"I begin with an idea ... and then it becomes something else"
~ Picasso

Monday, 19 June 2017

the colour of Cornwall

After a few weeks break from writing here, a bit of a catch up is needed and it's hard to know where to start as so much seems to happen so quickly these days.  My sister Evelyn and I took some time from the Surface Treatment Workshop because she hurt her hand in an accident at work and then went on holiday to Scotland for a few weeks.  I am pleased to report that she is healing nicely and we both thank you all for your good wishes.  Meanwhile, at my end, summer days here in Cornwall have been very full with family time, a special party and friends staying, lots of time in St. Ives, studio days with St. Ives Textiles and lots of gardening.

This year was always going to be a busy one on the home front.  I decided in January that our focus would be to get some of the big work done on the house and I have worked very hard in the garden ... although there is still much to do and this will continue on for the rest of the year.  Sometimes, the choice between going in my studio or working in the garden is a tough one to call.  I find both very therapeutic in different ways.  In the garden, I can switch off completely ... I don't think about anything at all.  In the studio, I switch over.  It's inspiration overload and one thing leads to another and I find I'm terribly prolific to the point I have too much to share (in a good way)

Anyway ... ramble, ramble ... here below I will share a few things that have been happening around here and will attempt to get myself back on track with the Surface Treatment Workshop and my work for the show in September etc.

I began with a tidy up in the studio ...
Things have piled up quite a lot lately and I ran out of workspace. Some of my most favourite things are when nature and beach inspired things happen next to each other in my little space ... birds and eggs, vintage seaside photos, donkeys, dried seed heads and flowers, shells, poems and childhood books ... it was a really lovely way to while the day away and now I have a clear desk and worktops!
I've had some lovely art days with friend Rosie.  We get together once a month to work with collage and in sketchbooks and concertina books.  I helped Rosie make her very first erosion bundle and I made one too.  These results are from my bundle.  It was in the garden for only a month but we had a lot of rain at that time so the results were good ...

I'm always pleased with the effects I get from these bundles, especially the serendipitous mix of rust, mould and colour runs.  These pieces will get used in little collages on forthcoming studio days ...

I enjoy making collages that explore form, shape, colour and rust ... always inspired by time in St. Ives and the harbour, in particular, working from my own photographs, memory and heart

At the time of writing this, mid June 2017, it is hard to imagine that only a week ago we had torrential rain, very cold winds and the heating on indoors.  Since early last week we have been basking in a heat wave with temps around 27°C (which is pretty good for the Cornwall coast).  St. Ives and Mousehole are even more stunningly beautiful at the moment ...

the sunrises have been spectacular too
I've been thinking a lot about my work for exhibition with St. Ives Textiles and what aspect of our Cornwall theme I want to pursue.  Several times I have thought I'd nailed it and spread out with one or two narrowed down aspects, but then found I just cannot limit my work to these threads.  So I'm being loose and free and doing whatever I like, since everything I do is inspired by Cornwall.  And I think that's OK!!  I have started some large, medium and small size pieces of work, composing and laying down bases for stitch.  I've also started gluing in some samples and inspiration in a dedicated book which will be on show and I'm really enjoying the freedom of letting one thing inspire another

I'm working with the colours that I associate with Cornwall and including all my most favourite things that I love about living in Cornwall, in particular walking on the beach collecting treasure, enjoying the peaceful sounds of the sea, photographing rocks, strata, pebbles and seaweeds, loving the yellow lichen on the whitewashed cottages, gathering bits of beach string, sea washed pottery and shells to use in my work ... developing my painting and ways of creating texture on cotton and linen and using all sorts of materials in an inventive way to portray the "feeling" of being in Cornwall

I decided to spread out all my work and inspiration so far.  It helped me to see that there is a colour scheme going on here in the mosaic above (work from last year) and the design boards below.  Joyful, uplifting colours I am naturally happy to work with.  This year I am thinking more about end product.  Creating framed pieces and wall hangings.  Also, my textile art hearts with Cornwall or seaside theme as well as art cards (photography, prints, collage or original work) and some jewellery / wearable art and 3D textiles.  So, that will be a focus.
At the beginning of June I started making these tall Cornish houses on a workshop with St. Ives Textiles and Anne Hellyer ... one of the loveliest and friendliest tutors you could ever wish to meet.  Our whole group began a row of these houses, all in different colour schemes using fabrics that Anne had painted/dyed herself.  I went for greys, blues and browns with snowy rooftops.  Still in progress ... the windows will have fairy lights behind and will look great when we all put our cottages together to create a Cornish town at the show in September. I will share more as the months go on ... although, it does seem a little strange working with a snow theme in the middle of this hot spell of weather!

My friend Jo and I have had several "Crow Days" stitching sunflowers in the garden and dyeing fabrics using Anne's recipe.  I was delighted with the results and will definitely make time to build up my stash of hand painted cottons.  No doubt some of them will get used on more St. Ives town houses, as I think they would make great gifts!  Possibly, a few for the show?  Mmmm ...

I count my blessings to have so much inspiration all around me.  This is the very pretty and charming little fishing village of Mousehole (below) with it's working harbour, lovely textures and colours

I found some gorgeous rusty chains on the pier
Now, it's time to get back to the Surface Treatment Workshop.  Evelyn was very good and posted on time.  I missed posting last week as I've been a little busy ... but here are a couple of my samples using "pastes" for week 13.  This is a technique I have been developing in my own way ...  using Texture Paste on cotton to create an extra dimension, heated with a heat gun for additional texture and then painting using different media.  Finally, I add gold foil or gilding flakes.  I love stitching into these pieces.

Week 14 of the Surface Treatment Workshop is "skins" and I have to say, so far, it's not going too well!!  Evelyn has created some lovely samples and you can see them here.  She had some success with Liquitex gloss gel and recommended I got some to try.  It turned up yesterday, so I will give it a go today and share with week 15.  Meanwhile, this is what I came up with ...

This is Golden Gel Medium Molding Paste thickly applied on glass with an old photo embedded into it.  I left it for a couple of days, then I was able to slide a palette knife under it to move it.  Skins are effectively a "peel off" which can be used to add an extra dimension to artwork.  My first skin was a bit delicate and cracked a bit.  I would imagine it's because I should have applied the molding paste more thickly and, probably, left for longer to dry out.  I added a bit of phthalo turquoise and then some glazing medium

My final sample (which is a real mess ... but sharing anyway!) was using Golden matte medium mixed with a little paynes grey acrylic ... with an old photo embedded in the goo.  The problem was that it was too runny, so when it did dry it was too thin to peel off.  However, I did end up with lots of little peely bits which I will keep and use for adding bits of texture in a painting or collage.  Here it is ...

So, that's me all caught up ... pretty much!  I will follow more of the prompts for skins and report on gloss gel when I share my pulled paper and sellotape samples.  Pulled paper sounds a lot of fun for collage work.  See you soon x