Thrift and Alchemy 4

I’ve started the next mixed media piece I have planned, which is based on a palette of white, off white, black, greys and silver, so is looking decidedly wintery. It’s called White Noise, and although I imagined I would be inspired to do six or nine individual pieces, on the same format as Gold, it is going to be 15. These things I have noticed start very slowly, with one piece taking a couple of hours to sort, but then something happens and by the end of the day 10 compositions have happened and you don’t want to stop. Interestingly this work has evolved in sort of the opposite way to Gold, in which it seemed each piece became more intense than the last; White Noise is developing in such a way that each progressive piece is becoming barer, perhaps an indication of the change that winter brings. Each piece evolves from the materials I have around me, I haven’t done any drawings at all.

Some materials laid out before I started.

The first piece, a print on silver card on an old map, with porcelain peices. The pieces are 30cm x 30cm; I haven’t decided how they will be mounted yet.

A mixed media patchwork, great fun to do.

Printed glacine paper [thanks Shelagh] and a well used leaf on printed watercolour paper.

Recycled painted fabrics and a spare print.

Old painted papers, a recycled embroidery.

Painted fabric, recycled paper and embroidery.

The same fabric with a bird print and a cd moon.

The reflective plastics have made this photograph  a much more colourful composition than it really is. Old cds, netting and porcelain.

Another recycled print/embroidery. It’s very good to be able to use these things that I’ve been keeping for ages.

A really ancient piece of my embroidery, porcelain and a can lid.

A bare landscape, I admit on new felt, but the rest is upcycled/re used/re done/etc. And there’s a pebble.

A little bone fish on painted plastic and painted fabric.

I’ll post the final three next week, I’m sure that’s enough for now…

9 thoughts on “Thrift and Alchemy 4

  1. I am in awe. I wish that I could focus on my work. I do so many different classes that today I have been designing stitching patchwork blocks out of Christmas material. I am going for a walk to rethink the rest of the weekend, inspired by this work & some large Khadi paper kindly bought for me from Dale. Thanks Steph for nudging me back onto my creative track x

  2. Hi Shelagh, is it that you teach so many different classes? That does make it difficult to concentrate on your own work as you do have to produce so many samples. You were certainly focused during my workshop, and far more productive than I ever am! Also I haven’t actually finished them….just off to do some stitching on the Moth Pages. Enjoy the Khadi, I love it. x

  3. Hi Steph, Yes I teach multi levels of patchwork & machine embroidery & also have standalone workshops on a variety of things. It is very rewarding in terms of student achievement but saps my creativity for my own work, your workshop during the holidays was such a bonus, I am considering your recycling one in February as you so inspired me. All the walk did was exhaust me as we walked much further than intended, it was such a beautiful day. Tomorrow I will make a start!

    1. It’s wonderful to do a workshop, I did one at the RBSA too this year and I haven’t felt so free for years! It would be great to have you on the T&A one, start collecting rubbish now!

  4. Steph, your energy and discipline has bowled me over again. I am following these thrift and alchemy posts with great interest. Not being a stitcher as such I can’t work out what is fabric and what is not but I guess that doesn’t matter. It’s all about the inspiration. You just gather momentum and go for things don’t you?. I think I ‘think’ about things too much! Reading about Khadi paper reminds me that I have a pack of square pieces which I was going to bind into a sketchbook. Now I’m thinking I should do something more imaginative with them. Too much thinking again but your stuff does inspire me so. I love the look of white noise and can’t wait to see the rest.

    1. Hi Lesley, thanks for your comment, I’m very happy that I inspire you but I must confess that the Thrift and Alchemy idea is something I’ve been thinking about for a few years now, and it was only committing myself to teaching a course of that name that really got me going with it. Teaching is useful in that way! They are a mix of fabric and paper, and plastics; there are lots of other materials I feel I ‘should’ have used but have decided that you use those which best represent your ideas. Good luck with the Khadi paper; have you ever seen any of the books about artists’ books, I have a couple and they are very inspiring.

  5. Steph, I’ve been making books for a few years now and have run workshops for Embroiderers Guilds and others.Trying to get people to add content is the hardest thing but I love altering books and messing about. I think of myself as a printmaker primarily but I do like dyeing and printing fabric. Just need to think about getting the needle to it maybe! Looking forward to the next White Noise photos to see what else you have up your sleeve.

    1. Do you have a website Lesley, I’m very interested in artists’ books and would love to see some of your work. My aim is to make some smaller books, perhaps in small [very small] editions. Steph

  6. Steph,
    I have a blog which is more of a continuous rambling of odd thoughts rather than anything cohesive like yours. I dabble in lots of things, never really settling to anything in particular. In fact, one of the photos in your post contained an image I’d used once to practise some linocutting, so, apologies, because I must have sourced your little sparrow from somewhere and used him to try and cut clean lines. There are not many books on my blog at all despite having loads of them but I’m currently working on a book swap with textile artist Gina Ferrari on the theme of lace. So far, I’m just gathering ideas and nervously trying to work out how I’m going to tackle the subject. I do not stitch as such and feel I should for Gina. I don’t think wordpress likes links so my blog is called Printed Material and a search should pick it up. Be warned – it is a mish mash of trivia.

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