Thursday, 29 January 2015

Unsung Muses at the Scottish Storytelling Centre

Unsung Muses at the Scottish Storytelling Centre - the main wall
My exhibition is up and on show at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh.  R took the day off work to come and help me hang it, which was brilliant.  As well as the work and all the hanging paraphernalia, we also packed a spade in the car as the snow forecast wasn’t very encouraging.  In the event, we had no problems, although as I write this now I have a lovely view of a white wonderland outside as it started snow just after we got home.  So I’m glad we were hanging the show yesterday.

Hanging the first piece
It was fairly straight forward, once I had played around with the layout of the pieces, as of course, the work feels different in a new location to what it did in the studio.  It has so much more space to breathe.  R’s height is a huge advantage in putting the work up, although it will make it fun for me to take down...It is fantastic to be able to display it in such a lovely location and the amazing high ceiling really helps show it off to best advantage.
Putting up the last
I also have a leaflet to accompany the exhibition and I’m pleased with how it looks too, containing the text I posted about the other week. 
The wrapped work before we got started
So if you are in Edinburgh before 21 February, please drop in to the Scottish StorytellingCentre and have a look.  It is open every day from 10-6, apart from Sunday.

Deciding what goes where

Hanging in progress

A new layout for some of the Unsung Muses by Gillian Cooper

One of the new muses hanging

A panoramic view of the work

Friday, 23 January 2015

Adding the stitched detail

Detail of Unsung Muses figure by Gillian Cooper

Following on from the stencilling on my latest figures, the final stage is adding the stitching to define the shapes. 
This is more important than for the more solid figures as the silk is so transparent, the stitching will give strong opaque shapes when they are ‘floating’ in mid-air as even the areas painted with the paintstiks are still see-through.
More stitching, getting an even thicker outline
The stitching is now almost complete and therefore so are the pieces, which is great as I have to hang the exhibition next week.  Things are really coming together for the show at the Scottish StorytellingCentre.  I’ve almost finished all the work, a little leaflet is being printed and I’ve (nearly) got the childcare organised.  
Detail of Unsung Muses figure by Gillian Cooper
Now the biggest problem is finding an existing piece of work that I can’t locate.  It isn’t in the cupboard or under the bed and there aren’t many other places left in the house where it could be.  I can’t believe I can lose an entire artwork!  So this weekend I’m going to be busy finishing the work, making the labels etc and trying to find the missing work.  Fingers crossed...

Detail of Unsung Muses figure by Gillian Cooper

Monday, 19 January 2015

Unsung Muses in words

putting the old and newer work together
As part of getting ready for my show at the Scottish Storytelling Centre (less than two weeks to go!), I have been trying to write about my work.  I’ve been finding it really hard.  Although I have been working on the ‘Unsung Muses’ series of work for several years and have had lots of time to think about it, it isn’t easy to express all of this in words.
Reaching by Gillian Cooper
Each time I have to write about it I find myself struggling again.  This time I’ve been trying to be more structured and have following Alyson Stanfield’s book  'Relatively Pain-Free Artist Statement'.  It has been good to consider my work and how others see it.  Unfortunately I haven’t reached the end yet, but I needed to get some more words to print today.
Detail of Unsung Muses by Gillian Cooper
So this is what I came up with:

Celebrating the lives and influence of our female ancestors and forgotten goddesses - the “unsung muses” who have shaped our lives today - Gillian Cooper creates her own mythology in fabric, dye and paint.  Delicately coloured, these flat and empty figures are survivors of time, washed out as the waves of the passing millennia lap and crash over them.  As she slowly creates this multi-layered work, Gillian is pondering the human shape; searching for the defining elements of being human; trying to connect with the past.
Waves of Time by Gillian Cooper

I spend ages obsessing whether it sounds too pretentious or on the other hand not arty enough, weighing up the impact of each individual word.  That’s before I try and decide whether it actually says what I want to convey!  It is somewhat ironic that I love writing about other people’s work but struggle to write about my own.  However, how do you sum up four years of work in just a few lines?
Detail of Unsung Muses
What does this paragraph say to you – good or bad?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Using paintstiks to add details

