What's new?

Opening a New Chapter

So I am back……….

I graduated in 2015 with my MA Art and Environment from Falmouth University. Since then life has been a fair bit of a rollercoaster, slowly the stormy waves of life are settling and I am literally picking up the lose threads.

Since then I have been involved during summer  2017in the School of Craft at Newlyn Art Gallery, where I enjoyed teaching a range of taster workshops from Hand spinning to Matchbox Weaving and taking part in Sarah Johnson’s Indigo Workshop.

As I am still in recovery, I have returned to the the gentle art of stitching, finishing small hand stitched projects, learning English Paper Piecing and taking part in Indigo dyeing workshops.

One stitch at a time , I will find my way home………

Wool and People

MA Interim Show HALFWAY HOUSE

Tomorrow the show for the MA courses in Falmouth ( Woodlane campus, 6-9pm) opens.

The part-time student  taken part with a group show in the Garden Studio.

Here is a glimpse of my  contribution and a few thoughts……

Wool is my medium and my companion.
Wool is renewable and sustainable.
Wool is warmth, comfort and calm.
Wool teaches me respect for the sheep.
Wool teaches me patience and perseverance.
Wool connects me to the origin of our cloth.
Wool connects me to the land and to life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wool and People

Tricks with Old Tools

Practice presentation College December 2013
Vicky, Christiane and Claire working with a Lucette

Some years ago, during the annual “Woolfest” in Cockermouth near Carlisle, I found at the stand off the Mulberry Dyer (http://www.mulberrydyer.co.uk/) a tool called ‘Lucette’.

Lucet
Lucite

This tool predates French Knitting and was used for braiding a wide range of everyday items.

In my research on the internet I found a very interesting range of design, some with a handle, some without like the one above.

From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia

lucet is a tool used in cord making or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking[1] and Medieval[2] periods, when it was used to create cords that were used on clothing,[1] or to hang items from the belt.[3][4] Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. It closely resembles knitted I-cord or the cord produced on a knitting spool. Lucet cord is formed by a series of loop like knots, and therefore will not unravel if cut. Unlike other braiding techniques such as kumihimofinger-loop braiding or plaiting, where the threads are of a finite length, lucetted braids can be created without pre-measuring threads and so it is a technique suited for very long cords.

Archaeological finds and a literary description of lucets strongly suggest that its use declined after the 12th century,[2] but was revived in the 17th century.[5] Its use waned again in the early 19th century.[4]

A modern lucet fork, like that pictured, is normally made of wood, with two prongs at one end and a handle on the other. It may also have a hole through which the cord can be pulled. Medieval lucets, in contrast, appear to be double-pronged, straight-sided implements, often made of bone.[6] Some were shaped from hollowed bones, left tubular, presumably so that the cord could be drawn through the centre hole.[2]

In a seminar, where we were asked to show an example of our practice, I decided to demonstrate how to use a Lucette.

Two of my fellow students, Claire and Vicky agreed to volunteer and received a crash course in “lucetting”!!!

We used wool from the Vicarage Farm in Penryn, which I had bought some time ago at the Falmouth Farmers Market.

My two volunteers learned the trick of the trade very quickly and enjoyed the new techniques.

I was inspired by the artist Francoise Dupre, whose work incorporates French knitting and participation.

Participation and FRench Knitting
Participation and FRench Knitting

Interview with Francoise Dupre
Interview with Francoise Dupre

Francoise Dupre, spiral
Francoise Dupre, Spiral

Irish Knitting at the Musuem in Dublin
Irish Knitting at the Musuem in Dublin

de fil en aiguille snaith nasc, 2004
French knitting, Four needle knitting, Irish knitting stitches, wide range of yarns including plastic, cotton and wool and digital prints
Installation at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
The project is based on social interaction and creative collaboration between artist and participants. The design of the installation is inspired by the Museum Formal Garden and Irish knitting.
-Floor piece: 4m x 4m x 10cm-
-Wall piece: 209 video stills, 6cm x 4.5cm-
-Mixed yarns and digital prints-

From: http://nikkiwhittingham.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/francoise-dupre/

The Joy of Stitch

Glimpse of the Graduation Show

Glimpse from the Graduation show
Glimpse from the Graduation show

Here are the first glimpses from the Graduation show! what pleases me most, is that people have been in acting with the embroidery and added their stitches to the large cloth which was started at the Event at the Exchange, Penzance.

Soon there will be more photos and reflective writing. The Show comes down on Friday, 21. June.

