Thursday, 17 January 2019

testing testing 1 2 3...

The world of linocut is opening up to me... Was thrilled with the print quality from my first two linocuts below. I'm learning about papers, rolling out ink, inking the lino and registering the print. There are simple tricks to help with this and the t'internet provided fruitful search results - particularly Nick Morley at Linocut Boy. I'm now coveting a set of Pfeil tools plus this little beauty and will be borrowing Linocut for Artists and Designers by Nick from Derby Universities library.

I've been using such basic tools, I wonder at what could be achieved with grown up tools!

This Monday (21st Jan) I'll be in the printmaking studio at Derby University bright and early to hand print a limited edition of 25 of each lino on lovely, heavyweight Somerset satin paper. I've had a positive response on social media, so I'll see if this turns into sales. 

It's all about the boundaries...

Dry stone wall (A5)

 Hawthorn hedgerow (A5)

 1st print on newsprint

Varied papers

 1st print on newsprint

 Varied papers

Saturday, 29 December 2018

lino cut

Unexpectedly, I'm beginning to explore printmaking rather than screen printing on my AA2A residency. The field and farm boundaries of hedge and stone wall lend themselves to lino. I'm using my finest carving tool to capture graphic, linear qualities, echoing the illustrations in the fairytale books of my childhood. 

Last night I finished carving my stone wall lino, when I get back to Derby University after the Christmas break I'll print and reflect upon the outcome. It's nerve racking spending many hours carving, not knowing if it will give me the result I desire... but, it's the only way to progress. I'm using this residency to learn and develop new skills, so sitting with the 'unknown' is companion to that. Exciting! 

Monday, 26 November 2018

edges and boundaries

I'm trying resist rushing into my AA2A project at Derby University and have allowed myself until the turn of the year to sit with and consider my developing ideas. I've spent a number of enjoyable and chilly hours drawing and photographing hedgerows and pathways, and photographing stone walls to draw later. 

Today I visited Alison Uttley's birthplace for the third time, drawing and redrawing a pathway by the boundary of the farm, I spent time walking the hawthorn hedgerows and stone walls near the farm house. Drawing allows time to pause, think, to look, notice and understand these boundaries that inspire me. The notion of boundary is important within my evolving ideas, a physical barrier representing safety and respect.

 Overgrown hawthorn hedge near Bakewell

 Hedgerow near Bakewell

 Hedgerow drawings

 Stone wall boundary Castle Top Farm

 Wall and path boundary at castle Top Farm

Stone wall Castle Top Farm

Thursday, 1 November 2018

lay of the land

My AA2A project is being conjured from the ether. I took the train from Matlock to Derby today to work in the university library. 

Now I know where author Alison Uttley was born I'm beginning to understand the lay of the land and where to look for a fleeting glimpse of the farmhouse rooftop from the train. I've read Our Village, Alison Uttley's Cromford and Country Hoard (bought in Scarthin Books) and the farm landscape is enlivened by her writing.

Today I took this photo and enjoy the blur, centred is the farmhouse, hunkered down, grounded, immovable.

art library joy

Felt so at home in Derby University library today, gathering and rediscovering my core and repeatedly visited art references. My dyslexia was fierce, looking up books made difficult by one minute being able to spell a word and the next unable... Got there in the end!

I carried off the Subversive Stitch and Louise Bourgeois An Unfolding Portrait. Its thrilling wandering an art library, thankful for the opportunity.

Monday, 22 October 2018

anni albers at tate modern

There is a hierarchy in art with textiles low down the pecking order. When at Goldsmiths in the early noughties the Fine Art MA would not share a catalogue with the Textiles MA. I reflected on this while walking round the final shows in which it was impossible to spot the boundary between courses. We use textile - association, thread, fabric and process as a material ripe with context, history, culture and meaning. It is simple, we are artists.

From a tiny look at social media I sensed the deep intake of breath from artists and designers around the opening of the Anni Albers show at Tate Modern. Fortunately I was in London for the opening weekend and got to see the highly sophisticated craft of weaving united with the language of modern art and abstraction.

I read EVERYTHING in the show, and noted down these snippets from Anni Albers which resonated...

Room 2

A Start: Weaving at The Bauhaus
'One outstanding characteristic of the Bauhaus has been, to my mind, an unprejudiced attitude toward materials and their inherent capacities.'

'... went into weaving unenthusiastically, as merely the least objectionable choice, but gradually threads caught my imagination.'

Room 6

The Pliable Plane
'The essentially structural principles that relate the work of building and weaving could form the basis of a new understanding between the architect and the inventive weaver. New uses of fabrics and new fabrics could result from a collaboration: and textiles, so often no more that an afterthought in planning, might take a place again as a contributing thought.'

Room 10

Material as Metaphor: Prints, Drawings and textile samples
'... Circumstances held me to threads and they won me over. I learned to listen to them and to speak their language... And with the listening came gradually a longing for a freedom beyond their range and that led me to another medium, graphics. Threads were no longer as before three-dimensional; only their resemblance appeared drawn or printed on paper. What I learned in handling threads, I now use in the printing process.' 

aa2a placement - derby university

When I lived in London there were constant reminders of my mum and her family who lived for generations in central London. From my bedroom window, tiny on the distant horizon the BT Tower was visible and this totem transported me back to memories of Auntie Lil's spotless kitchen in Camden Town, where the tower loomed large beyond the window, and of Uncle Fred who lived a stones throw from the tower off Oxford Street. At Leytonstone tube the central line could have taken me to my mum's house and Epping Forest where reminders abound. Taking or not taking these journeys wasn't the point, the associations and memories were sparked, keeping Doreen and my London ancestors current in my thoughts.

Moving to Derbyshire has removed this layer if association. This land holds no family connection, and this fact has left me adrift somedays while I sit with complicated feelings. When packing up my Leytonstone flat I had the foresight to include my precious storybooks from childhood. Immediately after moving to Derbyshire I reread these books, wishing to reconnect with my mum and wondering about my adult reading of these tales with a birds eye view of childhood. 

One story, The Woodcutter's Daughter by Allison Uttley stood out, it was eerily familiar, as if trying to grasp fragments of a dream. It tells the story of Cherry-blossom who lives in a forest, a girl who sews by the fire, who mends and makes. When my mum read us these stories she slept in the room with us, and looking back I realise she was using us as protection, my dad was an alcoholic and mum suffered domestic violence. That was the backdrop to Uttley's fairytales in our house.

After re-reading the stories I was intrigued by the author, and tapped her name into the search bar and much to my astonishment discovered Alison was born just a few miles from where I now live. The seed of a project idea began to form and I walked to her birthplace last week. 

My childhood memories are tainted and complex and I want to explore my associations with The Woodcutter's Daughter and bedtime story telling within my placement at Derby University. I've taken a deep breath and recognise my courage in being transparent about this starting point, and it feels right.      

 Wood End, Cromford

 Birthplace of Alison Uttley

 Path along the boundary of Castle Top Farm

 Castle Top Farm

 Short cut at the farm boundary

Steep wood at the farm boundary