Sunday, 27 November 2016

Winter Blues..Pruning Back

Winter is fast upon us, yet beauty can still be found in the wonderful changing skies as the light filters through the trees.
I am planning projects through to 2018 yet, as with the burgeoning garden I also need to 'prune back' on some things. Journal updates on this Magpie blog will be cut back. Regular updates on work, inspiration and general news will still continue on my main blog and Facebook page
I have always loved the views of the trees through my window as they change through the season. I have woken up to them for over thirty five years.

Love the starlings when they come to visit the trees.

So now I am experimenting we ways of interpreting the trees as I see everyday.
Not sure how it will all end up but her is a sneak peak of trees in progress based on snippets caught through the blinds (thankyou to Sheilagh Dyson for the pics)

Last words to the artist Paul Nash as this month marks the end of the Battle of the Somme::
'the most broken trees even had sprouted somewhere and in the midst, from the depth of the wood’s bruised heart poured out the throbbing song of a nightingale. Ridiculous mad incongruity! One can’t think which is the more absurd, the War or Nature…(Nash 1948, 187)

Paul Nash We are Making a New World

Monday, 24 October 2016

Dark Skies, Decay and Doing Different

During the early part of the Autumn I spent a few days in France working with a school and found this amazing car in my hosts garden which is slowly decaying with time. Love the reflections in the window and the hint that Autumn has begun.
A short trip to Norfolk last week was a timely reminder that the year is moving on and the landscape is turning to russets, gold and browns as the landscape loses its 'sheen' and decays into mellower tones. I was in Kings Lyn working at Eaubrink Studios
Fabulous to just spend a little time surveying the flat lands of my home county. The low lying light across the fields as I wound my way home on the train on Monday. (just how low lying..Eau for water)

We explored the qualities of paper as a textile medium Paper-Cloth-Stitch followed by a one day introduction to Stitch-Sketch-Books

Here is a snippet of Stitch-Sketch-Books above and a link to the blog. Also an insightful reflection by Marion Barnet on Artmixter. One of her pieces in progress (right) based on the flint wall of Norfolk 'wool' churches.

Being in a church is a reoccurring theme. I was delighted to be included in an exhibition 'In the Footsteps of Pilgrims' organised by fellow artist Rosie James at St. Mary's Church Wouldham. 17 artists made work in response to the location.

A glimpse below of some of the pieces below demonstrates how effectively work can respond to different spaces with clever use of existing fixtures and pews. This interaction between church and artwork with considered curation created an atmospheric environment outside the formality of gallery walls.

This link takes you to the Friends of St Mary's facebook page.

 Jocelyn Leigh Meditation, Six Jars of Soil looking at the places of Pilgrimage around Kent
Karen Crosby Film and prints made whilst at Snodland Paper Mill as Artist in Residence
Rosie James Borstal 1932-2016 and Janice Emmott prints
 Rosie Melville, Prayer Walk Sculpture Photos plus aluminium samples
 Sheilagh Dyson  Portraits of Gentlewoman, Gentleman and Angel
Venetia Nevill Installation Homage to Oak and Nikki Price, We Travelled at Night
 Cas Holmes above and below Red Trees and Tea Flora Tales Community Installation

A little show to mark Stitch Stories and book signing at Books Pavilion closed last Saturday.  (There are also small number of signed copies in store at a reduction of 20%). I am also happy to announce that both Stitch Stories and The Found Object in Textile Art are currently being reprinted and will be available from December. (Copies can still be found in some stores and on line)

Friday, 26 August 2016

A Walk Around the Neighbourhood

A simple walk around the neighbourhood can provide endless inspiration. On these last few hot days of August, sitting and drawing has reminded me how the places where one things meets the other have become an important reference:
Footpaths and weeds where they meet walls and fences. 

The edges of buildings, rooftops and features of the landscape against the skyline.

and even a spiders web which blocks your way down the garden in the early morning sunshine
 or simply take over the space as Louise Bourgeois’s late works at the Tate modern illustrate as well as the most wonderful skyline of London from the top of the new Tate Modern extension.

It is these influences that have come to play in more recent work which was recently on show for Concealed with Art Textiles Made in Britain at the Festival of Quilts.(the link show works by all members)
Unfolding Landscapes, Cas Holmes looking at what is revealed and concealed at the edges of our paths and roadways throughout the seasons. This work was shown alongside Rosie James pieces in simple stark contrast looks at Pylons at the power behind our industry in cloth.
Rosie James Pylon Series and Unfolding Landscape
 As Autumn enters I am developing new pieces for exhibition in Europe next year. These continue the look at where private and public spaces meets. More about this later meanwhile, you can check out current exhibitions on my blog including exhibitions in October in Kent at the Kent Wildlife Trust, Tyland Barn, a small exhibition and book signing with Batsford in their London bookshop and work at the Knitting and Stitching Shows with the Embroiderer's Guild Capability Brown exhibition.
Withdrawing into the shade and view the neighbourhood through the shadows they cast on our windows

Finally but not least, this blog is named after after a chapter in my first book, The Found Object in Textile Art 2010. It is being reprinted for the fourth time as we speak.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Making a Point:Needle Museum Redditch

A brief visit to the Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch reveals a fascinating history behind the one thing many of us who sew do not take for granted..yet many not have realized just how amazing needles are. The rich heritage of the needle and how Redditch once produced 90% of the world's needles.
Surgical Needles

Needle Cases
Fishing Hooks..just beautiful
Small Sewing Machine..I have one just like makes a chain stitch.
Machine Needles..some are huge.
Beautiful displayed hand embroidery needles
Loved the green space outside
 Art Textiles:Made in Britain will be holding its exhibition Concealed, at the Museum from September 9th to October 23rd 2016. Some of my work represented in 'Identity' two years ago, features in an article by Textile Curator reflecting on my career and practice: 
While interviewing Cas Holmes this month she gave some useful advice to approach things differently. "Before they even start I encourage students to think about the material they are starting with. Mess up the fabric or look beyond the sanctity of edges,' she explains

 Shorelines, Cas Holmes (3 of 6 panels) Photography credit Art Van Go
 I also had the opportunity to take in the Mac and the amazing work of Barbara Walker, 
well very nearly. It was a Monday, the Mac was open, the gallery closed and I felt like a child looking through the sweetie shop window!
On the closing day of the exhibition, 3rd July,  join Barbara Walker as she removes this and other drawings from the walls:  washing away the charcoal and exploring further the notions of visibility and erasure in the work.

 Acknowledging an absence of representation over the past 100 years, Walker’s exhibition concentrates upon the contribution of Black servicemen and women to the British Armed Forces and war efforts from 1914 to the present day. It reflects upon contemporary British conflict alongside historical events of warfare involving Britain and the colonised nations of the British Empire. As the world commemorates the centenary of World War I, this remarkable body of work addresses the stories that remain largely untold.

I also discovered the community project Connecting Spaces still on (advertised to finish in April). Connecting Spaces is borne out of a passion to engage residents from the Hall Green district (encompassing Sparkbrook, Springfield, Moseley and Kings Heath, and Hall Green) in arts activities locally and at mac.  
(With thanks to the Mac for the text references.)

My grandmother, a Romany would have been familiar with the pegs and peg dolls. Love the diversity reflecting the the communities and cultures who dressed their dolls for a 'Cinderella Day'

 And finally, but not least, I was in Birmingham catching up with friends, listtend to a fascinating insight to the work of the Embroiderer's Guild by Terry Murphy,  and give a talk for the Birmingham Embroiderer's Guild Regional Day. Lots of lovely cake, great fun to be there and managed to get away without doing the washing up!