Details in paintstik
As some of you may have seen on facebook, my next pieces are being made from transparent organza, which I have hand dyed.  The colours when laid on top of each other are very beautiful and I love that the impact of the colours changes dramatically depending upon what is behind them.  The colours seem strong when they are placed against a white wall, but much more ethereal when floating in the middle of the room.
Paintstiks and stencil brushes
This week I have been adding more detail to the pieces through oilstiks, using the same techniques as I used on the original Unsung Muses figures.  They react quite differently to the oilstiks than the cotton fabric, although that may be something to do with the huge amounts of fabric glue I have on them!
Paintstik details
I do enjoy using oilstiks, even if I get hugely messy – no matter how hard I try I have paint down my arms, face, my glasses, across the table and now in a very 21st century way on the screen of my phone.  I seem to prefer the iridescent ones as the little sparkle gives the paint a lift in a gentle, subtle way, not overly gaudy.
One of my stencils

These are some of the paintings I did yesterday.  The biggest downside is waiting for it to dry so I can add more on the reverse side and then for both sides to dry so I can add stitch on top as I am rather impatient.  Also time is running on and I have only 13 days until I hang the exhibition at the Scottish StorytellingCentre.  Less than 2 weeks to go!
Detail of paintstik

Monday, 12 January 2015

Friend or foe? New work

Meet the latest in my series of ‘Unsung Muses’. Not sure whether she is friendly or scary, but I'd definitely want her on my side! She’s not formally named yet and there may still be some changes, but for the moment, she is sat on my wall to be contemplated.  You may be able to see some pins around the edges of the piece as I have been trying to block the hanging into a less wavy shape.

She has taken a long time to make, partly as I tried to make a darker figure on a lighter background – instinctively I want to make it the other way around, but I keep reading (a dangerous thing) that dark stands out better on a light background rather than the reverse.  The background felt too weak, so got improved, several times, with inktense and with stitch.  The breasts were too bright, so the colour got knocked back by adding some chiffon on top.  The edges changed shape a couple of times.

This may tell you that I’m still a bit unsure of this piece.  Therefore it is time to leave it alone and mull it over whilst I get on with the next one, which is well underway as it seemed more fun to start another piece than to battle on with something I was unsure on.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Scottish Storytelling Centre exhibition Goddesses and Unsung Muses

I’m incredibly excited to announce my solo exhibition at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh from Friday 30th January to Saturday 21st February.  The exhibition is free and is besides their cafe, which is a rather nice one (don’t ask me how I know...).  I’m showing work from my ‘Unsung Muses’ series.  There will be several new pieces as part of the exhibition – I’m working on them now and I’m pleased at how they are developing.  Each stage in the evolution of the series takes it in a slightly different direction, which keeps it interesting for me and hopefully for the viewer!
There is a Private View/Opening of the exhibition from 6-8pm on Friday 30th January and I invite you all to come along if you can make it – it would be fantastic to see you. 
To entice you further, after the Private View, there is a performance at 8pm of ‘Her: Forging the Lines of Brigid’ by Xanthe Gresham Knight, a performance storyteller.  It sounds really fascinating from the publicity material and it seems to echo what ‘Unsung Muses’ is all about for me.

Hope you can make it!

Monday, 5 January 2015

2015 will be...

 Happy New Year everyone – I hope 2015 is an enjoyable year for you all. 

The Christmas holidays here have just finished and the children are back to school today and so a form of normality reigns – even if we still need to remove the Christmas tree and pack all the decorations back into their boxes – I’m sure it will be all finished before Easter...
The hand dyed silks for my latest piece on top of the pattern
2015 is going to be a wonderfully busy one for me.  Looking back, my life seems to run in 2 year cycles – one manic year, following by one of recovery.  This is definitely a manic one!  It starts with a solo exhibition at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, opening on Friday 30th January continuing until Saturday 21st February.  I’ll tell you more about this in my next post.
Some of the pieces of silk ironed in place
In March our C&G students from the Studio Loch Lomond Quilt Show have an exhibition at the new Stitching and Quilting Show at the SECC, Glasgow.  I am hoping to run a couple of taster workshops there too.
The new work beginning to take shape
Then I have my exhibition at Farfield Mill from 21 March to 10 May.  I’m super-excited about this since I visited the space and have lots of ideas of how I’m going to use it.
Also [MEGA NEWS] I’m intending to be teaching from my home studio from April onwards – a variety of textile based classes – lots more information soon as I firm up on the details, buy the desks etc.

Finally, as if all this wasn’t sufficient, I am exhibiting at the European Patchwork Meeting in Alsace in September.  It is a fantastic show and I know there are lots of other amazing makers showing their work too, so it would be well worth a visit.
Then around the end of November, I will collapse again in time for next year’s Christmas season.

It is such an exciting year for me – I hope you will be joining me on this great journey.  For those who dislike it, I apologise for using the ‘J’ word, but it really feels that way for me this year!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts