May, a brief reprisal.

Monthly blogs are ok but I forget quite a lot of what I’ve done. I tend to stick to work and leisure with my blog, and this month has been quiet on the outing front, busy on the garden front and quite hefty in terms of buying fairly expensive lino cut tools. This was a worry at first, but I do love lino cuts, and you need a good sharp tool, and the blocks to keep them so. I’ll deal with the linocuts soon, when there are enough to make a decent blog post, and indeed when I’ve made enough to post.

One outing was to see the Hew Locke exhibition Here’s the Thing, at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. I’m quite a fan of his work, having seen some at the  New Art Gallery Walsall, some years ago. This show, which finishes on June 2, is very well worth seeing, particularly the floating in space flotilla of boats, filling a whole gallery.

I’m not far off from completing my project Stories of the Lost and the Found. This was an aptly named project as for at least two years it’s bounced around from one format to another, unresolved, and irritating! It had to be taken in hand, a decision had to be made. So I coupled it with my new like of stitching in a hoop, and got on with it.

Here are some more from the series.

The light through the trees.

On the floating twigs.

Autumn, a quieter view.

A narrow indigo cloud.

Four small birds.

The trunk and the glasses.

The beach on Christmas day.

The snow trees.

The pieces include fabrics, paper, porcelain pieces, sea glass, and as you can see, quite a lot of beads.

The titles relate to words I have written; the embroideries are illustrations, basically. I hope to be able to get them altogether into a publication of some sort. There are a few more to go, then it’s the task of finishing the backs. I’m not a fan of finishing but it has to be done.

And below, a couple of images of the garden, which is not at all large but quite demanding, and has been taking up my time, mostly willingly given I must say, over the past month. I’m hoping now though that it will get on with it for a while, although to be truthful it’s always happy to get on with it without my interference. It’s quite densely planted so the main summer jobs are cutting back over enthusiastic plants, although I have noticed that one or two have suffered after the dry summer last year, not that that is particularly evident from these well leaved images.



14 thoughts on “May, a brief reprisal.

  1. I love the hoop work Steph, and I’m not a fan of finishing either! Your garden is looking beautiful. I’m trying to fill mine out with more plants and I’ve made one of our beds broader so now need to get planting!

    1. Thanks Jacqui, great to hear from you. I may just get circles cut for the backs and glue them on, I think it will look smarter than stitched felt circles which I’ve tried in the past. The garden, well, it’s quite photogenic, but of course close up there’s always things that could be done better, very few of which I will manage…

  2. All such different pieces but all still ‘Steph’ work. Lovely garden too. Mines not bad if you do a quick pass but weeds are growing at such a rate this year!

  3. Thanks Amanda! There’s always something that needs doing, even in a small garden, especially one that is, shall I say, generously planted and mature. It’ll be machetes next.

  4. Sometimes just finding a way to tackle something pulls all the other somethings into focus. I do like what you’ve been doing with these pieces, and they do feel related to one another.

  5. Thanks again for your posting I so enjoy hearing what is happening in your studio and life. As usual stunning work. ❤ Regards jenny

  6. These hoop pieces are so good Steph. Your signature style makes your work very recognisable to me and the hoops are now an added dimension to that style. Looking at them closely which all that beading and stitching gives me a clear idea of the amount of time they take! I like them all but 4 small birds and the beach on Christmas Day stand out in particular.Thanks for the reference to Hew Locke, someone I’ve never heard of I’m ashamed to say, but a quick look at some of his work suggests I shall have fun filling that gap in my knowledge!

  7. Thanks Lesley, I can understand why you like the beach piece [trying not to be envious about your location and failing] and the bird is an old favourite. I think the Hew Locke show is touring, I may be wrong. I think he’s one of the best contemporary artists around. As you can see I may need therapy to deal with my bead usage, but sod it, I love a bead!

  8. I just want to say a big thank you for a fascinating blog, as well as your fabulous book. I retired a few years ago, after of teaching others and working in the textiles industry, ( I have an MA in Textiles, amongst other qualifications). I was really looking forward to doing my own creative work again, but to be honest, just felt very jaded – I felt I had seen (and done) it all, despite trying to take all the advise myself, that I would have given former students about starting new work. Your work, to be honest, is the only thing that has faintly inspired me, so fresh and honest and intuitive in feeling. I love that you write in your book about preferring a small choice of materials – I think this does help. So many new books I’ve acquired emphasise every material going as well as you MUST use free machine embroidery, which I actually hate, although I taught it on the BA course. Thank you so much, I think I am now in recovery!

  9. Well, what can I say! I’m fairly hopeless at accepting complements, even though of course I love them, so I will just say a simple thank you for such an incredible message.
    I’m really pleased, to put it mildly, that my work and book has perked you up so much, and I hope it continues. I know what it’s like as a creative person to feel your creative energy sag, after years of enthusiastic making; it’s not easy to deal with. When you come out of it it’s wonderful. After an intense teaching career you can feel so exhausted, even though you may have enjoyed it.
    I can only suggest now that you treat yourself gently, and fully indulge in exactly what inspires and moves you; you deserve it after all those years of teaching, giving and motivating.

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