It has been 2 long months since I last updated my blog - although a lot has happened this past year there has not been so much for me to record or share on my blog. I have missed writing it. However, it is my hope that next year will be different and I will be back creating new work, discovering new things and having lots to write about.
For my last post for 2019 I thought I would share a small piece of work which has ended up being rather more personal than I originally intended. It is called 'Departure' and was finished a few days after my father passed away.
I belong to a very small and friendly group of textile artists called 'Six Dames'. We are slightly unusual in that we are a bilingual group (French and English) and next April we will be holding our first group exhibition in France. You can find out more about our group and our exhibition here on our website: https://six-dames.weebly.com/
Every 3 months one of our members provides us with a photo to inspire us into creating a new piece of work. So far we have had photos from Barcelona, Antibes, Clevedon, New York, Dubai and our next one is from Porto. Working from photos has proved to be a fascinating challenge and the results from each of the artist members has been incredible. You can see what I mean by looking at all of the work we have created on our website by clicking here or on our blog by clicking here.
But for speed, here is a little glimpse of the photos we have worked on so far..........
The most recent photo we have been working from was provided by Fran and is a photo of one of the departure gates at Dubai Airport. When we received it back in October the scene didn't really have much significance to me other than I had been there a few times on my way to somewhere else. I liked the shapes of the windows and the seemingly calming 'greeness' and decided to focus on those elements.
After some thought and some trials with different materials I decided to create an embroidered 3 dimensional piece using heavyweight interfacing, exploring how the unusual window shapes could create a self-supporting structure. As the building is in Dubai I chose to feature traditional Islamic designs for the embroidery which can be seen below.
All in all this piece is composed of 4 layers of interfacing; two outer layers of pure white and two inner layers which I dyed a dark grey/green. The interfacing is not all that difficult to stitch through, but I did not want to risk leaving any pencil or chalk marks on any of the surfaces so I made a paper pattern then pierced the pattern onto the interfacing first then stitched it afterwards. The whole piece measures 16 inches square and as the interfacing is not flexible the stitching was a slow process.
For the top layers I cut the interfacing to make the 'windows' and then stitched each one, emphasizing the sail-like shape using a curve stitching technique (remember those string and nail pictures that were so popular in the 1970s ???!)
Once the completed the top and back sections were fully embroidered I then put them together and restitched the pattern once again to secure all the layers together. As a base it is now very sturdy indeed and is able to support the curved window pieces with just a tiny slot.
II am very pleased with the delicate lace-like effect on the surfaces and I am happy with the airy feeling of the overall design which I think captures the feeling inside the airport departure hall. It is also strong yet fragile; a good metaphor for life.
This piece, along with the 5 others that are inspired by Fran's photo will be hanging in our Six Dames Gallery at B.I.A.T. - the 8th Biennale International D'art Textile in Villefranche-sur-Saone from 15th - 18th April 2020 (just after Easter) . All of the other work from our photos will also be in our gallery. If you happen to be in that part of the world during those dates please do come and say hello. I will also have my own gallery at the expo and plan to hang some of my portraits along with my Stitched Alchemy series of quilts that I have been working on for the past few years and have never yet managed to hang together. I am very looking forward to that too.
Thank you to those of you who read my blog posts - I wish you a gentle end to the year and I hope that the arrival of 2020 brings you much happiness, good health and creativity.