How ideas and work develop…

…is very interesting isn’t it? I’ve had a few ideas circling in my head for ages, and various wants and needs too, such as an urge during the winter to use more colour, and a strong desire to look at and channel illuminated manuscripts in my work. I saw a lot of these amazing books in an exhibition in the British Library a couple of years ago and they have stayed with me, glowing in their glass cases in the dark rooms.

The colour need seems to have been satisfied with the Khadi paper circles with birds previously shown; they’re almost finished now. The manuscripts are still thoughts in progress, but an innocent activity such as sorting fabrics to put into fabric packs for sale at shows has led me to make some new pieces, without planning to.

These are actually for a couple of shows next year, so there’s no rush to finish them, which is wonderful as I actually don’t like working under pressure at all. I had some fabric I was laying down for the packs, below, and although I would never have chosen these to make a piece of work, I loved what happened and made the happy occurrence into a new piece. It’s about 1.25 m x 60 cm, fabrics on silk noil. I’ve had the silk for years, and actually it has nearly ended up in fabric packs before now.


The piece of work, which I think will be called Dark Tide or Night Tide, waiting to be stitched.

This led to a burst of creative energy, which as usual involved getting out lots of materials. I laid down another three pieces, on silk noil, then put the materials away. I want to enjoy making these, not end up with a great pile of work I feel I have to plough through; been there, done that, time for a change.

This determined plan then failed as I got more materials out later. Still, there we go, strike while the iron’s hot and other ancient but useful phrases. DSC_0131
And below are three more pieces, mixed fabrics and papers, each about 50 x 50 cm. These are probably destined for the Art Textiles: Made in Britain gallery at the Festival of Quilts 2016. The fourth piece is a paper collage, which I will stitch, simply and lightly. DSC_0153DSC_0150DSC_0149DSC_0146

There is a fantastic show on at the Art Gallery here in Birmingham, curated by Jeremy Deller. The show compares and connects William Morris and Andy Warhol, and there are some wonderful pieces on show.

I loved Andy Warhol’s beautiful line drawings, and his larger screen prints of flowers, and camouflage, mentioning just two examples, displayed surreally on huge walls papered with William Morris wallpaper designs. The careers of both artists are explored thoroughly, particularly the large amount of publications they both produced.

There are some large print blocks on display which were used to block print various William Morris wallpapers, and these tools are gorgeous as objects too. The whole show is so well curated and mounted it’s a joy, and all the Holy Grail Tapestries, made by Morris and Co. are also in the show. I’ve seen these quite a lot, growing up in Birmingham, but it’s always good to see them again. DSC_0140 DSC_0141

4 thoughts on “How ideas and work develop…

  1. I seem to have missed this post sneaking in here a few days ago but no surprise to read it’s about new work developing. I think yours is really developed by a support team of specially trained minions because no one person can do so much…. can they? You will deny this when you leave your response but you never seem to have a fallow period. I have a head stuffed full of ideas like you but you always make yours happen whilst I dream on! These are fabulous, particularly those with the inclusion of text. I take my hat off to you again!

  2. No, it’s true I have slowed down a little, and I like it. It may be something tranisional going on, who knows, least of all me!

    I know how much you produce anyway, don’t be shy, all those prints and books. I’m thinking of having an experimental session or two with some printmaking ideas, spurred on by your blog, so thanks for the inspiration! [Still no moth trap here in Birmingham though…]

  3. As ever it is so interesting to see your work in progress and thought processes. I am glad you enjoyed the Warhol/Morris show by Jeremy Deller. I saw this back in January when it was at MoMA Oxford, it is a great show isn’t it and the connections Deller makes are really interesting and clever.

  4. Hi Gillian, it is a gem of a show isn’t it, one of the best I have seen, totally absorbing and with a large amount of fascinating material that is very cleverly curated and organised. I learnt a lot, without trying!

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