Saturday, 25 October 2014

Natures Own Art ...and collecting driftwood

I got my scan results....and they are clear! now I can forget all about it until the next check up in February. I've had a bit of a break from making my own art, and gone down to the beach on a rather grey day to look at natures is always the best... taken some photos to use in my  future work ( so I would be grateful if you don't use or pintrest them please ).... here are some of the lovely things I saw:
Sea Holly and Seaweed.

Fit for a gallery I think.

Ghost of Sea Holly
Seawick in Essex....where nature made her art.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

More New Work for WW1 Progect @The Solace of Larks'

It was a great feeling of achievement yesterday to have caught up with my blog after 8 hard months, so I will try to keep up with it now. Sometimes I may not have much to write, but " in honour of the faithful few" who have styed with me, I shall keep at it.
When our EAST exhibition ( currently at Ally Pally & Harrogate) travels in 2015, I will have two more pieces of work to go with the suitcase. The first is a wall piece which I haven't yet decided whether it will be framed, hung or mounted....that is always a bit of an issue I think with textile pieces as they are so put them under glass is to render them untouchable, but dust free and protected , whereas unframed they can be touched...I don't find the decision easy. Here are some images then of work which will only be seen in 2015...if you share it, I believe you will respect it and add my name to the piece,thank you.

The panel once again shows the shattered landscape, the crosses for the soldiers but there are now pearls for them too in some of the craters. The Skylark is now represented by two small feathers and there are some red French Knots for the poppies that will grow and blow on the years to come.
The faded red fabric is the right side of the 100 year old quilt which I have used in the lid of the has not gone into holes as has the reverse, but would have been bright red when first was a hand quilted "stripy" Durham Quilt which had been severely damaged.
The heart is in memory of all the broken hearts of WW1 and was inspired by the pincushions earlier soldiers were either making or purchasing from cottage industries for the wives and sweethearts..
The mother of pearl pendant is Victorian and is a token of both our human love for each other, the natural world and that of our father God for us.


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Chemo Finished & Work @ The Knitting & Stitching Show.

I can hardly believe that it is now 8 months since I wrote about what had happened to me; it has been a very rough ride, the 6 months of chemotherapy were very difficult with some nasty side effects, and a 6 day stay in hospital when it made me very ill....however, that has passed.....I can hardly believe it, and even though I haven't had the results of the scan yet, I am feeling very well and have been getting back to " normality"...if there is such a thing....again, re joining my art group EAST ( East Anglian Stitch Textiles), and going out properly.
For the first few months of the treatment I lost all creativity, only managing to start feeling any inspiration at all, once I had started to do a little bit of gardening and a little bit of garden art by way of making a woven nest for a large stone because my sister said that a certain bush looked as if it should have a nest in it.
Thank goodness I did, because I was committed to finishing a piece of work for our " Between the Lines" WW1 inspired EAST exhibition at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexander Palace and Harrogate in October......and I did finish fact, I am certain that having it as a goal really helped me to stay positive and focus on things other than feeling ill! I have always known that for me art...especially stitching also works as a therapy and I have often talked about stitching myself better.
I wasn't able to steward our exhibition but went up on the coach with friends last Sunday and thought that our ladies, who work so hard to hang all the work well had done a wonderful job....and everyone's work shown to its best.
"Between the Lines" goes 'on tour' in 2015 by which time I will have three pieces ready....I was just happy to have finished the major piece in time.
So, I thought it was time to start my blog again....I think it helps me in that it is another goal and point of focus which will hopefully drive the practical work forward as I have a lot of ideas buzzing about in my head for new work, but no clear direction yet....I know that I want to make a visual journey of my last 11 months of surgery and chemo, but in what form I have not yet decided....I may start with some lino cuts first of little drawings I did in hospital and see where that leads, but for now, here is my work for the exhibition, it is called "The Solace of Larks:

"The Solace of Larks"

I needed to relate personally somehow to what I was going to make, and started with my love of nature and birds....Skylarks especially as hearing them every day through Spring and Summer was such a joy and blessing. I started studying the soldiers diaries with specific reference to this subject and discovered that nature and wildlife were of great importance to so many of them....especially the Skylarks as they could sometimes be heard even over the bombardments.....on quote was " as long as the Skylarks sang, we felt we had hope", and the other, which formed the basis of my work was " the song poured down over our upturned faces like golden rain"
At the other end of the wildlife theme were the rats, who were responsible for a huge amount of deaths through disease, but they also provided a great deal of sport as the soldiers would be killing as many as they could in their quiet times and proudly displaying rows of them strung like bunting, so I knew they had to be a part of the piece.
Finding an old First Aid kit, built into a suitcase was the starting point too; it still had very old medical items, and the wooden splints and tourniquets could even be from that era..
I decided to make a textile panel to fit in the lid of the case, which would show the shattered landscape by using tree bark. The piece of antique quilt that I used was already full of craters, so I filled them all with tiny stitched crosses to represent the soldiers.
The mother of pearl Dove was a very old brooch, and seemed perfect to represent the purity of her and the song in contrast to the devastation and horror below, and gold beads 'rained down from her' over the crosses.

There were three empty compartments in the suitcase,  and I knew that I wanted to make rats to put into these. In fact, the part I found most difficult was the making of the rats....first in finding a fabric that I was happy with and felt I could mould well, and secondly....I had never made animals before and I didn't want them to look like toys....they needed to be a little sinister, but not ugly. After many trials with unsuccessful fabrics I sacrificed a very old black cashmere cardigan which was almost beyond repair, and this worked really well.