Archives for April 2016

And another small piece completed…

As previously noted I’ve been working on smaller pieces. Here’s another in the series:

Another small piece

I’ve divided the space in this one with a vertical line in medium-toned bluish grey. This breaks up the composition a little and gives it some direction. As to the colour choices, I’ve worked without too much planning, hoping to see where the piece would take me. I do tend to find that the introduction of some pink and/or red livens things up and helps to bring the other colours alive. I wonder if any other colour could serve the same purpose?

I feel it’s important to avoid getting stuck in a rut. At the same time, I feel a need to continue to explore colour in this way. I’ve made a sample piece using the same fragmented stitching but working in lines of colour. The light isn’t good enough to take a photo at the moment, but I’ll try to remember to add a photo as and when I can.

I seem to be getting a lot of new viewers of my blog these days. Welcome to all! And please note that I do love to get the occasional comment, so feel free…

Another small piece for sale

Last time I posted I explained that I was making some small pieces for sale. Here is another one in this mini-series:Another small piece for sale

I do like to introduce a highlight colour, and I’m finding it interesting that the highlight that often seems most appropriate is red or pink. Most of this little piece (which measures about 8cm X 9 cm) is covered by a piece of sheer black silk organza. At its edge it tends to curl under a bit which has the pleasing effect of creating a line. It looks somewhat like a horizon line, which is why I’ve placed the piece in this orientation.

I’m enjoying making these small pieces very much. I’ve put quite a lot of work into presenting them carefully. I’ve used a mount cutter to cut an appropriately sized aperture into a piece of mountboard, then I’ve used heavy duty double sided tape to position the piece. Then I’ve covered the back of the mountboard with a piece of heavy card, sticking it down with more double sided tape. Finally, I sign the piece then wrap it up in florist’s cellophane. This is all quite a lot of work, but I’m very pleased with the finished pieces. The mountboard sets off the embroidery very well and the cellophane protects the piece from dust and dirt.

Making smaller work for sale

Recently, I’ve been putting in a lot of time on making smaller works for sale. I hope to be able to offer these for the shop at the forthcoming Prism exhibition. I’ve also been thinking about setting up an Etsy shop at some point, although I’m not ready to do this yet. If and when I do it I will, of course, provide a link on this website.

I decided that, as I was on a roll with the Klee-themed pieces, I would produce some mini-versions to offer for sale. So far, I’ve produced six and I’ve loved making them. A couple of posts ago I mentioned how much I’d enjoyed the whitework I was doing in the early part of the year, but also that I was glad to get back to colour. These pieces are the result of my engagement with colour. I’ve thought about the application of colour theory a lot since I started doing them but also I’ve just been enjoying placing colours together to see what works. I thought at one stage that my principal interest would always be line, but of late I find I’m drawn time and time again to the sheer joy of putting colours alongside each other. Here’s an example of what I’ve been working on:Brief Dream series

I hope you can see from this how much I’ve liked working with colour. The red and pink juxtaposition is what I was exploring in the Cochineal Dream pieces, and here I’ve added some more elements to this basic idea, including the bright yellow and ochre. Sometimes these odd combinations seem to work.

More on this another time.








Preparing for the exhibition

I’ve been preparing for the exhibition of Prism work at Hoxton Arches, which I blogged about last time. As you’ll know if you read this blog regularly, I’m what could best be classified as an enthusiastic amateur. However, I’ve come to realise over the last few months that I’m going to have to up my game and approach the business of exhibiting with an appropriate level of professionalism. I’m definitely ready to do this, but I do need some help and guidance. I met up with Julia Triston in February and she gave me some very useful advice about exhibiting: presentation and pricing etc. This is the kind of thing you really don’t seem to be able to find in books. There are loads and loads of books about techniques, and even a few about creativity, but there’s very little that deals with how to exhibit your work. Last week, through a mutual friend, I met Fiona Rainford, also a Prism member, whose work I like very much. She also gave me some excellent advice, especially about making and pricing smaller items for sale.

