Thursday, 16 February 2012

a new adventure

It has been a long time since I did anything much with textiles.  I have been engrossed in the process of moving house for months, and seem to have done little else except prepare for the move, move, and now I am trying to get the new flat to function well.

I now want to make two textile pieces for the flat.  I am aiming to make things which are attractive to look at as well as interesting to make.  Those of you who know my work might find that surprising.  I have always been entranced by the search for meaning and interesting process in creation, being less concerned as to whether things look good.

One piece is for the living room, where we have a blank wall opposite a wall of storage and over the sofa.  I would like to pick up on the themes of river and canal as we on a thrust of land with the river Severn in front of us and a major canal junction (just out of sight) to our left.  I may also add the sea, as that is where I would rather be living.

The second piece is for the long drop above the staircase.  We have a flat (apartment) all on one level except for these stairs to the roof terrace.  The space is about fifteen feet (Rod's guess) and only the width of the stairs.  Getting any thing up to that space will be tricky, so it needs to be something that we are happy with not changing, though it wont be visible during normal walking around.  I am soon to go on a trip around France and Italy in the campervan.  I expect to use inspiration from this trip for the long piece.

I was struggling to think how to begin - remember, I am being stymied by the idea of aesthetics driving the quest rather than a bizarre idea.  During discussion with my embroidery group, which meets once a month, Anni suggested that I blog the process rather than attempt a paper sketchbook.  She had been showing us a very inspiring sketch book - and they all recollected that on my C&G course I tended to work first and produce the paperwork to justify the outcome afterwards.

So, the beginning.  I have been looking at some old Embroidery magazines that Katie was giving away, looking at the scenery, looking at the amazing quilts of watery scenes that Pauline Burbidge produces (she has a lovely studio quite near that of my sister, Joy Parker).  I am keen to get started.  One more level of sorting the flat - the shelves for my craft and art materials and the Horn sewing machine table, and I'll get started in earnest.

I picked up some seed pods and a wisp of luminous white bark from a silver birch on a walk today.  Maybe they will feature somewhere in the work.  I'm going to use photos and sketches to explore the colours and shapes I want to include in these pieces - though of course there is always a giant gap between aspiration and inspiration and the final capacity to make.  I only managed to read a few pages of Virginia Woolfe's To the Lighthouse, but she describes the way you look at something, you know how you want to paint it, and it vanishes between the knowing and the painting.


  1. Lovely to see you back on this blog and all fired up with the prospect of creating textile treasures! I think blogging your creative journey is a wonderful idea. It'll be lovely seeing your progress and coming along for teh ride with you. If we don't see any progress for a while, we members of The Wednesday Group will be sure to give you a cyber prod! Happy creating, lovely lady! Katie x

  2. I look forward ro seeing the sketchbook. Just reading this is conjuring up ideas in my head. Did you go to the stroud textile exhibition year before last? There were some fantacstic long pieces there which were abstract textiles focussing on colour and transition from one stage to the next. Katie will probably remember who they were by. The concept would be brilliant on a long wall. Alison

  3. Excellent idea to document the process by blog Lois. Will be fascinating to see how you tackle this piece. Looking forward to your journey!

  4. I'm sure blogging is your media Lois! Some of us need to make sense of where we're going with words as a kick start. Good luck! Will keep a look out.

  5. Lovely to see that you've made a good start on your sketchbook blog. Can't wait to see the progress!

  6. I've enjoyed hanging quilts on stairway walls (last dwelling). I bought them on eBay, that being quicker than learning to make them myself. I like geometrics, and they color a large wall nicely!