app on my friend's iPAD. As she is a trained artist, her pictures of a blackthorn branch look wonderful. I just enjoyed myself getting some of the same colours used by David Hockney.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Spring is on the way







Just back from a visit to the David Hockney exhibition and to the Chihuly glass , but my brain needs to digest what I've seen before blogging about it all.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Flocking off

So, after the hugely stimulating mornng, we all dashed back to the studio to get a few hours in. Marian had shown us how to use flock in the heat press last week. I can't find a good link to the materials or process we used, but I'll try and describe it.

White flock is dyed with Procion MX dyes and left to dry. It really seemed to soak up a lot of dye, so took ages to dry. The required fabric is mounted on to the printing table and glue is applied to the fabric with the screen. The glue is allowed to dry. The flock is then placed right side to right side with the fabric and put in the heat press for 30 seconds. The flock backing is peeled off the fabric leaving the flocked image behind.

The results were lovely, not like hideous flocked wallpaper, but the texture doesn't really show up in these photos. These were flocked on to polyester fabric that had been pre-printed with the transfer-dye painted paper prepared with cling film overlay.


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Making Space

Our tutor at Morley arranges one off-site trip during the course. This year's was to a very thought-provoking exhibition at the Slade Research Centre, to see an exhibition curated by a PhD student, who is a friend of one of the course participants.

Making Space image

The pieces in the exhibition are either by PhD students at the Slade, tutors at the Slade or artists who the curator admires. Several of the pieces were made in situ, as the exhibition was installed. We were given a guided tour by the curator, which was very necessary for me, as there was little information about the pieces available in the exhibition. A integral part of the exhibition is an installation of earpieces playing interviews of the 27 artists by the curator. Each of these can be listened to individually.

I was struck by: the photographs of Gina Glover; the folded photographs by Dryden Goodwin; Lisa Milroy; Eleanor Morgan; Susan Dergescamera less photography ( not an easy website to navigate, but beautiful images in the gallery once you find your way there); Fiona Curran, with this linked image reinterpreted in needlepoint and in patchwork;Simon Faithfull.

I loved the huge piece by Elly Thomas and wanted to throw myself in to the pile of sculptured shapes, as the person in the accompanying video was doing. It didn't feel as if this was permitted, so unlike the full tactile experience of the Ernesto Netto pieces from a couple of years ago, something was missing.

We then sat as a group and had a lively discussion about the delineations between art,craft and design; why is it acceptable for an "art" piece to be badly crafted; is the immediate response to a piece of art a more honest reaction than the secondary response after finding out more about the context, the method or the biography of the artist?; how much information is needed to accompany a piece of art to allow interpretation of a piece; does art have to be about something?; why can't beautiful, functional items be considered as art?

The exhibition ends today, and I would really like to have gone again, particularly as I've now had time to find out more about the artists who are exhibiting. As several of them were exhibiting pieces in media that were not their usual method of working, this definitely adds another dimension to understanding what we were looking at. I knew that by going to Morley I would meet lots of talented and skilled individuals, but I did not imagine that my art horizons would be broadened to this extent, what a treat.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Mindless making

There are some occasions when the stresses of the day are not relieved by family, laughter, exercise, reading, watching TV or listening to music. That's when I turn to mindless making. No pattern, no plan, just pieces of fabric, the sewing machine, whatever wadding comes to hand and thread. This week's mindless making coincided with a need to start stitching items to sell at our quilt show in October ( yes, we believe in planning ahead). These cards are the result.


Transfer printed synthetic fabric, machine quilted around the random motifs. These are square, just distorted by the angle of photography.

Indigo dyed cotton, with foiled circles, then machine quilted. I should have photographed these before putting them in the cellophane bags. Why is it that the very act of putting these in the bags, and sealing them, makes them immediately look more professional?

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Fractals of family life - films

An attempt to keep teenagers engaged with the conversation at the family dinner table, that did not go as planned.

Mother, "So what would your list of desert island films be then?"

Younger son, "That's really difficult, I can't think of any films that are set on a desert island"

Mother and elder son collapse in a heap of hysterical laughter ( and when recovered, all go to watch "Moon", not set on a desert island)

Picture 015

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Made at Morley

Morley has a great gallery, with a professional custodial staff. The exhibitions show work from professionals, Morley tutors, and occasionally, of the students at Morley. In March, the textiles department will be having a " Made at Morley" exhibition, so I need to get a few pieces ready for that. As there is no class this week, it is a chance to get on with making some items.

Another furoshiki bag, sewn as an adaptation of this tutorial and using a length of tray-dyed fabric.


Fastened with a button / brooch, rather than tied.


Then a cover for my sample book, quilting another tray-dyed piece in the same colours. The blue is more intense than this, but somehow it is bleached out in the photos by being so close to the orange.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Posh polyester pashmina

The cling film covered disperse dye papers proved themselves to give great texture when cut on to shapes and collaged on to the charity shop pashmina. Are these agave, seaweed, modified half-lotus? These shapes are the same collaged cut outs, discharged on to the fabric three times to become more faint. Interestingly, the texture left behind by the cling film becomes more marked with each transfer.


Again, the collaged pieces make interesting insertions into my sketchbook.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Transparent transfer

There are so many options with the heat press. This exploration was cutting shapes from the wax-resist, painted papers, and then using these to transfer to a whole piece of cloth. Overprinting to exhaustion, ( me and the papers) and allowing the dye to penetrate two layers of cloth at the same time, or interleaving it between two layers, led to this piece.


Are these chocolate eggs or Maltesers?

The background for this was very, very white, so I boiled it in tea…….for much longer than I had planned due to trying to do too much multi-tasking. Luckily enough it did not boil dry.

Unfortunately, this fabric is full of static electricity, or I might have draped it artistically around my shoulders in an Isadora Duncan sort of way.

Next, I'll be using painted papers that had cling film laid on them while still wet. Hopefully this will give some random, organic shapes to play with as shown here for watercolours. I've found a polyester pashmina ( charity shopping again) that will be transformed by this if all goes to plan.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Dispersing discussions

When disperse dyes are painted onto the transfer paper, the colours bear very little resemblance to what appears on the fabric. In general, the dyes appear murky and dull. Our tutor is therefore very keen that we understand how the dyes interact with each other and how to mix our own colours. We therefore prepared our own colour charts, by painting strips of dye, then transferring these strips on to the fabric twice, once in the direction of painting, and then again at 90 degrees to the original print. This gives a grid of mixed colours for later reference.P1080139

The painted paper after transfer of the dye to the fabric.


The paper with the printed colour chart.

Discharged papers with the relevant printed fabrics


The papers are rather lovely by themselves when they are discharged, and still have plenty of dye on them to take on to paper with water.


These dyes have a very distinctive smell, which seems to be more apparent when wetting the paper - odd.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Still transferring my affections

So,loving the transfer printing effects, but still not enamoured of the fabrics, this week it was time to try some different techniques. First up, wax resist on the paper, before painting on the dye. This beautiful petrol blue was my own mix of dyes.


Next trying this same paper on a garish synthetic organza


It will be good to explore some the layering effects that will be possible with this dyeing method.


Layering detail


Next, trying some resist with dried leaves collected last year.


Again lovely transparent effects on this fabric.


And to finish, a bit of a shambles, trying to use two shades of the same dye, but without enough contrast between them.