I’ve been making new work for the Art Textiles: Made in Britain gallery at the Festival of Quilts this August at the NEC in Birmingham. This wasn’t actually my original plan, I was going to show some work that is in my new book, but I was waylaid by some pieces I’ve made in a sculpture class I’ve been attending at mac in Birmingham.
I decided to use the objects I’ve made to start off some new pieces for the show. The theme for the gallery is Wild, which is, as they say, right up my street.
I was planning to use plaster and other messy materials in the class, but after a rummage through the materials in the studio spotted a variety of wires. I’ve wanted to make a giant nest for some time, but hadn’t got round to it, and without the class would never have made in with wire. I did like the result of all that twisting and weaving.
Here are some images of Nest in progress.
It started with a base of chicken wire, too which I added a mix of aluminium wires.
After the initial basic construction I brought it home to finish. I decided to use Khadi paper printed with some of my words and images and cut into leaf shapes, to line the bottom, and added some plastic leaves made from milk containers, pebbles and beads. I wanted to keep to the cool, austere palette of colours suggested by the silver wire.
The leaves and beads were stitched onto the base. I can’t pretend, this took ages and I was glad when I’d finished. The nest is about 65 cm in diameter so it was quite unwieldy, if very light.
And below, the finished nest.
The next piece that developed from the sculpture class is a series of five panels called Dark Tiger. I’d spotted some dowels in the materials cupboard, and wanted to use them for something, so started to wire them together. The resultant screens lead to Dark Tiger.
Here they are, a little pile of screens that have driven me slightly crazy by constantly entangling themselves with each other.
The designs for Dark Tiger emerged from this collage, below, that I made some weeks ago. It’s around 80 x 30 cm. I liked and wanted to use these painted and printed papers for something; it had no destination at the time. I added some black and white images of tulips, some bold stitch for texture and detail, and this was the result.
Thinking it would be ideal for the project, I photographed it, and printed various images of it onto fabric using my inkjet printer, using cotton poplin and cotton twill on a roll. This fabric is made by Blumenthal Craft. It’s really easy to use, with good colour and definition, but I did a test piece as you need to jiggle with your images to get exactly what you want.
Some of the printed fabrics, and also some images and drawings of mine I printed out too; these didn’t make the edit for this piece.After constructing the five panels using appliqué, I machine stitched them, and added many beads and some hand stitch.
Above, a close up of one of the panels, and below, the centre finished panel, mounted onto the wooden frame. The tiger is from one of my drawings, she’s had a prowl through Photoshop. The frames have been inked black with Indian ink, and the stitched textile panel was mounted onto a double layer of A3 Khadi paper, also inked black. There has been much use of my bodger, or bradawl to give it it’s proper name.
The screen will be about 2.5 metres in length. I’ll be working on it at the Creative Craft Show this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the NEC, Birmingham.
Sue Bibby and I are sharing stand E28, and it looks as if it’s going to be a great show, with lots of textile artists and suppliers, so come if you can.
If you don’t like the heat it’ll be really cool too, the NEC has great air conditioning.