Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Coloured teasels

I've been doing lots more experimenting in my sketch book - today applying some colour to my teasel forms - both to the stalk tracings and to the teasel heads. 

First are two versions of the teasel stalks, one flipped over to make a possible pattern repeat ...


... and the other flipped over and rotated through 180 * ...


Then there is the teasel head itself  - colouring it seems to make it even more spider-like than ever ...


Then tomorrow, there should be some time to experiment with stitch before I take an enforced break and a change of task.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Black and white teasels

This time  ... some more fun and games with my teasel drawings - and more black and white.

I've taken the teasel stalk tracing, repeated it as a mirror image and flipped it into the four orientations - amazing what can be achieved with a digital camera, PC and printer.

And now, I've filled in the positive and negative shapes to give a reflected image.



... and had fun in Adobe Photoshop, inverting the colour and cropping the original drawing.



It always amazes me how much things change when the black / white balance is altered.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Teasels in Stroud

As I explore further for my black and white Cotswold and Stroud pieces, I've gone back to a photo I took of teasels early last year and to a drawing I made of a teasel head on a workshop soon afterwards.




For those who don't know about teasels and their relevance to the Cotswolds, they are extraordinary plants which grow in summer here in the UK. Their seed heads are large and crisp to the touch and are covered with hooks to help with seed distribution. They are to be found in hedgerows and on field edges all through the autumn and winter and seem to stand up to the worst of our winter weather. They can often be seen standing tall surrounded by snow.







Their interest for me, apart from their appealing shape and texture and their resiliance, is that they were used historically in the textile industry and especially in Stroud to raise the nap on fabric - and particularly in the case of the Stroud factories - to raise the nap on the red wool cloth that the town was so well-known for.

I have included here a page from my large sketch book showing the drawing of a teasel I made on the workshop and some tracings. The drawing was made in black Quink ink, mostly with a 1 inch wide hake brush - sometimes using the wooden end rather than the brush itself as it seemed to record the character of the teasel stalks better.



The tracing I took of the stem (on the left) was then turned through 90*. 




I also traced and interpreted the seed head and then photocopied several versions, laying the tracing over the top each time.



















Then, following the lead from The Crafty Mugwump in her latest post (thank you Pam), I inverted the colours in Adobe Photoshop - more contrast.





This was all great fun to do ... and has now prompted some more fun and games. More of that in another post ...



Thursday, 20 June 2013

B for Blue

Ah the blue post .... How quickly the months come around!

When in the east of Scotland recently, near Aberdeen, I seemed to see such a lot of blue, almost all of it azure. Maybe this was because I was looking with anticipation of the next Roy G Biv challenge, or maybe it was because the sun was, at last, shining and the sea was a wonderful summer blue and so noticeable.

We visited the pretty little fishing village of Portsoy on the north Aberdeenshire coast where the harbour was a tranquil and sparkling blue ...


... and then we found a pair of delightful little fishing boats with their reflections (all the boats seemed to be painted blue) ...


... and a blue-painted window frame used to ornament the walls of a courtyard café where we sat in the sunshine with a cup of hot chocolate ...


... and then some lobster pots with blue ropes ...




 ... and a window opening in the wall of a disused building framing a view of the sea - both of which, as you can see, I couldn't resist tampering with in Adobe Photoshop ...


Even when we were in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow earlier on in our trip, we found azure blue, including a magnificent trompe l'oeil seat ...


... and by way of contrast, a set of red and gold stacking chairs, with a blue metal support ...


But then perhaps it's hardly surprising, all this blue. We were in Scotland and the national flag, the Soltire or St Andrew's Cross, is a bright, clear blue too, so I'll end with it in tribute to a place that brings us so much pleasure on every visit ...


... and I can't wait to return.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Paper tearing and vivid colours

I've been playing further with very bright colours for another version of my Cotswold Edge pieces. 

Using a cut down credit card, I dragged acrylic paint over several sheets of computer paper - chosen for its tearing qualities. I rolled a very dry print roller (brayer) covered with a suggestion of black paint over the top of one. I then tore the resulting papers into shape and stuck them onto a ground paper before photographing them. 

Play in Adobe Photoshop then followed to intensify the colours which were intended to reflect the colours of the Cotswolds - green hillsides, blue mill streams and the red wool fabric previously seen in the field around Stroud as it dried. 

There were several versions - these are just three that I chose as they seemed to come closest to what I was trying to achieve. 
All are all just a little too vivid for working on, I think, but it's been a fun exercise to do. 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Stitching Black and White

While I was on holiday in Scotland, I began stitching an appliqué version of my black and white Cotswold crafts idea.

I have in my mind the watermill buildings of Stroud with their chimneys, the red cloth dyed there and then spread out to dry in the fields, the limestone walls to be found all around here, and the undulations of the Cotswold Hills.

While I think how to develop things - especially, how large to make the next version and how to display it, here are some previews ...

... with running stitch ...


... with seeding in black and grey ...


... and with seeding in red ...


Doing this preliminary stitching has been very helpful so I will continue to work on the sample to try out some other thoughts ...

I have a feeling this may become work in a series. I have lots of other ideas ...

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Burrell Collection

When in Scotland recently, we visited the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. This extraordinary range of objects was acquired by Sir William Burrell. Throughout his life, he gradually amassed one of the greatest collections ever put together by one person. Then, in 1944, in an extraordinary act of generosity, he and his wife gifted everything to the people of Glasgow on condition that a suitable rural site was found near the city.

Stained glass at the Burrell
The collection finally found its home in the beautiful Pollock Park to the south of the city centre in a modern, purpose-built building. It is a joy in itself with some of the large pieces from his collection, such as the Romanesque doorways and the stained glass, actually built into the structure of the building.

Where it is possible for the artefacts, many of the galleries are spacious and flooded with light and seem to merge with the surrounding park. As we viewed the objects, we looked out through the large plate-glass windows onto woodland and swathes of grass which gave a great sense of peace and unity.

The 8000 plus objects in the collection include paintings, ceramics, sculpture, furniture, textiles and stained glass from around the world and represent both ancient and modern civilisations. It is an extraordinarily eclectic mix of items and I could not begin to include photographs of all my favourites but here are just a few.

A 12 th century doorway built into the fabric of the gallery, originally from Montron in north eastern France ...


.... a stunning Chinese ceramic lion dog ...


... an exquisite brass incense burner from the 17th or 18th century, also from China ...


... a lovely almost graphic pen and ink drawing of a horse and jockey...


... a piece of stained glass enlarged in a display cabinet ( I especially enjoyed the interplay between the stained glass itself and the reflections off the glass - got potential, I think!) ...


...and last of all in this post, an exquisite 16 th (or 17 th?) century bead work basket - quite extraordinary work and good to finish on a textile...


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Black and white and intensity of mark

I've been largely silent for two weeks while on holiday in Scotland and away from a broadband connection - there are still such places!

A great and peaceful time was had with lots of lovely late spring sunshine, glorious views and countryside,  reading, and some excellent museum and gallery visits - more of all that later.

Meanwhile, a small piece of my own fun. There was very little stitch done while I was away, but lots of thinking and some more black and white mark-making on a wet day - this time, exploring dots in negative spaces, among other things.


Now to address the washing heap so I can stitch with a clear conscience ......