Thursday, 26 May 2011

Assignment 5. Six pieces inspired by different textile artists such as Janet Bolton and Alice Kettle.

The second part of assignment 5 is to create six pieces inspired by textile artists we have been studying. We are to use the photographs from assignment 2 for inspiration.

This is the first piece I have planned. I am going to sew it whilst on the beach on holiday next week. As we are going to the Isles of Scilly that coiuld well be in a cagoule!

It is in the style of Janet Bolton whose work I have long admired. I love the simple shapes and stitches as well as how she puts colours together. I also like the way she incorporates little found objects into her work such as buttons, shells, stones, plastic creatures or objects. I plan to add some pieces at the end of stitching.

The photo which inspired this piece Is taken on the mere at Thorpeness in Suffolk.

I will post a final picture when I have finished it.

The second piece is inspired by the work of Alice Kettle. It is a photo I took at my sons football match.

The background material is a green cotton which I dyed myself. The red is strips of ribbon and the blue is again, cotton dyed by me. I then freehand embroidered the football players on to the green after I had machine stitched in blue lines across the red and blue. This stitching gives a feeling of movement and space.

I really like this piece, the colours, the machine embroidery I think works well together.

The third piece is of the field in Aldeburgh with the amazing sunset which I did a pastel drawing of in an earlier assignment (2). The cottons are all hand dyed by me and then machine stitched onto the deep pink fabric, also dyed by me.

The photograph is on it's side in this post which is all I have available at present. I machine stitched the cowslips and the seed heads on to the fabric.

The fourth piece is using the technique of cutting through. It uses several different layers of fabric. The technique a reverse appliqué. Instead of the pieces of appliqué being laid on top if the fabric the shapes are cut through the layers of fabric. This piece is taken again from the sunset photograph and shows a cut through of the sun. The pieces will be sewn together by hand next week. I used fabrics I had dyed myself in the deep oranges and pinks of that beautiful sunset.

The fifth piece I have prepared is another appliqué. This time it is of the houses on the beach at Aldeburgh. I used this photograph in assignment two as well and have found it extremely inspirational. I will post the sewn up version next week.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Assignment 5 - words and pictures

Assignment five is one I have been really looking forward too. We look at work by Janet Bolton, Audrey Walker & Alice Kettle. All people whose work I have long admired.

First though we explore words and textiles. We are given a list of words from which we must pick four. I chose the following words:

Density. The piece I have begun for the density word is a tightly stitched machine embroidery piece. Inspired by this card which depicts the rooftops of Paris.

I have begun this piece with a black and White drawing and machine stitch.

I have begun to fill this in with colour but will unveil this when I've finished.

The next word is gathered.

Following my successful dyeing experience in assignment 3 I decided to dye a piece of cotton pink. I did it gradually. Taking out sections of the fabric gradually So that the fabric had a deep pink at one end through to a pale pink at the other end.

The fabric is then pleated and sewn loosely together. This is the gathering although I also feel that the gradual deepening of the colours is a kind of gathering too.

I then sewed three pebbles into the folds. These were wrapped in wire. This is another two types of gathering. The gathering of pebbles in what looks like folds of waves. All be it pink ones. The pebbles are also special to me as they were collected on a special day out with my family so they are also gathering memories which I think is a lovely image.

The third word I have begun to create in textiles is delicate.

The wire is strong and yet once knitted looks fragile and delicate. I like this imagery of something that we know is strong, although wire is not rigid, but in this format it is looking delicate.

The fourth word that I have chosen is structure. I was going to use wire and paper mâché to make a building ( small scale!) however I have changed tack as this is an ideal excuse to create one of my paper mâché ad wire puppets. The Bygone Veras!!

Here is the very beginning stages of the wire/paper mâché doll who has been painted. The creation will be unveiled in the next post.

Saami quilts

The area I am drawn to for this textiles of the world assignment is an indigenous group from India known as the Saami people.

This indigenous embroidery belongs to the tribal community of snake charmers in the Thar Desert region. The colours, motifs used, and the texture (given by the quilting and stitches) reflect the influence occupation played in traditional art and craft practices.

The quilts are made by lots of different women in the tribe. They work in family groups and dye the old salwar kameez and rip them up and sew them back together. They use cheap fungicidal chemical dyes The quilts are padded with old rags and the quilts are backed with old scarves and saris. Often old antique materials and silks are found on the reverse of new quilts.

The quilts are usually made as a wedding present so are not often for sale to the public. If they ever make one not specifically for a couple they are sold on the open Market in Karachi.

