"The most beautiful pier in England" is in Clevedon, according to Sir John Betjeman (who knew a thing or two about Victorian architecture) and is the only intact Grade I listed pier in the UK. Built from discarded railway track used by Isambard Kingdom Brunel on the Great Western Railway, it cost £12,000 when opened on Easter Monday, 1869.
The pier is simple and I think very beautiful; thankfully it has no slot machines, candyfloss, or doughnuts. You can find out more about it by visiting the official website: https://clevedonpier.co.uk/
My reason for talking about this pier is that I belong to a small group of textile artists called 'SixDames' and my friend and fellow 'Dame' Stephanie Crawford has challenged us to create our next piece of work using a photo taken on this pier for our inspiration. What Stephanie didn't know when she chose the photo was that it has some very special memories for me.
This is her photo.
When I was around 5 years old my parents took me on a very memorable day trip; we went 'abroad', which I thought was the best! We travelled from Penarth in South Wales, across the Bristol Channel to England, on the Waverley Paddle Steamer. The Waverley is the world's last sea going paddle steamer and up until last year was still steaming around the British coast taking passengers on pleasure cruises. Unfortunately time has taken its toll on her and I have just discovered that she has been temporarily taken out of service as she needs a boiler refit. You can find out more about The Waverley from their official website: https://www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk/welcome-aboard/
That trip made a lasting impression on me - despite the fact that no selfies or other photos were taken! However, the very best bit, as far as I was concerned, was that I brought home a souvenir - a kaleidoscope. It quickly became my favourite 'thing' and lasted a few weeks until I took it to pieces to find out how it worked. Sadly, after that, it never 'worked' again, but I still loved it - just in pieces.
I must confess I had forgotten all about the Waverley, Clevedon and the kaleidoscope, until I saw the photo, but as soon as I did the memories came flooding back - thank-you Stephanie!
So my decision as to what to do in response to this photo was easy. Make a new kaleidoscope!
As well as Stephanie's photo I particularly liked this night-time photo of the pier from the BBC News website (see below) and using the image manipulation software called 'Gimp' I selected part of Stephanie's photo and cut a small triangular section to use.
I cut, rotated, copied and pasted part of the image to create a regular hexagon shape.
Next I altered the colour to create a series of hexagons, starting with a 'daytime' look and ending with a 'night-time' version.
The last decision to make is how to use the hexagons. For a while I thought about printing them onto paper and making a paper quilt, but in the end I decided to have the hexagons printed onto fabric and used the company 'Woven Monkey' once again. (This is the same company I used to print the fabric I used to make my quilt 'Forward, Onward, Upward' inspired by Shamsia Hassani's work. You can read more about that piece by clicking here.)
So now what? Here are two early ideas.
Thanks for reading.