It must be spring…

…because although I should be doing proper work, I feel the need to sort out some very messy materials drawers. I thought I was happy with the serendipity of ploughing through stuff to find one thing and discovering other things I had forgotten about, but actually I’ve decided that this is a rubbish method of working. I decided this after I needed a box to pack some things into to take to a show, and my collage materials collection had to be relocated. Well, there was a lot of paper and so on in one small space, and I found some great bits and pieces I had completely forgotten about, so took action and sorted it all. So the result is a lovely tidy drawer and a big bag of rubbish, and the realisation that there is enough material in there to make the most enormous amount of work. I can’t quite bring myself to weed it out further though, not just yet, but I seriously mustn’t add to it either.

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It doesn’t look too bad in these before shots, but there was a lot. Below, the after shots; at least I have an idea of what I have now. Now it’s the fabric and paper drawers that need a going over…

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All in their drawer, in these old Woolworths plastic envelopes: these always make me quite sentimental.

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I taught an artists’ book workshop to the Inspire textile group this week. They were great, good fun and full of ideas. I’m very lucky as this is the second time I’ve been to them; here are some works in progress below. Some people chose to work on zig zag books, and others to make individual pages. The subjects chosen ranged from holidays to insects, birds and butterflies to landscape and gardens.

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Floating Pattern.

I’ve been teaching at the Bramble patch in Northamptonshire for the last two days. I’ve always enjoyed working at the BP, and this time was no exception. The class was named Floating Pattern, which a term I use to describe the way I compose my pattern based pieces of work. When I first began to be interested in working with pattern I realised after some research that I was more interested in exploring the floating nature of objects in a spatial context, not arranged, even, repeating pattern, but a free use of the term pattern and the management of space. This started with a large piece of work I made some years ago called Boboli, see below, but I wasn’t aware of it then. When I made From the Bright Sky last year the whole floating pattern idea came into focus, I think spurred on by wanting to try working with pattern on pattern too, and having the right materials to move it all into place. BOBOLI  STEPHANIE REDFERN - Version 4 It’s a great way of bringing disparate elements altogether too, although I haven’t pushed that as far as I would like to, I still tend to be quite themed within each piece. Below, one of the pieces from From the Bright Sky. DSC_0095 So, here are some images of the hard working students and their exciting work; thanks for coming everyone and for putting up with my possibly strange linking of floating pattern and flying dreams! IMG_2488 Printed, painted and dyed cloth on the line. IMG_2490 Rachele and Catherine. IMG_2514 Rachele. IMG_2512 Catherine.IMG_2497 Alison. IMG_2495 Helen. IMG_2508 Catherine. IMG_2516 Above and below, Chandra’s leaves auditioning different backgrounds. IMG_2519 Now after all that colour, for those who love grey, here we have, well, tarmac. I have several shots of the surface of the car park at the BP, which I find quite exciting. I have no idea where these images will end up, but they are wonderfully topographical. Cornelia Parker, one of the most interesting contemporary artists working today has worked with cracks in the pavement, casting the negative spaces as positives; they are quite beautiful, but those are just the very top part of her iceberg. Her exhibition at the recently reopened Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester will be worth seeing. I saw  her work at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham several years ago and it remains one of my favourite exhibitions. IMG_2481 Raw material for something. Oh yes, and below, an image of a piece of fabric I printed and dyed using wallpaper, ink, paint and dye. I may get these two images together in Photoshop and see what happens. IMG_2503 A couple of articles can be found below.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jan/25/cornelia-parker-interview-i-dont-want-to-tick-anyone-elses-boxes-whitworth-retrospective

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/art/61944/cornelia-parker’s-big-bang-theory.html  

Computers eat time.

I’ve been in front of the computer a lot recently, which basically means little else gets done. How the time passes when you’re working, yes, I’m honestly not doing a lot of internet shopping, except for work things of course, I really am working on the computer.

So a little catch up here. I’ve finished the birds that I posted previously, so those patterns are all ready to go to the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch show coming up at the NEC in March. Here are the boys.

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These are the hanging variety, but the pattern can be used in many other ways.

I had to have a break from the screen one afternoon last week so started to make another piece of work in my Natural Histories series. It’s laid down and ready to stitch, and is 80 x 55 cm. The books are from a photograph I took of  a herbal in the British Museum, played around with in Photoshop, and the flower is quite old, cut from an unfinished piece of work. It’s quite naive, which with the butterflies serves as a contrast with the darker, spikier aspects of the piece.

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And to finish with, some botanical photographs from a lovely little outing to Winterbourne Garden last weekend.

