Friday, 28 October 2016

Sampled and Remixed - Drawing for Textiles

At the beginning of October I went on a Matt Harris workshop at West Dean that was titled Sampled and Remixed - Drawing for Textiles which I have to say was excellent.  I have previously done a Matt Harris workshop which I enjoyed very much and this course did not disappoint.  I would not call myself a good drawer but somehow I always seem to come up with something when I do one of Matt's workshops.  On a previous workshop we had to take something apart, like an umbrella, bag or shoe for example,  down to its component parts and then create an implement from those parts with which to make marks.   

This time Matt brought along a lot of random items such as a paper parasol, bits of broken china, textiles, decorations, wire baskets, twigs, a teapot, a belt, etc., which he suspended with twine.  This was all arranged in a way that the items hung in front and behind and overlayed each other.  We were told to work on large sheets of paper and use a fine, a medium and a heavy drawing media.   We could draw the items from any angle but we should draw those that we saw at the back with something fine, those in the middle ground with something of a more medium weight and those in the foreground with something heavier.  We could move around, not sticking to the same angle, and if possible we should not look down at the paper when we were drawing.  We did this exercise a few times and then we could choose to work on the one we preferred.  Below is a the series that I did which I think I could still take further and breakdown into abstract sections. 

This last one I think is my favourite and I can see this as something I could work on further.  Every time I redrew it, it slightly changed and there are still some lines I'd like to change but I also see that I could break the whole thing down into about six sections to give something more abstract.  I think it has a Ben Nicholson still life feel to it as it is which I don't think is bad.      

Monday, 24 October 2016

Bernard Leach Pottery

Before I left Cornwall, after three lovely weeks, I thought I would seek out the Bernard Leach Pottery in St. Ives. I had heard a lot about Bernard Leach and his pottery over the years but never knew where it was actually located.  Parking in St. Ives can be quite difficult but, funnily enough, the pottery is located just round the corner from the big car park at the top of St. Ives on Higher Stennack.  The pottery was set up in St. Ives in the 1920's but folded, I think, in the late 1990's.  The pottery passed to Janet Leach, Bernard's third wife, after his death in 1979.  However, as we learnt on the guided tour, Janet didn't really have a business head and the pottery folded after her death and the death of her then partner, Mary Redgrave.  The pottery, besides producing art pottery, had produced a range of standard ware pottery and had also trained many apprentices.
Bernard Leach was born in Hong Kong in 1887 but, unfortunately, his mother died giving birth to him so he was sent to Kyoto in Japan to live with his maternal grandparents.  When he was ten years old he was sent to England to continue his education but seemed to only excel at art.  He was seventeen when his father died in 1904 and, although he decided to go into banking to earn a living, he soon became disillusioned and returned to Japan where he discovered raku and the art of ceramics.  
He returned to England in the 1920's after he was invited to set up a pottery by a wealthy philanthropist called Frances Horne.
A Trust was set up in the early 2000's to restore the pottery which reopened in 2008 as the Leach Pottery studio, museum and gallery to celebrate the work and legacy of Bernard Leach.  Alongside the original Leach Pottery building is a modern, purpose built studio where students and apprentices work to produce standard ware for the pottery and to develop their own practices.

After the tour of the pottery, of course, there is an opportunity to buy and after careful consideration I decided to buy two little pots by Russell Gibbs.

Below is a selection of just a few of the pots and pieces I have collected over the past few years.

The two little pots are by Russell Gibbs and the little dish is by Luck Taylor.

The owl pot is by Paddy Peters and the fish pot is by Ken Luckhurst.

Howling at the Moon by Paddy Peters.

Vase by Yo Thom

Monday, 17 October 2016

Book Rescue - Doctor Thorne

Whilst at Trellisk in Cornwall I visited the secondhand bookshop and was delighted to find a copy of "Doctor Thorne" by Anthony Trollope - I think the particular copy I found was printed in the late 1940's/early 1950's and it has a torn spine, mainly due to the binding drying out.  Having seen the three part television adaptation this year, which starred Tom Hollander as Doctor Thorne, Rebecca Front as Lady Arabella Gresham and I believe Ian McShane played Roger Scatcherd, I had to buy the book and am looking forward to reading it.  However, before that pleasure I thought I should rescue it from deteriorating any further and recover it.   This week I am giving a talk and workshop at the Waveney Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild and the workshop is on Altered Books but I thought if participants did not want to alter the pages in any way, they could just cover an old book and restore it for many more years of use.

I have used lots of scraps of vintage fabrics, net and block printed textiles - I find using scraps which may be very random in shape helps to build an interesting collage, otherwise the temptation is to use lots of strips or regular shaped pieces which gives a more deliberate effect.  I have used a print block to print written script onto organza and then added a quote from the book in hand stitching.