Monday, 30 May 2011

around and about at saltaire arts trail

Above are:

Saltaire Arts Trail

Mask making, Family activities

Hugh Lieshman, woodturner

Make a mosaic with re-claimed bricks, Titus Salt School

Saltaire, World Heritage Site

Out There

Teepees and felt making, Sponge Tree

Kate Bowles, Handmade books


World's Smallest Cinema, Cherry Kino

Thursday, 26 May 2011

come to saltaire arts trail!

There are just a couple of days to go now until the lovely Saltaire Arts Trail. This is an event I've been part of ever since it started, evolving out of an event as part of the Saltaire Festival; first becoming an entity in its own right but sitting alongside the Festival and now going it alone as a stand alone event at a different time of year. From selling at the Makers' Fair, to helping organise said Makers' Fair, and then onto the board of Saltaire Inspired (the organisation that runs the Arts Trail), my involvement has evolved too!

This is always such a lovely feast of arts-related activities (I know I'm biased but it really is true!), from open houses filled with wonderful artwork from all over Yorkshire, to curious interactive exhibitions, family activities to a record breaking cinema and much much more. It is run almost entirely by a bunch of wonderful volunteers and it is amazing what they manage to pull out of the bag. Just hope for lovely weather and get on down to the inspiring World Heritage Site that is Saltaire this weekend...

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

last stitches

These are the last stitches on my final pieces. It seems a little sad. It means the fun bit is over and all I have to do now is loads of mounting, trimming, writing up, filing...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

the hepworth

Just as I was approaching the new bridge over the river to the Hepworth gallery on Friday night (preview night) there was a heron sitting on one of the bright orange floats that span the river. It was the perfect shot... but by the time I had my camera out he'd just started to fly off. It was nice to see they'd cleared all the river-born rubbish from the boom for the occasion!

This building playing an important role early on in my college work this semester. When I last came here to photograph the outside it was still being fitted out inside. This time it was good to see people inside the gallery spaces through those windows that face across the river.

The place was pretty packed on Friday night so it was difficult to get a sense of the gallery spaces on a normal day but the initial impression was certainly not a disappointment. I'm looking forward to going again when it's a bit quieter and getting to know some of the beautiful work that the place is now home to.

Monday, 23 May 2011

different light

It's amazing how different the same piece can look photographed in different conditions.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

photo shoot

We had a photo shoot last week at college. This was to provide us with professional standard photos for use on publicity stuff: postcards, business cards etc. Some students arranged for models and brought all sorts of props to set up their work to suggest fashion or interiors situations. My collection is made up of art pieces on felt, paper and digital projection and so I don't really need any props, just a wall or two.

What I really wanted were some close-up shots of stitches and my embossed paper pieces. These are what I've really struggled to photograph well myself. There isn't much for the camera to focus on as it is all monotone; it is the shadow created by the texture that gives contrast. I got my images back early this week. The images of the felt pieces were no better than I can manage myself. I'm looking forward to getting these up in my space for the show to be able to photograph them properly together. Meanwhile I've found that close ups taken outside in the sunshine give the best results (above).

The photographer at college managed to light the paper pieces so that the embossed marks show but the shadows cast by the stitches aren't too dominant, although the images are still quite dark.

When I photographed them myself in strong sunlight I got some good bright shots but the shadows are so strong they are a bit confusing: they look more like drawings.

I like the ambiguity of these pieces however, so perhaps it is about capturing that...

I've taken so many photographs recently and I'm struggling to find one that captures the whole collection to use for my postcards.

I keep coming back to these folded, clamped and dyed silk pieces, which were really development pieces and haven't made it through to the plan for my show space but which are hanging in my studio.

They have the three dimensional quality that I originally intended for this project and which in a sense has been put aside in favour of more subtle 'flattened relief'. I'm tempted to try and include them though... just not sure how to do it. The danger is that I end up just including everything. I know the secret of putting together a good collection is what you leave out when the temptation is to include as much as you can - just have to try and put that into practise!

