I recently completed this little piece (25cm x 25cm). It has 25 found beer bottle tops trapped between layers of linen and a lot of small stitches. Once all the stitching was complete it was dipped into tea so that the rusty bottle tops could stain their surrounding fabric and stitches in their own special way. It will be shown as part of 25 x 25 x 25 at the Mall Galleries, London alongside the Society of Designer Craftsmen’s 25th annual Designer Crafts exhibition in January.
Later this week I’ll be at the Knitting and Stitching show in harrogate. On Thursday I’ll be stewarding part of the day in the Prism exhibition Coded : Decoded, in which I have some work on show. On Friday I’ll be demonstrating in the Artists in Action area on stand C590. Do come and say hello if you’re visiting.
I’ve been stitching away for a few weeks in between other things. I’m experimenting with different ways to stitch with and round the various rusty bits and pieces that find their way into my pockets on a daily basis – a kind of rust journal. It starts out white and I’m enjoying the crispness of white on white, but it will change.
These ones are being trapped and stitched round. They will then go outside in the weather to see what marks the rust will make on the cloth and thread they’re embedded within.
This is a different piece, one that is now living in the garden and has started to develop marks.
This is a section of my studio wall at the moment. I’m really enjoying the routine of working in the studio and at home. My diary is relatively sensible at the moment so I’m making the most of it. I’m working on a number of small projects, although they are all linked in some way (perhaps the link is me!) and some may grow to be much bigger: one thing really does lead on to the next idea. I enjoy the experimenting stage of any project, probably more than making the final work, which can be daunting for various reasons. Sometimes I can’t keep up with the ideas and all the things I want to try – the sketchbook becomes incredibly precious as a repository for thoughts and ideas. These are some of the things going on at the moment:
I took down my installation at The Bowery last weekend (with the help of my small assistant). It was potentially a rather sad day as the paper pieces that I’d collaged directly onto the wall were going to have to be scraped off. I didn’t know whether they would come off in salvageable pieces or if the whole thing would break up. I had resolved myself to this site specific piece (the paper extension to my linen Spurn Cloth #2) being an ephemeral work and likened it to the erosion and change that is happening constantly at Spurn, where the pieces were based on.
Someone suggested I should have filmed the process of putting the installation up, building up the collage on the wall – great idea, but I’d already put it up when they suggested it! So I decided to record the taking down instead. Here is the result, although the quality isn’t great it gives an idea of how the pieces surrounded you in the gallery (the first half is shots taken from the middle of the room looking round the walls and then it goes back the other way tracking the removal of the work and leaving an empty gallery again.
Here is a glimpse of the un-wrapped bundles that I showed earlier in the week. I pinned them up in my studio and have been getting to know them a little. The marks can be so surprising and sometimes so very subtle, while other times really strong. I love the creases and folds that remain from how the bundle has been bound and from what it has been bound round. They are like the ridges and dips left in wet sand twice a day when the tide recedes. These three-dimensional elements have dictated what I do next: some are left exactly as they are, some are stitched to a backing to preserve the creases, some are ironed because the marks are more important than the creases. The decision making is quite organic: I can have a plan of what I’m aiming for but really the piece is dictated by what happens along the way.
This group (with one other piece) are called Sand Marks. They will hang as a group but will be staggered so that they sit together as one, balancing each other. I’m looking forward to seeing them completed.
I was reminded this week that I hadn’t shared the results of my little avocado dyed rolls of fabric and paper from a few weeks ago. I had originally intended to unroll them and hoped that this would reveal a graduated tone of dye on the long strips.
I really rather like the form they are in, so even after they dried out I left them in their little bundles. They’re like a group of people each with a personality of its own. But the whole point was to see what marks I would get on the strips so I started to undo one of the paper rolls. It was stuck together. There was no way it was going to unroll without tearing. I tentatively undid one of the fabric rolls and this came apart more easily. It does have a lovely graded mark and there are some darker clumpy bits on the section that was on the outside of the roll.
One of the strips of paper I dyed wasn’t tied up like the others and was loosely curled. This one unrolled easily and has a lovely stripe of the pinky orangey dye along the bottom with splashes further up the paper.
The rest will stay as rolls. I like them as they are.