Monday, 26 October 2009


It's such a vibrant Autumn out there, I can't help but feel positive.....inspite of the clocks changing and the nights closing in. We went up into Derbyshire, to Dovedale, Cromford and briefly back to Wirksworth. The landscape was on fire, suffused with mist and scented with wood smoke.

The colours must have infused my soul as I came back with a richly coloured set of photos. It might be because I've been looking at the woven textile designs of Gunta Stolzl or perhaps because my brain is still working on ideas to weave as bands on an inkle loom, but I'm seeing the world in strips of colour and texture.
I love the texture and restrained pallette of fibre artist Karen Henderson. The sense of process appealed to me too. The process of my work is as important as the content and the art comes from marrying the two. I read an interview in Selvedge magazine with textile artist and illustrator Laura McCafferty in which she said "I use textiles because I was just lucky to find a medium in which I could express myself". I like that sense of destiny. Sometimes I question the sanity of leading a creative life and then have to face up to the fact that it is who I am and all the moments of my creative life have led me to this place....avoiding doing that bl***y tapestry that's waiting for me upstairs!!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Emily Barker

I recently discovered the beautiful, earthy, folk music of Emily Barker. We went to see her live last week and her sound really suited the mood of the season and a creeping sense of melancholy as the weather changes. Her album "Despite the Snow" is infused with the ache of love and yearning. Her lyrics are poetic and metaphoric, rooted in folk tradition. She is supported by the Red Clay Halo band, featuring cello, accordion and violin. The album title comes from a Robert Graves poem:

She tells her love while half asleep

She tells her love while half asleep
In the dark hours.
With half words whispered low,
As earth stirs in her winter sleep,
And puts out grass and flowers,
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.


When I was studying woven textiles at Loughborough College of Art and Design, I went on a trip to Glasgow and saw an exhibition of tapestry by Lynne Curran. It was the first time I had seen contemporary tapestry weaving, and the first time I had understood the process of traditional tapestry weaving. During the final year of my degree, my woven pieces concerned themselves with colour and texture, my paperwork with shape, drawing and narrative. I went on to work with embroidered textiles, because I could make a living at it and because the opportunities to weave were so few (and commercial weaving so soul less). In London, I did a short course in tapestry weaving, taught by Pat Bloor. Having learnt to weave cloth, it was difficult to weave freely and create images. It's now years later and finally, the strands are coming together: the visual language, the patience to weave and the decision to commit to a craft. So here I am weaving again.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Did it!

 Sunrise 30cm x 30cm Mixed Media SOLD

 Echo 30 cm x 30cm Mixed Media

 Evening 30cm x 30cm Mixed Media SOLD

 Moon 30cm x 30cm Mixed Media

I'm really pleased to be able to post the completed work for the Thoresby Gallery. I like the balance between the four pieces and really felt that the mixed media style started working for me. I'm inspired to carry on working in this way and want to do some work that's a little more illustrative. I like the landscape but would like to introduce a human or animal element and might use some poetry as a starting point. I've been reading Ted Hughes but finding it a bit bleak, though very much anchored in the landscape and natural world. I've been looking too at Aesop's Fables, a favourite from childhood, with their anthropomorphic animal characters and morally sound conclusions.
Aswell as wanting to keep up the pace with the framed pieces, I've a renewed energy with the tapestry work. I like the process of editing a mixed media piece and simplifying it into shapes for tapestry. I'm excited too to try and interpret "Moon" above for tapestry. I love the pallette and some of the random marks and touches of heightened colour. I'd like to do a series on trees and tree of life motifs as they have such a strong cultural significance in textiles from around the world. I have an idea to try tapestry weaving on an inkle loom so I can weave images but on long bands and break out of the restricted format on the frame loom.
As usual, there aren't enough hours in the day!!
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