Monday, 16 May 2011

may gardens

An afternoon out on Sunday took me to York Gate Garden, near Leeds. It's an intimate place, full of little corners and subtly framed views.

The central section has these imposing clipped yew pyramids and dramatic planting...

but the corners and hidden places are where you really want to linger.

Back at home my garden yielded this bunch.

Friday, 13 May 2011


Yesterday I was at Manchester Metropolitan University for the Pairings conference. 15 Images was included in the programme as an 'intervention', which meant a performance after the main papers and events of the day and hopefully gave the delegates a little time to chill out and reflect on all the stuff they'd been listening to all day.

15 Images is of relevance to the Parings project, which is all about cross-discipline collaboration, because it brings together 4 individuals from 4 different disciplines: composition, textiles, digital technology and performance. There were some lovely comments following the performance and hopefully some useful contacts made.

It was good to get back into my studio today and get things straight in my head in terms of what is left to do before my final deadlines at college. I had a useful afternoon planning how my main printed and stitched felt pieces will be arranged in my space, working out what is missing and the jobs left to do. I then spent what seemed like ages grappling with various social media type things. Not my forte but a necessary part of set up and promotion as an artist in this day and age!

Meanwhile, there seems to be some rather good collaboration going on in my garden. The rain is back in play and is boosting everything beautifully. There is suddenly lush growth and a fullness that was lacking a week or so ago.

This time of year is when things are most harmonious in my garden as blues predominate and work together with the purples and pinks. I have a lovely viewpoint from the kitchen window that looks past little blue and yellow violas in the window box, through to the blues of rosemary flowers, the ceonothus (which is at its peak), irises and aliums. Every now and then there is punctuation from a citrusy yellow euohorbia or alchemilla mollis just starting to flower.


I spent last weekend at Stroud International Textiles Festival. It was a weekend so full of inspiring and exciting things that I can't even begin to describe it, I just haven't the time, so a quick round up will have to do.

On Saturday I went on the 'textile trail', visiting the studios of:

weaver, Tim Parry-Williams
textile artist, Matthew Harris (whose wife Cleo Mussi I interviewed for my dissertation about her gardening and her practice - the garden was looking as lovely as I remember)
weaver, Nick Ozanne
textile and collaborative group, Studio Seven
dressmaker and ethical sourcer, Dorothy Reglar
weaver, Sarah Beadsmoore

Each was as interesting as the next, but all in different ways and all so much richer an experience from actually being able to talk to the artist in their own space. As is often the case with these events you feel
you have to cram as much as possible in when actually it might be better to just visit one or two places and really savor them. This would avoid reaching saturation point!

On Sunday I attended the 'Off the Loom' symposium, coordinated by Laura Thomas. Another day full of inspiration from a number of talented and successful makers/designers/artists, all pushing the boundaries of weave in different and interesting ways.

Friday, 6 May 2011

bullion stitch

I've made a lot of these little 3D stitches lately.

They're a sort of extended french knot and they give a lovely raised loop that I'm using to make marks elsewhere: They're transferred into virtual stitches that will appear on the wall,

and they are making lovely detailed impressions of themselves in
beautiful thick paper.

The different elements of my final show are starting to come together, which feels good. There is still a lot to do though ...

Monday, 2 May 2011


Driving home this morning from a long weekend with family the predominant colour was the yellow of oil seed rape fields shouting out their presence.

It's brash and bright in its mono-cultural state in these fields and really quite a contrast to the more subtle colours we came across on our woodland walk the other day.

This time of year, when the hedges
are full of cow parsley and may blossom, has to be my very favorite time. And when you look closely there are stitchwort, red campion, dandelions, bluebells...

I've had a lovely break with some of the best company one could ask for and we've had such lovely weather. But enough of all that relaxing stuff: I have so much work to do.