Hard to complain about the cold and snow when the weather gives rise to skies like these.
This exhibition has been blogged abut extensively and I managed to get there last thursday. Due to much work and family turbulence since then, I've only been able to post about it now.
Astonishing embroidery by the Chinese Suzhou school was on display, taking a traditional skill in to a contemporary interpretation. This lotus pond was one of my favourite pieces although I can see how some bloggers have stated that it looked too much like a digital image for their liking.
Astonishing embroidered tree trunk
Detail of embroidery
Beautiful stitched indigo shibori
Detail of indigo shibori
In the midst of all this artful interpretation of memory, it is useful to go back to absolute quilting basics. In that spirit, a little cot quilt, " Hearts and Stars" ( about 24 x 30 inches) made from scraps, ( "proper patchwork" as one of my friends calls it, including bits of old clothes) and off to Project Linus to brighten someone's day.
Back, it is straight, just photographed badly.
We moved to a brand new, 3 bedroomed, terraced council house in a Scottish new town. My overriding memory is of the stark white of the houses with their black wooden cladding. This contrasted with small remains of beech woods, across the pavement from our house where we climbed and played adventure games.
White sheeting, black cotton stitched into pintucks. Grey linen, machine embroidered with rayon threads, then trapunto stuffed. Machine embroidered ono the trapunto with the post code using the alphabet function on my sewing machine. I like how the lettering has become abstracted due to using the walking foot and moving the stitched line away from the linear alignment. The far left section is a transfer print of a map of Dalmuir, overlaid on the sheeting, with the extending threads representing the memories of one place influencing those of another. I had planned to add quilted circles to represent the bridges, underpasses and roundabouts of the new town design, intended to keep pedestrians removed from traffic and hence safe. I decided against that, as it made the design too busy. Perhaps I also omitted these as it reminded me that the town centre, devoid of pedestrians, was a soulless, draughty, grey, drab, frightening expanse of concrete.
Details of machine stitching and overlaid map
Detail of simulated beech tree surface
I want to use this theme to explore abstract interpretations of places I remember. I have focussed on significant addresses in my life and wanted to use colours and textures to invoke what those places meant to me at the time, and sometimes what they mean with the benefit of hindsight. Although I have visited several countries for pleasure and for work, and my family is fairly ar-flung ( East Coast US, West Coast US and Australia) , I have always lived in the UK, so there will be no glorious colours of wonderful destinations. It took me a long time to get started on this theme, perhaps because some of the memories are tricky to deal with. I'm planning to use postcodes as a unifying element across the series, but added with different techniques.
My early life was spent with my brother, sister and parents in a two room flat on the first floor of a tenement, one of those that were just far enough away from Clydebank to survive the Clydebank blitz. My cousins lived in the same street, and my memories are of endless days playing in the back court, in the huge park within walking distance, and in the rubble across the road.
I want to get away from pictorial representations of these memories, so I have focused instead on the colours that I recall: the rust red of the sandstone buildings; the green of the park; the blue of the stream in the park; the brown of the River Clyde.
Breakdown printed cotton sheeting, using Procion P dyes with Manutex. Postcode stencilled with permanent felt pen. Machine trapunto under the section quilted in a brick pattern. Hopscotch ( “beds” or “peever” in the West of Scotland) chalk quilted with rayon thread. Stipple quilted with variegated blue thread, then microstippled with Bottomline thread in green, light rust and light blue.