I am simplifying everything online so that everything is on the website. I will no longer be using this blog but I will leave it online for reference. I have a news page on the website that will replace some of the information I would have put here. I have a new studio page which will be updated at the end of each month with images and sometimes notes about what has happened in the studio, photographs of things I find interesting, exhibitions I have visited, books I’m reading, so most of the information that would have gone here but not in as much detail. The studio page will also replace twitter and instagram. So now you just have to check the one page, once a month and follow the website to get any other news.
I have been working on the website recently and decided to start from scratch and update all the images and text. I am pleased to say it is almost finished. All my recent textile work and photography is on it along with a selection of the stitched drawings. I’ve also added my c.v and will be adding more images and information about the work over the next couple of weeks.
I am also going to have a stall at the Whitworth Gallery art and design fair, organised by the Manchester Craft Mafia. I will have my stitched drawings and will be making a limited amount of notebooks and cards especially for the event. It will be in the Grand Hall at the Whitworth Gallery on Saturday 5 December. The Art Textiles exhibition will also be on, which I went to see last week and would recommend anyone interested in textiles to visit. It was worth it just to see the work of Magdalena Abakanowicz and Jagoda Buic.
What’s been happening recently? Lots is the quick answer. I have just returned from visiting my family in Australia, so hence the long break. Prior to going to Australia everything was a bit hectic, getting ready to go but also sorting out work for exhibitions and just generally getting organised for a break from the studio and making work. I would have liked to post information on work I have in a couple of exhibitions around Manchester before I left but I just didn’t seem to have time. So apologies for the very short notice as both exhibitions end this weekend.
I have three works in Shelf Life at PSMirabel, Manchester – Gather, Crease and Removing the Fold. All three works are photographs of cloth where I have altered the structure in some way and then used photography to focus on these changes. Two images are black and white and the middle one is colour. I am constantly taking photos of my work in progress and find it a useful tool in the making process. I have been thinking about using photography to make the finished work for a long time, but it never seemed to fit. I didn’t want it to be a document of the making but that it somehow had a different story to tell about the work. I find the deceptive nature of photography very interesting, by this I mean the way the viewer only sees a fraction of what is really happening, the way we are almost told what to look at. Often when I am making work I think about the amount of detail I see that the viewer probably doesn’t see in the finished work and how I am focused on a small area for a long time. It is this detail that I wanted to show the viewer through photography.
Repetition and Change is in the Bankley Open, Levenshulme. I exhibited this work in the Sale Arts Trail exhibition but it was displayed differently, after the exhibition I had this work hung on my studio wall as it is in the Bankley Gallery and prefer the way the stitching and threads are more visible, not hidden in the folds of the fabric.
It has been a while since my last post and in that time I have been thinking about the purpose of this blog in relation to my practice and the documentation of it. In the beginning I was starting out on an unknown journey and needed a place to store my thoughts, ideas and findings. I wasn’t really making any work, it was more about discovering what, why and how I wanted to make work. The blog became a useful way of writing about these ideas and thoughts. Once I started making my thoughts became something I documented in my personal journal – handwritten, quickly scribbled notes that may only make sense to me or are just there to remind me of something for the future. They are thoughts and thoughts don’t always make sentences and paragraphs, they are the idea of something floating in space and sometimes difficult to capture.
So what have I learned so far? This research started with me wanting to develop my ideas and processes of making work. I wanted to value the craftsmanship in work and for me to be the maker of the work but I also wanted to take the work somewhere else, I didn’t want to make a product to reproduce and sell. I began to look at the slow movement and how that might relate to my own ideas. I now think that some of the principles are very relevant to how I work but at the same time I don’t want to make decisions based solely on the slow movement. If it fits in with what I am thinking and working on then fine. I first came across the slow movement through my love of food and now think it has more relevance to me for food than art. That is not to say that it is not relevant to my practice but it is not the main concern of it. When I first started making and playing around with the materials I only used materials I already had and allowed them to partially dictate the direction I would go. I became interested in the folds and creases in the fabric due to being stored away for years. I started to realise that it was the structure of the cloth that I was interested in and wanted to look at how could I change it. I am very interested in weave and knit and should of probably studied weave at some point. The stitched drawings are all related to weave and one is even called Weave so to make this connection has been very important in making the new work. The grid has always been central to my work and to return to fabric with an even weave in Linen seems appropriate, its where I started with embroidery in a way. But I also knew that I didn’t want to make a decorative work, I am interested in stitch as a utility rather than decoration, like darning or simple running stitch. The drawn thread stitch could be seen as decorative but I was using it to remove the fold or crease from the linen. This was the starting point for removing thread and sometimes replacing it with another thread. The replaced thread sometimes looks like it was always there so I leave the ends of the thread hanging to show they are additions and not part of the original fabric.
I have so many ideas I want to explore to do with the structure of the fabric, folds and creases. All these ideas are the result of taking time out and really trying to find out what? why? and how? I make work.
I will write a post about the work I made for Sale Arts Trail and also new work I am making at the moment. I am also in the process of updating my website.
Some images of the new work on display at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale.
It’s been a while since my last post and lots has been happening so I feel like I have to cram a few things in briefly. I prefer a post for each subject. First of all I have some stitched drawings in the summer exhibition at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. It’s a great gallery and shop with a café. I have a couple of new pieces made especially for the exhibition along with a few of my favourite works.
We also managed to fit in a brilliant holiday in our favourite place, Cornwall. We always stay somewhere between Newquay and Padstow and this time we were camping, luckily the weather was kind to us and we had a few days on the beach, ate lots of ice-cream and walked a bit of the coastal path. We stayed on a farm and were camped virtually on the end of a cliff, so a bit windy at times but the amazing views made up for it.
I have also been very busy in the studio working on three totally new pieces which I am very excited about and also a little nervous. They will be on display at Waterside Arts Centre as part of the Sale Arts Trail this weekend, the exhibition is on for a month. I will write a post about them next week. If you are in the Manchester area this weekend then please pop along to support all the local artists and designers opening there studios and taking part in talks and workshops around Sale.