The autumn Knitting and Stitching Shows are upon us, with the Alexandra Palace show opening on Wednesday 5th October. My front room is full of Findings in boxes waiting to be loaded into the car and taken down to London tomorrow. There are still some unknowns about exactly how the work will fit in the space: it is impossible to test it out fully and the actual space may well feel very different to the imagined one. But careful planning means that I hope it will come together successfully over the next couple of days. As I was making the final fixings and preparations I got really quite excited about how this collection of objects will come together next week. I’m looking forward to seeing it all together on display rather than in and out of boxes in the studio.
My Findings book, published to accompany the exhibition, arrived a few days ago and this will be available at the show along with my other titles. The new book is now on the shop and will be available to order in the next few days. I have put a page with the work list of all the items in the exhibition here. This lists titles and prices and is intended for reference whilst viewing the show or as a reminder afterwards. It isn’t possible to post images of all the work but I hope to be able to show how the exhibition looks once it is up.
I spent last week in a quiet part of Cumbria. It was a working week but in a beautiful location away form home and studio. We made time to explore a bit as well, enjoying the sweeping views across the valley and the changing weather patterns.
Almost exactly a year ago I had a similar week working here and came across an old lime kiln that had been used recently as a bonfire site; a place to dispose of various bits of agricultural rubbish. You can see this structure on the picture above, in the middle near the bottom. What remained amongst the ash and nettles were various bits of metal, rusty and burnt. Some of these objects formed the starting points for a section of my Findings project. I brought this group of work back with me, intending to photograph them ‘on location’. So last Friday, with good light conditions and a pleasant breeze, the pieces accompanied me on a walk up onto the edge of the fell until I found a suitable limestone rock. This was within view of the old lime kiln and made a very suitable foil for my line of Findings.
I’m now in the midst of putting together the book to accompany the exhibition. This publication, like my previous self-published books, tells the story of the project. Images and words are gathered together from the places that sparked off the ideas, the making of the work and the finished pieces.
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…
The summer holidays are almost upon us and with them the mix of relief (I could do with a break!) and dread (how on earth do I fit in all the work I need to do whilst also enjoying time with the family?). I know I’m not the only one to feel that way about school holidays and it really will be lovely to have some time away from the normal routine.
Yesterday I delivered Tide Marks to Artlink in Hull ready for them to put it up for my exhibition which opens on 26th July. There is a preview on Friday 25th from 6-8pm so if you are in the area do come along. Each time an exhibition goes up in a different gallery there can be different hanging requirements. As I’m not hanging it myself this time I decided the best way to deal with the little woven pieces that make up Tide Line was to mount them onto a piece of wood so that they are effectively one piece. This took far longer than I thought (each one is sewn to the wood) but I’m pleased with the result and I just managed to squeeze it into my little car to take it over to Hull. I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks next week when I go back for the preview.
Textures of Spurn opens tomorrow at The Ropewalk gallery in Barton upon Humber. I’m braving the snow we have forecast and hoping to be there tomorrow, even if no one else comes! I delivered the work on Tuesday and had time with Richard, Exhibitions Officer, deciding how to hang the work. It is such a different space from the lighthouse! I found the space quite daunting at first and was concerned that the work wasn’t going to have the impact it had in the previous setting. By the time I left (in the snow – North Lincolnshire was looking gorgeous) I was really pleased with how it was coming together and I’m excited about seeing it all complete tomorrow.
If you don’t have far to travel and the snow allows then do come along – it’ll be warm in the gallery! The exhibition is on until 24th February.
You’ve really got to prepare if you’re going to be spontaneous
I’m preparing to print but there is a lot to get ready before I can. I’ve cut card for collagraph bases; made a registration sheet to go on the print bed; trimmed my press blankets to size; covered the bed in plastic so it is wipeable; made a board for weighing down damp paper; cut down my A2 paper to A4…
Before I can print I need to: buy some meths to dilute the shellac in; finish making and seal my first batch of collagraph plates; mix up some inks; soak and blot some paper…
Meanwhile, I’m gathering together recent stitched paper samples and experimenting a little with stitches on the prints I made a few months ago.
The weather is all over the place: yesterday it rained persistently for a few hours, then felt very spring like and I dried washing outside and took photos while there was sunshine streaming into the house, then I walked in the woods in wind and hail. In my studio I now have daylight bulbs so at least the light is a bit more consistent in there.
I can finally see from one side of my studio to the other! I’ve spent a good deal of time this week sorting, unpacking and tidying in the studio. I might even be able to work in there next week.
I’m becoming a dab hand with a drill, having put shelves, blinds and curtain rails up in various places around the house over the last couple of weeks. These shelves may not look much but they enabled me to unpack various boxes, which makes a big difference to the space. I’m finding all sorts of ways to make the best use of the space I have. In the midst of all the sorting I longed for a clean white-walled empty space, but I know it wouldn’t last long: I’d only fill it with things.
These old school trays are just brilliant and are home to all sorts of bits and pieces.
I’m itching to get to work in there and it won’t be long now before I can.