Monday, 29 December 2014

Chapter 8b compositions to take forward

Before moving onto Chapter 9 I needed to select at least 3 small colour compositions.  
So a pause to review preceding chapters and also take photos and sketches of  Glen Nochty.  Being winter the bright colours of my earlier chapters were not evident and a pastel hue seemed to be more relevant! But will play with the colours in Chapter 9 In the meantime have used coloured sugar paper which reflects this gentler tone. By a strange coincidence I looked at the geological map of the area- its one of my quirks- and guess what!  
Ref 6.8b 1
Ref 6.8b 2
Just love the fact that there's a flash of pink in the middle at bottom line of picture! It indicates the presence of Grampian Granitic bedrock! Following a walk in Glen Nochty a simple picture of one of the small burns that runs into the Nochty revealed the following image when I colour embossed it!
Ref 6.8b 3
Ref 6.8b 4 i and ii
But no decisions on colour until I decorate papers in chapter 9 and experiment with colour tones .  For now an experiment with the sugar paper and images from previous chapters. For sample 3 inserted a slither of colour, which on seeing as I write the blog would be nice to see in the reflected image...
For the samples in 4 used colour to play with the shapes 5 and 2 in the first part of Chapter 8 which  appeared as 3 and 5 in Chapter 6. Should have kept my sample numbers in some sequence to have made cross referencing easier.
Ref 6.8b 5 i and ii
Ref 6.8b 6

The samples in 5 left revisited images from Loch Courusk and the wave patterns (bottom image 5 ii) in the sand as in 8.5.  Neither were not successful and had written all over them, 'need to revisit' but it did reminded me of a more interesting image I had used for my notebook cover on my wanderings around the coastline of Scotland.  The fact that a footprint causes sand to dry out as you walk always intrigued me as do contour lines hence the drawing in 6.

But before go into Chapter 9 just wanted to put in a line from a poem that we used for our Walking To Health group Christmas card, WH Davies 's poem What is this life.  We were on a walk in October this year when the title came to mind and no one could get the author,  although we all knew the first lines.  Googling it I was delighted to read it and these lines about water and sky leapt out:
No time to see, in broad daylight, 
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Chapter 12 Three Artists

Jae Maries
Having recently attended a workshop with Jae Maries it was a delight to  see her name as one of the selected artists for this module. Apart from taking away key sketches and ideas from Jae's workshop it was a luxury to be encouraged to take time to consider what the finished piece would reflect about my thoughts and the journey of setting off and finding new solutions that added to the finished piece.  
With this in mind  for my resolved piece I explored images of Jae's work.  The key ones included Jae's influence of  exploring the relation of people and their environment, an aspect I am wanting to include in my resolved sample. Using  a daily notebook Jae  records her life through symbolic and abstracted marks and forms. Jae has been careful,' not to be directly influenced by other artists and that is an issue to bare in mind with one's own work' ... 
It is important that rather than copying or trying to be in the style of an artist we do not lose our own voice as Jae points out, ' for the artist to produce truly original work and find his or her distinctive voice, it is essential to develop a personal method of expressing their own feelings and responses to the world'.. 
Words to concentrate the mind in this final chapter of the course.
Nude in the landscape, seen right, had a resonance with the theme of the landscape that has been occupying the last few months of work on the Module.  The shapes and colours reflect how an atmosphere is set by a simplicity of execution rather than too much detail.
Site Development  1 shows in a different mood, a design which invites the eye to be drawn across the image to explore smaller areas of detail. The simplicity of the colour palette and the fact that the composition doesn't sit in a specific boundary of a rectangle encourages you to move  across the panel and to consider if an original piece has been torn and then rejoined...
While I cannot seem to enlarge these photos from the internet they look as though they are very textural. The last picture, Tracts, appears to have a simple tonal palette with a slice of complimentary colour that brings it to life with subtle movement

