Work and light.

Ok, where’s September gone? There’s been some amazing weather this month, brilliantly lit days which show off box fresh dahlias and gloriously overgrown psychedelic Miss Haversham vegetable gardens with equal grace.

Above and below, the dahlia border at Baddesley Clinton, a National Trust property in the Midlands.

Above and below, the rampant end of the season vegetable garden also at Baddesley Clinton.

Sorry, I love squashes.

I’ve been lucky too in having seen three good exhibitions, all in Birmingham.

Two were at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Gallery, both unfortunately now finished. One was landscape artist Rob Perry’s annual show, always a joy. I love his work, and can peer for ages at his delicate drawings. This is his website

Kate Fryer was a Member of the RBSA, and died in 2017 aged 106. Life’s Journey is a meticulously curated exhibition of her work; I’ve seen her pictures over the years so it was wonderful to see so many pieces together. Her work encompassed painting, wood engraving, illustration, and fabric design.

I also visited the retrospective exhibition of Barry Flanagan’s work at the Icon Gallery in Birmingham, which includes his sculptural work using textiles and wood, a range of delicate collages, photography, and of course his famous hares. This is on until November 24.

Also at the Icon was this fascinating hand stitched silk piece by Claudia Losi. Well, actually it was made over two years by 12 non professional embroiderers, but the idea was Losi’s; I presume she added a few stitches too. It’s based upon a visionary illustration of the Antarctic by Athanasius Kircher in 1664-1665. It is very beautiful.

And now to some new pieces of my work made and in progress this month. The title of this post, Work and Light, eludes to the fact that as the days get shorter I tend to do more work; the decent weather of the summer is unsettling, in work terms. And also, of course, there has been some spectacular light this month, overwhelmingly beautiful.

I’ve been using the indigo fabrics I dyed, enjoying choosing them for use as backgrounds, but only placing elements in quite a minimal way. I don’t want to cover the fabric too much, as some of the dyed marks are so beautiful.

Above, Red bird, 40 x 40 cm/16 x 16 inches, finished. Hand stiched painted fabrics on indigo dyed cotton.

Above and below, work in progress.

I’m trying out combining the porcelain pieces with the indigo fabrics; they seem like natural partners.

And to finish, a book I couldn’t resist buying. It’s fact – dense but written with such a light and clever touch, and has a small but beautiful number of drawn illustrations.

I hope your October is as joyous as this beetles back.


10 thoughts on “Work and light.

  1. Thank you Stephanie – it’s always good to hear about exhibitions and to see your current work in progress – love the indigo, very inspirational.
    I’m a fan of Rob Perry’s work but sadly missed this exhibition – will definitely try and catch one of his others.

  2. Thanks Sarah, I’m pleased you like the indigo, I’m a bit of a fan myself. Hopefully Rob will be showing at the RBSA Gallery again next year. His shows are always inspirational.

  3. I love your work here! The blue backgrounds are very beautiful in their own right, the detail in the bird is lovely and the ‘marks’ created by the tiny scraps of fabric and long stitches really appeal to me. (I think they’d be a wonderful technique in a paper collage too, with fine lines painted instead of the stitching.) 🙂

  4. Thanks Ann. The little tower of scraps and stitch is definitely something I would like to develop and use again, both in fabric and paper. It would be interesting to try some variations on the theme.

  5. Steph, all three of these names are new to me. I always love finding artistsvia recommendations this way. If they appeal to you then I know they will resonate with me! Looking forward to some time to follow links or find them and delve deeper.
    Those beautiful squash photos remind me of last year when we grew three huge Turks Turbans but sadly found them great on shape and colour but lacking in flavour. They made for some great photo opportunities but we didn’t repeat them this year although we’re still harvesting other bits and pieces. Loving the new work. That bird looks like a mosaic jewel!

  6. Hi Lesley, glad to introduce a couple of new artists. I’ve never eaten a Turk’s turban, only looked at them and taken far too many images of them, they are rather magnificent. One would make a great mosaic – like jewelled embroidery perhaps.

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