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Journal

Posts tagged needlepoint
Going round in circles...
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going round in circles

well, stitching in circles...and visiting a few...

Well, how time flies when you’re having fun!

Apologies for the long absence, I’ve just had the craziest six weeks I can remember, with so much packed in that until now there’s been no time to sit and collect my thoughts.

If I tell you that since my last entry I’ve visited three Scottish Castles, the island of Tiree, Callanish on Lewis, Jarlshof on Shetland, Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow, Bath, Oxford, Leicester, Hay on Wye and Hereford, you’ll begin to get a feel for the dashing about that’s been happening.

In between the trips there have been birthdays, school-leaving, three days over in Bedford for the Bedford River Festival, helping at The Workhouse and the occasional frantic loading of the washing machine.

And throughout it all, it’s been hot! The best summer for weather since 1976 (and I do remember that summer very well), which has simply put the cherry on the top.

It’s been amazing and to be honest I’m only just beginning to slow down long enough to appreciate everything I’ve seen, but I’ll admit to being pretty exhausted too.

So here I am now, back with both feet on the ground and looking forward to spending time mentally processing some of the wonderful things I’ve seen and thinking about how I’ll incorporate them into future art pieces.

Circles in the landscape...

My fascination with stone circles, ditches and ancient earthworks is a fairly recent thing. I suppose there was something tickling the back of my mind, but it's really only been in the last ten years or so that I've fallen under their thrall. But this year has been the great unfolding for me and I've been so excited to visit sites that are full of mystery, places that speak directly to the imagination.

Pictures from this summer's adventures; the Rollrights - Oxfordshire, Callanish - Lewis, Jarlshof - Shetland, Avebury - Wiltshire.

The circle was clearly of deep significance to our ancestors, it’s there in the neolithic, bronze and iron ages. It’s significance is something I’m sure you could spend a lifetime considering.

 Circles have been finding their way into most of my work for some time now, I couldn’t tell you exactly why, it just seems to be something I need to explore (although I'll also be honest and say that there are more now that I use less needlepoint. Have you ever tried to stitch a circle in tent stitch?). But I do wonder where the human love affair with the circle begins? Once you start to look, they are everywhere. 

Circles in hand...

Unsurprisingly, the piece I'm currently working on includes circles - at least three of them.

It's still at an early stage - as you can imagine, there hasn't been too much time for stitching recently, but in case you're interested, here are a few close up photos to show how it's developing.

The canvas is a linen scrim which I painted with acrylic paint and pens. I then attached (glue and stitch) fragments of fabrics and couched sari silk thread to highlight the lines. I began adding running stitch to sections of the piece, these somehow give it movement and hold everything together. And then I decided (possibly rashly), that the circles would include some tent stitch. Here I'm using a DMC metallic thread which has the thickness I needed.

You can see a little more of the development in the three pictures above. Still a long way to go but I'm over the initial feeling of marginal overwhelm and now it's beginning to feel exciting. I'm still posting updates to Instagram Stories on the days when I make progress with this piece, so if you follow me there you'll see it coming together.

In Other News

The dry, hot weather has parched the countryside, bleaching the fields where the only green is random patches of docks. The thistles haven’t appeared this year. The few surviving nettles that line the lane and usually trim it in green are all brown and limp. Everything looks tired - in fact it looks like late August, which is how it’s been feeling. There are sloes on the blackthorn and crabapples beginning to drop into the lane. No blackberries for us yet, but on Twitter I’ve seen people picking them - too soon, I’m not ready for the onset of autumn, and that’s what blackberry picking is for me.

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It’s good to be back. I’ll be picking up the reins again now. I may even put together the occasional gallery from my travels…(only 2058 photos to process...x).

 

Best wishes and happy stitching

Anny x






 

Preparing for The Workhouse...

No, don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds...

Almost the end of September and at last I'm getting back into the swing of things on the stitchy front. Which is good news because in less than a fortnight I'll be showing a selection of work at the newest and quirkiest gallery in the area, The Workhouse, Dunstable - (I was always that child who did her homework on a Sunday evening, and it turns out some things never change).

Although to be fair, this time it wasn't really that I couldn't get myself organised, more just having a lot of things happening at the same time. 

I've actually been doing quite a lot of stitching over the last few months, but it's felt very much like a kind of transformative period, I've felt the need to stitch with my hands in order to let my brain run free. So I've pushed needles through various fabrics, combined all kinds of threads in a rainbow of shades (well alright, mostly blue) and watched to see where it took me.

And where has it taken me? Well, I'm not entirely sure, I'm probably still en route. But I have made a few decisions.

The first is that I do need to bring a little more organisation into the process. Buzzing around in my head are several themes I want to work on and past experience tells me that it might be better not to ricochet from one to another. I'd quite like to discipline myself to spend a little more time in the preparation stages, possibly working on a small number of pieces exploring each theme.

For me this is going to mean allowing myself not to feel pressured to dive straight into a new work but to give myself time to play with it, research and experiment. 

When I first began to make textile art, I was content to slip from one piece to the next without much thought. But now I seem to have so many more ideas I'd like to pursue and I think I panic a little that I might forget what I wanted to do on one while I make another. But time not stitching always felt like a waste before, now I can see that if I'm going to have a chance of actually exploring any of them I'm going to need a plan (albeit of a fairly basic nature).

So it's time for me to stop being quite so impulsive and to attempt to bring some structure into my process. (We'll see just how well that goes won't we...)

Anyway, while I was happily stitching and thinking, away over in Dunstable my Discover artist friend Joanne Bowes was being altogether more ambitious and brave. She has finally brought her dream into reality by opening her own gallery - The Workhouse in Ashton Square, right in the heart of the town (and not coincidentally on the site of Dunstable's first workhouse). It's going to be a friendly, welcoming space where artists, makers and art-lovers can meet and mingle and where people will feel comfortable coming inside to see what's new.

And that is where some of my work is heading at the beginning of October. 

Of course as many of you will know, I would much rather be stitching something new rather than properly finishing off something I've already made - which means that I'm currently desperately trying to get frames made for the work I'm going to take to Dunstable - I really wish there were framing elves who'd come down each night and magically frame everything while you slept. (If you know of any, please put in a good word for me).

Still, it isn't the night before the opening just yet, so I'm still in with a chance of it not becoming a nail-biting, up to the line, eleventh hour panic...arrrgh!

These are the pieces going to The Workhouse (framing permitting)...

I'll take proper photos once we're set up and give you all the details for anyone who fancies popping along to The Workhouse in October.

Right, where's my hammer...

Happy stitching x