The Joy of Stitch

The Japanese Inspiration

Vintage Sashiko
Vintage Sashiko

I have been reading in Jane Brocket’s book ‘The Gentle Art of Stitchning’ and came across Sashiko Embroidery. I amfazinted by the imagges of old, traditionalle Sashiko, which was used for darning and embellishing at the same time. I love the look of the worn and faded indigo dyed cloth, embroidered with white cotton yarn. I had come across these images before when I was researching about the Japanese  Wabi-Sabi philoshophy . So many aspects of this tradition appeal to me, it the simplicity of the stitch, the matrial and the underlying idea to use it for mending and caring.

The Joy of Stitch

The Show is up and it is all over (almost!)

Stitch Sampler
Stitch Sampler

Friday, 7. June, on the Train home,

It feels strange, to go home from the college and not being able to take out ‘The Small One’ and carry on stitching. All is done now in the space, the screens are up and running with my films, , the 3 cloth pieces in their hops are laying on an old bench together with the cloth piece of the event ‘Coffee, Cake and Stitch’. On a table are the Stitch Samplers layed out. A small table and three chairs are  in the space with the large cloth from the event. There is  an invitation to stitch.
For two weeks the three companion piece will be in the space and I feel almost bereft! During the show (Sat. 15. – Wedn. 19.June, 10.00 – 17.00, at University Falmouth, Woodlane Campus) I can work on them for a while.
It is a very strange feeling, almost sudden, even so there was a huge build up over the last two month and now its done, over, finished, in the public eye, scrutinized and judged.
What keeps me boyand and afloat are my memories of the lovely comments on the Stitch Samplers and peoples reaction on the event, and also in conversations.

I will have to start a new cloth, to keep me company!
The Joy of Stitch

Stitch or Embroidery

On theTrain
On the Train

I was spending a morning with my friend Mark Leahy, a lecturer and performance artist and pondering about the question, why I preferred the term “Stitch” to ” Embroidery”. Mark responded immediately in saying the later one is loaded with associations of decorative, historical, and expectation of skill. In a way I hadn’t really thought about it, only became aware, that I had preferred to use the word ‘Stitch’, calling the project ‘Time and Stitch’ and the pieces of the project ‘Stitch samplers’. The event was called ‘Coffee, Cake and Stitch’. Strangely only on the collaboration with a musician, I had called the documentation ‘Music and Embroidery’. Musing about Mark’s remark, I thought, he got a point; the word ‘Stitch’ feels open and freer, feels free of expectations and I often had to explain this to people, who took part in the project and the event, that I didn’t expect fanciful or skilful embroidery. My emphasis was to share the experience of stitching with other people and inviting them to share their experience with me. 

And they did! Through their writing and talking to me about their experience.

Sometimes someone would say “Oh, it is about Cross-Stitch??” and I had to say, that it was about the process and the experience of Stitching. 

Why do I use Cross-Stitch? I like to stitch with Stitches which cover the stitched surface and are simple. Cross-stitch does that for me; it gives me a framework to work in the pattern, starting in the middle and working my way to the edge. It is simple, I don’t have to think too much about it, can enjoy the rhythm and the movement. When I am on my own, I can pay attention to my breathing and be in the present moment. When in company, I can still share the conversation and carry on stitching.

I was curious what people would stitch and had no expectations. Still I was surprised that no one referred to any pre-fabricated pattern from books, magazines or websites. People really worked with, what they knew and enjoyed and wanted to share. 

On the event ‘Coffee, Cake and Stitch’ some people asked me at the beginning: “What do you want me to do?” and I just said:”Stitch!” and they did!

As having receives permission to play with cloth and yarn, it enabled them to enjoy the process and the sharing in company: quite a few said on leaving:”When you do another one (Stitch Event) let me know!”


The Joy of Stitch

Thought about Music and Stitch

Music and Stitch

Music is a very important aspect in my life; I enjoy music in many forms and variations. No matter if it is recorded music (CD’s, online etc) or life music, concerts, gigs, making music with friends. I enjoy listing to music while I work with my hands , at home or when I am out to concerts or local music events. I am known for taking knitting/stitching along with me, where I go.

The initial idea to link music with my Stitching Project, came through a visit to the local St. Mary’s church. The atmosphere, up on the balcony by the window, was the first place where I filmed or rather was filmed while stitching. A Nigel Wicken, a friend of mine, is the organist of this church and we experimented with music and did some recording.

