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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

At Last...

the Evolon book is with the printer, which means that it is FINISHED...and it will be ready for FOQ. Hurrah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you to everyone who contributed, the copy will be in the mail for you as soon as I get them in my hot and sticky hands.

And yes, in case you were wondering, that IS the front cover. The background is one of my pieces, whilst the two pieces in the image in the centre are by other artists. Sally Bramald made a magnificent (and prize winning) whole cloth quilt for the book, which is the image above, while local artist Yvonne Autie made a wonderful rag rug bag, a close up of which is seen below. They both did a great job!

So what's to come in the book? Oh, two types of, make that three, or even four, as two types of rust dyeing are covered... what else? Working in series... knitting with Evolon (yes you read it right... doll making... clothing... I've tried to include something for everyone.

Now to get on with the Brusho book with a clear conscience!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Catching Up

with all the things that have been in abeyance recently. One of them was running a test print for Jill Arnold on Bertha, my lovely 24" Epson printer. As part of her MA (which she passed with distinction), she and another student collaborated on a knitting project, which involved a knitting survey. The results of that, together with a lot of knitting, form an installation, which they want to recreate for an upcoming exhibition. Bertha will be used to create five, six foot long banners with information from the questionnaires printed on it. We'll be using Lutradur 100, which has wonderful texture. That seemed really appropriate for a textile based project, though we did consider canvas, also.

I also took a couple of pictures of the gallery as I set it up...or at least, how I set the walls up; some of the ceramics and other craft works have been moved around since I did it. I tried to create a flow of colour and texture round the walls; the images show the first two sections. See what you think; notice how nicely the textile work fits in with the paintings. It's astonishing that so many galleries seem to be allergic to textile art...their loss, I think.

Tomorrow, Exquisite Evolon goes to print for the first time, and I settle into writing the Brusho book, in order to meet the deadline of 30 June...wish me luck! And I'll be lurking on Etsy, adding more items to the shop, I dare say, including some new beads. Not that I'm obsessive or anything...

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm Back...

on Etsy, that is, and in some ways it's as if I've never been away. I belong to Boomers and Beyond Street Team (commonly known as BBEST, click the name for a view of our blog); or at least, I did, until I stopped doing Etsy, at which point I withdrew from all my Teams. Teams, for the uninitiated, are a bit like special interest groups for sellers on Etsy; people with a common interest, or location, who band together for support, to share promotions, that kind of thing. Happily, they didn't go off me in the time I was away, and I've been accepted back into the Team. It has been lovely, catching up with old friends and making new ones.

I spent today with Jill Arnold. Despite doing Open Studios together, we didn't actually see each other much, so today we did some work together. I made more of Those Beads; Jill created a gorgeous quilted picture of a vase of striking orange flowers, which she will have framed for an upcoming show with Breckland Artists. Tomorrow, we'll meet up again at the Gallery, to do some preparation and test work for a piece she wants to print on Bertha...of which more tomorrow. Meanwhile, the photos show a couple more of those Evolon beads. I'm enjoying playing around with Evolon and heat.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Several days later...

and I'm excused from gallery duty. I promised you some pictures, and then singularly failed to provide them, mea culpa...will take camera in on Tuesday, and let you see what I did. What I did discover is how easy it is to irritate a gallery person. All you have to do is provide your work to them with no labelling, so they have to work through all the paperwork to find out the title, medium (sometimes it's not obvious), artist name and price. Or fail to fill in the paperwork properly, so that the gallery person can't find the above... Or, for that matter, provide new work without the wherewithal to hang it, so that said gallery person has to take time out to string the backs of paintings. Yes, it all happened to me, and I found it really irritating. An object lesson in How To Make The Gallery Person Your Enemy. Reverse it, of course, and you'll have a friend for life.

Meanwhile, I've taken the step of reopening my Etsy shop, in a fit of...I don't know quite what. Mostly, I think, it's the recognition that the job market is super quiet at present, and the likelihood of an HR job to supplement my income is very unlikely. So, this week, the Evolon book goes to print, ready for its launch at Festival of Quilts in August, and some of my smaller pieces of work go into the Etsy shop. I'm starting to dye again, as a fair amount of hand dyed fabric sold at Open Studios (hurrah!). I'll pop some of that onto Artmixter's Emporium, if anyone is interested. And I'm completing the work on the new Brusho book, which I hope to finish by the end of the month. I've learned lots about how to work with this stuff on fabric, as well as on paper; it's been fun to do.

