Gallery of past work

Monday, 9 July 2012

Traditions at Lydiard House

Great Western Embroiderers, a group of stitchers based in Cricklade of which I am a member, exhibited at Lydiard House, Swindon from March 28 to June 10 - an extended visit this time. We were flattered to be asked to stay so long.

The house was a lovely setting for our textile work. It is filled with many fine paintings and examples of embroidery and our work was displayed alongside them to show continuing tradition and to hint at new directions. The house itself and the lovely walled garden have provided us all with much inspiration.

For this exhibition, I explored the theme of traditional English gardens in a series of work called Gardenscapes. I took the walled garden at Lydiard and my own garden as initial starting points. in the work, I sued a variety of media including painting, transfer dying, and and machine stitch and free weaving.

Gardenscapes 4: Summer Colours
Handstitch on transfer dyed polycotton ground
I love to play with colour and texture in my work and the gardens theme was paricularly profitable for this. I chose the backgrounds, stitch techniques and threads that seemed best to represent the effects I was look for in each piece. One of my favourite threads is always spun sari silk with its vibrant colours and random variations in texture and thickness. In this series they seemed to represent so well the haphazard nature of plant growth.

Gardenscapes 2: Tangled Growth
Machine stitch on spaced dyed scrim and acrylic painted ground
I often interpret my designs through the medium of weaving, exploiting the colours and textures in a freeform way. This time, I explored the rhythms and colours in my garden on a summer's day - as seen through half-closed eyes.

Gardenscapes 3: Colour Weaving Flowerbed
Hand woven textile with spun sari silk and cotton perlé
I also worked on my own photographs in Adobe Photoshop and then used the resulting images as a background for stitching. I found the effects that can be achieved in Photoshop most exciting - I'll be developing these further.

Gardenscapes 5: Study in Red
Manipulated photographic image on cotton ground
and hand embroidered
Sometimes I like to rely solely on stitch for interpretation, and to work directly onto a simple calico background developing colour relationships and the negative spaces between objects - in this case tree trunks.

Gardenscapes 7: Birch Trees
Hand stitched textile using satin stitch on calico ground