EAST blog

EAST blog

The EAST blog

This blog has been set up for members of EAST to post information about what is happening in the group and in their work.

St Ives School of Art

miscellaneousPosted by Libby Fri, October 16, 2015 21:08:46

Having worked on the subject of landscape for some time, I thought it would be really refreshing to sign up for a couple of taster days at the St. Ives School of Art whilst on holiday in Cornwall in September. A few weeks beforehand I went onto their website and booked two workshops with two artists - Liz Hough and Kerry Harding - Abstract Landscape and Mixed Media. Both artists were very friendly, enthusiastic and encouraging and I see that they do a longer workshop which they run as joint tutors. I think from a textile point of view I probably got more out of Kerry Harding's workshop than Liz's but nonetheless I still had a good day.

The results below are from Kerry Harding's worshop which was the one on mixed media. She explained that we should first experiment with different mediums to see what effects we could get by working through a table of words - blob, smear, flick, splat, drip, dot scratch, smudge, twist, blend, rub, swirl, wash, scrape, print, brushstroke, thick, thin, fast and slow - nothing complicated and quite basic really but fun and it is always nice to see what results other people get. Then there were three other tables of words based on landscape, rocks and sky elements. I think a large glass of wine beforehand definitely helped to loosen me up! Oh and we were to use different tools to apply the different media, such as card, fork, spoon, rag, etc.

These are some of the results which are really the workshop in reverse order - the two landscapes are what I finished with, the next six were trying three techniques together and the bottom one was my initial warming up daubs.

  • Comments(0)//blog.easttextile.co.uk/#post224

All in the Roll of a Dice

miscellaneousPosted by Libby Sun, July 13, 2014 19:32:57

Back in April I attended a workshop with textile artist Matthew Harris, someone who I first discovered when visiting The Devon Guild of Craftsmen at the gallery in Bovey Tracy, Riverside Mill, Devon. I cannot remember the precise name of the collection of work he was showing at that time but I very much liked the abstract marks, colour and texture of his work and his minimal use of stitch (his website address is www.matthewharriscloth.co.uk - Matthew is based in Stroud, Gloucestershire). I always kept a look out for his work and any articles about him over the years so you can imagine my delight when I saw that he was giving a 2 day workshop at Bobby Britnell's Moor Hall studio in Shropshire and that I managed to book a place. Apparently there was a long waiting list so I think I must have spotted the workshop quite soon after it went up on Bobby's website - www.bobbybritnell.co.uk

I enjoyed the workshop so much - I always approach a workshop with an open mind and that it may or may not work for me but to just enjoy the experience and invariably something goes "click". I feel you have to relate the workshop very loosely to the subject you are working on at the time so that you then don't just go home and put it all away. I feel I have come home with so much and my mind is buzzing with ideas on how I can take these ideas forward.

The basic idea of the workshop was to explore ways in which to stimulate new ideas through drawing and the process of making by working within the parameters of a set of rules that constrain and limit choices - "The use of chance operations facilitates a by-passing of overly conscious, aesthetic decision making ...". Working through a short list of exercises any decisions that needed to be made were governed by the throwing of dice.

The Bring List was actually quite brief, the main consideration being to bring an item or items to take apart. The item needed to have a mixture of hard and soft elements and I don't know why but the item that popped into my mind was an umbrella, although thinking about it most of its parts are hard. I thought it would be nice to find an old umbrella and by luck I found a very distressed one at an Antiques and Collectibles fair in Norwich just a week or two before the workshop. So very briefly after taking our item apart into as many pieces as possible and studying the qualities of each part, we then had to number each item and then the dice throwing commenced!!

On the second day we could start to tear up and collage the papers we had printed the previous day.

  • Comments(0)//blog.easttextile.co.uk/#post169

Art and Life 1920 - 1931

miscellaneousPosted by Libby Sat, March 08, 2014 20:10:51
Just over a week ago I went to the exhibition "Art and Life 1920 - 1931" at the gallery at Kettles Yard in Cambridge. I had been looking forward to this exhibition very much and I was not disappointed. The exhibition "examines the artistic partnership of Ben Nicholson and Winifred Nicholson in the 1920s and their friendship and collaboration with Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis and the potter William Staite Murray".

Kettles Yard gallery is quite a small exhibition space but well worth visiting and not too exhausting to get round (in comparison to say the Paul Klee exhibition at Tate Modern which was fabulous but with 17 rooms you needed stamina). Having visited Cornwall many times I am familiar with the work of Ben and Winifred Nicholson and Alfred Wallis but less familiar with the work of Christopher Wood or the potter William Staite Murray (the gallery at Kettles Yard had an exhibition last year on the work of Christopher Wood). It is the naive style of these paintings that I particularly enjoy and that I look to for inspiration. The exhibition shows how Alfred Wallis' (an untrained artist) style of painting influenced Ben and Winifred Nicholson at this time. Often Ben and Winifred painted the same landscape and in one example shown in the exhibition there are three paintings of the same view - Northrigg Hill in Cumberland - two by each of the Nicholsons and one by Christopher Wood. Of the three I think I prefer Christopher Wood's warmer colours or Winifred's softer shades to the cooler colours of Ben Nicholson's version. Later Ben Nicholson's work becomes more abstract which I am less keen on (his marriage to Winifred ends and in 1938 he marries the sculptor Barbara Hepworth). That is not to say I do not like any of his paintings, my favourite in this exhibition is “Plate, Cup and Jug” which can be found in the Kettles Yard database .