I do hope to sell my Cochineal Dream pieces, and with that aim in view, I’ve had them professionally framed. I did consider doing this myself by buying ready-made frames, but couldn’t find just what I wanted of the appropriate quality. We have a picture framer locally and I dropped in there one day but didn’t really like any of the frames on offer (too ornate; too naff; too plasticky; too, well, just nasty). I looked up lots of framers on the internet, looking for somewhere reasonably local where I could get some decent advice about the best frame for my work. I rejected all those whose galleries show framed sports memorabilia or artwork that I think is hideous – a bit snotty of me, I suppose. Then I remembered Kendal, where we once had an expensive (for us) oil-painting framed and where they seemed to have a good appreciation of what works and what doesn’t work. It’s Youdell’s Art Shop. I looked it up to make sure it was still in business as many businesses in Cumbria have been hit badly by the recent flooding. Yes, glad news, it is in business, so off I went one Thursday afternoon, only to discover what I could have found out beforehand, that Thursday afternoon is early closing day in Kendal. Having driven a considerable distance I was rather disconcerted by this. But I remembered another picture framers, a bit further up the street, and traipsed off in the forlorn hope that they might be open. Well, they were. It’s the Signature Gallery at 16 Kirkland. The man in there was brilliant. He gave me good advice and then quoted what I consider a very reasonable price for framing all three pieces. And then he did it, called me, and I went to collect them a couple of weeks ago. I’m very pleased with the results, and so pleased that I decided not to try to do the job on the cheap.

If the pieces do sell, I don’t expect to profit much by them, once I’ve taken into account the various costs. However, I am just starting out with this, so can’t expect to be making megabucks out of it. Or even any bucks. I know, because of knowing some artists, that it’s well-nigh impossible to support yourself through art. Fortunately, because of the day job, I don’t have to do this. Just as well.

I’ll write a bit more soon about the other work I’m doing for the exhibition.

Prism at Hoxton

Prism at Hoxton Arches, the next exhibition, takes place in early June 2016. Here’s the poster for it:blocks_image_1_1

If you’re in London at the time or can make the trip, please do try to get along to it. I submitted three pieces for consideration (Cochineal Dream #1, #2 and #3) and they have been accepted, I’m very happy to say. This is not quite my first time exhibiting (there was the piece I did for Brenda Gael Smith’s touring exhibition, Living Colour) but it will be the first time I’ve had any work on show in the UK. I’ll write a bit more next time about how I’m going about preparing for the exhibition.


Never apologise, never explain

Yes, it’s been a while. But I’m not apologising for that. I’ve got a life, like everybody else, and it does get in the way. I’ve found the best way for me, personally, to approach blogging is to treat it as an on-going diary which will be a bit sporadic when I’m otherwise occupied. There’s really no point in creating a burden for myself in the form of self-imposed pressure to write a blog post twice a week. So I’m not going to. I’m not apologising but if I write about what I’ve been up to, it is inevitably, a kind of explanation. Mostly, during the month of March it’s been work, sheer hard graft with several trips away and some long hours put in on keeping the wolf from the door. But I have been doing quite a lot of stitching in the interstices (I love that word) and I’ll show some of it on the blog over the next week or two. In the meantime, here’s a picture of one of my thread boxes. Thread box white and creamI think I’ve written in the past how useful I find the cheap wooden drawers from IKEA. I keep commercial stranded cotton in small plastic boxes, and my own dyed threads are in the dyed thread drawer. Everything else goes into these sets of wooden drawers, sorted and classified by colour. They are small enough to be manageable, but large enough to contain what I’ve got. When I want threads of a particular colour I can spill the contents of a drawer onto the desk and rummage about to select things. And tidying up them up afterwards doesn’t take very long. It satisfies my orderly accountant’s mind to have things filed away and tidy.

This is, obviously, the white and cream thread box. It’s somewhat depleted at the moment because I’ve been using neutrals a lot. Those of you who follow this blog may have read my posts in late January and February about whitework. I loved doing so much work around the theme of white but I must say that since then I’ve been enjoying getting back to colour. More on that soon.