Wednesday, 11 April 2018

leytonstone life drawing

Life drawing from last night, 10 minute, 25 minute and 45 minute poses. It's an untutored class run by Jennifer Wolf, click here for details. Fantastic model, with a different model each week, popular class with materials provided and focused atmosphere! Apologies for the average photos and nasty auto enhance - best I can do on a dull London morning.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

15 years

Epping Forest, 2003

 Epping Forest, 2018

15 years separate these images. At 32, during my MA in Textiles at Goldsmiths College I returned to my childhood stomping grounds to work within the landscape using white acrylic wool, a camera on a tripod and a laser to create a floating white boundary line within the trees. This work led to my final piece, There's no place like home, exhibited at Goldsmiths during the summer show of 2003. Click on my artwork section to view this piece. 

Over the years I've kept an eye on these trees, leaving the wool in situ, curious as to how it would weather and degrade. On a walk with my sister a couple of weeks ago (who helped me install and photograph the work in 2003) we revisited the site and I decided to return with scissors and remove the wool. Mostly out of concern for the trees, but I began to ponder making something with this weathered material...

Today, I journeyed on the Central Line to Debden, cycling to Epping Forest, past the street I was brought up on and my childhood home. There is something magical about being alone in a forest, birdsong filled my ears, I spotted a treecreeper perched on a trunk, noticed solitary bees buzz and bumble, searching at ground level. The rush of an unseen steam, full after yesterdays persistent rain added a consistent sound layer as I marvelled at soon to be obscured tree forms spangled in green expectant buds. The air had a warmth in it, the forest calm, holding imminent promise of ping and pop as spring roars in.

One by one I unwound wool from the trees, disturbing tiny translucent slugs that I'd not noticed before. The wool created a damp and spongy base for lichen and moss. Unwinding, paler wool was revealed appearing white against the tree, but grey when placed on the forest floor. It took time. Some trees appeared unaffected by the wool, bark smooth, unblemished, others retained indentations, reminding me of scarification marks in skin. While untangling I thought of myself, a different person from the one who wrapped the trees in 2003, 15 years is a long time and so much has changed. Only once did someone pass by, a man who commented that what I was doing looked 'very scientific'. I was wearing my fluorescent vest for cycling, so may have had an unintended workman like appearance. I was happy when he wandered off with his bounding black labrador.

Now the wool rests on my living room floor, untangled and drying. 3D forms will emerge using my beloved hand stitch and knit. I've no rush for an outcome, it can come to me when it's ready.    


Thursday, 8 March 2018

the forest

This is the view from the house I grew up in. The edge of Epping Forest across the road, what good fortune! 

Tuesday, 6 March 2018


A light drizzle spotted my camera as I captured these images today. Completely undisturbed I sat with the work and the grave, carefully placing the knit onto the headstone and finding it a perfect fit. The grave is lovingly tended, a remembered place with daffodils in their spring prime, their yellow blooms hopeful as we turn towards the light.

George, 2018

Monday, 26 February 2018

stitch by stitch

Slowly, slowly my Close Knit project is nearing completion. The knit for my uncles grave was finished a couple of weeks ago and soon I'll revisit Slough and photograph it on the headstone. I've hesitated over beginning the piece for Mum, but have cast on 107 stitches and made a start. The colour I selected for her is Sailor Blue, she had a jumper in that shade that suited her.    

King Cole Pricewise DK - Acid (038)

 Paintbox Yarns Simply DK - Sailor Blue (139)

Friday, 22 December 2017

close knit update

During the last few months I've located two of my Mum's brothers graves, traveling to Slough and Gloucester to photograph, measure and make rubbings of the gravestones. This information enables me to create knitting patterns that replicate the surface dimensions of the stones. I've almost finished George's acid yellow cosy, a nod to the graveside flowers on the day of my visit.

It saddens me that my Mum is now a part of this project. In 2009 I knitted a pink cosy for the grave Mum now rests in, she joined her mother and two of her sisters. The stone was straightened and cleaned before the burial of Mum's ashes in October, so I've retaken the measurements and selected a royal blue acrylic wool for her cosy, a colour that really suited her.  

To complete Close Knit the graves of my Granddad Frederick Furmage, and his first son, also Frederick Furmage remain to be found. My Granddad was buried in a communal grave and I'm hoping to discover its location. My Uncle Fred is proving to be a challenge to trace, but I understand he is buried in East Finchley. The project continues...




Thursday, 7 December 2017

creative learning network

Haven't done much education work recently, partly the fall out from a difficult year and a need to hunker down/retain energy BUT yesterday I worked with a fantastic and receptive group at the Hepworth Wakefield.

The Hepworth Wakefield and Theatre Royal Wakefield jointly offer practical sessions for teachers, teaching assistants, NQTs, artists and art organisations through the Creative Learning Network exploring creative approaches to teaching across the curriculum as well as generating new ideas that can be applied back in the classroom.

We explore drawing and communication inspired by Barbara Hepworth's The Gift in galleries 4 & 5 and Alina Szapocznikow: Human Landscapes. We had the galleries to ourselves and the atmosphere was still, shadowed, spiritual somehow... The art considered belonging, place, landscape, relationships, human experience, the body, fragility, illness and loss. The group considered, reflected upon and were moved by these issues. 

Today I received this response, gathered from the feedback forms completed at the close of our session: colourful, engaging, thoughtful  reflective, inspiring, creative, rewarding, fun, happy, relaxing, interesting, enthralling, clever, sad. The feedback also evidenced the participants felt they had the confidence to take the ideas and explore them in their own learning environments. I'm so pleased!