I had a birthday at the end of last month and have been wanting a specific book for ages. My lovely sister gave it to me for my birthday and I am slowly working my way through it.
'Dimensional Cloth' by Andra F. Stanley
Foreward by Jospephine Stealey
If you are interested in 3-dimensional work of any kind, particularly in textiles then this is a must-have.
The book features the work of 78 artists and is wonderfully illustrated throughout. It's easy to dip into and and read about the work of one artist at a time so that you can really enjoy it. I find reading and looking at too much at one time overwhelming so this is the perfect format for me. A few highlights of the book follow . . . .
Charlotte Bailey 'Kintsugi Collection' 2016
Judy Kahle Betty Busby
'Emerging from Retirement' 2013 'Ginger Jar' 2014
There are so many amazing examples I could've chosen to show here but I just dipped in and snapped a photo of whatever caught my eye.
The last 2 are particular favourite as I have a bit of a history of making vessels myself.
More on that another time.
Norfolk Makers Festival begins on 9th March 2022.
It is held at The Forum in the centre of Norwich and is 12 days of free crafting activities, open exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations and talks. I’ve been before. And it really is a great event.
The exhibition that accompanies the event is called ‘Adjustment’ and features work by amateur and professional artists.
The exhibition was juried by Sarah Impey, Debbie Lyddon and Annette Morgan. All 3 are artists that I admire and I didn’t hold out much hope when I submitted a piece but I got in!
The piece I submitted was originally a 3-dimensional vessel form. I was never very happy with it as it just didn’t sit right. It had 3 openings cut into the sides and that weakened it so it sagged in all the wrong places.
Early in 2021 I decided that I would take it apart and see if I could do something to improve it. My intention was to keep it as a vessel but when I undid all the stitching and laid it flat I found that I really liked it.
Once I decided that I wanted to keep it as a flat, 2-dimensional piece I had to do something about filling in the apertures. I’ve always loved the look of bubbles so decided to use some polyester chiffon to create a bubbled texture. Before making the texture I needed to colour the fabric and used some disperse dyes to colour the fabric.
Once the colour was done I had to tie a lot of tiny glass beads into the fabric. Then it was into a saucepan of water to simmer for a good 10 minutes. The exposure to heat changes the structure of the fabric and sets it permanently into a new shape.
I made 3 sections of ‘bubbled’ fabric, one for each of the openings, stitched them down onto felt to hold the fabric in place then attached them to the main piece.
Sounds easy enough but it took a lot of fiddling and readjusting to get everything to sit in the right place.
After that I needed to make sure the colours integrated well so added a few beads in bright turquoise scattered across the surface .
This is the final piece, mounted onto a canvas that I painted to match the colours along each edge.
You can see this piece and a lot of other great work at the 'Adjustment' exhibition from 9th to 20th March at The Forum, Norwich.
Editing videos is like . . . . . . hmmm . . . . .uhmmmm . . . .
I'm trying to think of how to put it but words really do fail me.
I tried different versions of free software then eventually opted to pay for software that himself has used. It's incredibly good value for the money but it is a MONSTER of a thing!
Thakfully you can always rely on YouTube for a tutorial. There are a lot of bad tutorials out there but I finally found one that was really sensible and has got me started.
Why wrestle with such a beast you ask?
I was daft enough to include a promise of video tutorials in the instructions of my Mini Weaving kits. I've sold a reasonable number of these now so have had to buckle down to fulfilling my promise.
So now I have a YouTube channel with a grand total of 3 videos on it. There will be more but as of today there are just 3 very short videos.
I have always said to my nearest and dearest that I would like to do video tutorials. I don't teach in person now so this is one way that I can do something to get my ideas out in the world.
Last 2 videos to be finished tomorrow I hope. Wish me luck, I'm going in!
The 3rd and final exhibition for me was with Chain Reaction (www.chainreact.org.uk). This is a small group of 7 artists that I have known for a long time. I love this group! We seem to gel together really well and have exhibited for a good few years so we have our systems down pat. It’s easy, not at all competitive and a pleasure. A very supportive group of women all round. There is a bit of crossover with TAGS as 3 of us are in both groups. I do have to keep things straight so I remember which work is going into which exhibition.
I started work on ‘Pollen’ way way back in 2019 as it was intended for the 2020 exhibition but we all know what happened there!
This is based on a macro photograph of a knotweed pollen grain that I saw in a book. It’s a fairly loose interpretation but the colours are fairly true to the original. Boy did I regret having to bead each of those sections. Not only that but I had to colour the beads with alcohol inks first so it was along process.
This is the first in a series of images that are circular.
Next in the series is ‘Jupiter’ - again based on a photo but this time it was painted and machine embroidered. Some areas had swirls added with shaving foam marbling to get the right shapes.
I was so chuffed that this one sold.
Even better, I was there when the lady looked at it. She made a really fast decision too. I think they guessed how pleased I was as I couldn’t stop bouncing!
The 3rd piece I put in is this one. It came from a piece of fabric I had dyed using the pole method of shibori dyeing. I’ve never had any success with this method in the past so when this one came out so well it was just begging to be stitched and used in some way. I called it ‘Adrift’.
The final piece is a very long, thin one that also came about from a dyeing session. I had done some low water immersion dyeing and the colours came out so nicely placed. It left enough empty space that I could add things to it without it being too busy. I’m going through a circles phase so I cut circular openings, stitched some raised velvet ‘bumps’ to go in the openings then hand stitched lots of circles round and round and round . . .
For both of the last 2 pieces the size was dictated by the fabric so I had to learn how to use stretcher bars to make my own canvases so I could mount the work and hang it easily. It was a bit of a minefield trying to decide which company to buy the stretcher bars from as the prices were very different. I decided to go with pine stretcher bars in the end as they were lower in price but would be perfectly acceptable for this use. It was much easier than I expected to put them together in the end. Figuring out sizes and quantities was much harder than the practical bit.
I also sold a smaller piece from the exhibition shop section so all in all it was reasonably successful.
After more than a year of no exhibitions and everything being cancelled normal service resumed this year and I took part up 3 exhibitions.
First up, was an open exhibition at DesignerMakers21 in Diss. This was all about getting local artists, amateur and professional, to show together with an emphasis on the local community.
Knowing I had 2 exhibitions coming up that needed new work I looked at some of my older stuff to see what might work.
I submitted 2 pieces based on water. There was a lovely get-together for the artists taking part one Saturday afternoon and it was great to meet new people. I didn’t sell anything at the time but the piece on the left sold at an exhibition in September.
In July there was the annual exhibition for Textile Art Group Suffolk (TAGS) held at Snape Maltings on the Suffolk coast near Aldeburgh. This was the first show since the pandemic had begun and I had seriously struggled with inspiration during lockdown. Like most people I know, the whole idea of having all that time seemed great but instead it immobilised me.
I have been working pictorially for the last few years, using photographs, but it was beyond me so I ended up doing some abstract pieces for the very first time.
These three pieces are called ‘State of Mind I, II, and III.
Self-explanatory I think.
I also took an old piece that started life as a 3D vessel form and reworked it into a 2D piece. I’ve submitted this one to Norfolk Makers Festival and won’t hear if it’s been accepted until January 2022. I’ll let you know.
This was the most successful exhibition in selling terms for TAGS since I’ve been a member of the group. Sadly I didn’t sell work from the wall but I did sell a ton of stuff from the exhibition shop which made up for it.
There is one more exhibition but I’ll save that for next time. It was a good’ un!
Hi, I’m Alison. An artist and designer/maker.