So, that's where I am with it all. And, of course, there's Bertha, too, the setting up of profiles so that we can provide artists with consistent quality prints that are the colours they intended, as well as getting on with my own work. I think that's probably enough to be getting on with right now, don't you?

The images are of one of the beads I made last week, using Evolon which has been coloured with Brusho... I'm really pleased with the way they have been turning out, and yes, they'll be around on Etsy very shortly, if you're interested.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

After The Show Was Over...

or, in this case, Open Studios, down it all had to come. As any artist will tell you, what took hours to put up can be taken down again far more quickly; what took four plus hours to hang, took about three quarters of an hour to dismantle. Phew. As you can see from the image above, the gallery was left looking a little forlorn ,though my fabric is still in that little alcove space, where it was during open studios, as the gallery wanted to keep it. I'm pleased about that; it gives me the excuse to dye next week!

Today, though, I spent most of my day hanging an exhibition of a different kind. The gallery owners are away, and I'm In Charge for a few days. As there hadn't been enough time for them to hang anything, most of my day was spent hanging paintings, photographs and other works of art. It has been a truly interesting experience. When you hang an exhibition, you have a certain set of ideas in mind, usually wrapped around a theme or a title. You want to give each piece the chance to sing by itself, and that means giving it space, as well as allowing it to sing in harmony with other pieces, by making sure that there is some sort of cohesion in the hanging scheme. That is easy enough in a solo show, but not so easy as the number of artists involved increases. Hanging a general exhibition for a gallery, however, is a slightly different kettle of fish. You still want cohesion, of course, but you also want to show as much of your stock as you can. You don't usually have the luxury of a theme, and the work can be considerably different in subject matter, medium and style...yet somehow, you have to pull it all together so that the viewer is charmed, at the very least.

It's an exercise that I think every artist should have the opportunity to complete. If nothing else, it reminds you that your personal tastes need to be set aside in order to appeal to a wide audience. It makes you think about how to use the available space most effectively. It's certainly a challenge in managing colour. It took me all afternoon to organise one half of the gallery to my liking, and I still have some things to move around; tomorrow will be the second half of the space, depending on how many phone calls and customers arrive.

The variety of customers is also interesting. The Gallery does photography and framing as well as selling artworks, and I've learned a lot about framing pieces to best effect over the time I've spent there in the past year or so. That has been used to good effect today to help customers choose how to frame their photographs, paintings and other artworks. Some have very strong ideas about what they want; others have none. It was certainly a busy day today; tomorrow, I'll share some images of what I've done with the space. I'm sure it's not what the owners would have done, necessarily, but I have had fun!

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!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Open Studios... more than half way through its lifespan, and, whilst there have not been as many visitors as we might have hoped, it has been an interesting and lovely experience talking to lots of different textile people. A shot of part of the exhibit is above, though we have had a bit of a rehang since then; we were sharing space with an exhibition of work by local schoolchildren, which has since been taken down, and we have filled the gallery with textiles and mixed media work. The photo, though, should give you a taste of what it's like.

I've been working in the gallery every day, mostly working with Brusho for the new book I'm writing, but today, I'm going to have a change, and do some stitching, both machine and hand. I've got a couple of new pieces from Bertha, which I'm very excited about, and some small Lutradur and Evolon pieces that have been waiting for stitch for a while. And I want to prep some more cloth for Bertha, so that we can make even more magic together!

If you're in the Dereham area, the gallery is open from 10am til 4.30pm (or 5pm if there are people around); pop in, see me at work, and have a look at what I'm doing with Bertha...I'll even let you meet her! (Address : @The Gallery, Georges Road, Dereham NR19 2DA). Jill Arnold, with whom I'm sharing the space, will be in Friday, Saturday and Sunday; Sunday is the final day of the show, so do come along if you can!