Barbara Lee Smith

An artist who was unknown to me until I read  Carol Shinn's inspiring book on Freestyle Machine embroidery in 2010.  Barbara's background in embroidery has led to her interpretation of landscapes with  subtle layers of paint, a variety of backgrounds of fabric, paper and other nonwoven fabrics  and thread.  Her  exploration of nature brings the essence of the landscape and her experience of it to the viewer. In a fascinating interview of how she moved from embroidery to fabric printing and painting she quotes Constance Howard for inspiring her to work on a large scale 'Work big, you see your mistakes faster! '  Much of her work certainly lives up to her taking this advice to heart. The interview appears in and is a great insight into her method of work and inspiration.
detail Red Right Returning
The images that have stayed with me from her gallery include,  Red Right Returning.  Working with maps is something I have long enjoyed, so for me this image was dramatic.

The subject matter Wind, right, is shown besides Westerlies and show how the energy of these elements are reproduced in Barbara's work.
A host of multiple images are also reproduced to show the impact Barbara Lee Smith's work has even when not individually large. 
Leila Thomson
Orkney artist Leila is for me a 'must see' when in Orkney. To anyone visiting, particularly if you are landing at St Margaret's Hope the short journey to her studio's takes you past one of the loveliest bays in the UK. Her tapestries are inspired by Orkney's ever changing landscape and scenery, as well as Orkney folklore and heritage. Leila Thomson graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with BA Hons.1st class in 1980.  Her large tapestries are most frequently made to a commission...but you may need to contact her well in advance. However her prints do get across the atmosphere of her subjects.
Tapestry Art Print: 'Echoes'Leila's ability do encapsulate the spirit of the place in her tapestries stayed with me from my first visits to her small studio, which has recently been expanded to included the work of her children. One of the key aspects that appeals to me about Leila's work is the inclusions of the human form in her work and it is those images  that I have focused on. 
The image to the right, Echoes
Tapestry Art Print: 'A lifetime together'

A Lifetime Together, is a print that a couple of my friends gave me on the death of my parents.  For me it gives that wonderful sense of wonder that you can find when sharing the gift of discovery of a special stone or shell in the company of another. The colourful elements and shafts of light and images of birds adds to a very personal reflection.

Tapestry Art Print: 'Symbols of hope and humanity'Symbols of Hope and Humanity, gives an imaginative image that allows the viewer to take their own journey amongst the elements with a glimpse of our place amongst the wider world.
Milestone Community Church Tapestry shown below on
 gives more details of the textures that Leila achieves in her work. 
Photo: Milestone community church tapestry is now well underwayAll three artist give a very different relevance to the work that we are tasked to achieve in our Resolved Sample.  But the key aspect that comes across from them is that they know the landscape intimately that they represent in their work.

Three very different artist who have given me much food for thought in setting about completing my resolved sample.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Chapter 8 Conservation theme

The concept of conservation seems to have evolved from its definition in the 1950's of preserving, restoring and protecting. It now includes supervision, educating and involving the population in the 'duty of care' for the planet and their own individual communities and at the same time improvement in their own health from being outdoors.  How these themes are evolving into policy can be seen,October 2014,  Act for Nature.

Reading and research some background to thoughts that would help me decide on a theme for my resolved sample led me to recall two inspiring people who originally  gave me tangible evidence of what had/could be done to appreciate the environment ...Theodore Roosevelt, the 36th President of the United States of America has these words carved in the magnificent lobby of the Natural History Museum in New York;
There is a delight in the hardy life of the open.
There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.
The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value
Conservation means development as much as it does protection.
and a Scotsman John Muir who would influence Roosevelt in the establishment of the National Parks of America.  While Muir notes 'Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress ' his part in establishing the Sierra Club would sow the seeds of the green movement.

Living in the Cairngorms National Park I am aware of The John Muir Trusts key objectives to discover, explore, conserve and share with the addition objectives of the Outdoor Access Trust for showing care, respect and responsibility for the land we live in.  While these key words may not have the high profile and headline concerns of what is endangering our planet the attraction of these objectives is in the fact that you can play an active and positive part in understanding the issues of a particular area. The John Muir Trust Award asks you to Discover a wild place and actively explore and research that place.  This research should then inform you as to what needs attention and  how you can share that with others with a maxim of; ' take only photos leave only footprints'.

