Saturday, 17 April 2010
This time squares of industrial felt with print and stitch. I've just been to see Dionne Swift's exhibition 'Felt Ground Series' at the Ropewalk Gallery in Barton-upon-Humber. I'd seen this work before at the Knit and Stitch Show in Harrogate last November and it made a big impression on me then, so I was keen to see it again. This time it had the space of a good sized gallery room which was empty of other people for most of the time I was there. In Harrogate it was in a smaller exhibition space crammed into the large hall with all sorts of other textile exhibits and a whole load of people, so this time there was the space and peace to take it all in much better.
This work is simple and complex at the same time. It is calm and un-cluttered and is framed without fuss or not framed at all, but it combines a range of different processes and there are layers of detail that you notice slowly. The colour palette is limited but the range of textures involved is wide, with the different textures of the collagraphs superimposed onto a substantial, heavily textured and three dimensional base. I find the pieces quietly beautiful, particularly the series of small square felt based pieces. I also find them exciting because of the particular mix of textile and printmaking processes - something I'm keen to explore myself.
The Ropewalk (a long low red brick building which sits well in this north Lincolnshire landscape just next to the Humber Estuary) has a small sculpture garden, which today was full of spring sunshine. It also has a very nice cafe!
We walked along the path from the Ropewalk building that leads to the bank of the Humber Estuary with a view of the Humber Bridge. The tide was low with exposed mud flats leading down to where the mud-coloured water flowed slowly. Boats sat on the mud of a small estuarine tributary, waiting. Last year's bleached phragmites reeds glowed a pale gold in the late afternoon sun and water-formed ruts and runnels in the wet mud glinted, reflective. A group of five small waders padded about, feeding in the mud, leaving trails of footprints, lines of script.
Plants poked stiffly out of the mud like Dionne's loose threads poking stiffly out of the felt; shadows in the uneven mud made patterns like the inked prints we'd just seen.
Driving yesterday along the lanes of North East Lincolnshire I stopped to photograph the blackthorn flowers and unfurling hawthorn leaves.
The branches of this blackthorn were lined with white beads, ready to burst open...
Current listening: Moment musicaux, Schubert.