Monday, 16 January 2017

Hepworth inspired stone quilts

Version 1
CQ, the contemporary group of the British Quilters' Guild had a call out for A3 sized pieces inspired by a favourite artist for their new suitcase collection.  
As I love art and the size was not painful, it seemed a good thing to do, although choosing an artist took me ages - who actually is my favourite artist? I like the work of so many.  Should I choose someone instantly recognisable or go for a contemporary artist no-one would have heard of or, or, or...  Too much choice.  So I prevaricated, until one day I opened an old sketchbook and found a photo of a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth and thought it would make a great starting point for a quilt.  It was a piece I had seen at the Hepworth late 2015 and it reminded me of the many drawings I was making of stones.  I liked the idea of choosing Barbara Hepworth - well known, but not too well known and also a female artist as the majority people have heard of are men.  
I had got very excited when I saw her sculptures for the first time at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park of shapes with holes, especially as I was making images of people with holes at that time.
Computer drawings
From my initial drawings I tried out some colour combinations on the computer to fit in with some ideas I was working with.
Trying out the fabrics
I had some left over fabric from another piece, which was breakdown printed, discharged out some colour and added some gorgeous kimono silk I had purchased from Susan Briscoe.  
Quilting pattern sketch
I liked the way the colours were working but couldn't decide on the quilting pattern, so did a number of sketches.  I liked one, R preferred another. 
Another quilting pattern sketch

In the end, I made a second, smaller version for the SAQA Suitcase Collection, so got to try out two quilting patterns.  Which one do you prefer?

Version 2

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Sketchbook development over 2016

Final drawing of the year, based on a Barbara Hepworth sculpture

Happy New Year everyone!
One of the things that has really been occupying my time recently is the development and delivery of the Creative Sketchbook City & Guilds course.
Like many other textile artists, I struggle at times with the idea of working in sketchbooks.  I've been more of a back of an envelope and large drawing girl.  So I was really keen to develop my own use of sketchbooks to improve my work as well as to make the course better for the students.  I set myself a daily drawing challenge at the start of 2016 and to begin with, I had my doubts as to whether I would be good enough to teach a sketchbook course.  But the mantra 'practice makes perfect' is certainly true and the improvement in my work of the year is astounding.
Abstracted drawing of tree trunk and leaves
It is only when I look back that I realise how much I have improved.  I haven't worked in my sketchbook every day over the year, but I think if I add up the pages, I will have done way more than 366 as some days I was able to spend more time than others and this worked for me rather than beating myself up if I had to miss a day due to illness or life in general.  
Chesnut leaves found on holiday
Most of my pages took less than 30 minutes, so they are definitely sketches rather than complete drawings but that is what sketching is about.  Over the year I became less precious about my books and things improved
.  More words have crept in as I find it useful to write about what I am doing as a way of processing it.  The books are definitely less pristine, but also they have become more exciting.  I've been drawing whatever has caught my eye when I sit down to draw, but there are definitely some recurring themes: rocks and stones, whether on a beach, a rockface or a sculpture being the main one, with leaves and Italy, as a result of our holiday, close seconds. 
Three stones drawn without taking the pen off the paper
I've used lots of different types of media such as inktense, dye, charcoal, acrylic and even occasionally pencil in my books.  Again this is really useful as I've learnt more about how these different media work and whether they work together, which isn't always the case.  I even learned to embrace oil pastels, something that had never worked for me before.
Thermofax print coloured with inktense of a maple leaf from the garden
Was it a useful thing to do?  Well, I have already continued drawing in 2017 in my sketchbook, as it has become part of my daily life, so yes.  I've got books full of ideas of things to develop.  So 2017's goal is to find time to develop them, whilst still continuing to draw!

And for comparison, a drawing from last Jaunary (one of the better ones!)

Playing with print blocks and collage

Charcoal drawing of rocks

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