Friday, 27 January 2012

garden dreams

 A trip to my parents last weekend allowed for some garden pottering, finding interesting shapes in the winter sunshine,

and winter sweet, which doesn't look like much (although is better seen from below like this rather than from above the drooping flowers) but smells amazing.

Since then I've spent most of the week at my desk doing paper work or jobs around the house.  Meanwhile I dream of what my garden might become.  I currently have a patch of scruffy lawn and a small patio.  It isn't much yet, but it has lots of potential...

Saturday, 21 January 2012

print room

I spent a morning in the print room at college this week.  As a recent graduate I was able to apply for access to the facilities for this year and got it, so I felt it was about time I started making use of it.  As my studio is still a little way off being workable in and I needed to do something other than planning, paper work and sitting in front of this screen a session in the print room made sense.

I made two screens, one based on the silhouettes of items found beach combing a year or so ago and one using part of a poem written by a companion on the same trip. I purposefully made the text pretty small so that it wouldn't all expose clearly and so some of it would be legible and some wouldn't.  I wanted to experiment with this and use the shape of the words on the page as much as the words themselves.

I layered prints over pages from my sketch book that had been dyed, stained and rust printed, playing about with the tones already on the paper and using different combinations of prints.

Some of these pages will be worked on more, stitched into and further dyed.  Some are quite striking as they are.  All are part of a process, growing ideas, developing thoughts...  

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

something pretty

do something pretty while you can
Belle and Sebastian

I am always open to opportunities for creating something and this is particularly important when I'm in the middle of a period that doesn't feel very productive creatively. I love long journeys, especially on a train (as long as it all goes to plan, but even if it doesn't there is something of an adventure about it when you have to be flexible suddenly as things change).  I love that flashing past of landscape and tiny snapshots of detail.  Sometimes I'll just let it flow past me and other times I want to record it.

I traveled to London again this weekend to be in the gallery for a day and then take down the Mall exhibition, which, by the way, was a real pleasure to have been involved in.  Spending time alone is refreshing and being away from home somehow forces you to spend time thinking.  

I have a little sketch book in my bag at all times.  This one is a new one and has just words so far (wiggly ones as most were written on a moving train).  Here are some of the words from my journey:

It has been the most sparklingly beautiful of winter days
clear blue sky all day
bright but pale sunshine and a hard frost, which has remained in place all day wherever the sun hasn't reached.

The almost-setting sun races along on my right
sometimes almost blinding
sometimes obscured from view
by a wall or partially by the filigree network of silhouetted trees.

The shapes of the trees cannot hide in this clear light
each one standing tall and naked and still
shadows cast by the low sun turn an otherwise featureless field into a striking series of ridges

A frozen pond
an abandoned playground
church steeples
church towers
an old windmill tower
all grey silhouettes 
cut out shapes against an only-just blue sky

A solitary small cloud
shaped like a child's drawing of a horse
now a camel
then some kind of sea creature
is crossed by a small flock of birds.
Where do they go with such purpose on as cold a day as this?

The fiery orange ball slips into the horizon haze
swiftly changing the mood
bleached stubble in disarray over dark earth
Suddenly the clarity is gone
a mist adds to the gathering darkness.

On my return journey it was dark all the way so I couldn't see out of the window.  Instead I read the whole of a book that I was given for my last birthday but hadn't opened yet (see the list of books by my bed):  A Bigger Message - Conversations with David Hockney, by Martin Gayford.  I love the fact that you can read a whole book on one journey.  I would never sit and read a book like that at home, always too much else to do.  

David Hockney is someone for whom my admiration and respect grow all the time.  Before moving to Saltaire I knew very little about him and, for me, his work has taken time to 'get'.  Having a major collection of his work a few minutes walk away from my home means that I've been able to get to know it slowly.  He is such an exciting artist who is constantly pushing things.  Inspiring stuff!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

shifting stuff

I feel like I'm stuck inside a rubix cube or one of those little games where you can only move one square at a time and you have to make 20 other moves before you can make the one you really want to.

I have managed to unpack a lot since moving house and slowly things are getting straight.  The studio was, until Monday, completely jammed with boxes with just a little passage to get to the washing machine and freezer (this is my cellar and so also utility room).  Then the removal people came to take away my empty boxes, which suddenly gave me the space to empty some more and so the studio looked like this:

Believe me, this was an improvement!  Suddenly I could start to get a feel for the room.  I then spent time over the next couple of days sorting and shifting things about.  I put together the plan chest where I store my paper and previous mounted work (this involved a great deal of swearing - it isn't really a one person job).  I got to the end of the day I'm afraid to say that the room didn't look much different, things had just changed places.  Basically I have too much stuff.

I know that it will all come together eventually and that the sorting I'm doing isn't wasted time at all.  There isn't much creativity going on though, which gets me down.  So this afternoon I've been doing some research towards a project I'll be doing this year and I'm quite excited.  More about that another time...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

london weather

The weather has been so wild on and off for the last couple of weeks.  There was complete chaos on the rail system when I traveled down to London last week.  My train was delayed by 2 1/2 hours, although because of something completely seperate from the weather related hold-ups elsewhere.  That evening, after leaving the gallery, the wet pavements reflected and multiplied the Christmas lights and the Olympic count-down thing in Trafalgar Square.

By Wednesday morning the wet weather had cleared and London was bathed in beautiful soft winter sunshine.  It reminded me of similar conditions on visits to both Paris and Venice at this time of year.  The buildings around Trafalgar Square looked gorgeous and I felt spoiled to be able to have an hour as a tourist before I was due at the Mall Galleries.

Friday, 6 January 2012

set up

Designer Crafts at the Mall opens tonight with a private view and is then open 10-5 until Sunday 15th January.  The Mall Galleries are situated right next to Admiralty Arch, round the corner from Trafalgar Square and just along the road from Buckingham Palace.

Here's how the exhibition took shape earlier this week:

There is a wonderfully vibrant mix of work in a whole range of different craft media.  The curators did a wonderful job placing work so that it was complimented by the other work around it.  My pieces sit between beautiful wooden furniture and earthy coloured ceramics.

Sadly I can't make it tonight for the opening but I will be back down in London for the final day of the exhibition.  Do let me know if you get to see it.