Thursday, 18 December 2008

I've actually finished my final essay for this degree module after loads of re-drafts my brain has gone into melt down and I can do no more. Its probably all rubbish but I'm past caring! We now have a break until February - which I usually don't like as I do seem to get more done in the winter- and this year I'm quite glad as I haven't been enjoying the degree much. Hopefully by February I will feel refreshed.

We had an excellent get together meal for ERTF in Chelmsford and it was nice to actually get to talk to people socially. As Chairman at our events I am usually so busy that I don't get time to enjoy them. We have a big year coming up with the forum and I hope to manage to post lots of news on my blog next year . It certainly looks like its going to be a busy one if our committee meeting last week was anything to go by. Add Material Girls exhibition work, Degree and getting some workshops sorted out for the textile teachers in Havering and it looks like I won't know if I am coming or going in 2009!
Poor Kirsty has been at home with 'the lurgy' so I have had my nursing hat on as well and as college finishes tomorrow and I seem to have drawn the short straw this year with doing all the entertaining for Christmas Day and beyond I probably won't have time to post again before Christmas so I am putting some Christmassy images on for all to enjoy. We visited Leeds castle in Kent last weekend and it was decorated for the Nutcracker, it was beautiful.

Monday, 17 November 2008

It has been 5 years last week since the death of my mother and nearly 35 years since the death of my father and this weekend I felt very lonely. I know I am lucky to have my husband and daughter but other than that I have no family and when you are around people who all have large networks of family and friends you can feel very isolated. Studying at home can be isolating as well esp. when studying a contextual module which is so concentrated on reading and essay writing. Are all artists destined to be alone? I can hear my mum saying 'get on with it' - sometimes I miss her.

Monday, 10 November 2008

It's disgusting weather here today -gales outside. The daughter came in from college soaked to the skin and the dogs and cats refuse point blank to venture outside.
I have been having a slightly skiving day today under the excuse having a lot of housework to do as its a Material Girls meeting tomorrow to de-brief on the exhibition, discuss some of the projects we've been asked to participate in arising from the exhibition and to start on the next exhibition.
We also had the second ERTF conference on November 1st. It was on the topic 'Making Money From your Work' but was really about ways of improving our professional practice. We also had to excellent talks from Carol Cann and Sara Impey about their work - which is completely different but both had used lettering in part. I think the 40 plus attendees all enjoyed it and we were able to give them a programme of events for the coming year including our inaugural exhibition (If you're interested look on ).
I think next year is going to prove even busier than this and I need to concentrate properly on my own work eps. my degree if I am ever going to get my work to the next level so I will have to think seriously, having launched ERTF, if I should remain Chair after April over the next couple of months.
Catherine - one of my OPUS fellow students -has placed a recording of part of Julia's funeral on our google group which really made me feel more connected than I have recently and strangely has spurred me on just to get on and work! perhaps Julia's just making sure we don't all give up .

Monday, 27 October 2008

Today is a sad day as the textile world mourns the passing of one of their greatest artists. When Julia and Alex interviewed me for the degree course it was she that gave me the confidence that 'I could do it' and since then has continued to support me (amongst so many others) in all my textile endeavours. For those of us who were lucky enough to be her students she leaves a gaping hole and all we can do now is continue on the path she created for us and send our love and support to Alex and her family.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Yes, I'm still here- just! Its been a month since my last post and my feet have barely touched the floor. I have been working hard on the new OPUS degree module, which is a contextual one so all writing and reading (yuck!). As I said to someone on Sunday 'I'm itching to get back to stitching'. It's also all about psychoanalysing art, 'the gaze' and gender in art issues at the moment and we're also looking at the use of the body in art so anyone who has previously read my log will know its not my sort of thing and thus I'm finding it quite a slog. I am just hoping that if I survive this module things will then concentrate more on my areas of interest , textiles.
I have also been really caught up in the other side of being an artist - staging exhibitions and events.I spent yesterday finally hanging my group's exhibition Inspired by... Just the Private View tonight to get through and I can relax. the peripherals of staging such an exhibition is hard work-keeping the group on track, publicity, labeling, liaising with the gallery etc... and it really leaves little time for your own creative work. I've also have the ERTF next conference looming -it really looks as though it will be very good as it addresses issues of professional practice. Speaking of the ERTF ;- our website will be going live in November so do look in.
In the little bit of time I have had left I've managed to get to a few exhibitions for my own enjoyment and to support our members and I went to the Kitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace on Sunday which was exhausting and expensive as usual. This year I personally found it a little too focused on the knitting side but there were some lovely exhibitions form artists such as Diane Bates, Jan Beaney, Jean Littlejohn and of course the new graduate showcase.
Tomorrow its back to playing 'catch up' with the degree and hopefully it won't be quite so long until my next post.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Very quick blog as everything happening at once. I have launched into the next degree module which is contextual and sooo not my thing . I don't want to be reading about 'Cubists' - I want to be sewing but I don't have the time! However I am going to get through this one as fast as possible so I can get back to my real passion.
Off to see the EAST ad O2 exhibitions at Braintree tomorrow followed by the exhibition at Central St.Martins of the new St.Pauls Vestments and the 4x4 at Southwark on Thursday. I can't wait. Then its the ERTF steering group meeting in preparation for a whole year of ERTF events followed by my own Group's exhibition in mid- October. Its all kicking off as they say so lets hope I get a lot of inspiration and renewed vigour after a rather flat couple of OPUS modules.
Material Girls have all taken inspiration from a different artist for this exhibition have come up with some extraordinary results - its been an interesting exercise and if you can't get to visit our exhibition there will be some images on our website very soon ( Must go- the 'avant-garde' is calling!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

