Gallery of past work

Monday, 21 January 2019


I find putting my thoughts on my blog very useful in helping with decisions. It puts things at one remove and enables me to view designs with greater objectivity.

I'm currently playing with images to prepare the ground for a series of small pieces. This little selection is having its audition while I assess its possibilities.

The eventual thought is that these pieces (nine in all?) on small stretched canvases and with added stitch will be placed flat directly onto the wall in a grid. Because of this, each one has to relate to the others and yet be different, taking the possibilities of the layout forward. 

But of course, I could well change my mind!

Friday, 18 January 2019

Another thought

This time, another, simpler thought where the original is more obvious and also some initial exploration of economic difference - here, tiny houses in tightly packed rows, a multitude of chimneys and washing hanging out in the front garden.

I'm thinking carefully also about how abstract to go with this piece and, perhaps more importantly, how close I want to stay to the original photograph in feeling and colour.

And there's always the perenial issue of the roll of stitch, where, when and how to use it.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Early Thoughts

I began serious play yesterday with the first image of a Swindon street in the early 1900s that I showed in my last post. Initially, I've gone for exploiting features within the image and the patterns they make, in this case, chimneys and a line of washing.

A first thought, where I threw everything at the idea! Here I picked out patterns and shapes from the colourised image and superimposed one on the other.

Then, a couple of images with less on show and in two different colourways and the second one flipped horizontally . It always surprises me what a differenct that makes.

A different format

And, finally for now - just chimneys, though more work is needed on colour and I think they more resemble a collection of bottles!

Next to be investigated on its own is that row of washing in the original photograph.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

New Beginnings, new focus

I have recently started exploring ideas for my input to the next exhibition with Great Western Embroiderers. We will be at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery from Saturday 25 May to Saturday 7 September - a long time - and it will be a most interesting challenge. We have to respond to and base our work around the large photograph archive at the Museum and our work will be exhibited alongside photographs and photographic equipment from the archives. There will be much more about all this as the weeks go by.

So far I have almost completed work featuring a local hedgerow similar to a photograph in the archive. This piece, begun in October and shown in a detail here, has been a relaxation - the stitching equivalent of a gentle holiday read. It was much needed in a very busy and at times stressful and disorienting period before Christmas. Indeed for much of this time I couldn't find it within myself to think new thoughts or experiment with new ways of working.

This week though, I've looked at a small package of photographs from the archive that I requested from Sophie Cummings, the very helpful curator at the museum. All are from before the 1960s and some are from the turn of the 20th century so there are interesting thoughts to consider and perhaps to exploit.

In this request, I chose photos of people going about their business or of streets with architectural features that interested me. I'm posting a selection with some initial thoughts.

There were chimneys,

Men leaving work at lunch time - I love those bowler hats and cloth caps and I wonder where they are going,

Edwardian house fronts with bay windows and extraordinary forms of transport,

and shoppers in an Edwardian street.

In all these photos, I'm struck by the lack of traffic - extraordinary to the modern eye - and in some, trams on the move (funny how things can come round again). I love that pram bottom left. It brings back memories of a photo of my father just before the first world war in a pram just like that!

Exploring local history through my work is a new departure for me and there is already much to play with in this small selection of photographs. It will be interesting to see where it takes me.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Happy Christmas!

This comes to wish Seasons Greatings to all who follow my blog in such surprising numbers, even when I only post intermittently.

For me, as for many, this year has been mixed. There has been much pleasure with grandchildren (and their parents!), holidays and a summer of wonderful weather. However, there has been worrying illness in the family which has kept me away from my work and sometimes from home for much of the Autumn.

Then the world has seemed to be an increasingly uncertain place. There are the mystifying and unpredictable goings-on across the Atlantic, and trouble and strife in so many places abroad. For us here in the UK, there is the seemingly impossible to solve conundrum of Brexit.

Despite this, I hope for all those who celebrate Christmas that it may be a happy one, however you choose to spend it. To all, I wish a safe, prosperous and happy New Year.

PS This year for my Christmas card, I needed to keep things very simple as time was short following family commitments. I drew this simple image with a cola pen and Liquitex sap green ink on white cartridge paper, photographed it, manipulated it in Photoshop Elements and then printed multiple copies using my Epson P600 printer.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Random mark making and tracing

Random marks made with a black graphite block (Derwent XL Graphite 6), imaged smudged, then selectively traced twice. Marks added with a fine black felt pen. Tracings then laid one over the other and repositioned.

Now cropped, top tracing repositioned and all turned through 90*.

Then cropped again and all turned through a further 180*. 

And it all came from this random sweep of the hand with a graphite block, a sheet of tracing paper and a black felt pen.    

Back home tomorrow ... and access to more art materials ... but with many lovely images of a Scottish autumn in the snow.