 S1230006

Stitching at the Church

In this situation the music was a beautiful piece by Arvo Paert “mirror in the mirror”.

A very beautiful, serene atmosphere was created. Something was missing. There was a distant between the setting by the window and the musician at the organ. A beginning, but not qiute the dialogue I was looking for.

The next collaboration happened with Bill Goodyear in his flat. Bill improvised on his guitar while being aware of my presence, I was listing to him, while stitching. In the film and photography the dialogue is not visible.


DSC00039

At Bill’s flat

We both enjoyed the experience and the next step was to go outside to Mousehole Beach.

Mousehole Beach February 2013Mousehole Beach

But the music was still not “visible”.

Only when I went out with Jamie and suddenly had the idea of us sitting together the quite dialogues became visible.

 DSC00054

Jamie Mills and me in the Field

After this evening it became clear to me that I wanted to show the dialogue, the collaboration in my documentation.

Bill and I spent some time at Priest Cove, St. Just and sat together, playing and stitching, it felt just like a beginning. Bill said afterwards, he felt like weaving in and out from being ‘lost’ in his music and the awareness of my presence. In a subtle way he follow my movement.

At Priest Cove
At Priest Cove with Bill Goodyear

Another meeting was with Ruth Bolton and her three daughters, Jessie, Iris and Amy.   The youngest one preferred to be behind the camera: it was a wonderful experience how the flute (Jessie), the cello (Iris) and the violin (Ruth) wove together  with my Stitching.

 Ruth Boulton and the girls

Ruth, Jessie and Iris Bolton

After this afternoon, I became to realize that I want to start a further exploration into a dialogue between Music and Stitch.

The next step would be to start a new piece of cloth and response to the music with the Stitches.

The Joy of Stitch

Conceptual Research

The Conceptual Research

 My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

Conversations with a Mark Leahy, a performance artist, brought me into contact with Richard Powell and the group ‘halfangel’ (www.halfangel.ie/knitting.ie/theknittingmap.html‎).

Also with Gareth Ballyn and his project ‘evenfeed’ (www.garethballyn.co.uk/2012/01/even-feed/‎)

Both were a defining part of my dissertation and I have been writing in my blog about them. Both were projects, though very different in scale and duration, which were the greatest influence for me.

These projects made me aware that the emphasis for me lies in the process of the activity, the slow process of embroidery/stitch, the embedded concerns regarding ecological responsibility and sustainability.

The first step was to choose an ongoing project for myself, stitching on pieces of Hemp with wool yarn, which is produced in Britain.Over time three pieces of stitch on cloth evolved.

three piecesThree Pieces Stitch on Hemp Cloth, 2013-05-28

 I documented the process, the journey and reflection about it through video, photography and writing. In the process the following aspects of my work became relevant: 

 The Activity – embroidery/stitching as a durational process

The Participation – sharing the activity through projects and events

The Collaboration – creating dialogues with other artists, like musicians, as in this body of work.

Influential were also ideas from aesthetics and concerns, based in Zen philosophy and Japanese Craft design.

Wabi-Sabi

Excerpt from Wikipedia

Wabi-Sabi (?) Represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centrered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?), the other two being suffering (苦 ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū?).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetryasperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog:   http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Japanuese Textiles
Mended coat by Junko Oki

Accept the inevitable… Life is fleeting and transient…. impermanent. That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… and get rid of the unnecessary.

 That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature.

Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog: http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Accept the inevitable… life is fleeting and transient…. Impermanent.

That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… And get rid of the unnecessary.

That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

The Joy of Stitch

Thoughts about Embroidery and Stitch

Kathy Halper, an American Artist was featured in ’embroidery’ , the magazine of the Embroiderers Guild UK.

http://www.kathyhalper.com/blog

Kathy Halper 'Cellphones"
Kathy Halper ‘Cellphones”

Her recent work in an observation of youth culture and social networking.  The article in the magazine and the essay on her website give a really good insight of her approach and the context of her work.

I found her thoughts about embroidery very interesting, this is an excerpt:

” There’s this whole issue of embroidery being slowly and handcrafted’. Halper describes and we are dealing here with images that are all quick.so there is a contrast between between that and the speed at which the work was created. […] emphasing the entire tension between transience and permanence, ententes publicity and labor-intensive creation.” 

The works a thrilling because they offer the opportunity to love something without ‘liking’it, they are beautiful simply because they are tangible, they are here. The works in ‘Friend Me” offer something else entirely, endurance. (By the author of the article in the magazine)