So those key words have been added to my workboard. Musing on environmental songs on the 60's and  70's also stimulated thoughts for the exercise in visualising words: bend, calm, choppy, combined, crushed, currents, evolve, enclosed, fast, gentle, meander, quiet, slow, straight, swirling, tumbling, restful, ripple, rhythmical, undulating, violent, vortex.  The italics indicate words from Sian's collection the rest I have added from aspects of previous samples and the words selected for Chapter 3.
Ref 6.8.1a
Ref 6.8.1b
 The first exercise, to cut shapes inspired by the words, the first simple shape developed into four samples as I suddenly realised I wanted to consider the possibility of dimension as well as positive negative images.

Ref 6.8.1.cii
The spiral fall out in 1c.ii obviously inspired the next design!

Ref 6.8.2a
Ref 6.8.2b

 Meanders started to appear and also began to realise that shapes in water are often replicated in cloud patterns.  The shading that one sees in a mackerel sky has a certain wave like quality to it... the sample 2b not only helps to consider a side view but helps to consider how shading could also deepen the effect
For sample 3 I tried to convey,'choppy' and the side angle and the 3D  'model' hopefully show how fabric could be manipulated to show that!
Ref 6.8.3c
Ref 6.8.3b

Ref 6.8.3a

Ref 6.8.4a
Ref 6.8.4b
Sample 4 looks at the idea of choppy surface quieter undertow! and came from a sample done in an earlier chapter
Sample 5 takes the idea a step further and looks at cross currents, on river banks and sea shores these currents and the flow of the water are responsible for erosion and deposits
Ref 6.8.5
Sample 6 looks at the 'prints' that water leaves on sand and soil after it has flowed over it. A host of other prints of what is left beside water could be explored...

Ref 6.8.6

Sample 7 gives a more reflective glimpse that brings sea and sky together. 
Ref 6.8.7

As I move through visualising these words with black paper my mind can't help but review ideas for the resolved sample.  While my mind is still swithering on a final theme I have been collection objects and looking at details in photos to help inspire me and focus what papers I produce for Chapter 9. I have also been collecting ideas related to literature and folk lore regarding sky and water e.g. Selkie, the legend of a seal turning to a man.

While our sample is not to be a pictorial record of the place we chose it seems important that the design reflects in some sense the soul or sense of place.  As well as the importance of sight and the images all other senses play a part, touch- rough, smooth, spiky, rounded; sound - peaceful, windy, birdsong, animal sounds; smell - freshness, vegetation.
A glimpse at my dilemma?...In earlier Chapters my consideration veered towards the Caledonian Canal and the environmental sensitive sites along it and the fact that much emphasis has gone into encouraging people to use it for a host of activities. However I felt that I wanted to visit the chosen site more frequently to get a more complete understanding and as the Caledonian Canal is a three hour drive away a specific site within Glen Nochty, which is 2 miles from my house, seemed more appropriate. In addition my carbon footprint would be much healthier!! 
In the introduction to the Module we are asked to consider 'where else you might display this resolved sample' ?   My thoughts were that it could be a centre piece for a local exhibit which again would be easier to achieve and relevant to the area.  I am currently producing work looking at  'pathways'  and this could sit well beside the resolved sample.  I am considering undertaking the John Muir Trust Award Challenge so this could also provide a series of relevant locations outwith the local area and further afield in the John Muir local offices.  

