Thursday, 21 July 2016

Summer colour 2

Freshly picked basil and a bowl of homegrown tomatoes = the taste of summer!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Seeing sound?

It's summer (honestly, it is!) so not only does that mean it's time for cotton dresses, sandles and Pims, but it's Festival season!  Having reach the grand ages of ** years I decided last year it was time to see what all the fuss was about and took myself off to Latitude 

- brilliant time, sunshine, pink sheep 

and plenty of music, all in a big field in Suffolk, dressed like a pixie...

So good I'm off again this year, but I just can't persuade Terry to join me: we have different musical tastes. And this got us thinking; what difference does the sounds we hear when we're sewing make to the stitch mark we make?  When we're teaching students to either hand quilt or free motion quilt we often suggest that listening to music will help the rhythm of the stitching but we've never really questioned how it could affect the mark made.

One textile artist who actively considers the effect of sounds on mark making is Debbie Lyddon, so we we were excited when she agreed to come and work with InStitches recently. Debbie, who is based in Surrey and Norfolk, says of her work 

'I am not only inspired by things that are seen but also by those that are heard and can be touched and I record objects, happenings, sounds and textures that I have noticed in the environment around me. I make mixed media cloths, sculptures, installations and drawings which originate from thoughts and memories that are a consequence of experiencing place and paying attention'

Although we wondered what on earth we had let ourselves in for when the she asked us to hold onto two ends of a piece of thread on which a wire coat hanger was suspended...and then stick our fingers in our ears - as you can see Terry's face sums it all up!

But do it for yourself....the results are quite surprising.  Before long we'd all moved out of the classroom and onto the veranda tapping and banging as we went.  The sounds were amazing!

Then Debbie herded us all back inside and we all took out a huge piece of paper and got busy recording the marks summoned up by the sounds we could hear.

Debbie played snatches of sounds she had recorded and asked us to mark make both while we listened and then from memory.  

We'd all been asked to bring in a found object to make a sound, so in turn our sounds were made and recorded visually...

Look at the photographs, can you guess the sounds which have been annotated?

Variation in pitch, beat, harmony....all can be visually recorded.

After lunch Debbie moved us from paper to stitch after discussing some of her own work with us.

Some broad marks made with ink or pastel were made onto firm artist canvas and heavy weight calico,  this was stable enough to hand stitch without a frame.

Aren't the stitch marks wonderful?  By keeping to neutral colours it allows the eye to focus on the stitch mark - can you hear the sound?

They may not resonate with you but to the maker the sight of the mark will recall the sound.

A small dash of red adds to the sound/ visual scape.

A long, drawn out note perhaps?

And here there is lightness and darkness?

Surely this one is mixed vibrations?!

By the end of the afternoon we had marked both paper and fabric, listened and stitched with intent and  when all our work was laid out, end to end, it was a symphony!

So the next time you turn on the radio, plug in your iPod, place a needle on a disc (I wonder- does anyone listen to 'vinyl' these days??)

maybe you'll be more mindful about your aural selection,

music or the spoken word? Take your pick and perhaps photograph your marks and email them to us!

It you would like to see more of Debbie Lyddon's work then visit her web site 

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Total decay!

Day 2 in the messy house proved to be even more fun than day one! Yesterday had been all about preparing surfaces and applying colour ( or not, seeing as we are working in shades of blue and black) but day two was all about layers and texture.

Christine showed us more simple, but amazingly effective, techniques and encouraged us to play, play play!

So we did!

Lunch? we have to stop? Really? Well okay, but then I'm back to work, layering, adding tissue, gel medium, India ink, spent procion dye, a quick rub with an oil pastel, a swish over with a baby wipe (don't know how effective they are on babies but they're marvellous in the art room!)

The atmosphere was electric, we were all just buzzing with creative energy, with Christine at the centre encouraging, prompting and demonstrating.  Terry had quite a job getting us all to stop long enough to drink tea and eat cake! 

Many of the processes and techniques can be directly transferred to fabric, but having the chance to work first on small cards meant you could try out many ideas and experiment with techniques, layers and processes without the worry or expense of involving fabric.  Indeed, Christine had encouraged us to stitch on the cards too.  In the image above the central blue card has been stitched with a perle before being layered with tissue paper, gel medium and washed with inks and dyes; just beautiful.

By the end of the afternoon we had all produced a collection of nearly 100 surface on 6x4 cards. When they were laid out on the (now tidy) tables they looked amazing - it quite took your breath away! 

The Poetry of Decay with Christine Chester was one of the most creative, electric and enjoyable courses I have ever been on.  Christine shook me up, turned me upside down, inside out and light my creative flame again - what more can you ask from a tutor? Thank you so much Christine, we look forward to welcoming you back to InStitches, when we shall be in our new studio!

If you would like to find out more about Christine and her textiles, visit her web site