Thursday, 12 March 2015

Stitch samples

Continuing on the theme of line, but relaxing the rules slightly to include 'flat stuff' I've been playing with couching.  I very rarely work with black fabric, but the colours on this piece needed it.

As I stitched I became aware that I was taking inspiration from my old life as a plant biochemist.  A world I left many years ago.  Looking back through my archived pieces I was struck by how often my subconscious 'design- guru' takes ideas from that part of my experience.

The couched sample could quite easily be an abstract representation of membrane structures inside plant cells.  The painted lines that I initially roller-printed on to the fabric probably enhances that idea.

A piece I did some time ago, using string, a lot of gold paint and some beads, has the same inspiration, although I'm not sure I realised it at the time.

My tutor's parting advice when I finished my West Dean course was to make work in sets, or series, so I'm going to tackle a set of small embroideries.  Microscope-slide sized pieces on a theme of cell membranes.  Quantum Biology is the in thing at the moment - perhaps a little textile art is what it needs!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Daily Practice Update

Day 10 in my self-imposed 3D line challenge and it's going well so I thought I'd share a few with you.

This could be my favourite so far, buttonhole stitch on florists wire, coiled round a knitting needle.

Developing the knitted idea from last week, this time over art straws.

Kebab sticks wrapped in a variety of perle and gold threads.

Monday, 23 February 2015

New Bulbs

Two new bulbs have taken pride of place among all the early Narcissi in my alpine house this month. 
One is a snowdrop that looks as if its petals have been quilted.

Galanthus 'Diggory'

and the other is a spring flowering Colchicum, which is quite unusual!

Colchicum hungaricum

I can't decide which is the most stunning.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Daily Practice

Something of a cross-roads has been reached.  I've completed all the courses needed for my Visual Arts Diploma and I've come to the end of all the modules I want to do with the Open University.

Where now?

'Finding your own style' seems to be the recommended next step.  However one of the points in my tutor's report was that she found my work "refreshingly original", so maybe I'm part way along the style-finding route already.

Having been nominated for the Art Challenge on Twitter, I found I quite liked the discipline of having to post some work everyday, so I'm going to try a sort of 'daily practice' idea. 
Around this time last year I was working on a theme of 3D lines which I very much enjoyed so I'm resurrecting and extending that.

Today is Day 3, and these are what I've done so far.  We'll see how long I manage to keep it up!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


Silk Sculpture 

I need to start blogging again!

I could bore you with a detailed account of how my work has changed over the past months or I could just jump in with a couple of images which show more-or-less where I am now.

I chose the easiest option.


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Mixed Media Collage

I'm about six months into my visual arts diploma and so far it's been an eclectic mix.  My latest short course went under the heading of mixed media collage A nicely vague title which could cover almost anything!  What it actually turned out to be was a few days of glorious fun printing, painting, cutting and sticking in a sun filled orangery at the centre of a crocus strewn lawn. You see how I suffer for my art!!
We started with printing inks, rollers and self-made stencils, layering up interesting backgrounds on tissue paper.  The acid-free, conservation grade stuff is surprisingly strong. 

A favourite colour palette.

There is actually more green in this than the picture shows.

Next we had a go at making printing blocks, my lino cutting has not improved since school days but I had more success with the 'cut shapes out of stuff and stick them on cardboard' type of block.  In fact I made quite a few of those for future work.  We used the blocks for adding yet more layers of print to our tissue backgrounds.

With the left over ink in our roller trays we were shown how to do monoprints.  This was entirely new to me and I got slightly hooked on the technique.  It really is quite addictive.

Just a few lines scratched in a tray.

A few drops of water added when the ink is gone.

When I had quite a few prints I started cutting them up and reassembling them on card.

Just playing.

Closer detail.

I could have played happily for hours, but time was short and we were supposed to be learning collage so I reluctantly swapped the paint for scalpel and glue.

A few small samples.

 I came away with some work in progress for a bigger piece incorporating fabric and stitch. which I will work on now that I've finally caught up with organising all my loose bits and pieces into a sketch book.

Very early stages of a background.
Stencil ideas.