Wednesday 25 February 2015

Lace for dust and decay

I’ve finished the first piece of lace for my Dust, Decay, Disintegration series. It’s inspired by my work on nineteenth century gothic novels and is looking at the decay of the home. This piece of lace is based on the tuberculosis bacillus, as consumption was a scourge of daily life and often mentioned in those novels (see posts in Nov and Dec 2014). I’m going to incorporate it into a curtain with silk fabric and silk paper combined with dust, as if the fluid material is stiffening into the crisp paper, due to the silting up caused by the dust in the home. I’ve started the lace for Decay, which represents the continuation of the silting up process, but although there will be less lace in that curtain – making the lace is more complicated because it has to give the impression of decay. It’s always difficult to mimic natural processes without looking contrived and I don’t have time to make the lace and let it decay naturally. Watch this space!

Thursday 19 February 2015

Codes and keys

This work entitled ‘Sea/land’ by Ian Hamilton Finlay, which I saw recently at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, caught my attention because it reminded me of cloth stitch in lacemaking. I liked the theme of the land and sea being interwoven and the idea of providing a key to explain the colour code for the different threads. I’m interested in coded communication and have worked with embroidered Morse code and QR codes to hide messages in textiles (see below).

Both Morse codes and QR codes require ‘keys’ to decipher them; the Morse code needs knowledge of the language and the QR code requires a reader on a smartphone. I also like to use layers of text that reveal hidden messages within them (see my virtual sampler post from  17 December 2014).

Thursday 12 February 2015

Art chain: Art challenge

I’ve been busy this week taking part in the Art chain and Art challenge projects on Twitter.  When I was first nominated I felt a bit overwhelmed and wasn’t sure what to post – the idea is that you post three images of your work on 5 days and nominate someone else to take part each day. I began by finding some images linked to different lace techniques, but then decided that themed days would be better than unrelated pieces. I decided on five themes: cells, memories, whisperings, marking time and subversive stitching. Once I’d decided on my themes finding the images to fit didn’t take long. I found the greatest problem was nominating someone else. At first I started by linking my nominations to the projects, so for example on the day I posted my ‘Memories are made of this’ series on memory loss, I nominated Jenni Dutton who produces beautiful work linked to dementia and memories. However, I found that some of my choices had already been nominated and others I wanted to nominate didn’t link to a particular project, so in the end I just chose people whose work I admire. It’s been great fun and interesting find three images each day to represent themes in my practice.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Reality questioned

This exhibition at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery brings together the work of several well known British artists from the early 20th century and a contemporary work by Tala Madani. The artists include Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, and John Nash and the exhibition considers their engagement with reality. It also looks at their influences and how they experimented with abstraction and illusion. I was particularly drawn to Barbara Hepworth’s 1948 work ‘The hands’ which depicts medical staff about to undertake an operation and was inspired by Hepworth’s time in hospital when her daughter underwent surgery. I love its meditative quality and the emphasis on the serenity and calmness of the hands held as if in prayer.