The quilt I have chosen is a bright blue and green quilt. It has little in the way of prints, designs and patterns but the closer you look the more detail there is to be found.

I first of all did a pastel drawing of this piece. I was aware it might not be the best one to use because of the lack of pattern but I was so drawn to the colours and stitches that I knew no other piece would grab me in the same way. It made me fall in love with the whole assignment.

As we are asked to choose three to copy from initially I also investigated some quilts that have pictures on. I like fabrics that tell us something about the history or area that the piece has come from. So my next choice was this piece -a Kantha quilt depicting fish, fowl animals and buta cones with a lotus in the centre.

The Kantha quilts are from Bengal. They have figures and narrative spread across the quilt. Up to seven layers of saris are quilted together to make warm weather quilts. The embroiderers use lots of different colours of thread to build up the colours in the quilt.

I was very excited about using this project as a means to teaching myself some new skills - namely dyeing.

I had already decided that I was using the first Saami quilt for my detailed piece and so I wanted to dye some cotton to achieve the depth of colour seen in the quilts.

I also tried some tie dying and wax blocking which is where you put wax on to prevent the dye from taking in some areas. The wax is called a resist.

Tying the stones or rice into the material in balls with the string. The string acts as a resist.

The spots are wax on the material which is turning blue. This is going to be the piece I used to replicate my trousers.

This is the copy I made ( below) I made a Lino cut of the shell shape and printed it on top of the wax relief.

I love all the new skills I've been learning on this assignment. It feels great to amalgamate skills learned from previous assignments too such as the Lino cut.

Following this dyeing process I used the fabric I had dyed to create the replica quilt.

This is my finished interpretation of the Saami quilt.

The next part of the assignment was to create a piece out of waste materials. I used cut up magazines, bits of wool and cumin. The cumin is not waste material as it is but I have simply by passed the cooking and not eating part! The Indian tribes people use turmeric to colour yellow so I thought I'd add a spice to my picture.

The next part was to create something in 3D inspired by the quilt. And what better 3D medium is there but paper mâché. So I made a blue horse......

He is in the colours of the quilt. But I also used the horse image as these tribal people would use horses or donkeys to get around.

This is the much smaller textile piece which is the next interpretation we are asked to produce.

And finally the Useful artefact inspired by our chosen textile. A tent.

I have really enjoyed this assignment and am really pleased again to have learnt some new skills. Dyeing is now firmly featuring in my work. I have wasted no time in trying this out for assignment five.......

Monday, 16 May 2011

Hotel international. By Tracey Emin.

The piece of textile art I have chosen to critique is Tracey Emins. Hotel international. 1993

Emin grew up in the Hotel International, a seafront hotel in Margate owned by her father. This work, composed of letters sewn onto a big blanket and handwritten texts, is a kind of curriculum vitae, detailing episodes in her childhood and youth.

Material: Appliqué blanket

Tracey Emin is renowned for her autobiographical appliquéd blankets. With their bold words and phrases they tell a story of a chapter in her life. At first glance they appear innocent and happy, naive even. On closer inspection they often reveal a dark and sometimes disturbing life. I find this juxtaposition humorous, but I do find much of what she writes about sad and I think it is curious that she has chosen this way to use her work as a catharsis, maybe a therapy. I can relate to this emotion, even though I have not experienced anything like her tortured times I do have a need to get my thoughts and experiences "out there" and have also found, recently that my textile work is a good outlet for this.

I really enjoy the homespun visual imagery of her appliqué. I like the way she uses colour linking the pink from the heavy impact piece at the bottom to the smaller squares at the top, this makes your eye travel down through the picture which would otherwise be extremely chaotic to "read". The small bits and pieces of words and smaller squares are again balanced by the heavy pink block at the base of the blanket.

The use of many different styles of fabrics is also interesting, you might not necessarily expect these colours and variants of floral, stripes and plain colours to marry well but overall they do and I think the fact that there is an overall muted colour tone so that joins everything up.

The use of handwritten notes and letters on paper is an interesting use of other materials and I like the combination of mixed media. I also really enjoy the way that the words are spelled out and " written " in felt and backed onto different fabrics. Some letters are the wrong way round, in other works of this type she often misspells words too. This adds to the personal, unique touch of the piece.

The blanket is well balanced visually and draws you in to read the small print whilst at the same time makes you stand back to take in the full impact. A criticism would be that it is very hard to read the words HOTEL INTERNATIONAL at the bottom of the work as the stripy black and White fabric gets lost in the blue background. I think if you are going to the bother of writing words you should be able to read the text!!

