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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Working Hard...

mostly, I think, because I'm NOT in the studio. Open Studios in the Gallery has meant two unadulterated weeks of hard work, because the phone does ring, but it's rarely for me, there's no housework to do and there haven't been all that many visitors (which seems to be a common thread right across Open Studios, it's not just us, thank goodness!).

One of the things I've been able to do is to work with Bertha (and Haydn, of course...he does the technician bit). The first piece I've shown here was made using a photograph of a stone at Ely Cathedral. Cathedrals have been vandalised at various times in history; the marks here, though, whilst they look like letters, may well be natural in origin. Whether they are or are not, is moot, of course... our brains insist on trying to interpret them as letters, and seeks for meaning. This is an ongoing theme in my work, that of random marks, and the brain's struggle to make meaning. I have printed this particular image several times; I intend to leave one of them just as it is, as an interesting image on Evolon. The second, I'm stitching into by hand (dammit). Somehow, hand stitch seems appropriate for this; in fact, it seems to be more and more a feature of my work, despite me, rather than because of me, I think...I enjoy machine stitching, and draw happily with the machine. Somehow, in this case, though, and in others, such as when working with rust dyed cloth, the hard line of machine stitching does not seem appropriate. Sigh.

The second image is of the trunk of a birch tree. I'm interested in cracks and scars, so, working in Photoshop, I emphasised the cracks in the bark, and did some work with the colours of the bark itself, to produce this piece. It, too, will be hand stitched, in metallic thread; when I start working on it, I'll show you the progression of the stitching. For once, I have a particular plan in mind for the stitch. I want to suggest that the colours in the lighter parts of the image are somehow moving to encompass the cracks in the bark, producing a healing of sorts. I think it'll be an interesting thing to stitch.

I'm busy trying out different mediums to improve the way in which the printer prints on the fabric. Without medium, the ink sinks into the cloth, giving muted results; with medium, the colours and patterning are brighter and clearer. When I've finished the testing process, I'll share the results here.

Tomorrow is the last day of Open Studios, so if you'd like to see us at work, it's your last chance to visit. That said, I always welcome studio visits; if you will be in Norfolk this summer, and would like to visit the studio, just send me an email, and we'll arrange it!


Leslie said...

Even if not busy, worth it?

I love that stone, might be marks the masons made dressing it?

Wendy Coyne said...

Ely Cathedral is one of my favorite places, after Crowland Abbey. Your piece looks exactly like stone, did you use a texture medium?

marion said...

No, Wendy, no texture medium. It's a photograph, which has been slightly manipulated in Photoshop, and then printed out on Evolon using Print.Ability medium, which just improves the quality of the inkjet print. What's interesting is adding stitch to it, which is producing an incredible amount of actual texture to the overall image. More photos to follow!

marion said...

Leslie, I doubt that they're mason marks; they're too irregular for that. If they were made by human hand, it's likely that they were grafitti of some kind.

Heidi Rand said...

Wonderful work! I'm very interested in learning about Evolon. I haven't heard of print.ability medium. Have you tried coating with Golden Paint's Digital Grounds or inkAID? I've used the DG a lot - it's great on lutradur.