Behind the Scenes
This page provides insights into how HUE artists develop their ideas. It aims to explain how new ideas are conceived, demonstrating the ways in which starting points grow, change direction and adjust.
The work described here is separate from the group theme which leads to exhibition (news of which see NEWS page).
There will be regular additions to what is shown here and we hope you will continue to revisit.
With the start of lockdown, and our holidays being cancelled, I went back to the photographs from the various holidays we had taken in past years.
The first set of photographs that I decided to interpret were from glaciers in Greenland, which were taken in 2019 on a cruise from Bergen, Norway to Montreal, Canada. The scenery, through the 60 mile long ‘The Prince Christian Sound’ was spectacular.
The second set of work is based on a visit many years ago to the Blue Lagoon, Iceland.
The photographs that follow are based on a sketch book and work in progress.
I have always been aware that in the world of textiles and embroidery people are generous, willing to share their skills, knowledge and materials; I have benefitted many times from this generosity. Consequently, when a cousin, with whom I had lost contact, emailed and expressed an interest in developing her embroidery skills, it was a genuine pleasure to be able to offer ideas and support. Taking a workshop idea from Gwen Hedley, offered through StitchClub as an online module, we have both worked on pieces which pick out marks made on fabric. These marks were achieved using simple tools, including twigs, chopsticks, bamboo pens, children's building bricks and anything else that would leave a mark.
My cousin and I have stitched and talked, emailed and shared photographs of the developing pieces, using the opportunity to not only share embroidery techniques, but to reminisce on shared childhood experience. Some of these memories took us back to how we both first discovered a love of stitch through our Grandmother and our mothers. The pieces developed, and as we shared them, they increasingly connected us to each other.
It has been both a rewarding and happy few weeks and most importantly we will now remain in touch. The power of embroidery!
Showing sketchbook page: tulip inspirations
Colour scheme try outs with free applique and hand stitch.
I was brought up in a small village near St Ives, Cornwall, and am lucky enough to still be able to visit the area frequently. In my opinion, walks along the beach recharge my creative batteries.
During the lockdowns my horizons changed to the Southeast, but the pull of the Cornish sea remained. I found time to turn out my studio, and came across so many unfinished objects (UFOs) that I decided I should focus my efforts on resolving some of the pieces. I suppose my continuing body of work, and UFOs, are strongly influenced by my love of early morning beach walks, the wonderful ever-changing patterns created by the twice daily tides, and the influence of the weather on the light. I work on my own unique images taken from my photographs, and fabrics created using many types of dying, printing, paper laminations and discharging. As always, in hand-made art works, each piece is unique.
This piece started as a monoprint reflecting views from the cliff top onto which I have added machine and hand embroidery.
I often take photographs while walking, sometimes with surprising results as shown in the following paper laminations that are yet to be fully resolved
Other pieces are thought to be resolved, but on reflection require more input.
So far this piece has machine and hand quilting, as well as hand embroidery.
As you will appreciate, resolving UFOs can take a lot of time and thought!
During the Covid pandemic I have been thinking about how petri dish images of Covid-19 resemble satellite photos of the earth. As primary source material (virus, lungs etc) was obviously unavailable to me I collected photos, diagrams, and articles about the effect of Covid-19 on our respiratory system and what that looked like.
In response, I started to sketch and make designs using published images and infographics, before moving to fabric and thread. The slow nature of hand stitching has seemed a very appropriate thing to do recently as the world has slowed to a new and different pace.
The result is a piece of work that focuses on the breath of both individuals and the world, about the microscopic virus and its enormous effect on the planet. I have darned motifs of the virus on to a piece of felt fabric that I had made, but not used, while I was suffering from whooping cough in 2012, despite being vaccinated as a child..… it seemed somewhat ironic that it was made while I was struggling with my lungs and breath during what was classified as an epidemic of whooping cough in England; I always knew it would come in useful for a piece of work at some time!
I have called my piece ‘inhale/exhale’ and it is circular, which is new for me. Stylised lungs appear as if they are continents in a satellite photograph of the Earth. The bronchioles are reminiscent of rivers, roads, tree roots, and communication networks, while the stitched pale patterns inside the lungs indicate the presence of pneumonia.
I wanted to include some of the new vocabulary we have all become familiar with, and so the words around the edge have a deliberate light touch giving a ‘Corona’ of colour, with a nod to the data infographics we have seen so much of.
I had pangs of guilt in making this piece, although it completely absorbed me for quite a while. Working to make something aesthetically pleasing out of such a terrible world event, seemed wrong in some ways but, as I stitched, it helped me think through a lot of the issues we have all had to confront.
Thankfully, my family and I have remained safe, and I can think about making new work.
About 30 years ago we bought a small holiday flat on the river just outside Truro. Over the years we watched the boat, Duramdel, being renovated and used as a live aboard and then, sadly, be abandoned. We have watched it gradually deteriorate and each time we visit we wonder if it will have finally succumbed and completely disintegrated.
I have taken many photos and made sketches over the last year. I have become interested in interpreting the planks of wood that are, bit by bit, coming apart and moving and the shapes that I see. I am wanting to try in my samples to see how I can convey the feeling of the wreck.
New work on an old theme. The universal impulse to decorate and embellish every aspect of life from earliest times, can provide a rich source of inspiration for new work. Deprived of museum visits for so long,
I decided to explore Early Celtic Designs, as catalogued by the British Museum.
I have begun by sampling designs using different materials and techniques, including hand and machine stitch, to explore contrasting possibilities for application to practical objects. Working through these first samples already suggests interpretations I can develop to construct decorated boxes and jewellery.