Saturday, 25 April 2015

Metamorphose - International Biennial for Paper & Fibre Art

In passing in a previous post (here), I mentioned the Water -Fibre - Paper - Metamorphosis exhibition currently to be seen in Cirencester at New Brewery Arts.  This exhibition is part of the International Biennial for Paper & Fibre Art and will travel to several other international venues later in the year.

I finally found the time to go and see the work again yesterday afternoon, this time with my camera. Previous attempts to photograph the work with my phone had not been satisfactory.

This lovely exhibition provides a sample of current work in paper and other fibres by artists from the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan and features different fibres from across the world.

I have here a selection of my favourite pieces that photographed well. I hope they show the wide range of media, subject matter and approach to be found in the exhibition.

First there is Eeny-Meeny by Minnamarina Tammi from Finland, which is described as a tableau in newspaper, magazines and paper. The delicate piece was extraordinarly beautiful as well as dramatic.

Then I liked Sunset III by Paula Jiun No from Germany in handmade papers,

And Memoire by Marie-Claire Meier from Switzerland.

I was also fascinated by the precision of News of the Day by Helen Tschacher from Germany.

Three very different pieces complete my selection. First there is the beautifully delicate Babel by Catherine Bernard from France. This is an installation in Kozo cellulose and thread.

Then there is White Water by Marjorie Tomchuk from the USA. This grid of pressed designs was made in cotton fibre paper which was airbrush coloured. 

And last of all, is Graven Images 6 by Cherilyn Martin from the Netherlands. This paper and mixed media piece which is on the wall in the photo that began this post is shown here in close up. I'd love to know the story behind the work.

Metamorphosis can be seen at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester until 31 May and, for those who live close enough, is an exhibition which is not to be missed.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Exploring translucency

I so liked the effect in the candle wax resist that I posted last week that I've been trying out several more resists in my daily mark making.

Here I'm posting one using olive oil and painted over with black acrylic which, because it made the paper translucent, had more impact when photographed up against a window so the light glowed through ...

and this, the reverse, perhaps even more interesting because of its subtlety when the paper was turned over and held against the light ...

I liked the beading of the paint on the surface of the oil which this technique produced and which didn't appear with other resists. The drawback was that the surface took a long time to dry and I had to be careful not to touch it for a few hours or I would have lost the more delicate marks.

I suspect that many of these resist ideas are much easier to achieve on paper's crisp and more rigid surface. Transferring them to fabric could then be done with digital photography and an image manipulation package - but I will try some directly on fabric and see what happens.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Fritillaries at Cricklade North Meadow

I've posted several times before (for instance here) about Cricklade North Meadow in Wiltshire, near where we live. We visit the site regularly and it is always a pleasure. We visited again last Saturday afternoon in warm spring sunshine.

The site, over 100 acres (24.6 hectares) of traditionally maintained hay meadow, is a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. In all, Cricklade North Meadow is home to more than 250 different species which flower throughout the spring and summer. Many of these are very rare.

The meadow is perhaps best known for its wonderful (and certainly rare) display of snakes head fritillaries that bloom in most years from mid to late April. The fritillary, along with many other uncommon species, flourishes in the protected and incomparably special habitat with its seasonal flooding of the upper Thames. Indeed, the Meadow has 80% of the Fritillary meleagris in the UK.

This year, following two years of dramatic and almost overwhelming flooding, the fritillaries have been particularly spectacular. It is estimated that, in a good year, around 500.000 blooms carpet the meadow with a gentle purple glaze. This I can well believe. On this lovely spring afternoon, the Meadow was full of blooms and was looking truly beautiful.

There were also many more common species in full flower. These included the bright yellow king cup or marsh marigold. As its common names suggests, it is a marsh-loving member of the same family of plants as the buttercup (ranunculaceae). For me, it is a reminder of happy childhood spring holidays with my grandmother in Hampshire.

Then there was the lady's smock or cuckoo flower, so called because its flowering coincides with the arrival of the first cuckoo of spring, and there were many thousands of bright yellow dandelions which intermingled with the fritillaries.

As we walked, we heard sky larks. willow warblers and chiff-chaffs and saw a peacock butterfly sunning itself on vegetation - hints of the fauna also flourishing in the Meadow.

Last Saturday afternoon, there were lots of other visitors enjoying these delights. Most of us on this occasion, I suspect, were drawn by the fritillaries - but also, perhaps, by the special Fritillary Tearoom that opens at weekends in April and which promises excellent home made cakes and a good cup of tea after a walk in the meadow.

Maintenance of these disappearing hay meadows is becoming critical. It is estimated that we have lost around 97% of our traditionally maintained meadows to drainage, fertilisers and the plough. With this loss has come the endangering of the many wild flowers that used to flourish in them. Long may the Meadow continue. We feel privileged to live so close and to be able to visit so regularly.

Further information about Cricklade North Meadow can be found here on the official website.

Friday, 17 April 2015

English Green from the garden and beyond

This time for Roy, I have a sample of English country greens as spring is at last bursting into life in the lovely warm spring sunshine in every garden, wood, field and hedgerow here in the UK. How I love this time of year - the release from winter, the increasing warmth, the strengthening light levels, the new growth and the promise of a warm summer to come (one can always hope). It's my favourite season of all, I think, and I'm going to celebrate it this time with photos of some of our British trees. There are both native and introduced examples, but every species shows its own particular variation on green as it come to life after the winter.

The photos were all taken in my garden and in hedgerows within walking distance of my house. I'm sure there are no surprises here at all for British visitors to this blog and that all around you things are looking just the same. I hope you will forgive my self-indulgence.

First comes a great favourite of mine (and of our grandchildren), the horse chestnut or conker tree with its buds which are delightfully sticky before opening, its large leaves that unfurl so dramatically. and its distinctive stacked flower heads (not yet open in this photo).

Then there is a small hazel bush which grows in a hedgerow along the edge of our garden. I love its delicate leaves and its nuts that are much enjoyed by the squirrels that visit us through the winter.

Now, to some trees and their flowers. First of all there are the delicately green catkins of the silver birch tree with its tiny unfurling leaves which follow the catkins. They can just be seen on the twigs in this photo between the catkins.

Then comes an ornamental cherry whose leaves have a delicate orange tinge when they first appear.

And last of all, the inconspicuous orange flowers on one of the yew trees that give our house its name. ...

As I looked through a preview of this post just now, I was struck again by the range of greens that accompany the trees I've featured. What an excellent choice of colour green is for the April instalment of the rainbow challenge! There is really no way of escaping it wherever you look.