Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Rewarding books

In the last few years, I've read a large number of books on textiles and art and the right book at the right moment can be worth every penny. I've been directed towards new ideas and solutions and reading has made me think about what I am trying to do and why. Sometimes, I see interesting ideas and techniques that may not be appropriate at the time of reading but which set up thoughts that store themselves away for the future.

I experienced all of these as I read the new book, Approaches to Stitch: Six Artists edited by Maggie Grey and published by D4daisy books. More details can be found on this link.

Although several of the artists featured were familiar, three of them particularly interested me with what they had to say and show.

The first was Olga Norris whose blog, www.threadingthoughts.blogspot.com, I follow avidly. Her comments were fascinating, especially her initial description of how and why she came to textiles and her feelings about this. So much she said seemed to resonate with me.

There was one piece of work shown that I particularly enjoyed - thankfully the first one shown on the D4daisy link as I can't remember its name and have leant my copy of the book to a friend. (Can you help me Olga? - She could and did - see her comment below ...) Olga's blog and website are full of interesting observations about art and textiles as well as glimpses of her work and process and I can't recommend them too highly.

I also follow Ro Brunh's blog and love her rich use of colour and texture so it was a delight to see her represented in the book. For me, her most interesting pieces are her journals - 3 D riots of fabric, stitching and colour. She shows the making of one of her journals and there are fascinating insights into how she layers and constructs her work.

I had previously come across the work of Elizabeth Brimelow but not made a significant connection with her. This book changed all that and I was fascinated by the glorious landscape work shown, especially the lovely piece Round Meadow with its tantalising glimpses of colour and text-like marks and it's wonderful 'unfinished' edging.

The blurb for the book says it is the traces and marks that man has made on the land that inform Elizabeth's work. This seemed to clarify for me very vividly what I may be up to in my own work - those wandering lines of stitch fully explained, maybe! More examples of her work can be found by googling her and selecting images.

10 comments:

  1. I followed the links and can certainly see parallels in Elizabeth Brimelow's work and your own - the connection to landscape if so visceral. It fascinates me how I can walk largely unmoved through some parts of the country, whilst others have me entranced, almost overwhelmed. Stitch feels like an intuitive medium to communicate the depth of those responses. Love to see where you go with this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anny, for your comments. Almost all landscape has its fascination for me. I was brought up on the edge of the flat, flat Fens in Cambridgeshire and love the parallel lines and the large skies. My visits to the beautiful Highlands of Scotland inspire me too as, currently, do the Cotswold Hills close to my home.
      I think what I took most from Elizabeth's lovely work was the need to base my landscape work more on sketching the details, lines and traces ... so maybe I'll be drawing more and photographing less ...

      Delete
  2. I can see the parallels too, as also your particular take on landscapes. Your explorations are very interesting and thank you for the links, lots of material for thought and learning there. I still haven't found what exactly I want to say through textiles and reading about other artists' experiences is very helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I posted similar thoughts about not knowing what I was trying to say through my textile work sometime back and one kind person - I don't remember who it was - said that other people often see you thread before you do and that she could definitely see what my work was about. I found this very helpful and encouraging and it made me look afresh at what I was trying to do.
      If I may be so bold as to forward the thought - whenever I visit your blog, I always leave feeling calmed and enriched. You have a lovely gentle colour palette and the white on white is fantastic. I love the way you bring stitch into your work in paper. That series of mixed media work in paper is divine and looks like textiles to me ...

      Delete
    2. Thank you! The way you see my work is a real compliment and a great satisfaction, Charlton. xx

      Delete
  3. Margaret, thank you for your kind words. I think that the work you mean is Curiosity. I am glad that you enjoyed the book.
    I think that noticing all sorts of details is important, and that's how the character of a place or a person is slowly established in your own mind. I believe that that is then the basis for feeling free in expressing your own response to that place or situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Olga - Curiosity it was - and I should have remembered.
      And thank you also for your thought-provoking comment about details. Reflecting on it, I think the more I work and abstract, the more I realise the importance of noticing details and including them as a reference. I guess for each of us, the details we select to include are part of what makes our work uniquely our own.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for posting these! I will have to search them out. I am currently reading Helen Parrott "Mark Making" which is inspiring to me. About finding inspiration in nature as well as using a sketchbook to fuel one's stitching work. I'm very much a beginner at this stitching thing, but I love the overlap I can do with my mixed media paintings. Or the possibilities from that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to my blog and glad to have been of use. I will search out your blog as I'm interested in the overlap with mixed media. Great if we can help one another!
      There are an amazing number of wonderful stitching books available. I too enjoyed Helen Parrott's book. Have you also come across Kay Greenlees' account of how to use sketchbooks for textiles or, in a design vein, the three books by Sandra Meech - Connecting Art to Stitch, etc? You might also find them useful.

      Delete
  5. I follow Ro Bruhn and enjoy her sense of colour, which always cheers me up.

    ReplyDelete

Hello and thank you very much for taking the time to leave a message on my blog. Every comment is welcome and I will try to answer you as soon I can.