From decision time to running rhinos.

There comes a time when a piece of work has gone on long enough. I started a large artist’s book well over a year ago, and actually put together all the pages and started to finish some of them. It was in and out of its wrapping several times, then went through a transformation of sorts where it was combined with another book project, from which it was then untangled. Then it was going to be used, once again, as part of another book project. I went through the pages writing little notes of adjustments and additional work etc, then, well, put it away again. I realised the project had gone stale, and that I had done work since that I had found more exciting, and I didn’t actually want to do any of the helpful little suggestions attached to each page.

So, out it came, again, and after a very good sort out, much of it was put in my useful materials recycling box, some of it can be used in my latest work, and one or two of the pages are good as stand alone pieces. It is a relief to get it out of the way, and its satellite collections of folders filled with possibly amazing additions to the tome. I moved out of my studio a year ago, and I don’t really miss it; I wouldn’t mind a bigger table but that’s easy to achieve. For me, a large space meant I started too much work, and although I did finish everything I started there except this one, it’s great to have to move the work along rather than start another piece which I could then put under the table. There’s only room under my table for my legs, and that’s the way I want to keep it.

So here are a few images of the book sorting, followed by some new pieces being laid down, and the rhinos.

DSC_0097Utilising all the space available to confusingly spread the whole collection of pages around.


DSC_0100George, who in the midst of mild chaos, is wondering why I’m not desperate to play ball with him.

DSC_0133I’m working on a piece called ‘From the Bright Sky’ at the moment. It may be a book, or most likely a hanging book. At the moment I am making pages, and letting the whole thing evolve.

It’s quite a new thing for me to work with so much pattern and colour, it’s been creeping in gradually over a few months. This is my photogenic scrap basket above, not posed at all…

DSC_0124I’ve made a couple of pieces for the work so far, not stitched yet, and above and below are two more. The project has a plan, which is largely if shiftingly in my head. Basically I make one piece at a time, doing whatever I want, and only what totally inspires me. I made my ‘Found’ series and ‘Beach’ series in that way, and enjoyed the process immensely.

DSC_0122So on Sunday I woke up deciding the piece needed a couple of mammals, and one of them was to be a running rhinoceros.




DSC_0128Choosing the fabric when you are intent upon working with a mix of patterns is great fun. I drew the rhino from an image in one of my old and much used books about African wildlife; I want to use another mammal at some point, possibly something with stripes.

And here, below, is the fabric and mixed media ready for the next page.

DSC_0134The main fabric is a piece of demo fabric printed during a class; these bits of cloth often excite me more than the planned sort. The piece will have a butterfly/moth and pods theme, using fabric, and printed acetate and paper. The main problem is I like that yellow and black fabric and don’t want to cover it, but the transparency of the acetate may help to solve that problem. Right, of to get on with it then.

20 thoughts on “From decision time to running rhinos.

  1. Isn’t it a relief to get a project out of the way, even if most of it does go for recycling!. Thank you for showing us your work and your thought processes – love the rhino.

  2. Heavens to Betsy Freddy – this all looks totally fantastic .. I’m sick with excitement just looking … glorious, glorious, glorious …. particularly like the idea of the rhino coming to you overnight – as they do .. he is a chap and a half. The energy of it all is touchable. George looks gorgeous and I can see his point actually – that blue ball does look very beguiling – Hxx

    1. That ball is such a pain. It doesn’t move out of the way, and it’s solid, so when it’s behind a door, which you try to open, the door bounces back and smacks you on the head. It is also made to bounce down the stairs, by George, which is very noisy, and one day will go through the flimsy glass of the front door.
      I do love a rhino, particularly a patterned one. xx

  3. PS – at the risk of being a little morbid .. if you die young .. can I have your useful materials recycling box?? – will help with my grief xx

      1. Well – when Bonnie realise what George is actually like she may change her mind – he can come here and show us all how he does things – Dix will be massively impressed xx

  4. That is just awe inspiring stuff…your work is that of a genius! Did you have formal art training or are you a natural clever clogs? The rhino really is running…you’d better keep an eye on it or it will vanish off the edge of the piece! Your George is adorable….

    1. Thanks Bonnie, I’m not a genius but I did go to art college, four years of joy. I did a degree in ceramics after my foundation year. Glad you like the rhino; G looks cute but is basically quite a handful, to be honest! But good company, and puts up stoically with my complicated conversations with him.

    2. Sorry to but in here Steph – but Bonnie .. we need to be clear here … Steph may or may not be a genius .. possibly is – certainly mad (like genius’ are) but George – and this is said by one who loves him very much – is many things … but adorable is SO not one of them (sorry Freddo, George and Chlo ) xx

      1. He was adorable as a puppy, well, to us anyway, and to other people as long as they didn’t try to touch him. But he would love Dix, a giant hairy playmate. He really needs to charge around a farmyard rounding up rats all day.

      2. George would be quite at home here I think. We are obsessed with pets…in fact poor old Muttley tells everyone that his wife ( me ) fills the property with useless animals. Two donkeys…mother Poppy and Petal is her daughter. Poppy is quite at home in a floral pinny, fluffy slippers and a nice freshly brewed cuppa, but Petal needs the high heeled shoes, bright red lipstick and bottles of wine. She has actually slurped on our daughter’s wine! Harry and Wills are the kune kune pigs. Full names…Wills Duke of Cropwell and Field Marshal Harry. They love nothing more than a good belly scratch and will roll over and bare all to achieve their aim. Use a stick if your manicured and painted nails don’t like dirt. Lots of dirt. Coated dried mud sort of dirt. Vivre is the goat who cheated death during a cull. He is still cheating his way into the hay shed, into the pig trough, and over any fence that leads to fruit trees or vege patches. Tabitha and Brooke are besotted with us because we jump to their every command fulfilling the role of cat slaves to perfection. I was easily trained…Muttley is still getting there. And then there is the animal cemetery that has to be tended carefully with lowered eyes and soft voices…ethereal really. And that is only our wee place. We are in the granny flat we built for my mum until she passed. We never dreamed we would live in it…but one of our daughters, her husband and their three delicious boys now occupy the family home with their own pets…the cats of which frequent our food bowls because we buy tastier food than they do…and then there is the stray that comes through the cat door for a bite to eat! George is welcome. He would keep himself well entertained…adorable or not…!

  5. I think I’m quite safe. My guess is that I am quite safe as far as the inheritance goes because….tadadadatadah…I am a pensioner and so I will pop my clogs before you do!

  6. Not only a fascinating post Steph, (LOVE the Rhino) but comments that are almost as good as eavesdropping!!

      1. He can come to Wales and he will be most welcome. he sounds like a ‘character’. I once fostered an old dog, (once they are over 8 the Dog’d trust foster them out rather than adopt – they will pay vet’s fees) who had been in the kennels for 7 years, and on a chain for 7 before that. We only had him for a year and a half before he died, but it was really rewarding – for me – for the rest of the family it was …..challenging as he had many issues, (none of his own making). I expect us two George’s would find some areas of mutual respect and he would love the hectare to run in! Biddy has a benign attitude to her species too!

  7. I’d love to do that with old dogs, my aunt has a friend who has taken in a series of older dogs.
    It’s true that dear George is a challenge, but he’s landed on his paws with us. He would love to go mad in Wales!

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