Finally managed to get to the Tarpey Gallery which opened in September. Beautiful space for contemporary fine art. Featured artists included Joan Ainley, David Manley and David Ainley. Have just read that Joan Ainley only started to work in the visual arts in the 1990's after having her sight restored. I am trying to think how amazing it must be to open your eyes to the visual feast that is our world. It is one of my greatest fears to lose my sight and yet as a visual person I sometimes feel so over stimulated and wish I could switch off for a while. I suppose that is why I like the snow, it is like closing your eye lids on the world and then when it melts, you can see the world afresh.
Where Thoresby is stone, highlighted with blue paintwork, the Harley is highlighted with red. It's a stunning gallery space.
The exhibition featured the work of six artist-makers from Edinburgh, each specialising in contemporary tapestry. My favourites were Jo Barker and Linda Green. Having started to weave tapestries (okay.....tapestry.....still on going) the technical control and ability of Jo Barker is outstanding. Her ability to paint with thread and keep the surface alive is beautiful. Like a true textiles groupy I couldn't help sneaking a look at the back of the tapestry and loved the hanging threads and rich pallette.
Jo Barker tapestry
Jo Barker tapestry (detail)
Linda Green's work was inspiring in a different way. I loved the way she's challenged notions of cloth and weave and created a mini-museum of samples that push the boundaries of fibre art. These tiny pieces (10cm to 30cm tall) reminded me of anthropological finds from Africa or the Far East that could be musical instruments or jewellery. These pieces led me to challenge my own assumptions about what a tapestry should be and what it should be constructed from.
Linda Green tapestry studies
I'm looking forward to returning to the Harley Gallery for the Slow Craft exhibition at Easter.
Luckily we've seen some first inklings of Spring sunshine and I've lifted out of my gloom. The sun didn't follow us up to Thoresby when we had a day out to drop off my work. As we went north, the weather closed in, thick fog swirling across from the forest, driving through layers of grey. Occasionally a splash of heightened colour, a pistachio coloured field or richly painted house, would awake the senses and shock the monochrome landscape.
I dropped off two pieces for the Snowdrop exhibition which starts on the 27th of February. This one is called "The Robin and the Snowdrops", to complement "One leaf left".
Like the rest of blog-land I seem to be melancholic. I'm not good with endless winter. I like transitions: daybreak, sunset, the first warmth of spring. Oh, for the first warmth of spring.
I thought this blog would be purely about my work, a voice for me, away from family, where I can live out the fantasy that I am really an artist and forget about the million other responsibilities that come ahead of my creative time. In my endevours to march on creatively, and now that school runs mark out the pattern of my days, there's not been so much time for family creativity, or to stop for a moment in the intensity of daily life and breathe in the smell of warm boys and have fun! So, today (yes, I know it's a day late) we made a Valentine garland, with hearts for all those we love and once I was strung up there on my own heart, surrounded by drawings of family and all the pets and little people who fill my daily life I felt a bit better. But please, please roll on spring. x
These started life as ideas for Christmas presents and as they were so well received they have now found their way into my folksy shop. Two themes, sun and moon, sold as a set or separately and bound to bring harmony and spiritual contemplation to your tea ceremony.
I've been well and truly hibernating and I'm really looking forward to some warmer days and some trips out into the Metropolis for some heavy doses of inspiration. Meanwhile, in the uber-creative world of cyberspace and blogs, the book, "Naive: Modernism and Folklore in Contemporary Graphics" came to my attention. It's been lovely to get my fingers on it, it's a book that feels nice. Consisting entirely of images, I've been feasting on it. The cover of "Naive: Modernism and Folklore in Contemporary Graphic Design" celebrates the zeitgeist for graphic design that integrates hand-lettering, woodcutting and folk art. The book is an inspiring collection of illustrations, textile designs and graphics. I love the work of Helen Dardik and Jenn Ski. I think the reason I like it is the strong graphic shapes and symbols, but there's texture in there which I've been missing in the stronger, cleaner graphics of recent print design. I love the seventies colourings....especially the palletes in Helen Dardik's work. The images of birds dominate, and I'm hoping to introduce some into my work. I've a passion for robins that might find expression. For some time, lyrics and poems and writings about birds have been finding their way into my notebooks and I think would be a fine start for a project for Spring.
"Early December, and brown as a sparrow, frost creeping over the pond. I shoot a thought into the future, and it flies like an arrow, through my lifetime and beyond."
Here's my work in situ at the Beetroot Tree gallery. How I love that leather sofa. I was so pleased to find my work displayed above it! I don't suppose I'll be allowed to swap a lovely picture for it? No, thought not.
oOooh! I'm so pleased with myself! I've managed to put together a card pack. Based on the four seasons, they are hand-printed with the rubber stamps I've been making and then collaged with all my bits of vintage papers. I've packaged them up so you get one of each season and they can be given as a gift or used as amazingly-good-value-unique-works-of-art. They are now available to buy at folksy and soon to be gracing the shelves of retail outlets of distinction across the Midlands.