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.

My research

EASTPosted by Susan Tue, April 05, 2016 17:13:44

The following is a piece of my research for “Following a Thread” our next exhibition.

Julia Margaret Cameron (née Pattle) was the sister of Virginia Woolf's grandmother. Born in 1815 she married Charles Cameron and spent much of her married life in India where Charles worked for the East India Company. Not long after their return to England, Julia was given a camera for her birthday - an auspicious present - as she went on to become one of the most important and innovative photographers of the nineteenth century. Best known for her powerful portraits, she also posed her sitters - friends, family and servants - as characters from biblical, historical and allegorical stories. One such sitter, a good friend Anne Thackeray Ritchie, recalled: Sitting to her was a serious affair, and not to be lightly entered upon. We came at her summons, we trembled (or we should have trembled had we dared to do so) when the round black eye of the camera was turned upon us. We felt the consequences, what a disastrous waste of time and money and effort, might ensue from any passing quiver of emotion.

Cameron’s photographs were rule-breaking: purposely out of focus, and often including scratches, smudges and other traces of the artist's process. She was criticized for her unconventional techniques but also celebrated for the beauty of her compositions and her commitment to photography as an art form.

2015 marks the bi-centenary of Cameron's birth and 150 years since her first exhibition, which was held in 1865 at the South Kensington Museum, now the V&A. The museum's founding director, Henry Cole, was an early champion of Cameron's work. He purchased her photographs for the collection, granted her the use of two rooms at the museum as a studio and corresponded with her about technical matters.

In a letter to Sir John Herschel in December 1864, Cameron wrote: My aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art by combining the reality & Ideal & sacrificing nothing of Truth by all possible devotion to poetry and beauty.

Another prominent Victorian and close friend of Cameron's was the painter and sculptor G.F.Watts. Watts had befriended her sister, Julia Princep, and as he had no accommodation at the time, had been invited to stay, temporarily, in the family home, Little Holland House. Watts lived there for twenty years, initially with his young wife, actor Ellen Terry, and later his second wife the artist and designer, Mary Fraser-Tytler, who with her sisters became photographic subjects for Mrs. Cameron. Cameron considered Watts to be her chief artistic advisor and wrote, Mr. Watts gave me such encouragement that I considered I had wings to fly with.

One member of the family who was photographed regularly was Cameron's niece and god-daughter Julia Jackson, who married Leslie Stephens in 1878. Julia and Leslie had four children, Vanessa (later Vanessa Bell), Thoby, Virginia (later Virginia Woolf) and Adrian. Cameron’s portraits of Julia are unusual in that they show her as an individual rather than a religious or literary character, a position more usually reserved for her male sitters.

Julia Margaret Cameron, (top left) Leslie Stephens, (top right) and Julia Stephens, (below).





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Happy Stitchers

miscellaneousPosted by Susan Sat, December 19, 2015 12:12:34

At the November meeting of E.A.S.T. , June and Lorna told me about the formation of a new branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild at Bury St. Edmunds. I googled the Guild website and got some more information which led me to Mary McIntosh’s site. She is a quilter living in Sudbury and has become the chairman of the new branch. What really excited me was that the branch meetings are held at Risby Village Hall, the same venue which the dog and I go to each Thursday for dog training. (Don’t worry! The Guild meet in the small hall while the dog training takes place in the larger one.) I e-mailed Mary McIntosh who sent me a programme for the year and I attended the second meeting of the branch while the dog waited in the car.

There were twenty new members, a couple of whom I had met at the Ipswich branch which I attended when I first moved to Suffolk. It had already been decided that we would begin with a “travelling books” project and everyone had brought along work to start them while Mary divided us into three groups by pulling names out of a hat. We then discussed the Capability Brown event which is being run by the Guild and the fact that we are to exhibit at Highlands Park in Chelmsford, Essex. It’s a pity that no Suffolk venue was available for our work but we are obviously latecomers. However, it was a very lively meeting and hopefully a few more stitchers will feel inclined to join in the coming year.