If you go to the bottom of the page of the Kettles Yard website you will find a collections database, select the artist whose work you would like to see and you will find some of the work by these artists. Some of the paintings in the exhibition are from private collections so you won't find these on the database. What I found particularly exciting is that the database holds a very large number of paintings by Alfred Wallis and, although he is known largely for his boat and harbour paintings, I really like his tree and landscape pictures which you don't see very often.

Whilst visiting Kettles Yard I purchased the book produced to accompany the "Art and Life" exhibition which I thought very thorough and good value at just under £20. The exhibition is on until 11th May, 2014 and admission is free.

The picture below shows a collage of fabrics and papers and which also includes an Alfred Wallis house that I have cut from a postcard. The collage represents snippets of letters/conversations exchanged between friends. The Alfred Wallis postcard I have used I have purchased many times, the original picture White Houses - Hales Down near St. Ives is in this exhibition and is also on the database.

  • Comments(0)//blog.easttextile.co.uk/#post162

Inspiration from East Yorkshire to Devon

miscellaneousPosted by Libby Thu, September 26, 2013 20:25:32

In late August/early September I went to see a textile exhibition at Salts Mill, Saltaire in East Yorkshire on the recommendation of June Carroll, a fellow EAST member, who had visited earlier in the year. The textile exhibition called "Cloth and Memory" is a response to the mill and its history. It is a huge space but the 23 artists from many different countries have tackled the subject from many different angles which knit together beautifully from the felted books in the recesses in the walls by Janette Appleton, to the unravelling woollen jumper by Kari Steihaug, to the use of vintage wooden reels commemorating the women who worked at the mill by Caren Garfen and the amazing installation by Yoriko Yoneyama comprising donated mirrors scattered on the floor reflecting strands of rice pressed onto fine cotton thread - a few of my favourite pieces.

Another exhibition that I have recently visited is at the Riverside Mill in Bovey Tracy, Devon, is called "intoLACE" , an exhibition which looks at lace as inspiration by a group of artists-makers who use their skills in other materials such as ceramics, photograms, glass-encased lace, sun-prints, laser sculpture and jewellery. I thoroughly enjoyed both exhibitions very much and the different interpretations where one one looks at textiles as a way of expression and the other uses textiles as the starting point for interpretation in other media.

Both exhibitions are on till early 3rd November.

  • Comments(0)//blog.easttextile.co.uk/#post153

Pottery Workshop

miscellaneousPosted by Libby Sun, September 09, 2012 00:21:40

What an inspiring day some of the EAST members (Melinda, Ann, June, Carol, Julie, Tricia and myself) had on Thursday at Southend College using clay – it really got the creative juices flowing. Our tutor technician for the day was the lovely and very generous Karen Hamer who started our day at 10.30 with a demonstration of clay types, plus techniques such as weaving, coiling, marbling, and ways of adding texture by using stamps, textile impressions and mark making using various tools and even how to add further fine detail and decoration – loved the use of the garlic crusher for making thin wiggly strands.

We all set to work and in no time at all it seemed pots and tile pieces were rolling of the production line – very impressed by the lattice work bowls produced by Carol and the beautiful Agateware bowl produced by Julie - who would guess that they were new hands at it. The morning soon flew by – we stopped for lunch and chocolate for a much needed supply of energy for the afternoon.

Anyway on our return from lunch we were encouraged to look at the work of such artists as Jim Kraft, Katherine Dube, Astrid Dahl, Eva Hild, Jennifer McCurdy, Rafa Perez and Hans Borgonjon to inspire us to think, perhaps, more freely about shape and form and to refine some of the techniques we had tried in the morning. As the afternoon quickly moved on Karen very generously came round to speak to each of us in turn to ask and guide us on how we would like our work to be glazed and fired. Tricia has very kindly agreed to return our work once this has been carried out. Phew – I came home exhausted and full of enthusiasm but determined to do some stitching. Thanks to Karen and Tricia for a great day


  • Comments(0)//blog.easttextile.co.uk/#post120

EG Rust Dyeing Workshop

miscellaneousPosted by Libby Tue, August 04, 2009 23:01:03

Thought I’d take the plunge and do my first blog prompted by Janette’s reference to the EG rust dyeing workshop with Myfanwy Hart.

It was an excellent workshop, Myfanwy is very organised so that we kept samples of our original fabrics before we rust dyed them. Three pairs of two fabrics were sandwiched together with wire wool and put into a sealable plastic bag. This process was repeated, using the same fabrics, three more times to give 24 samples altogether. To the first bag salt water was added, to the second bag vinegar water was added, to the third bag salt water and a tea bag was added and to the fourth bag vinegar water and a tea bag was added. Using hot water helps to speed up the rusting process but all four bags were/should be left for 24 hours before rinsing and washing. In the afternoon we repeated the process but used our metal tools instead of wire wool – I used a circular saw blade, Allen keys, a drill bit and screws. We didn’t see the results of our labours until the following day but I was very pleased – found the tools gave better results than the wire wool. We were told to be thorough when removing the wire wool or any hard residue as any remaining in the fabric could end up in your sewing machine if you subsequent add machine stitching. I had an almost instant landscape. One of the things I would like to try in the future is rusting and dyeing at the same time. Hope my first blog meets with approval.

  • Comments(1)//blog.easttextile.co.uk/#post17