Went to Grasmere in the Lake-district last week and had a lovely time sketching. I went on a little walk round the village and environs whilst my son and his wife and my partner did a much more ambitious hike. I had brought my sketching stuff and found a little bench near the millenium bridge on my little walk and settled myself there. I thought at first that really the fell and little garden folly weren’t really that interesting, but as I started to sketch and paint I saw more and more. Sketching really does help you see better. The photo didn’t capture the experience of the fell and garden atall really.
I have just done this little embroidery using the theme ‘edges’ as inspiration. I’ve been looking at paintings of street scenes by the masters and also by inspiring local artists who have painted Manchester. The contrast to the natural world appeals I think though am not really sure where the impetus came from really as is often the case with me! I am enjoying softening the edges I have created with colours and a mix of stitches. Click to enlarge as per usual!
Here are some more drawings from the same garden that I visit to help tidy a bit and draw for me! I love to see what pulls me towards it. The lakeside was the natural focus this time and in particular the jetty. It was very cold in the morning but we lit a fire on the beach which helped. The primal activity of burning wood next to the clear water was very satisfying. I decided to draw the jetty and reflection which you can see here and warmed up stood on there when the sun moved onto it. The fire itself was another motif that fascinated and looking down the lake to the trees and hills. A great day where we felt we made a difference unlike the first time which was more like a recce.
I made this sketch at the garden I visit to help tidy and burn compost these days! The first thing I noticed on our first visit to the garden this year, were the daffodils growing in the lawn. This was my first sketch made this spring whist we were still in lockdown. It was so good to be back in this special place, even though it was so cold and we only stayed for the morning. We made more inroads on it the next visit, burning compost on the beach by the lake which I will share in my next post.
I have been able to get back to the garden twice recently. The plants and grass are beginning to grow again. I’ve missed going so much through lock-down. My drawing is in china-graph pencil, watercolour and ordinary pencil. On the next visit it was the jetty and reflection in the lake that caught my attention. We lit fires on the shore burning more garden waste and compost. The primal quality drew me and I drew it! A couple of photos too of the context in the next post. Can’t wait to go back again.
My painting made in lockdown is nearly complete, but still not quite, so continue to watch this space!
I have been experimenting with this little needlewallet proto-type for myself, and prospectively to make for participants in the proposed puppetry workshops for sexual abuse survivors. I have been reading a wonderful book ‘Threads of Life’ by Clare Hunter and was particularly impressed to learn how important and precious needles were through the ages. It makes sense really! So I got to thinking that making a needle-wallet for myself and the prospective participants in the workshops would be a special gift that makes needles and pins always easy to find. I would link the painting on the silk lining to the drawings made in lock-down at the garden I visit to draw and do a little tidying. Here are some images of what I have been doing. Am on with the second wallet now but will not share that out of respect for the prospective participants. Some things need to stay special and private, but thought you may all like to see my proto-tyoe.
Am still finishing my large oil so watch this space for pics of that when I am done, which isn’t quite yet I feel!
I decided to add patchwork pieces onto the back panel of the linen dress I have been working on. The criteria for the patches was that they should come from fabric that had been gifted to me by way of clothes or textile pieces by the special people in my life. This becomes a celebration and a thankyou through the slow process of stitich and choice of fabric and composition. Will add more images as I complete the piece. Click to enlarge the shots as usual!
I decided to extend my patchwork experiments onto a linen dress of mine as a surface to work on. It really doesn’t matter if it’s canvas. paper or fabric ,I approach it all in in a similar way. Composition and colour choices etc all come into it, you are just using different media. I love the tactile sense that is involved in the making and finished piece in textile responses and it all links to my puppetry and embroidery experiments. I am calling the front of the dress ‘joy’ as the only criteria I extended to choosing fabrics was that they should have brought me joy through colour, texture or memory. The back panel which I have just started I will call, ‘you’ve got my back’ and the criteria will be that they will have been gifted by friends or family who have done just that!
Am still hand sewing in-between painting sessions as I find it really brings me into the moment during these worrying Covid times, and it links to my proposed puppetry workshops. A friend very kindly gave me some embroidery threads and patchwork fabric which I am really enjoying using. I also use fabric from old dresses and even current ones as well as gifted pieces, The only rule is that they should bring me joy through colour, motif , texture or memory associated with them. I am starting with simple running stiches and experimenting with other more complicated stitch from a V & A booklet which the same friend lent me. Am still continuing with my large oil painting, but not ready to share that yet as I tend to stop if I share too soon and I have more to say I think. Just so happy as am able to paint as I wasn’t able to in the first lockdown as I was just so worried about everyone in hospital. I still am really concerned, but am trying not to watch too much news as I find that really heightens my anxiety. The sewing focuses me, and is so free and creative without planning involved, and its quite exciting seeing where it all ends up! So much more than a distraction but a way in of actualising self as I have learned from my counsellor friends! Click images to enlarge for detail folks…
Phew, into 2021 lets hope it offers some light at the end of the tunnel regarding the Covid situation. I’ve been pottering on with my embroidery and am really enjoying exploring different stitches and layering effects. I even added a bit of clay modelling despite being advised not to by friends on social media. I hope to use such samplers with participants in my proposed workshop for sexual abuse survivors as an aid to connectivity and inter-relatedness. I don’t want to share what I do with them though as I don’t want to unduly influence. Creativity is particular, personal and innate and I hope to bring that out without participants feeling the need to copy or imitate. I will offer bespoke demonstration of stitch and embellishment, but the ideas will very much be their own. You just can’t help but be creative starting with a very simple running stitch. I really believe in the benefits of all this as an aid to bring us into the present, not as a distraction, but to experience the moment in a fuller and un-staid manner. I have sent a proposal to a local facility that offers counselling to such survivors. They said there may be some funding for materials, so fingers crossed that it comes off this year when we get the vaccine and can meet in person. It really does need to be experienced this way on so many levels.
I’ve been making this embroidery sampler in-between painting sessions, with a view to making such with the adult sexual abuse survivors in the puppetry workshops I propose to offer. Running stitch is so easy and would be a great way in for anyone to start making creatively in an accessible and achievable way. You just start with a straight line and see where it takes you, it is just in the nature of such low key creations that you can’t help but just let things happen and the ideas begin to come! I would offer guidance, on simple stitches in a bespoke way and then gradually work towards ideas for abstract puppetry. This would be a great lead in I think, and very enjoyable in its own right, The repetitive sewing action brings you into the present engaging with whatever you are making in an open-ended and creative way. The sense of touch is integral in all stages from threading needles to creating stitches and adding embellishment be it beads or string etc. The possibilities are endless!