It's Finished! At last I have completed the dreaded visual studies figure drawing module. Everything is mounted up and packed ready to be transported to London for assessment on Saturday, trains willing that is as in their wisdom they have decided to close both my local underground and overground lines for engineering work virtually every weekend up until Christmas. I am so relieved that I made it to the end - of course I may not pass it but at the moment I don't actually care I'm just glad its over. I can now get on with getting things sorted for the Material Girls exhibition which is rapidly approaching mid- October and for the next ERTF conference on November 1st as well as Alli Pally, and the EG, and .... Lets just say its going to be a busy next couple of months. I can stitch again (even though my next module is written- groan!) on things I enjoy. Whoopee!

Friday, 22 August 2008

As they say 'I'm back!' - back to reality. I felt quite detached whilst I have been in Lyme Regis- the place is my second home and I love it there, it's like stepping back in time. For example we visited the art deco cinema one evening to see 'Mama Mia' (great film, such fun!) and everyone was chatting before hand, clapped when the film came on and stayed right to the very end when everyone clapped and cheered and sung Waterloo. They just don't do things like that in our part of London.
I was supposed to be spending the week sketching on the beach for the final piece of my next module but as you can see from the photos it wasn't exactly beach weather. However, I did do a bit and have almost finished since I've been back.
I did do some arty things- visited the costumes at Killerton again and toured a few local craftsmen. There was also a chap called Adrian Grey doing stone balancing on the beach at Lyme- shades of Andy Goldsworthy there. I captured my own stone balancing but I had to rely on the sand for support.
Got back just in time for Kirsty to collect her GCSE results which were good (thank goodness) so she can get on to her pre-nursing 'A' level course, now if I could just manage a pass on this wretched figure drawing module we might all be able to relax!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Taking a quick break from cleaning fleece (more on that to follow) and drawing figures to try and finish my final piece for our forthcoming 'Inspired By' exhibition. You may remember I used Kozo -which I wired,beaded and stitched -to create a 'Ruff' inspired by the Elizabethan objects for a previous OPUS module. For my last 'Inspired By' piece, as my inspiration was Monet, I am producing a 'Waterlily' which takes that Kozo technique a little further by incorporating silk tops to add delicate colour using the embellisher. Here it is almost complete- all I have left to do is to make a dragonfly to sit on it. I have also been thinking about display as it is quite delicate and have found an acrylic tub to use as a dome to protect it.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Now its back to reality. I have been trying to approach this wretched figure drawing module from a new perspective just to get me through it -to get away from the observational into something more abstract and to use the figure as a metaphor. So here's a couple of the sketches and developments I have come up with. I still don't like them but they are marginally more interesting than plain figure drawing.
I would also like to recommend the Skin and Bone exhibition at Somerset House in London- I went yesterday and it gave me some great inspiration. Off to Art in Action over the weekend so pray for fine weather.