I’m looking forward to a trip to the NEC tomorrow to the Craft Hobby and Stitch Trade Show with Hilary Beattie, and a couple of days teaching at the Bramble Patch at the end of the week, so more people time and less computer time, which can’t be bad.

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Ticking off the to do list.

I’ve been working through quite a lot of tasks recently. There are more on the list, but at least a few have been sorted recently.

One bigger task was building a new website, which is now done and if you want to see it you can click on the link on the sidebar. I had a sense that the blog needed a declutter and a website offered a nice fresh start.

I also like putting websites together, but have my daughter Chloe to thank for pointing the domain name to the right place and sorting out some naughty links etc, you know, the techie stuff which actually makes the site visible…

I’ve also been working on some patterns for some zig zag books, which after making the pieces took some time to get together. Actually the patterns can be used for any piece of work, not just zig zag books, that was just the original idea.

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This is the ‘Into the Trees’ piece/pattern. This is a Khadi zig zag book that measures 15 x 45 cm. Any support can be used, I just happen to like these books as I am lazy and they are ready made, and the paper is a joy to work with.

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And this is the ‘Bright Birds’ zig zag book, above.

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These chaps comprise the ‘Small Bright Birds’ book, as this zig zag book is smaller at 8 x 40 cm.

I’m also working on some patterns and instructions for two larger birds which can be used as patterns for pictures or made into pieces to hang on the wall, or in windows or on doors, in fact wherever you like, possibly within reason.

They are both works in progress.

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This one is ready to stitch, and the chappie below is in his early stages.

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They are 35 – 40 cm long, and I hope to have all the examples and patterns at the Embroidery, Fashion and Stitch show at the NEC, Birmingham in March.

To finish, a few frosty images taken last week in our garden, for those people who live in the warmer places on the planet.

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Unfortunately the last image isn’t our garden, we don’t own parkland. It’s fairly local countryside, showing a good amount of fost and frog, as weather people are known to stutter on tv.

Twigs, berries and an accordion book.

Practical work has been a little thin on the ground over the last two weeks as I had other jobs to do, but thankfully I am now back at the work table.

I was walking in the grounds of Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire some days ago, taking photographs of some my favourite subjects, namely twigs and berries, when I remembered a comment, obviously very perceptive, from Sue about my last blog entry mentioning “…winters cold colours with a hint of golden sun and red berries…”,   and realised that I was photographing exactly that.

I do find the bare winter trees particularly beautiful, and the light on some winter days is glorious.

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One minute soft greys, from the sky to the twigs and the  lichen covered trunks…

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…and three minutes later that wonderful combination of sunlit wood, blue sky and red berry.

I have finished a piece of work, which was a bit of a cheat as it was actually a a chunk of a partly finished larger piece I had cut into smaller pieces, so the machine stitch was done already. It fits happily into the colour themes du jour.

Some of the other pieces will be altered more, but this one was perfect as a back drop for an added bird, with extra detail from hand stitch and beads, some of them red, of course.

It measures around 50 x 40 cm.

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I’ve been working on an accordion book too, one of the Japanese albums I mentioned in my last blog post. This has turned into an exercise of free cut collage from a mix of papers I had painted,  some prints on paper of my work, and some photographs.

I increasingly enjoy working in this way, and frequently use some of the weird shapes left after cutting the more deliberate shapes to make quick intuitive compositions, which really excite me, and will hopefully find their way into some new work soon.

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The first three pages of the accordion book, followed by three more views.

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There’s still work to do on these pages and on the back too. This is the A5 sized book. I loved the book when it was new and fresh but it’s great to have it filling up with crunchy paper, paint and ink.

 

 

 

New year, new work.

Well that’s the idea once I get over this cold. It’s not too bad actually, and the last cold I had was about 4 years ago so I can’t complain.

So, I photographed some materials, new sketchbooks and so on, but haven’t moved forward beyond enjoying going through the fabrics and having a think; I imagine I will be continuing with a project I started last year based upon natural history collections, as well as making new work based upon pattern, for a show next summer.

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I am hoping to use a fair amount of finished/almost finished work that wasn’t used in the projects it was originally destined for. I have lots of inspiring digital prints too.

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I am also using these new Moleskine Japanese albums, below, as sketchpads, adding notes and collage as the new work unfolds. They are too lovely to use actually, but I have made myself start with the larger cream paper one, although the black one is the most exciting. I’ll post the result when I have convincingly filled a few more pages.

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Until then, Happy New Year!

Solstice.

The charity Christmas trees in the cloisters of Worcester Cathedral were looking wonderful when I visited with a good old pal last week. Here they are, in all there photographic glory, eat your heart out Rankin, yes, I know Christmas trees aren’t his speciality either.

Have a good winter solstice, and a very good Christmas!

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