Just some things to share that have caught my eye over the last few days…
Ann Wood’s birds (and ships and spiders and horses) are always a delight but something about this arrangement of birds in progress just made me catch my breath this morning.
Which reminds me, if you like arrangements you’ll love this Flickr pool (found via Ana Ventura’s Papéis por todo o lado).
I’m still finding my way around our new camera so I was grateful for a series of tutorials for point and shoot cameras by Ellie Won (Kitchen Wench) (thanks to Magpie Ima for sharing this). I now understand a lot more about white balance and exposure compensation than I did, and I’m looking forward to learning more!
Finally there’s lots of thought-provoking stuff at Greensleeves: Sustainability in the Fiber & Textile Arts by The Worsted Witch. A lot of the things I use for art (Procion dyes, for example) or am tempted to try (like Lutradur) are, I think, derived from petrochemicals. I worry about this. But then, how many air miles does cotton clock up to get to the UK? I really appreciate sites like this that make it easier to get information about environmental and ethical issues for the choices we have to make.
Tuesday sounded as if it was going to be the last fine day for a while, so Alan suggested we went into the Lakes for a few hours. We drove up towards Keswick and over Honister Pass, then on to Whinlatter (a favourite haunt when our girls were children). I had fun taking pictures from the van window on the way, one or two turned out to be quite interesting combinations of blur and focus.
The range of autumn colours in the mountains is incredible.
This is the spectacular metal sculpture of an osprey outside the Visitor Centre at Whinlatter. (Real ospreys nest in the area). I’ve uploaded some more images to Flickr.
I have been working on colour mixing exercises with stitch for OCA Textiles 1, using dotty stitching – French knots in a pointillist style. This calls for good primary and secondary colours, and I soon discovered that I actually have very few of those in my stash – mostly variegated threads and random bits and bobs. I started a very small sample in some red and yellow threads I dyed a while back, and ran out of those, so today I went down to town and bought a small rainbow – well, two rainbows, one in stranded cotton and one in wool. That should keep me going for a while!
I was in the library too and saw this dramatic, enormous knitting installation in the foyer. They said I could take some pics to share with you. Kendal is a town whose history is intimately connected with wool production – its motto is ‘pannus mihi panis’ – ‘cloth is my bread’, or as people often interpret it ‘wool is my bread’. We even have our own breed of sheep – the Rough Fell. This project celebrates that heritage.
I’ve been conscious that though I’ve been doing lots of of textile-y and colour-related things, which I’m sure contribute to the learning curve I’m on with OCA Textiles 1, I haven’t done any actual exercises since August, so yesterday I sat down and did the next two from the course folder. The first involved choosing images that have a colour scheme I feel drawn to and collecting fabrics and threads to match the colours. This was fun – I chose a couple of postcards – one is of the stained glass window designed by Patrick Heron for the Tate in St Ives, Cornwall, and the other is Liesbeth Lange’s photo of ‘Colours from Nepal’ – I guess they are dyes, but I don’t really know.
The second exercise was to stitch onto a black background using two primary colours. I am finding that the more I hand stitch the more I enjoy it – it takes time, which I lack, but the patterns are so lovely and I’m fascinated by the variations that grow between one stitch and the next.
I’m off now to make a few sample paper beads to take to youth club tonight, but I must just mention a magazine I read about yesterday on MissMalaprop.com. Worn Fashion Journal sounds like a great publication for anyone who’s interested in fashion design, wearable art or the cultural meanings of clothing.
Two exciting finds on the web yesterday. One is a new group – a social networking site for textile artists – Fiber Arts/Mixed Media, which I found via the Flickr group Contemporary Textile Art. Having so far resisted Facebook, etc, I just couldn’t resist this one! It was started by Susan Sorrell of Creative Chick Studios and is already growing by leaps and bounds.
The other is Dear Ada, discovered thanks to Kim Carney of Something to Say. Dear Ada is a blog full of delight. The author, birdie, posts links to artists/makers in many different disciplines, each with a photo or two of their work – and the site is a visual feast. But what makes it stand out for me is the way she writes about the work, whether simply expressing her pleasure in it, or analysing more deeply the impact it has on her. Inspirational food for thought – I’m really enjoying this.
I was saddened to learn of the death on Thursday of writer Madeleine L’Engle, aged 88. She’s probably best known for her children’s fantasies, which I first read as an adult and found enthralling, but she also wrote prolifically about art, creativity and Christianity. ‘Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art’ is very dear to me, but this quote is from ‘A Circle of Quiet’, which strangely enough, I bought just last Monday.
It’s all been said better before. If I thought I had to say it better than anybody else, I’d never start. Better or worse is immaterial. The thing is that it has to be said; by me; ontologically. We each have to say it, to say it our own way. Not of our own will, but as it comes out through us. Good or bad, great or little: that isn’t what human creation is about. It is that we have to try; to put it down in pigment, or words, or musical notations, or we die.
Leif Enger in the foreword to ‘Penguins and Golden Calves’ called Madeleine L’Engle
… chiefly an apologist for joy – one of the rare ones who consistently upholds her own definition of art: that which speaks of what was true, is true, and what will be true.
And I would add – along with joy – love, playfulness, and mercy. A great writer and a wise woman. Her spirit touched mine and I will miss her.