10 December 2019

Drawing Tuesday - Brunei Gallery

150 African textiles from the enormous Karun Thakar Collection filled the gallery (till 14 December); I've posted some already, do have a look. These few contain items that various people chose to draw.

It took me a long time to stop looking&looking and settle down, but finally this fante flag grabbed me. The "tank" was larger and I was tempted, back at home, to rub most of it out or even start again, but I hadn't taken a photo. So it was a matter of sticking with what was there -
My first thought was to add a quick wash of black as background, but somehow I carried on and on with the coloured pencils, with podcasts for company, until time ran out. No water touched the page.
And there was this collection from the gallery, quickly done -
Ah the laboriousness of depicting each stitch!

Najlaa found two "men's cloths", from Sierra Leone and from Togo
The talismanic cloth...

... rendered by Mags ...

... along with hats from Cameroon

Jo found metalwork...


... including lots of  animal rings
... and a woven cat in "the indigo room"


Sue's pastel rendering of weft threads...

... another technique ...

... and a hat

... from the bottom shelf
Judith's fante flag
A detail from the original - note the machine-stitched guns
Carol was drawn to the  Akan gold rings, Ghana, 18th and 19th century

09 December 2019

Seasonal segue

Christmas came early this year when I was given a handknit jumper, knit and passed on by a friend who claimed it needed a smaller person to wear it. As someone who simply cannot part with the garments I laboriously knit in the glory days of the 80s and 90s, I value the time and work that goes into handknits and was so happy to give this one a new life. I've been wearing it often.

But on Christmas Jumper Day - Friday 13th, this year - which was set up by Save the Children as a fundraiser in 2012 and has raised over £21million, I'll be following the advice to get my xmas jumper from a charity shop. In fact one such is already to hand! This handknit woollen "Nordic" beauty has been in my cupboard for some years now - I love it - and best of all, it's not specifically "xmassy", but it is special...

We should be rethinking our xmas buying practices, says this article (and many more articles) - but why stop at xmas? "Less is more" all year round, and green isn't just for xmas.

Horror statistics are everywhere, and here are the ones that got me writing this post.
Acrylic, a plastic fibre, was found in 95% of 108 garments currently on sale from 11 high street and online retailers

Acrylic releases nearly 730,000 microfibres per wash, five times more than polyester-cotton blends, a recent study found

Two out of five Christmas jumpers are only worn once over the festive period

One in three adults under 35 buys a new Christmas jumper every year

Especially that last one. How many over-60s buy a Christmas jumper ever??

Christmas is, of course, "a time for giving". A time for buying useless stuff for people who have too much already, in my bah-humbug view. Then comes the post-xmas letdown and the darkest, coldest weather sets in and thousands of kids go to school without breakfast, not to mention all the other evils brought about by lack of, or poor distribution of, resources.

If you've got financial security, how lucky you are. This article, about someone who gives away a huge proportion of his substantial income, was a wake-up call for me. I know I can now afford to be more generous, though this is very different from the decades of frugality growing up in an immigrant (post-war to Canada) family, and then as student, wife of a student, and single mother; you get in the habit of holding on to what you've earned.

But which charities use their donations most effectively?

This article pointed out that charities with less than £5000 of income don't need to be registered - news to me! It has good information about how to assess the effectiveness of a charity, and how to find local charities.

It also points out that if you're a higher rate taxpayer, you can claim back tax on part of the gift aid added to your donation ... ah yes that's the rich taking care of the rich, bah-humbug...


07 December 2019

The studio this week

"Studio work" this week has been a moveable feast.

On the train, stitching something simple, for no particular reason other than the need to stitch -
Quick visit to the ceramics studio, just to say hello really, but if the need to stitch doesn't dissipate, I'll be back stitching pots in no time -
The rest of the week was centred around printmaking. Around north London, research on the moon in various locations, through glass (thinking about inadvertent reflections) -

 ... and mistiness (condensation), and difraction -

While travelling by tube, hatching a plan for displaying some prints -
 Back home, sorting them out -
 Interlude: more moonlight -

 Getting down to it - 
 Other prints conveniently fit behind sample mounts -

This "moon" project isn't finished....
And then there are odd things, like this sequence of pages waxed and sewn together -

06 December 2019

African textiles at Brunei Gallery till 14 Dec

From a collection of thousands of textiles, 150 have been chosen. This blog pos contains a lot of pictures, but certainly not all the pieces in the show. I hope it gives a flavour of the riches on display. Click on the photos to read the labels.

The exhibition examines the links between west and north African textile traditions through a selection of important and rare examples of textile art, shown for the first time.












 "The indigo room" -


 Wonderful hats -

 Fante flags -

 Woven figures -
Floating wefts













Further details on the Karun Collection can be found by visiting http://www.karuncollection.com; follow on Instagram @karuncollection. More of the African Textiles Collection can be seen in the book ‘African Textiles’ published by Prestel, 2015.