My exhibition at yesterday's Wakefiled Art Walk went well. We didn't get huge numbers through the door but given that it was a fairly damp and bitter January evening I think the steady flow we got was pretty good. There were some lovely comments and I met some really interesting people. It was especially nice to meet Hannah.
The space@55Westgate as it is now called (was Westgate Studios) is a beautifully light white room and worked brilliantly for the mixture of artwork and interpretation that we included (I don't think the photos do it justice). It is great to have a bit of practice at putting an exhibition together too - each time you do it you learn something new. This was timely for me and because it was 'for one night only' was not too big a deal to be overly stressful.
Once things were set up (and the slight technical problems were overcome - is it possible to use technology without hitches?!) I went off for a wonder round Wakefield to look at some of the new buildings springing up around the place: there are lots!
I visited the exhibition of The RIBA White Rose Award buildings at the Beam Gallery and then went on to look at the new Hepworth Gallery, which opens later this year.
It's a pretty imposing building with these angular slabs of concrete plunging straight down to the river. With the grey January sky reflected back by the water it was all rather dramatic. The building looked a kind of lilacy grey in yesterday's light.
I couldn't help thinking how much more welcoming it would look if one of those massive planes was covered in a green living wall...
This Wednesday (26th January) my work will be exhibited as part of the Wakefield Art Walk. The textile panels of Fifteen Images will be displayed alongside a digital presentation giving the background to the whole collaborative project. My four Sense of Place pieces will also be on show for the first time.
The venue is Space@55Westgate (WF1 1BW) and the Art Walk is on from 5-9pm.
This is prior to Fifteen Images going to Plymouth next month for a performance at the Peninsular Arts Contemporary Music Festival on 12th February and the project is the subject of the festival lecture on that date. On the same day Taking Time opens in Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and I'm absolutely thrilled that my physical textile work and the digital presentation will be included in this exhibition until 9th April.
It's decision time this week at college. We have to decide which of last semester's projects we want to take forward and develop into our final collections. There were various points during last semester when I switched my views on which was 'the' project but I've now decided.
I'm taking forward the green architecture one, currently called Greening Surfaces. This is very much inspired by contemporary architecture but focusing specifically on sustainability and actually a personal disappontment of mine that contemporary architecture, despite often being stunning visually and having many improving credentials on the sustainability stakes, doesn't have more actual greenness. If every new building had a green surface (a wall, a roof, even parts of a wall) it would:
make for a more dynamic, living, exciting built environment;
improve habitats in urban areas; increase biodiversity; link up fragmented habitats...
In semester 1 my visual and textile development centred around grid structures, repeated units, greening of surfaces (literally and not so), exploring materials that are used on and in buildings.
One reason for choosing this project over the beachcombing theme was that this one was less resolved and therefore has further to go. It is more of a challenge. I can see myself adopting the way of working I developed in the beachcombing project once I finish my degree. That project had a very personal angle to it and I will come back to it. The one I'm taking forward now is less personal and so I have to find a way into making it so, making a closer connection.
I've been into college today to collect my marks for the first semester of this final year. I'm absolutely thrilled with the marks I got. They make all that hard work, angst and stress worthwhile! Can't wait to get going on the final semester...
Yesterday's visit to Ruthin Craft Centre felt like a pilgramage. Anni Albers is such an important person in terms of her influence on contemporary textiles, an influence that also goes so much wider than that.Her books On Weaving and On Designing are littered with little nuggets of wisdom and insight that are applicable to any disciplne.
Knowing a little about weave I'm sure makes a real difference to what you get out of visiting an exhibition like this. I think if you understand (even part) of how these pieces have been produced it helps. Much of her work is seemingly simple but her understanding of her materials and processes is so evident.
I spent a long time looking very closely at this piece City trying to work out how on earth it was done and marvelling at it.
Although I really enjoyed seeing the textile pieces and the prints the small samples of experimental mark making (with a type writer) and texture made a big impression, as did watching the video of an interview with Anni in her later years and hearing her talk about her life and work in her modest way.
In the accompanying exhibition Inspired by: The leagacy of Anni Albers much of the work was interesting to see first hand from a technical point, it being work of artists that I'm familiar with from various articles but hadn't seen 'in the flesh' before. I was, however, particularly intrigued by Fiona Mathison'sSanctums.
There are elements of hand written text incorporated into the vertical structures of the installation along with various materials: threads, plastics, wrapped, bound, altered.
As you walk between the structures and the wall mounted mirrored tapestry boxes there is something of being inside one of those Klimt birch wood paintings.
More intrigue in the simple forms of Dorte Behn'sNew Space 1 where woven planes intersect.
The third exhibition Elemental is beautifully layed out with 14 artists/makers' work intermingling with one another. Of all the artists here Wycliffe Stutchbury made the biggest impression and not just because of his amazing name!
I found his work really stunning. It has something of the simplicity and respect for material that I love about Sue Lawty's work. I could deffinitely live with a few of these adorning my walls.
A drive into the Dales seemed a good thing to do on the last day of the school holidays, to blow away some cobwebs etc. It was almost sunny at home but got greyer as we drove, so that by the time we got to Ingleton it was drizzly and pretty gloomy. The brisk walk I had planned was curtailed due to complaints from small people and the need for lunch. It was really the kind of day that is best spent sitting in a tea shop, but we'd brought sandwiches. A picnic lunch in the car with the windows steaming up and rain pattering on the roof made it feel like being on holiday (childhood family holidays on the west coast of Scotland, although there were many that didn't involve rain).
The hills had a dusting of snow, bringing out every small nook, cleft and hump in haunting monocrome. Despite the gloomy weather I was struck by the richness of some of the colours. Bare fields held an intense mossy green whilst, curiously, at the same time looked washed out, a real mulit-layeredness of colour. Small glimpses of weak sunshine caught mossy tree trunks, revealing a really vibrant green, accentuated by the drabness all around. There is nothing quite like those distinctive yellow-green fields backed by a bank of thick grey cloud.
My camera didn't make it out of its bag but these pictures were taken in the same area about this time last year, so kind of fit the mood. I often find when I'm driving that I get a snap shot of something, a glimpse of light on a field or a detail of texture in the landscape and I wish I could snap it. Instead I have to just commit it to the old hard drive in the head for later retrieval (just like Frederick).
Current listening: still listening to lots of Radio 3's Mozart series but perhaps I need a change today... Rufus Wainright: All Days Are Nights, Songs For Lulu
A tidy up was timely and necessary in both my study and the studio.
I'm weaving. This was supposed to be a little holiday project to be done between finishing term and Christmas. But various events beyond my control meant that it didn't happen then and is happening now, slowly.
The warp I'm using looks lovely but is proving awkward! I chose yarns because of how they felt and didn't think about the fact that lots of fluffy mohair would stick together. Warping up the loom was a nightmare. I had to re-thread half of the heddles as I realised I'd made a mistake then I had to tease out the whole thing inch by inch as I wound it onto the back beam (all 9 metres or so of it!) because it stuck together so much. Also the way I'd made the warp, in blocks of colour, which were then spread out randomly as I threaded it up, meant the threads crossed each other more than they might have. This works fine with threads that are not so sticky but presented dificulties this time. Anyway, I'm getting to know it now and the tension issues that I had to start with are getting better and I'm enjoying making something for people I love, even if it is a bit delayed.