Leaf Stitching is showing this week in London and I’m enjoying being back in the calm space that is the Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery. This exhibition is all about detail. Most of the pieces are intimate in scale and they draw you in to notice their intricacies. Small careful stitches punctuate the natural leaf material; the colours and surface qualities of the leaves invite close inspection.
I have a flurry of workshops at the moment for various groups, which is getting me out and about around the country. In between those and the preparation for them I am making final touches to work for my exhibition Leaf Stitching at the Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery, London in a couple of weeks. It seems very fitting to have this exhibition as autumn is upon us and I hope it will be a celebration of the leaf at a time when we become particularly aware of these wonderful objects.
As well as pieces featured in the book I published earlier this year with the same title there will be some more recent leaf stitching I have been working on, including 2D and 3D pieces. The Oak leaf Quilt I made a few months ago will be there, and some panels made from eucalyptus leaves that are still work in progress…
My Leaf Stitching books have just arrived, hot off the press from the printers. The book is now available here. This book forms a photographic record of a series of experiments with leaves and hand stitch that I have been playing about with for a couple of years. As it says in the afterword: This book illustrates a line of inquiry, the following of a thought process.
Some of the pieces that feature in the book, and others that don’t, will be exhibited this Autumn at the Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery, London.
This comes with wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful 2015. The holiday time brings a necessary pause, a change in routine and a chance to relax and reflect. Walks each day this week have been wonderfully varied. The same walk done a few days apart was invigorating in very different ways – first with a few inches of snow transforming the landscape into a monochrome graphic version of itself, the second in wind and rain with russets, greys and greens of winter wood and moor. More images are here.
The Society of Designer Craftsmen annual exhibition takes place at The Mall Galleries in London from 8th to 17th January. My 25 Beer Bottle Tops will be in the special 25th anniversary section of the exhibition. I have some invitations for the preview on 9th January. If you would like one of these send me an email and I’ll pop one in the post to you.
I will be in London next week with the final showing for Tide Marks this year. In addition to the opening hours shown above there will be a poetry reading on Thursday 25th at 6pm. This will be by Nigel Morgan, who wrote the beautiful poems for my Tide Marks book. It will be great to have the poems read amongst the work that they sit alongside on the page. Do come along if you’re able to. I will be in the gallery all week.
Yesterday I finished off my extended pavement piece and sent it off with other work to the Mall Galleries in London. It will be on show as part of Designer Crafts from Friday 10th to Sunday 19th january. Pavement is over 2 metres long and hangs down the wall and out onto the floor (or plinth as galleries don’t generally allow things draping on the floor).
As with my previous Pavement Pieces, this includes rust prints and collagraph prints, all using street-combed items and the layers are hand stitched. I’ve been plugging away at this one for two or three months so it is good to see it finally finished. I look forward to seeing it in the gallery when I’m there on 19th for my stint as a steward.
In addition to the gallery exhibition there will be a ‘Shop within the show’ where there will be items for sale that can be taken away rather than waiting for the end of the exhibition. I’ve sent a range of mounted small Pavement Pieces and some new Printed Fragments and these will be in the shop.
This weekend I will be showing work alongside my fellow Society of Designer Craftsmen members from the Hallam region. We will be at Art in the Gardens in Sheffield’s botanic garden. The weather forecast is horrid but I’m assured the event is a lovely one and there will be lots of great art to see and buy. The show is open on Saturday and Sunday between 10.30 and 5.30.
do something pretty while you can Belle and Sebastian
I am always open to opportunities for creating something and this is particularly important when I’m in the middle of a period that doesn’t feel very productive creatively.I love long journeys, especially on a train (as long as it all goes to plan, but even if it doesn’t there is something of an adventure about it when you have to be flexible suddenly as things change). I love that flashing past of landscape and tiny snapshots of detail. Sometimes I’ll just let it flow past me and other times I want to record it.
I traveled to London again this weekend to be in the gallery for a day and then take down the Mall exhibition, which, by the way, was a real pleasure to have been involved in. Spending time alone is refreshing and being away from home somehow forces you to spend time thinking.
I have a little sketch book in my bag at all times. This one is a new one and has just words so far (wiggly ones as most were written on a moving train). Here are some of the words from my journey:
It has been the most sparklingly beautiful of winter days clear blue sky all day bright but pale sunshine and a hard frost, which has remained in place all day wherever the sun hasn’t reached.
The almost-setting sun races along on my right sometimes almost blinding sometimes obscured from view by a wall or partially by the filigree network of silhouetted trees.
The shapes of the trees cannot hide in this clear light each one standing tall and naked and still shadows cast by the low sun turn an otherwise featureless field into a striking series of ridges
A frozen pond an abandoned playground church steeples church towers an old windmill tower all grey silhouettes cut out shapes against an only-just blue sky
A solitary small cloud shaped like a child’s drawing of a horse now a camel then some kind of sea creature is crossed by a small flock of birds. Where do they go with such purpose on as cold a day as this?
The fiery orange ball slips into the horizon haze swiftly changing the mood bleached stubble in disarray over dark earth Suddenly the clarity is gone a mist adds to the gathering darkness.
On my return journey it was dark all the way so I couldn’t see out of the window. Instead I read the whole of a book that I was given for my last birthday but hadn’t opened yet (see the list of books by my bed): A Bigger Message – Conversations with David Hockney, by Martin Gayford. I love the fact that you can read a whole book on one journey. I would never sit and read a book like that at home, always too much else to do.
David Hockney is someone for whom my admiration and respect grow all the time. Before moving to Saltaire I knew very little about him and, for me, his work has taken time to ‘get’. Having a major collection of his work a few minutes walk away from my home means that I’ve been able to get to know it slowly. He is such an exciting artist who is constantly pushing things. Inspiring stuff!
Designer Crafts at the Mall opens tonight with a private view and is then open 10-5 until Sunday 15th January. The Mall Galleries are situated right next to Admiralty Arch, round the corner from Trafalgar Square and just along the road from Buckingham Palace.
Here’s how the exhibition took shape earlier this week:
There is a wonderfully vibrant mix of work in a whole range of different craft media. The curators did a wonderful job placing work so that it was complimented by the other work around it. My pieces sit between beautiful wooden furniture and earthy coloured ceramics.
Sadly I can’t make it tonight for the opening but I will be back down in London for the final day of the exhibition. Do let me know if you get to see it.