I left the meeting in time to take Briar to dog training at 9.30pm so we both had a very successful evening. I look forward to the next meeting on January 7th at Risby Village Hall which is just off the A14.

Below I have posted a couple of images of my travelling book and one of Briar on her holiday.

Happy Christmas.

Love,

Susan





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Defining Moments

miscellaneousPosted by Susan Tue, October 13, 2015 11:16:23

Isn't it funny that when one has a good idea suddenly it seems that the rest of the world has had the selfsame thought almost as though ideas drift by in the ether waiting for us to pick them up? This happened during my visit to the Cheltenham Literature Festival where the theme was "Defining Moments".

As I left an event on Saturday I noticed a thread stretched along one of the covered walkways between the tents with coloured luggage labels hanging from it. On closer inspection I saw that printed on one side of the label was "What’s your defining moment? " with the reverse left blank for festival goers to reply.

Many of the comments were fairly prosaic but, as you might expect from a literature festival audience, some quite pretentious. However, the response I thought the most intriguing was "1973 - The London Boat Show ".

This statement conjures up so many questions. Was the author male or female? Was it a good or bad, life changing or mundane moment? Did the author sail the seven seas or the English Channel or just potter every Sunday up an down the River Crouch? There are endless threads that you could follow from a few words and numbers.

I went to a talk earlier in the week given by Will Gompertz (BBC Arts Editor) author of "Think Like an Artist" where he assured the audience that everyone can be creative, that we each have a unique talent and imagination, and that we should question what we do, like artists. I bet we could all invent a small story round that label - not to write it down necessarily, just to tell it.

I've spent the last ten days nowhere near a needle and thread or, dare I mention, a sketch book, but I've had the privilege of hearing many creative people talking about their field of expertise and my head is full of ideas.

Don't worry. I haven't enough imagination for writing, but with stitching in mind, I am "Following a Thread".



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an anecdote

miscellaneousPosted by Susan Thu, August 27, 2015 12:22:24

In July 1982 I was invited to a Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. I did not accept this invitation very readily because I wanted to watch the second episode of Something in Disguise, a television production of the Elizabeth Jane Howard book which was due to be shown the same evening. However, after quite a bit of thought I accepted and on the evening we drove to London to see Dvorak's New World Symphony and, I think, a Piano Concerto. I can't really remember much about the concert but the next day I bought the book which I do remember being a very good read.

If that same situation were to arise today the poor chap would not have to wait for, what was I will admit , a very fairly unenthusiastic acceptance, because I could go to the concert and catch up with the episode on the "I-player".

This leads me, somewhat circuitously, to mention Life in Squares which I watched on catch up as we don't own a television set. This mini series follows the preoccupations of the Bloomsbury Group, in particular the lives of Vanessa and Virginia Stephens, their brothers Thoby and Adrian and Thoby's influential friends from his Cambridge University days. Vanessa married Clive Bell, Virginia, Leonard Woolf and the rest, as they say, is history.

What is the relevance of this to a textile blog you may ask?

In September I bought a postcard at the National Portrait Gallery showing Virginia Woolf and T. S. Eliot and this is the initial inspiration for my work for the next E.A.S.T. exhibition Following a Thread. In the previous exhibition my work had been based on The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot which was published in 1922 also the publication year of Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf and Ulysses by James Joyce three books which were important examples of modernist literature.

At the moment I'm still working through ideas in a sketchbook and haven't begun to stitch anything but here are a few pages from that book.

Postscript for those who would like to know what happened to my concert companion.

"Reader: I married him". (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte).

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an anecdote

miscellaneousPosted by Susan Thu, August 27, 2015 12:22:22

In July 1982 I was invited to a Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. I did not accept this invitation very readily because I wanted to watch the second episode of Something in Disguise, a television production of the Elizabeth Jane Howard book which was due to be shown the same evening. However, after quite a bit of thought I accepted and on the evening we drove to London to see Dvorak's New World Symphony and, I think, a Piano Concerto. I can't really remember much about the concert but the next day I bought the book which I do remember being a very good read.

