Westmorland Landscape Prize

Findings : 71 Objects has been selected to be part of the Westmorland Landscape Prize exhibition, which runs from 13 September to 10 November at the Rheged Centre, just outside Penrith. If you’re in the North West during that time do pop in and have a look. There are over 70 artists from all over the UK, showing a range of work that ‘celebrates and interrogates our relationship with the landscape’.

Gallery openings

My exhibition Findings continues until Sunday 20th January at SNAPArts, Wakefield. This is a private gallery and there are two dates in January when it will be open, otherwise visits can be arranged by appointment (contact details in previous post). The open dates are:

Tuesday 8th Jan: 11 – 5

Sunday 20th Jan: 1 – 5

I hope to be there in the gallery on both dates and look forward to talking to visitors about the work. As well as the two groups of 60 objects shown in the images, there are framed and unframed works on show.

Findings #3

This week sees the third incarnation of my Findings. I was really pleased to be invited to show my work at SNAPArts in Wakefield and spent yesterday hanging the exhibition. It’s always interesting showing work in a new space and exploring different ways of presenting it. I’m pleased with how the work has come together, in particular the two groups of 60 objects mentioned on the flyer above (I’ll post some images once the exhibition is open). The show includes a mix of work from recent projects: as well as ‘objects’ from Findings there are some of my Leaf Stitching and Rust Diaries pieces.

The exhibition opens as part of the Wakefield Art Walk on Wednesday evening. After the opening event the exhibition is open by appointment until 20th January – contact Jane to arrange a visit:

SNAPArts

Walker House

22 Bond Street

Wakefield

WF1 2QP

info@snaparts.co.uk

01924 361333

curious objects

Last week I installed North Atlantic Drift: Curious Objects. This exhibition uses a wonderful ‘cabinet of curiosities’ at the Old Low Light down on the fish quay in North Shields, Tyneside. The cabinet, which was designed especially for the space, sits amongst a fascinating multi-media heritage exhibition. There are many drawers of different dimensions and scales, with plinths and boxes on top.

This collection of altered found items and constructed forms are based on objects gathered from northern coastal locations of the British Isles. The materials have been subjected to the forces of North Atlantic Drift (the northern extension of the Gulf Stream); they have been shifted, displaced, scoured, tangled and fractured. Organic and man-made debris, floating on currents or shifted by water and tide, is intermingled, broken down and re-configured.

The space is filled with my altered and constructed objects until 30th June.

drawing tools

I’ve been exploring what there is on my allotment, including all the things I have inherited from the previous owner(s). As well as plants and the structure of beds that contain them (or not!), there are many other objects and materials with potential use to me. The site is a sort of palimpsest, a record of the different layers of activity and lives that have worked the plot.

Rusty old tools, which at first seemed pretty useless, are being put to use at times – if a hammer is a bit rusty it still works as a hammer! I’ve been drawing some of these tools and other objects using my home-made inks. These are made from previously gathered walnuts and oak galls, neither of which I am likely to find on my plot. But I have plans for making inks with things that do grow here.

Drawing really makes me look at the detail of these objects: the nature of the surfaces; the curve of a handle; the structures that make up the forms. It is deep looking and allows for good thinking time.

Le Mans exposition

My exhibition in Le Mans, France opened this weekend, hosted by the town of Le Mans and facilitated by Atelier de Genevieve. I’m incredibly grateful to Genevieve for organising and curating the exhibition. The layered, peeling paint and crumbling textures on the walls of the Pavilion Monod make a wonderful backdrop to the neutral tones of my work. The exhibition is on until 29th October.

Findings in a line

We hung Findings last week at the Ropewalk Gallery, Barton on Humber. This gallery suits my work very well in both scale and environment and I am really pleased with how the exhibition looks. Having hung this body of work on three different gallery spaces during the Knitting and Stitching Shows last year it is good to have had some time to reflect and then show it again, making a few changes to how the work is presented. There are some additions as I sold some pieces from the original show; some pieces have been re-mounted for the wall rather than being shown on plinths; my recent walking book series has been incorporated as these book structures record many of the locations that feature in the rest of the work.

This time the work hangs in one continuous line, so you can take a journey through the objects, studying each one in turn. Each individual piece is intimate in scale and the detail is all-important. Together they form a much bigger whole and I hope that they tell a story; each viewer reading a slightly different narrative.

Shall I take you on a walk around the gallery? I can’t show you every piece (there are over 200) but this will give you a good flavour of the work…

As many of you will know, there is a publication which accompanies this body of work. Findings, which has close-up images of much of the work as well as writing that links the pieces to the places that they record and essays by Nigel Morgan, is available to order here. The exhibition continues until 3rd September.

DIS/rupt

DIS/rupt opens today at the Museum in the Park and tomorrow at Lansdown Hall Gallery, Stroud. This exhibition and associated events is by the Textile Study Group and is launching as part of SIT select. There are twenty members showing work across the two venues and some of us are teaching workshops linked to the project. You can read more about DIS/rupt here, book onto workshops, the DIS/rupt symposium and see all the other events happening here and you can read a bit more about the work I have made for this exhibition here.

The Private View for the exhibitions are this Friday – do come along if you can.

flax

I spent most of last week on a workshop in Devon at the studio of Susie Gillespie. I do quite a lot of teaching now and I feel it is really important to be on the other side of that sometimes too. The workshop was all about growing, processing and spinning flax into yarn and then weaving with it. It was a really stimulating workshop in a lovely location and I felt very lucky indeed to have had the opportunity to be there.

There is a lovely vocabulary that goes with this activity: retting, rippling, combing, breaking, scutching…

It is quite an involved business to get this small hand full of fibres ready to spin. I quickly developed a huge respect for peoples of the past whose only way to have cloth was through this series of processes.

I’ve not done any spinning before, although I do have my Granny’s spinning wheel in the cellar. I’m hoping to use it now I’ve had an introduction. The linen yarn I spun was very hairy and more like rough string than beautiful linen thread, but it is a start and I am looking forward to improving my spinning skills.

It was also good to see a little of the surrounding landscape with walks along part of the River Dart and a windy bit of the coast at Man Sands.

We did some natural dyeing, ending up with a lovely colour palette of linen threads to play with and incorporate into our weaving. I was asked to lead a stitching session on one of the days: we used the dyed threads and a host of items we collected on our walks.

I will be teaching with Susie in April and August this year and I’m really looking forward to returning to this lovely pocket of Devon.

drawing

I’ve really enjoyed drawing recently. Drawing is an important part of my practice but the product of it is usually not shared. I’ve been drawing with graphite and home-made oak gall ink, which has captured a surface quality that I’m really pleased with.

I found this squashed rusty bucket a couple of years ago and it has been sitting waiting for attention in my studio. It is squashed flat so that the metal has creased and folded like cloth. It reminds me of one of Cornelia Parker’s steam-rollered objects.

I have been studying galls of as many varieties as I can find. This drawing will form part of work I will be showing with the Textile Study Group later this year. I’ll write more about that another time…