One of the artists in our Six Dames challenge was english artist, John Piper. I love his ethereal paintings of buildings, usually churches and often ruined. His dramatic use of light is inspiring.
Patsy is a beautiful pointer, living in France. I took this photo (on the right) of her in July 2020. I blew the image up and drew onto white cotton which I painted with fabric paints. Then I layered up with a felt backing and stitched. It is mounted on a simple wooden frame.
And the finished piece.
The challenge for September-December was to make something inspired by a portuguese artist - Nadir Afonso. He was a kinetic artist who began as an architect.
I didn't know his work, so did quite a bit of research and was quite worried about what I would be able to achieve as this was quite out of my comfort zone.
For some time I mulled over what to do and then decided to start with a scene I know well and try and inject some abstraction and movement into it. As I live near Bristol I decided to use a version of the famous view of the Suspension Bridge and perhaps to add a suggestion of hot air balloons for which Bristol is well known.
I began with a rough sketch, which seemed to have some movement that I could build on. I sized it up on an app and then drew a few of the lines onto white cotton.
I decided to make a few stencil shapes to keep the piece feeling free - I am aware that, generally, I draw, paint and stitch so densely that this would not be appropriate.
Once I got going, I really enjoyed myself and found I was working very quickly.
Then it was just a matter of layering up and stitching - stopping myself from overdoing it!
I belong to a wonderful online group and we call ourselves Six Dames as four of us are from the UK and two are from France.
I have posted about our work before - we each produce a piece once every three months based on a challenge. At the moment we take it in turns to suggest an artist and make a piece of work inspired by that artist.
The artist chosen for June-September was Pierre Bonnard.
As usual I did a few sketches and then, having decided on the dimensions I wanted (16" X 16") I drew some outlines onto white cotton and began to paint.
I wanted to feature the colours that Bonnard uses so well - vibrant jade/green and orange in particular.
I love the paintings he did looking through windows and so that was my aim.
This piece was inspired by a magical trip I took, with my son, at the beginning of this year, just before the Lockdown nightmare. We travelled up through the fjords of Norway to way beyond the Arctic Circle and absolutely loved it. We were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights too. It will always be a wonderful memory.
I sketch my picture and then, when I am satisfied with this, I blow the drawing up to the size I want and, using a light box, draw the outlines onto white cotton, using an ordinary pencil. Then I can fill in as much detail as I want.
The next stage is to paint, using fabric paints. Sometimes I use bits of sponge to add a little texture.
After painting I layer up in the usual way and stitch – generally fairly densely. Sometimes I will go back in with a little more paint until I am happy with the result.
A number of us got together in the early stages of Lockdown to make work and meet via Zoom to talk about how lockdown was affecting us. We decided on a brief "Magic Carpet" and all undertook to produce a piece of work. This is the result......
It seemed to me that I ought to do something during Lockdown to record what is going on and how I feel about it. I decided to make a Lockdown Diary - this will be in book form, eventually. I am making pages which are 8" square. There is not a page for each day, but I am recording things which occur to me, or I feel are important at the time. I hope there is some humour, as well as some despair.
These are just a few of the pages to date.
More to come.............
I belong to a group of six women - four from England and two from France, calling ourselves Six Dames.
We completed our first two year challenge recently and have now begun our second.
Every third month one of us will decide on an artist and we must make a piece "in the style of" or at least as a response to that artist. The first artist was chosen by Claire Passmore and is Cesar Manrique. He is very well known in Lanzarote where he has had an enormous influence on the architecture and art of the country.
I had been to Lanzarote some years ago and had visited the Cesar Manrique gardens. I loved the wall that he had decorated and decided to use this idea myself, but to paint it with topical graffitti i.e. Covid-19 - as it is currently dominating our lives.
I kept the background sunny and cheerful in the hope that we will feel this way again some day!
I forgot I had made this piece for the challenge issued by the Chair of Bristol Quilters. The brief was that it should measure 12" X 30" and should have a line across at some point.
This place is purely imaginary, but I liked the idea of reflections.
This series is my response to the death of my husband. It is probably obvious that this represents the turmoil I felt at the time.
Leaving II is a more general representation as it could mean many types of losing someone.
Leaving III still shows John leaving, but is, hopefully, a little calmer and slightly more accepting. I don’t intend to make any more in this series.
It has been nine or ten months since I added anything to this blog.
There are two main reasons for this.
The first, and main reason, is that my husband became ill towards the end of October last year and deteriorated rapidly, dying just before Christmas. I had little interest in either creating or writing a blog for some time.
When I did start to paint and stitch again, I found that I couldn't get into my website to do anything and it is only because my very good friend, Chrisse, sorted things out for me that I am writing this today.
