31 October 2007
This time I wanted to do doves rather than chickens - inspired by the (misremembered!) dovecote at Rousham
My twists on Jane's instructions are: getting the bird shapes via cutting them out of paper rather than tracing a drawing, and using the bondaweb for the background - here it is drawn on the paper backing -- but I'd forgotten to reverse the drawing -
Here's the fabric palette - muted blues for the background, colourful silks for the doves -
The background in place, and an idea of how the little (and big) doves will fit in.When it came to adding the details, the coloured birds just didn't work. I'd been thinking about Picasso's "palomas" series in the Barcelona Picasso museum, in which the pigeons in his dovecote are white. It's enlightening to see how simply Picasso has depicted the doves - just a couple of circles - and in some of his lithographs, like this one here, the bird appears to be just a couple of squiggles!
Mine of course were much, much more laboured. Clunky, even. As I was laying out the pieces of the big bird, Tony happened by and moved the head and beak to the side, a tiny change that makes all the difference -- The "tail feathers" are done with free machining, and the eyes are french knots.To develop this further, I'd look harder at the structure in Picasso's pix and also do some ink-dropper drawings of memories of birds in motion and at rest (which will involve looking harder at birds in general). And be less restrained in my choice of fabric - look at the bright blues and ochres in the Picasso pix, after all. Just break out a bit, free up....
27 October 2007
Here’s my improvised lightbox. I’ve already used it, with the photo up on the screen, to trace the creature onto a bit of plastic, and am now retracing it onto unprimed canvas.
Next step is to paint. Why not blue? I used several washes of acrylic paint (the moire effect is confined to the photograph). The small dark areas are due to careless mixing of the paint – bits left in the brush – but that’s ok, we can use those to build the background. Anyway, they remind me of the poppies in the original picture. Then the stitching starts - by hand and machine.
I couldn’t get away from trying to make him look more realistic. And I couldn’t resist adding beads – even if they do look like a swarm of midges!
My big discovery is the “self-framing” effect of using stretchy fabric on the back. Do a “pillowcase” backing, trimming the seams very close to the stitching (zigzag round to stop any unwanted unravelling, then turn). Because the canvas is stiff, the stretchy fabric bends round it, making a thin frame. I used a velour here, and added the beads up the sides to keep that line of darkness in place.
When I send the letter to my 6 friends, I'll enclose a book for them. This clears some space on the shelves, always a problem. If you'd like a copy of my letter (and a book, possibly one of those above), email me or leave a comment.
The text is below in case you want to put a friend's name in the number 1 position and your own in the number 2 (or vice versa) and send it to 6 friends, with or without a book as an inducement.
Welcome to our paperback bookswap .. it's just for fun.
Please send a used paperback to the first name on the list enclosed.
Then re-do the list by:
1. Removing the name under number 1
2. Moving the name currently in the number 2 position to the number 1 position
3. Writing your name as number 2
There should only be 2 names on the list at a time. Send a copy of the new list to 6 of your friends who enjoy reading. Note - if you keep the list separate you can photocopy this page and send it out again.
If you can't participate within 2-10 days, please let me (person at number 2) know to be fair to the others who are participating.
A manila envelope will mail a paperback book. You should receive 36 books. It will be interesting to see where they come from and to what type of book you are introduced.
There is seldom a drop out. You should receive 36 books for the price of the one you have purchased and read.
or a runner
doing their daily thing.
Somehow I missed the entrance to Kenwood, and walked along beside the fence, experimenting with zoom and flash penetrating (or not) the gloomy woods beyond.
Overhead, the light came through golden leaves (the way it does)
In front of Kenwood House orangery is an ancient mulberry tree, or is it magnolia? Very old, anyway. The house was remodelled between 1764 and 1779 by Robert Adam for the great judge Lord Mansfield, and was bought in 1925 by brewing magnate Guinness. It's now part of English Heritage, and in it hang some amazing paintings - Vermeer's Guitar Player, and a Rembrandt, as well as lots by English artists. And the caf (in the old stables) is very popular.
Instead of stopping for coffee I went to visit the Henry Moore sculpture.Underfoot were wonderfully decaying leaves. Could be used for screenprinting resists....but I resisted taking any home.
24 October 2007
Now we are to be battery hens, laying golden eggs...
Behind these desks are two tall grey metal cupboards filled with "everything"- our reference books, our hanging files; they have doors that it's just too much effort to keep closed. After a while you no longer see your surroundings, don't you?
We got rid of lots of dusty old books (collected by The Man From Skoob). The shelves wait to be filled, perhaps with items belonging to the "hotdeskers" who will be squeezed into that half of the room.
As I walk up the stairs of a morning, I wonder what it will be like not to come in to the office any more (retirement age is getting uncomfortably close). This refurbishment has been a good opportunity to clear out the things that needed to be cleared sometime soon, but it's also been traumatic. For everyone.
20 October 2007
1. the numbers in my birthday add up to the month (no, not the 41st...)
2. no middle name on my birth certificate
3. my flat has woodchip wallpaper everywhere AND I DONT CARE
4. favourite journey: over the Forth Bridge
5. chocolate? can't be bothered! give me red wine instead...
6. first knitted garment was a white mohair cardigan at age 15
7. my misspent youth was spent in Pitt Meadows, BC
ok, thanks for reading, and can we have 7 volunteers to carry on the 7 facts thing please?
Now for the photos.
Those seasonal pumpkins were growing in the compost heap (er, one of the several large compost heaps) at Rousham, near Bicester (pronounced Bisster, would you believe it);
andthe floor at Stanfords, the map shop in Long Acre, Covent Garden (which has 3 floors and has maps on the floor of 2 of them). In finding the link I found an 1862 map of London - at that time my street was called Stroud Green Lane, and there was a railway station (already) but not much else, not even Finsbury Park - though there was a Hornsey Wood in the vicinity of what's now the park.
19 October 2007
16 October 2007
The "page" was the wrong shape so I treated it like a fragment of a page. Often you find the pictures cut out of manuscripts (or recent books) and treated as objects in their own right. Which disturbs me - cut up a book? sacrilege! - and might be a reason I'm uneasy with this piece.
The lettering uses shapes that are easy to embroider - the last picture in the previous post, the page from the Luttrell Psalter shows that I've misremembered the lettering. Or else, cunningly simplified it.... Anyway, the "words" are actually nonsense, and there are a few nonsense letter-forms in there too. This brings back memories of a palaeography course, many years ago, learning about the history of writing, and also of various calligraphy courses, learning how to use some of the different scripts.
Not sure whether to run letters across the felt on the right, or to leave it as is - at the moment it reminds me of a much-scraped page of vellum, ready for re-use; the word incunabula comes to mind, but wrongly - those are the earliest printed books. The word I'm looking for is palimpsest, a manuscript that has another text written over it. In fact the layers of felt evoke that - quite apart from being made from the "hair" that has to be removed from the sheepskin that becomes vellum. Enough, already.
13 October 2007
10 October 2007
Second thought - making the clouds into misty hills and adding roads going over the nearer hills -
But while we were out on Sunday morning, drinking in some culture and haunting a few bookshops, I saw a photo that appealed for this project, and scribbled it down to reinterpret in the fabrics on hand -
The edges are ironed under and then stitched down with invisible thread. Some of the areas are machine quilted
and here all the areas are machine quilted. It needs -- what?