I don't know, but it makes me wonder if any of the floral or non felt fabrics were reminiscent of the style of fabrics that would have been in the hotel or reminds her of her childhood. The brown square that reads "Pam Cashin loved Envar Emin so much" is on a brown floral pattern that is very evocative of the 1970's! The blanket is 260x240 and so is very large and would be very striking in real life.

I had not considered the unconscious connection before but I have made my son a crochet blanket backed in a tweed. Each time we go on holiday I have sewn a machine embroidered tag on the back of the date and the destination which hopefully he will keep forever. Emin works in the reverse by putting down her past events in the writing on her blankets.

I have collected all of my favourite items of my daughters clothes since she was born and have always planned to make a patchwork blanket for her out of the clothes. Since looking at Tracey Emins work I am now inspired to add words and phrases in a similar style relating to my daughters first two years. I am going to use words she has learned in the first two years and the special names she has for her brothers and things like milk ( for which she says loke!)

I am very excited about going to the Hayward gallery to see Tracey Emins latest exhibition which starts later this week.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Module 3. Assigment 4. Artist who use textiles

Sonia Delaunay-

Jewish-French artist who with her husband Robert founded the Orphism movement noted for it's strong colours and geometric shapes. Her work included stage set design, textile design and painting.

In 1911 Sonia made her son a patchwork quilt which is now in the Musee National d'Art Moderne in Paris. This quilt uses geometry and colour.

Around the same time Cubist art works were being shown and her husband had been studying the colour theories of Michael Eugene Chevaraul, Sonia and her husband created a technique that they called " simultaneous deign".

Simultaneous design occurs when shapes or designs placed next to each other affect each other. This is similar to the theory of colour. Pontilism which was created by Georges Seurat, using primary coloured dots next to each other are mixed by the eye and affect each other.

Sophie Tauber - Arp-

Sophie Tauber- Arp was a Swiss painter, designer and dancer. She was a member of the Zurich Dada movement and was also interested in using geometric shapes. Her textile and graphic works from the 1920's are among some of the moat sophisticated of the Modernist period. They reflect an understanding of colour and form and how they relate to each other.

Judy Chicago -

Just Chicago is an artist, author & feminist. She is from Chicago and has been exhibited all over the world. She also writes books about her art and philosophy. These too have been published world wide.

She has taught along side Miriam Schapiro in the 1970's bringing together a collaboration called Womanhouse.

Her most famous piece of work is entitled The Dinner Party - it represents 1,038 women in history. 39 women are represented by place settings around the triangular table. Another 999 names are inscribed in the Heritage Floor on which the table rests Each wing of the triangle is 48 feet long.

Miriam Schapiro.

A Canadian born artist based in America. Another pioneer of feminist art. She is also part of the pattern and Decoration movement.

She created collages assembled from fabrics which she called " femmages".

Tracey Emin-

Tracey Emin, famously from Margate, Kent, England. Part of the Young British art Movement along with Damien Hirst.

Has gained mixed media exposure, not always for her art. She once appeared drunk and swearing on a live Channel 4 discussion. Tracey Emin is a painter, textile artist, often using words and phrases which are frequently mis spelled. Tracey Emin has often created debate and discussion. Not least from her Turner nominated installation - My Bed which was her own bed complete with condoms and blood stained underwear.

Often autobiographical, she has been labelled as a "triumph in feminist art." to " a purveyor of vulgarity.". Her work turns introspection into a spectacle, the piece which bought her to the forefront of the publics consciousness was a tent with the title-" Everyone I Ever Slept With. On the interior of the blue igloo tent she appliquéd patches of felt letters spelling out the names of everyone she had shared a bed with. These included her mother, family friends, past lovers and her aborted foetuses.

The viewer was required to crawl into the tent to read the names which mimicked a child at play. She divulged her darkest, deepest secrets through painting, sculpture, books, poetry, photography and video.

Polly BInns-

Polly Binns describes her work as a hybrid spanning Fine Art and textiles. She is pre occupied by landscapes and likes to get out into the landscape and nature to absorb herself in it and then express the results through canvas, paints and thread.

Caroline Broadhead-

Caroline Broadhead made the move from jewellery designer to develop her practise beyond this into textiles, light and space and in collaboration with choreographers for dance performances.

Sally Greaves- Lord-

Hand painted silk banners smaller textile pieces. Fashion, theatre, window installations and, tents, exhibition designs.

Carole Waller -

Another contemporary visual artist who works with light, colour, glass, dyes, paint, she makes unique painted clothes, sculptures using glass and paints and textile hangings and installations.