Thursday, 20 September 2007

The only way to eat an elephant...

We had a full and busy day at our embroidery group (we still haven't decided on a name) yesterday - lots of playing and experimenting with different foils. I always prefer the subtle approach with foils rather than full on glitz, hence my very restrained sample below - a monoprint on spaced dyed fabric, free machined and lightly foiled.

We also prepared some fabric for rust dying with wire wool (finished results to be brought back next time) and looked at machine embroidery techniques with gold threads. We are continuing with the "rust and gold" theme next month which is just as well as I forgot my camera yesterday! One of the other things we are doing as a group is having a monthly challenge. The challenge for September was to use an item that we've had lurking in our workrooms unused! We all agreed we had plenty to choose from - those wonderful products we buy at shows and then can't remember what to do with them when we get them home. My product was "Irise Film." I made the following two ATCs using the film, layered, stiched, melted (a bit) and stitched a bit more - but I'm still not convinced I know what to do with it! Would love to know if anyone has used it and has some good ideas on what to do with it. Not sure I like it much either - bit too sparkly for me. The others were far more successful at using their products. I'll happily swap these two if anyone would like to trade (but will quite understand if no one wants them!!!)

I'm not sure how much more stitching will be posted here in the next few weeks - (not sure how much blogging will be going on either!) as I've started my first module with Opus and there seems to be so much to do! I have to keep reminding myself it is part time but at the moment it feels all consuming. There is lots to read, assignments to start, museums to visit, a journal to keep... all very exciting and I'm sure I'll get into a routine soon. I was reminded of the quotation from Lao Tsu - "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." which is exactly what this feels like. A good friend came up with an alternative version to this... the only way to eat an elephant is one spoonful at a time. I'm not sure I liked the mental image but it made me laugh!

So today I took my single step ( a car journey, a bus journey and severals steps actually) and went to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and saw the Howard Hodgkin exhibition which finishes this weekend. I saw it when it opened and wasn't sure how I felt about the work but I took more time looking today and I really liked some of the pieces. The colours are so strong and vibrant and I love the way the paint is layered. The marks are also very direct and intense and I think it is quite exciting the way paint is taken out onto the frames.

This was one of my favourites. It's called "After Degas" but I have no idea why! It is a photograph of a postcard so the colours are a bit subdued. And then I came home and started some mark making in my sketchbook... so at last feel the journey has begun... or at least I've made a start on that elephant!


  1. Yesterday sounds fun. I have not heard of "Irise film", I shall have to google it.
    I went to see the Hodgkin exhibition earlier this summer and was surprised to find that I enjoyed it. The first painting I saw was the massive 10' square "Keep it quiet" which made me laugh because it was bright red - hardly a quiet colour. Maybe I missed the point.... I loved the way he applied the paint in great dollops and swipes including onto the frame. The painting I really liked was "Fog" which felt cool and soothing. (I may have blogged about this, can't remember off hand).

  2. I love the foiled leaf piece. The ATC's with the iris film are great, too. I have only used a similar product once, not quite sure what to do either.

  3. I agree Gina ........what a lot of work - and so daunting too! Looks like you have made a grat start though ........keep in touch !



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