UK Handmade is a “design-led online magazine committed to showcasing and promoting the best creative talent the UK has to offer”, and well worth a visit. I’ve had a portfolio page there for a while, and a few weeks ago they got in touch about an article for the web site. Published today, it’s a reflection on what making means to me.
I know I’m not alone in finding self promotion difficult to practise, despite understanding how important it is. That’s why I’ve just crowdfunded Pete Mosley’s forthcoming book "The Art Of Shouting Quietly", subtitled "a guide to self-promotion for introverts and other quiet souls". If you’re one who feels reticent about mentioning your achievements and sharing your successes, this might be a good book to take a look at.
Promotion is rather easier when someone else does it for you, and I’ve been delighted and a bit overwhelmed this month to be featured in an art quilt magazine, Patchwork Professional. The magazine showcases a number of well-known textile artists producing beautiful work and I feel honoured to be included.
The magazine is German and I only have a Google-translated idea of what the article says, but it looks lovely, with lots of images.
It’s a celebration of my work and the Isle of Tiree where I live, drawn from what I’ve posted here on the blog, and crafted into a coherent story by the editor of Patchwork Professional, Dorothee Crane. My thanks to Dorothee and her team for getting 2015 off to such an exciting start for me!
The Tiree Christmas Craft Fayre was at the end of November but my mind’s been on other things till now! This was our stall – some of the work is mine and some is by Jane MacDonald, another artist-maker on the island. This is the second year that we’ve shared a table. It was a fun afternoon with lots of variety. And it’s very good to have sold some work.
One final post about the ‘Textile Structures’ module – though actually it’s the first exercise – working from a visual source and analysing colour, texture and proportion. Choosing an image and first painting blocks of colour, then wrapping card with yarn, is intended to make you look closely at the colours and their qualities and proportions. I lost some of the lightness of the image in my painting and in the yarn wrapping but regained it, I think, in the fabric wrapping, which is much more visually textured.
I liked the result of wrapping with fabric a lot so I made another, this time just working with the colours in the fabrics. When it was done I realised that the sketch book page on which I’d used up my left-over paint would make just the right background for it!
Wrapping is often used solely as a design exercise but an artist here on Tiree has made it into her own very distinctive art form. Susan Woodcock creates evocative seascapes and landscapes, full of colour and movement, combining paint and textiles in a way that perfectly captures the island atmosphere. Her husband Colin Woodcock, is also an artist, a painter whose work explores ‘the interplay of land, sea and sky’, and is filled with the beautiful light that is so special to Tiree. Together they run the Blue Beyond Gallery, where Colin also creates his dramatic raku pottery. Every week in summer you can go to watch the pots being fired – a fascinating process – and very hot!
A couple of things have caught my eye recently …
First is the new social network, Stitchin Fingers, started a few days ago by Sharon B of In a Minute Ago, and already looking like a great place for anyone who practises textiles to explore and enjoy.Â
Next is Spyn. Alan brought a short flyer back from CHI 2008 about “a system for knitters to record, recall and share information surrounding the processes of handcraft”. It’s a prototype design using digital techniques to literally craft personal stories into the knitting.
That set me thinking about metaphors we use in English that link story and fibre – we talk about losing or picking up the thread of a narrative; of spinning a yarn; of unravelling the truth. Maybe others…
I was also reminded this week, by this post on Blue Beyond by Tiree artist Colin Woodcock, of a Hans Andersen story I loved as a child. The princess spins a yarn of nettles to knit shirts that will free her brothers of the evil enchantment that has turned them into swans. Her hands are burnt and blistered and she is forbidden to speak, but the pain and love she may not articulate is embodied in the healing garments she creates.
And something else comes to mind – I’m always a little overwhelmed by the fact that text and textile are actually, etymologically, related:
“The word text is a cognate [of textile], coming from Latin textus ‘that which is woven’, referring originally to a particular style of Medieval script which was so dense that it looked like weaving.”Â
Quoted from Take Our Word for It Issue 33
I’m suddenly feeling very excited about the possibilities here.