Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Silk paper and presentations

Another busy week working on my Battle of Britain lace panel. I’ve made some silk paper, which I’m using to represent the smoke and flames around the image of St Paul’s Cathedral. I always find making silk paper very relaxing. Assembling all the equipment and finding a spray dispenser that works can be frustrating, but I love the feel of the soft silk as you pull it from the skein and place it on the surface. It also has to be made in a calm mood as sudden movements are liable to displace everything, causing the cushion of silk fibres to blow away in a tangle. I also like the unpredictability of it. It isn’t an exact science and the final results are always a combination of how the fibres and medium are interacting on that day. The piece I made this week is still drying so I won’t know the final outcome until it dries completely and I can remove the outer holding layers of net.

As well as the silk paper, I’ve also been finalising a talk I’m giving at Bentley Priory next week about the old panel and my new ones. Putting that together has been very interesting as I’ve had to think through all the steps I’ve been through and the reasoning behind each decision in order to make a coherent presentation. I’ve also had to choose images to accompany the words and take more photos to fill the gaps where I don’t have an image of what I’m talking about. It has been very helpful to get everything sorted into a proper account and I’m sure it will be useful for talks later in the year as well.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Biographies and summaries

Over the Christmas break I had to write three biographies and summaries about myself and my work for three different lace events I’m taking part in during 2018. Each one was for a slightly different audience so I felt I had to emphasise different things for each one and supply images that went with what I was writing. It made me realise how important these summaries can be in defining what you do and how you promote yourself. For example, should I call myself a lacemaker or a textile artist? I decided on lacemaker for the exhibition aimed at fellow lacemakers, but textile artist for the one aimed at the general public. Also should I mention qualifications? They are obviously necessary for academic events and my work has developed from my PhD research so I do need to explain where it’s coming from, but I don’t want to put people off by sounding too esoteric. Images are quite tricky too as lace is notoriously difficult to photograph, however I did find cropping some of my images improved them. Basically I think writing about yourself is always slightly uncomfortable even though it has to be done to promote exhibitions, but it’s also hard work!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Lace plans for 2018

This is the traditional time of the year for looking back at what you’ve achieved and looking forward to future plans so I’ve been assessing my lace plans. The past year was mainly taken up with my Battle of Britain lace response which involved designing and working on the panels but also included photography and talks about it as well. That work will continue this year with a talk at Bentley Priory on 26 January and another on 15 March at Wollaton Hall where the panels will be displayed for the first time. After that the panels and the associated parachute installation will be exhibited at Gawthorpe Hall from July to November and following that at Bentley Priory from November through to March 2019. 
Other lace plans include a stand at the ‘Living lace’ exhibition during the World Lace Congress in Bruges in August and an exhibition of my work at Cranmore Park in Solihull as part of the Makit Christmas Fair on 1 December. I think for both of those exhibitions I’ll concentrate on my veils as they are a coherent body of work with a definite theme and I’m currently making a new one so there will also be something new to show too. As well as all this practical work I’d also like to get back to my research into net curtains and panels, which has been concentrated on the Battle of Britain panel for the past year. It would be good to get back to some of the earlier machine lace I was studying previously and drawing some of that research together. So, in summary, an exciting year ahead with lots of new projects and exhibiting opportunities.