Gathering resources

Now these images are not particularly amazing but they are very necessary for the development of some new work which is on my mind, although as usual I have things to finish before I start it.

The work is for the SiX and Friends exhibitions entitled Orientation. [see blog on left]

I am planning to make a book with spare and delicate textile illustrations, with some text, and it seems to be evolving, in my head so far, as a seasonal record of plants and trees that stand out when I am out walking or in the garden. It’s all absolutely suburban at the moment, but as I go out and about as the year moves on I daresay this will change. I will use a selection of botanical subjects from each season, and it is going to be called ‘Floating Gardens.’  I am hoping to make a hanging textile piece to go with it too.

I was wondering where ‘Floating Gardens’ had come from; I do like to work to a title, and I want this work to be contemplative and ethereal, so the title seemed perfect. I have seen in the past couple of years two Japanese print exhibitions, one the woodblock prints of Hiroshige and the other of prints by Utamaro. I decided to read up a little about them as I had a suspicion that they had something to do with my title, and indeed these artists were amongst a group of artists whose work, called Ukiyo-E,  was based on the ‘floating world’ of the new 17th century metroplolitan centres of Japan, and also the Japanese love of the natural world. It’s a complex and compelling idea which is described well in So there we are, an oriental link fished from the brain fug.

Here are are few winter images so far.

Snowdrops in our garden. I liked the rather overwhelming iris leaves dividing the space so emphatically; I’ll probably use that in the design of the piece of work in some way. None of these images were planned; I do like to use images that surprise and intrigue me. The pebbles and twigs in the spaces add detail too, which may mean another piece of work, since I want to keep these illustrations minimal and spare. I may let a couple of wilder ones creep in though, who knows.

This is the way small creatures see the world from ground level.

Our aralia [Fatsia japonica] with its wonderful strange winter flowers. I particularly like the stems of the plant too, and it’s also Japanese, not that I chose it because of its origins, but the cotoneaster below is Chinese in origin, both of which are pleasingly adjacent to the theme.

Another view of the plant, with this flower stem losing its heads and starting to look elegantly spare.

Cotoneaster horizontalis, perfect for me, bright berries on bare twigs, and lots of quirky angles and bends.

This small tree attracted me firstly on a dull December day; its small round yellow leaves were blowing around, and indeed were still on the tree as it’s been so mild, in plant terms at least. When I went back to photograph it in early January the weather was amazingly sunny and the leaves looked much greener and fresher, but in the book they will be washed out yellow. I don’t know what it is, I need to do a little surfing.

2 thoughts on “Gathering resources

  1. There are some great ideas here Steph. I love the idea of working to a title. That could lead to some wonderful discoveries and avenues to explore! Beautiful foliage to look at here too. That last tree may be a Katsura. If it is , it hails from Japan so that would be fitting, but I am no horticulturalist so good luck with finding its name.

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