31 March 2006
30 March 2006
29 March 2006
In November Karen had a show at Rebecca Hossack gallery in Charlotte Street. She said that, freed of a brief, able to do whatever she wanted, she didn't know where to start - for a moment. But in the fashion world "design innovation and speed is what keeps me in business" - so it didn't take her long to get going, and she came up with stunning designs presented in the form of wrap-around skirts. Her flea market finds were incorporated in them -- unpainted farm animals, bra elastic, striped ribbons, laces -- all with amazing results.
They were spread out at the front of the room before and after the talk, and were mobbed by curious, appreciative, and delighted textile lovers.
The lacy effect is made on tulle with bra elastic, embellished with the type of ribbon you might hang war medals from --
This next one is called Black Forest and has, along with the dancing bears, silhouettes reminiscent of those "cows going up the mountain" pictures -- and two long black stockings to act as pockets! See the whole thing, and better pix of the others, at http://www.r-h-g.co.uk/ under "western artists" then "Karen Nicol".
"Spot the Dog" was once a linen tablecloth. Karen made the cutwork on her Irish machine (it has a wide satin stitch, controlled by a knee lever -- and you can work very close to the needle to add in fringe, fabric, etc) -- she used a tighter tension so some of the black bobbin thread would show. The dog is at the front of the wrap skirt, and there are other motifs among the cutwork. Karen's birds are delightful.
Another bird, among some amazing 3D flowers, embroidered on the Irish machine.Karen said she trusts in luck and draws with confidence. "I always carry a little notebook with me -- and I get inspiration from everything -- it's something I think of all the time -- it's my big pleasure."
I loved the witty titles of her pieces, too. One called "Shot Silk" had embroidered birds taken out of those paintings of still lives with dead game -- beautiful irridescent feathers, but the birds were hanging upside down. In between, cut-out circles of various sizes. First the gorgeousness of the piece hits you, then you look more closely and there's something rather subversive.
25 March 2006
23 March 2006
21 March 2006
17 March 2006
Between speakers we had a chance to get a close look at the work - this was one of the less busy moments during the breaks.
Interesting clothes were being worn, bags carried, jewellery, hair ...
15 March 2006
Also I prefer the more random strips, rather than the regularity of these expanding squares. But it makes for all sorts of other possibilities.
Toooo many stripes at the moment! (And that bit of green doesn't pass the audition.)
14 March 2006
08 March 2006
07 March 2006
Took the other, which isn't quilted yet, just pieced, as well. It needs something on the right. That's Erik looking the other way. Tricia used hand-dyes for hers, and plans to make another. It has a controlled explosion effect -- Jean has her fabrics chosen and ready --
Traciy has just moved house (and painted every room) - and is ready to get to work in her new sewing room.
04 March 2006
Other fabrics. A more restricted range of possibilities --
And now the (interim) results. This has grown to nearly 80cm square, and thereabouts it will have to stop.This started with a scrap left over from the other, and is about 60cm, and still growing --
Neither is turning into a labyrinth. But there are many fabrics yet to use....
01 March 2006
Here's one called "Repose" (not sure if repose is what's on her mind...) by John White Alexander, 1856-1915. The booklet says: "The theme of the idealised woman in an elegant interior setting ensured international success for Alexander in the 1890s. His familiaryity with contemporary French aesthetic taste is evident here. The sitter's sinuous curves and languorous expression are provocative and alluring."After hot chocolate in the cafe, we stood in the portico and took photos of people in Trafalgar Square.