Its been over a month since my last blog. Things have been so busy I haven't had a moment to myself. The holiday in Disney Paris was great a per normak -I really and truly didn't want to come back. We spent time in Paris itself, I love that city and I feel at home there. I found this great sculpture near the eiffel tower - the peace wall,, so beautiful

Monday, 16 June 2008

We're off to see the wizard or actually THE Mouse. We're going to Disneyland Paris at the end of this week which is my most favourite place - where you suspend reality and become 5 years old again. A place where you can forget all about degrees and boring figure drawing and GCSE results and washing and ironing and... well you get my drift. I can't wait -so until I return no more blogging just 'first star to the right and straight on 'til morning'.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

I've started the dreaded life drawing module. Its really not my thing but here's some I've produced so far. I nearly gave up the course because of this but I've decided that's probably an over reaction and it is a Textile degree not fine art so if I'm rubbish at this module I hope I can make it up on the next. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Oh Help its time to start my next degree module! Assessment came and went and I await the results sometime in the future , you never can be sure when they will turn up. Today I received a phone call from my new tutor, Kate Green, who seems very nice but it was a bit of a rude awakening that we are off and running again so soon esp. as my daughter is mid GCSEs and stress levels are off the Richter scale chez mois. This module is all about figure drawing which I am dreading! I hate drawing people with a vengeance and I must admit if I had realised that a whole 3 months -180hrs!!!- was going to be spent on this I wouldn't have taken on the degree course.
On a slightly lighter note I have actually finished Kirsty's clutch bag for her prom (the brown one above). It's embellished fabric with silk threads, Angelina and a LOT of beading on the front and back and lined in shot silk. I also manged to knock up a blue one as well as a trial run for the construction. I'm afraid the photography isn't great but I hope it gives an impression.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

I've finally finished my 6th Degree module and have visited my tutor Mary Cozens Walker at her studio located in a charming cottage in a lane lined with cow parsley and Hawthorne. I think she was pleased with my work and now there is just the final assessment hurdle in London on Saturday (2 years down, 4 to go). A Marquette of my final textile solution to the module which addressed the ambiguity of GM crops - are they saints or sinners? - is pictured above. The final pods/seeds would be at least 3 times the size as would the accompanying 'webs' . I have constructed them both from very fine needlefelt I made using a mix of wool, silk and Angelina fibres.
The other pictures are of my work combining the embellisher machine with stitch and again using a mix of fibres but predominantly silk. They are abstracts taken from own photographs of rock pools - one still and floaty and one swirling and containing anemones. This is a technique I am continuing to explore as I find it extremely satisfying and a break from the degree stuff.

Monday, 5 May 2008

This week saw the first of the Material Girls displays for 2008 at the Thames Chase Forest Centre. Somewhat disappointing I felt as the facilities were mediocre to say the least resulting in what I thought was a lacklustre display far below our usual standards. Still it was mounted as a PR measure as the Forest Centre is trying to promote local arts and crafts and I felt we needed to support anyone with this aim. However, it further highlights the lack of decent display/gallery space to be found in the suburbs of London.

On a brighter note our local 'dogwalking woods' are looking particularly beautiful this year and the scent of the bluebells this weekend was amazing. I took loads of photos and am feeling inspired to produce a piece of work to try and capture the wood's essence.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Well its done. After all those months the Eastern Region Textile Forum has been well and truly launched with a conference that was packed to the rafters. The day disappeared in a blur even though I did have the urge to do a runner just before I was confirmed in the post of Chairman . The phrase 'oh help, what have I done' just kept running around in my head.
We had 3 excellent short talks in the morning from Ann Wise of the Warner Archive, Alison Couchman from an educators viewpoint and Annette Morgan speaking as an exhibiting artist. These sparked off much discussion and a framework was put into place which will probably take about 20 years to fulfill completely.
The afternoon was less hard work when James Hunting- 2006 Embroiderers Guild Scholar, Artist,Tutor and all round great human being took to the floor.His talk about his work and the value of organisations such as the forum was just what was needed to round off the day.
So now the real work begins- an enthusiastic committee (we weren't short of volunteers - I always knew Textile Artists are special people) was formed and we start our 'great work'.
watch this space, here comes the ERTF!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Everything is so hectic at the moment. I am working on 5 pieces of work at once . I am creating 'Pods and Webs' for part of a degree assignment where I am seeking to provoke people's reaction to the issue of GM crops. Fortunately this is reaching a conclusion so should be ready before assessment in May and also when I have to take it to Mary Cozen-Walker's studio prior to this.
I am trying to complete a banner of 'My Fair Lady' for display at a flower show in early May and continuing to work on 2 pieces (natural abstracts') for home consumption plus a piece for our next major exhibition in October. Final work in progress is for my daughter's prom - a bead embroidered evening bag- but at least I have until the end of June to complete that- wait a minute that's 6 - no wonder I'm confused!
The ERTF launch Day is nearly upon us and I have been overwhelmed by the response to membership and the conference. With just over a week to go I have dotting the 'i's and crossing the't's to make sure the event runs smoothly- I've even got around to writing my speech. The Team I have had behind me have done a wonderful job so lets hope that everyone involved will have a great time and that it is the start of something really special for Textile Art in the East of England.