Monday, 27 July 2015

One million, nine hundred thousand machine stitches.....

….. in 28 months.  I know this fact due to having my sewing machine serviced by the charming Brett at Sewworks last week.  Much of that total is due to the denser machine quilting that I now find myself increasingly drawn to.  Some examples from the weekend, in more signs for our quilt show ( 23 - 25 October, Landmark Centre, Teddington).


Quilting patterns are wonky Greek key and big toe, as described by my family.





If I got down to 1,900,000 pencil lines my drawing would improve at the same rate as my stitching.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Evening fireworks

A potter in the garden before going out, and these agapanthus seed-heads caught my attention


then the evening sun hit them from over the fence - golden fireworks



Thursday, 16 July 2015

Last drawing session

Our last session was a discussion about using sketchbooks: in what setting, what size, what paper, with what medium.  Our tutor, Sophie, brought along some of her completed and ongoing sketchbooks, ranging from a little brown paper book from Paperchase, through a lovely concertina sketchbook from Cass Art, to a beautifully bound sketchbook, made with Khadi hand-made paper.  I was particularly interested in the concertina book, due to the possibilities of having pockets for insertions between the double sided pages.

After all that inspiration, we were off “en plain air” to put our sketching skills in to practise.  The Mary Ward Centre has a lovely rooftop garden, which is not used by many of the students.  There are several different vistas from the roof, but I was interested the juxtaposition of a dome, some cranes and a modern block of flats.  The sky was very dull and overcast, so  I am glad that I had started with a coloured ground to get some contrast in to the drawing. 


Not bad, even although I misjudged the size of the top of the dome, and so lost the topmost decoration.  Now Ineed to find the discipline to keep going over the summer holidays.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Travels and stitches

I have been away in Venice to hear my son sing with his school choir in St Mark’s Cathedral.  The whole visit was incredible - music, canals, gilding, carving, painted ceilings, marble, madonnas, crowds, fans, masks, mosaics, reflections. churches, walking, heat, gondolas, glass, more walking, vaporettos, palazzos, the Biennale.   After 4 days, I had much sympathy with the protestant movement, and understood the need for simplicity and minimalism.  The modern art museum had much to be admired, and I particularly liked the works of Giorgio de Chirico.
So much inspiration, it will take months to digest.
As two of the days were very hot, I retired to the air-conditioned room for a siesta, and did some hand-stitching, comparing French and colonial knots.  The colonial were much more even, but perhaps that was because I had recovered from the heat by then.
Coming home to a wet day, got this bound and finished.  To be displayed next to the quilts at our exhibition in October, to give attendees something to touch, when they really want to touch the quilts.  Most signs about touching the quilts at quilt shows are so negative, I wanted to give a more positive message.
The arrow is whip stitched which was good fun to do.  Maybe inspired by those stripey gondola hitching-posts?
Another one, finished off during the tennis.
and finally, following this tutorial from Benta, a little pouch, as you can never have too many pouches for stuff.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Drawing, embroidery , sculpture, air pollution

A strange mix of a title, but all aspects covered in one day this week.

The drawing course only has two sessions to go, and I am still finding it incredibly difficult to transfer what I see on to paper.  I do find it more straightforward to identify tone ( albeit with no subtlety) and spend time while travelling gazing at scene, objects and people identifying the main areas of contrast.  Last week’s challenge was 6 x 15 minute poses with Conte crayons.  I liked the medium, less fragile than charcoal, and a more varied line than graphite.  We had to do two portraits of our class members, who were drawing us at the same time - I found this really difficult, then 4 seated poses which I found more straightforward.

 Before the course, I went to see the embroidery of Magna Carta at the British Museum, by Cornelia Parker.  I like her work a lot, and this piece is remarkable to see, mostly due to the range of people who she persuaded to contribute to the stitching.  The vast majority of the text was stitched by prisoners from Fine Cell Work , a charity close to my heart, and there were also contributions from judges.  The panels embroidered by members of the Embroiderers’ Guild have exquisite workmanship.  Interestingly, there are mirrors set up underneath three sections of the embroidery so it is possible to see the back of the work.  As it is the back, mirrored, the text appears the correct way to the reader.  I am intrigued why this has been done, as i know stitchers often want to see the back of a stitched work, but do non-stitchers?

Outside the building, an odd sculpture / art piece with surprising juxtapositions - one to practise the drawing with?

I had been at a meeting in the Wellcome Trust in the morning, for the national launch of an air pollution monitoring project, so got an opportunity to marvel at the installation by the  Heatherwick Studio in the Gibbs building.  I would love to see this in different light, as it must change all the time.

Startling air pollution figures at the launch of the project and an announcement of a third runway at Heathrow in the same week.   Where are we going in our impact on this planet and on ourselves?