I haven't done a lot this year, but one thing I did complete was my entry for the SAQA Made in England III exhibition and I am glad to say it was accepted. The title is "A View through the Window". It is painted with a bit of piecing and a lot of applique. It will be exhibited first at The West Country Quilt Show at the end of August in Bristol and will go on to Quilt Expo in Villefranche-sur-Saone, France next spring and then (I think) to Czechoslovakia and Germany later in the year.
The challenge issued by Anne - current Chair of Bristol Quilters - was to make a quilt (no particular size) that must in some way be weather-related and must also use a piece of the fabric issued at random - I got a piece of red and white spotted fabric.
I like a bit of drama, so a storm seemed appropriate. I also like buildings and perspective and so the idea for my quilt began to ferment in my mind. I wanted some relevant text in the piece and so used the quote "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain". I know this has been used over and over, but it is still relevant and I like it.
The plan was to paint the background in murky, rainy colours - very muted. The sky was to be dark and stormy with a flash of light to show up the figures dancing in the rain. I also wanted to put in silhouettes of figures huddled against the weather - again to create a contrast with the (hopefully) exuberant dancing pair.
I started with a rough drawing, marking in the perspective lines.
I wanted a large area of sky so I could emphasise the storm and create a bit of drama.
Next I took a photo of my drawing and, using an upsizing app on the Mac, I scaled it to the size I wanted. (the finished quilt is 20" X 28")
I pinned this onto my design wall and started playing with positioning of the text and various anonymous figures.
Putting something weighty in the bottom of a piece helps with the perspective and anchors the picture.
This doesn't look very impressive but is the beginning of getting the lines and some colour onto the cloth.
Below is the finished quilt.
I played around with some colour to represent reflections in the wet street and made sure I used the red and white spotty fabric. I had thought of using it for umbrellas, but that seemed just too obvious.
I quite like the little bit in the binding to balance the red in the quilt.
Dancing in the Rain.
A few more pictures from a recent Paint and Stitch workshop at Midsomer Quilting. The first three are unfinished but with the very useful addition of a couple of black paper 'Ls' we can see how they will turn out.
Jenny sent me the photo of her completed piece - inspired by a photograph taken in her garden and enlarged.
I did a bit of sun-printing today - it was so bright that it didn't take long. I'm not sure what I shall do with the results, but I am quite pleased.
I had a great day teaching a workshop to Guildford Quilters, following a talk the day before. It took place in a charming village hall in a very pretty village near Guildford with lots of wonderful Pugin chimneys.
The ladies worked hard and produced some fantastic results. Most of these are unfinished at this stage.
I have family living in Guildford, so was able to stay with them and see two of my granddaughters, which was a joy.
Deena kindly sent me a photo of her finished piece - which looks fabulous.
I was changing the drop cloth on my printing board recently (not very large - about 20" X 30") and thought it was such a waste to abandon the old, saturated one.
What to do with it?
I washed it thoroughly and decided to make it into a bag. In fact I had two, so it made sense.
I could have left it there and just made a decent bag, but I decided I felt like painting, so I made pockets from painted panels of shoes - nothing new, just copies of four of the pairs of shoes on my "In These Shoes?" quilt.
The results are ......... different?!
I spent a lovely day at Ardington last week, with my friend Claire Passmore. We went to a class taken by Jessica Rose who is a linocut artist and teacher. She had developed a new way of colouring a linocut.
We printed our cut blocks onto a special, thin, japanese paper and mounted this over watercolour paper which we had painted with blocks of colour - great fun and very effective.
Another lovely group of ladies at the workshop last week. We were doing a "paint and stitch" day. Some very original ideas and a lot of talent.
A great day teaching a workshop for Brockhampton Quilters. Such different and original work. The lunch and Georgina's organisation were magnificent!
Most of these are works in progress, taken during the day.
I meant to put this on after the class in March - I thought I had!
We had a great class at MQ with a great variety in results. Here are some of the pieces of work - not usually finished, but well on the way.
I am exhibiting at Quilt Expo in Villefrance-Sur-Saone this year. Do come and visit if you are around the Beaujolais region. There will be masses to see.
I am certainly not the only person who has been snow dyeing in the past week. You have to grab the opportunity when you can.
I soda-soaked various bits and pieces of fabric and put them into cat litter trays. Then it is just a question of covering everything in snow and sprinkling procion dye powder over the top.
I put the trays into the garage, which is pretty cold and left them for about 36 hours until the snow had melted. Then lots of rinsing in cold then hot water.
This is how one tray looked before rinsing.
These are the end results. Some interesting patterns. Not sure what I will do with them, but it was fun to do. A similar result can be obtained by using lots of ice cubes instead of snow.
I love textiles and especially quilting.