If that same situation were to arise today the poor chap would not have to wait for, what was I will admit , a very fairly unenthusiastic acceptance, because I could go to the concert and catch up with the episode on the "I-player".

This leads me, somewhat circuitously, to mention Life in Squares which I watched on catch up as we don't own a television set. This mini series follows the preoccupations of the Bloomsbury Group, in particular the lives of Vanessa and Virginia Stephens, their brothers Thoby and Adrian and Thoby's influential friends from his Cambridge University days. Vanessa married Clive Bell, Virginia, Leonard Woolf and the rest, as they say, is history.

What is the relevance of this to a textile blog you may ask?

In September I bought a postcard at the National Portrait Gallery showing Virginia Woolf and T. S. Eliot and this is the initial inspiration for my work for the next E.A.S.T. exhibition Following a Thread. In the previous exhibition my work had been based on The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot which was published in 1922 also the publication year of Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf and Ulysses by James Joyce three books which were important examples of modernist literature.

At the moment I'm still working through ideas in a sketchbook and haven't begun to stitch anything but here are a few pages from that book.

Postscript for those who would like to know what happened to my concert companion.

"Reader: I married him". (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte).

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Graduate Showcase - third artist

Between the LinesPosted by Susan Tue, November 25, 2014 16:12:21

I first met Hanny Newton on Wednesday as we were setting up at Harrogate. Anthea had arrived on our stand hunting for white paint and we were very fortunate to have a large tin which had been left behind by the stand builders. Armed with paint brushes and illicit paint I accompanied Anthea to the Graduate stand to touch up some walls and shelf edges.

Hanny studied at the Royal School of Needlework for the first two years of her course and then transferred to Falmouth College to completing her degree this summer. As you can see from the pictures below she’s used the traditional gold work skills learnt at R.S.N. to wonderful effect.


In our Veins. Hanny Newton

As a lover of traditional gold work I wanted to find a new approach to these amazing traditional skills. My rocks are an up scaled version of gold work felt padding – as you would find under the Queen’s robe of estate etc. Layers of industrial felt are tightly stitched together in contours to create sculptural forms.

Living in Cornwall, I felt inspired by the landscape and heritage of the area and loved the fact I could use gold work in a new way.

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The show is over

Between the LinesPosted by Susan Mon, November 24, 2014 17:30:18

Just before the Harrogate exhibition closed yesterday we all joined Anthea, the Graduates, members of Hue and some staff from the Embroiderers’ Guild to celebrate a successful show. We toasted each other with some bubbly (provided by Anthea) and wished each other continuing success.

Then it was all systems go as we took down our exhibits and packed them into the pallet boxes. With everything ready to go we lost the men from the logistics company who we hoped were going to get the work home to Braintree. As I was sent hither and thither by various officials, trying to track the men down, I was filled with the horrible thought that somehow we hadn’t filled in the correct forms and no one knew about our work.

Eventually they arrived and like London buses, in great quantities, five altogether. All was well. They knew about us and we weren’t to worry. At this point Colin took a picture, below left, (not a very flattering one of me as you can see) and we watched whilst the pallets were shrink wrapped.

At last we could happily leave the Conference Centre feeling very smug as many stall holders had to wait until their vans were released from the car park before they could begin packing them.


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mini art

EASTPosted by Susan Sun, June 10, 2012 10:55:22

16th-23rd June is the annual Leigh Art Trail and this year E.A.S.T. is exhibiting sixteen pieces of mini art (one from each member of the group). Each one is a small taster of the work which will be on show in October and November at Braintee Museum in the exhibition “Making a Point!”


At the same time you can visit Tricia in her studio in Leighcliff Buildings, SS9 1PR.

The E.A.S.T. mini art can be viewed at BHK Insurance, 88, Broadway, SS9 1AC where details will also be found on how to purchase them.

Leigh-on-Sea, the St. Ives of Essex, will show case 50 artists at 38 venues during the week – definitely an event not to be missed.

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