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?


  1. An inspiring day! This Heatherwick instillation is amazing. I must try to get and see it.

  2. The new Heathrow plan may answer the 'best economic growth ' question, but not the 'lowest environmental impact' question! It may create a zillion jobs, but my Niki put her cv on line and within 10 hours was offered 4 job interviews! Is this area really the one that needs a job creation scheme?

    PS- I'm well impressed with the people!

  3. On seeing the back of the Magna Carta embroidery ... I haven't seen it yet, but did see some "backwards" embroidered pieces in her show in Manchester, where the embroidery was done with the mirror image on the right side, and thus had to be twisted right way round in the readers head - then the back could be read straightforwardly, but of course wasn't as neat and tidy as the front. A nice bit of "conceptual art"!

  4. What a day! That installation in the Gibbs building looks amazing.
    Interesting about the mirrors - perhaps to show non-stitchers (or aspiring stitchers) that that back can be neat too? Perhaps a lesson for me to learn there!


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