31 July 2014

"Contemporary crafts" course, day 2

Day 2 - textiles.
The makings of a monoprint session - all on paper so far
A "drawn" print - and its ghost print
(couldn't resist using neon)
Trying to focus on a set of marks
Demo of stencils plus drawing
The results
A series of fabric prints (I have patchwork plans for these...)
This doesn't look at all promising...
... but it found a place in my group of "made objects"
(more staples than stitches were used in construction)
Elsewhere, at the end of the day...
... and these too
This one gets the "yes it's definitely a textile" prize!

30 July 2014

"Contemporary crafts" course, day 1

You get some interestingly-marked tables in the art rooms at City Lit...!

The course runs all week and encompases four crafts - textiles, basketry, jewellery, ceramics. But first, an introductory day, setting the theme, showing some slides, and practising some mark-making.

The theme is "growth" - which has a wide range of interpretation, whether organic plant growth, urban growth, growing crystals, decay as the corollary of growth, etc etc.

Slides included some names new to me - Doug and Mike Starn's glass, Brian Nash Gill's woodcuts, Vera Neuman's textiles, Andrew Wicks' ceramics, Kelly Valetti's baskets, Stephen Johnson's baskets, Orlanda Broom's layered tropical landscapes, Arne Quinze's huge structures, Jennifer Mastre's baskets, Beatriz Milhazes, Michael Brennan Wood, Elana Herzog, Junko Mori...

Then it was out with the mixed media, resulting in a sheet full of marks -
Out came the viewfinders ("L-plates)
And next thing you knew, there were tasteful arrangements all over the walls
including the strips
The instructions for the strips were: choose two marks that were very different, put one at each end, and "do something" in the middle to join them together.
After some observational drawing from natural shapes, the day was suddenly at an end. We have a vocabulary of marks to take along with us -
my day's work
elsewhere in the room
a fab frame - resulting from the drawing of a knobbly, spiky twig
Under my cut-out mark sheet, the same marks as at the start of the day -

29 July 2014

It can be the simple thing

Do you have one of these?
It's a "secure key" for logging on with internet banking. I've recently had a LOT of practice with it, trying to make an extra payment on my credit card.

First I was puzzled by having to enter my secure PIN (this turned out to be my "usual" PIN), and along the way messed up with entering it correctly - honestly, four numbers, how difficult can that be?

Then I mistyped the number it generated, or my password - or both! - and it was back to Square One. Several times.

Then, working from the account and reference details given by the card company, I got as far as thinking the payment was made ... only to be redirected to Square Two by a message saying the account was already set up, go back and make it through that channel.

Having found the right card from a sequence of drop-down lists, I followed the instructions and got as far as verifying the payment - using the Secure Key. And that's where the fun started.

No matter how carefully I entered the (long) password on screen - or the 4-digit code on the Key, error messages abounded - so many times that a phonecall to the bank was needed. And they are very helpful and patient there - back and forth to technical support, and after all the usual things failed and a rogue screen full of html appeared and couldn't be got rid of, I got to talk to the tech support person myself.

She took me back to absolute basics [humiliating? maybe...] and we logged off and logged on again, etc etc...

But you know there's going to be A Moment Of Revelation ... it came with the 4-digit code needed for the Key. Reading "reference" in the instructions - and having a bank reference number - well, I used that. But right next to the word reference was "/card number" ... and, you guessed it, I should have been typing in the last four digits of my credit card number, to which the payment was headed. DUH!

The take-home message ... should you find yourself in a loop of escalating frustration like this ... really is: start all over again. Re-read all the instruction - pay attention!

A tip that might come in handy, if you're using this payment system: if the payment goes to an individual, ie into their bank account, it's the account number that's the "reference number". If the payment goes to a card, it's the card number. Simple - isn't it.

28 July 2014

More slip-dipped textiles from the kiln

Mixed fabrics - the dark colour is metallic organza

Once dipped, the fabric must be re-formed

Flat pieces, stitched, gathered, steamed, released

Close-up, threads left in  (10cm high)

Underneath, the porcelain puddles and sand from the firing tray sticks

Netting has kept its fragile detail

Folded paper, heavily stitched

This work started almost by accident, when I tried dipping folded papers into slip and then looked for ways to help them keep their structure -

followed up in a recent ceramics short course -

I have to think about why (apart from the sheer pleasure of seeing what happens, what to try next) I'm making these objects. They are accumulating on the top of my bookcase, gathering dust, and more are stashed in boxes.

Although I write about the process of making, I find them inexplicable. Which is slightly worrying ... and yet it's not worrying at all ...

27 July 2014

"It's just like school!"

Anyone who's worked in a school will immediately relate to the feeling exuded by Phyllida Barlow's sculpture at Tate Britain, which fills a 100-metre-long gallery.
The title, "dock", helps the viewer make sense of it, picking out the containers and pylons and other forms of dockside furniture.
"When I'm actually in the process of making the work in my studio I never consider the audience" says Barlow in this interview - but installing the work is "the moment of maximum fear, because I'm entering the space almost without a script. ... it's a form of choreography: who is the audience, and how will the work entice..."
The audience is choreographed into a certain kind of looking. They become another component of the work.
"Sculpture as a restless object" - yes, it is.

26 July 2014

Double doors

London NW10

London N4

Front "gardens"

Stripey painting - colour sources

Being away from home means the painting hasn't been "daily", but it continues. This week I found the "white bristle" brush in my hand, rather than the nylon bristles, and have been making both gradations of colour and very thin stripes -- both done very quickly, without agonising over decisions.
Pink changes
Adding orange
More orange!
Colour still shows through the fresh layer of white
A magazine cut-out of  a Gillian Ayres print is still floating around near the tubes of paint, and when I get stuck for a colour to add next, I choose one from the print and see what happens. The latest addition was the white and the mid-blue; next, another layer of white perhaps?
"Tivoli" by Gillian Ayres (via)

More prints by Gillian Ayres
Another good colour source would be a painting by Ivon Hitchins - I love his colour combinations and especially the balance of colours in the compositions, whether vivid or sombre -

And then there are the flower paintings of Winifred Nicholson. "Honeysuckle and sweet pea" (via)  especially sings out to me ... the exuberance of the yellow, offset by the pale blue-green -
More of Winifred Nicholson's flower paintings 
Some of her work is on show at Dulwich Picture Gallery till 21 September, along with the work of her husband Ben and their friends Kit Wood, Alfred Wallis, and William Saite Murray; a review is here.