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Chapter 7 Use of dissolvable 'fabrics'

Ref 6.7.1a
Ref 6.7.1b
Always enjoy a meditative exercise before getting into sample making.  This chapters exercise...sort out my thrum box! Getting a feeling for a range of 'goodie' bags with colour themes on a wet weekend gave me this selection:

Ref 6.7.2
The soluble fabrics that were in my collection included Romeo and Texturite for cold water dissolving and one for hot water but I had not worked with paper soluble so decided to put that on my shopping list to see variation, I also noticed that a printable soluble paper is also available so additional experiments will follow in Chapter 9.  While sorting through fabrics also found some samples from a previous experiment, see left, it looks like I threw everything at it but have included to see if I can improve!! A word of justification - this was originally made to be cut into much smaller pieces that were then made into small jewellery pieces which were sold!!!

Ref 6.7.3b
Ref  6.7.3a
Now down to some busyness! 
First samples, 3 Romeo dis solvable fabric was used with different stitch methods and showing the samples back and front.  When dissolving these pieces I found it best to do it under a running tap... with the plug in! To clean the items of stickiness they were then rinsed in the water.  On a larger piece this stickiness could prove useful for moulding or maintaining a stiffness that would allow the piece to hang with some definition. The images of 3c and d below show both sides of each piece after they have been rinsed.  
Ref 6.7.3c
Ref 6.7.3d
Note to self be careful what you place the pieces on to dry when they are wet...they could become bonded!!!  Also note to Health and Safety papers, a film can be left on the sink so ensure after all work this is cleared and also leave a running tap to ensure it doesn't adhere to pipes!  The notes with the products say the products are environmental friendly but I am always anxious about blockages...

Ref 6.7.4a
Ref 6.7.4b

Using the same Romeo dis solvable for the next sample, 4 I again show front and back. Stitching the first filler stitches and then added a stretched cellular knitting yarn, which was cut to make it more random,  lighter threads and yarns were added before another random machine yarn was stitched to the fabric to achieve the result. After washing the piece it was shown with and without  background colour, see below.
Ref 6.7.4c
The advantage of Romeo fabric is that it can be machine stitched without a frame and you can add on pieces of Romeo as you go along so can add to shape and layers. Using Romeo again for sample 5 I used less stitch and cut out the fabric. The cut shapes were then used for a second sample. When the dissolving was completed the two samples  were shown on paper and an underlay of fabric.  I did not wash out too much of the dis solvable fabric. I wanted to see if leaving it stiff could achieve a  more pronounced 3D movement  emphasising turbulence!

Ref 6.7.5a
Ref 6.7.5b

Ref 6.7.5c

Ref 6.7.6a

Ref 6.7.6b
For the next samples I used cold dissoluble texturite.  Placing the fabric in a frame before stitching as it was a lightweight fabric in comparison the the Romeo fabric. For this sample 6 I wanted to look at crosshatching stitches- the fact that you would see more of the colour of the bobbin when the see through fabric was dissolved intrigued me so played with how  colour changes/shades could be achieved by changing bobbin thread.

Ref 6.7.7a

Ref 6.7.7b

Sample 7 shows how lacy and loose a piece can become when it is not over stitched.  While dissolving one can pull and exaggerate shapes and holes. This piece seemed to offer a glimpse that while you need to ensure you are making something that can be used, 'less can be very much more' for it allows a chance to glimpse through.

Ref 6.7.8b
Ref 6.7.8a
For sample 8 I placed threads and strips of fabric between the two layers of dissoluble fabric and placed it in a hoop.  The more intense stitching and grid patterning cause  holes, which had not happened with the Romeo fabric.  In order to get more movement into the piece I used a simple meandering running stitch to help ones eye across the piece. When photographing the piece it was placed on a see through pattern paper, the idea that layering was going to play an important part in future design thoughts made me realise that paper can have as much impact as stitch...can't wait to try soluble paper and printed soluble paper.
Ref 6.7.8c

Ref 6.7.9b
Ref 6.7.9a
Sample 9 has more intense loose threads trapped between layers but the stitching is simpler and shows up in the finished piece
And for my last experiment, I had some cane I had knitted and dyed while dyeing threads in Chapter 4. Could this be used as a background or rubbing for paper and fabric?

Ref 6.7.10