Saturday, 31 May 2008

My Textile Challenge Site

I was quite surprised when the site which I created just over a fornight ago had so many members in such a short space of time. People are still joining even today we have a new member. (You can click on the button at base of page to join)

I am hoping that I will be offering something a little different if I can. There are loads of these challenge sites out there but to do something different is important if members are going to feel challenged, that is after all the kind of site it is.

I said we would be quite a laid back site, as I don't want to put anyone under any pressure. I don't do pressure, not anymore anyway. Well, how do you make something challenging without pressure? You make it stimulating, well that's my theory anyway.

I want the site to make members think, I want them to think about the way they work, I want them to think about how they fit into the big creative world. This is something I am constantly thinking about. It's not an easy one this, it chucks up all sorts of questions, like why do we create? Who do we create for? Is it for our own pleasure? Is it to try to make money? Is it to give other's pleasure? Do we share what we make? The questions are endless.

That last one though makes me think, I was reading something that someone posted on Stitchin fingers it was about principles of Art and it talked about, amongst others things, intellectual copyright. Well, anyone who has ever thought about this must realise it says that designs are all around us, ideas are all around us too. There are obviously some things that are protected but anyone who has been through art school would realise that artists have been borrowing from each other for centuries. Infact, at art school you are openly encouraged to copy from the "masters", this is how we learn, we learn either to follow their ideas or take parts of what we learn and make them into our own. I find inspiration everywhere, I am never short of ideas, that's what art is all about. That's why on this blog I am happy to share my ideas, obviously if someone was to copy my exact work and try to carry it off as their own I would not be happy, but if I can share my techniques or ideas so that other's might find it easier to get to where they are heading then that's great.

The reason why I bring this up is because I want my textile challenge site to also be a buzzing place where everyone is glad to share and exchange ideas about their own and other's work. I will be working to encourage this. It takes a while to work out how best to use the site and I am only now beginning to realise that there are probably more possibilities than I have tried so far, so watch this space and the site as I do my best to develop what is there.

I am adding some further challenges to the site as optional extras. One of these is going to be a monthly challenge entitled: Research an Artist. Initially, I will be going through many fine art artists to see what we can do with their work, in order to inspire us when we create something. I do hope those members who do have plenty of time will sometimes dip into this extra challenge and see what they can do with it. Eventually, if this idea works for a while, we might be able to start to explore textile artists over the ages and research how they have worked and perhaps use some of their methods to create modern pieces. Who knows, it's early days yet.

When I was teaching art in schools, I found that I had inspiration happening to me everyday from my students as we all see the world through different eyes. It's quite amazing sometimes when you see a youngster create something and suddenly you get a buzz about how you can go ahead with your own work. It might be a combination of colours that they are using, the way they are working with the media, or just the subject matter that they have chosen. It can all give a person inspiration. So I hope that anyone who is a member of my challenge site now or in the future will be glad to share our talents to help everyone in the group to move forward on their own creative journey.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Another Swap safely received.

I can put this one up for viewing now that I know that Doreen has safely received it in Australia.

I made this especially for her and I was inspired by something that she said to me. She asked me for my surname and I said that I often forget to give it probably because I don't like my married name. Well, when I told her it was Cook she said to me, where would Australia have been without Captain Cook and that she thought that there was nothing wrong with the name.

Well, when I couldn't decide what to do for her I thought about what she had said. Well, when we lived up north we went to a place about 30 miles from where Old Cap'n Cook was born. It's a lovely place called Robin Hoods Bay, you can see it on the internet as it is a very well known holiday and tourist attraction on the North East along the Yorkshire Coast. Many an artist has sat and painted it from different views as it is so quaint and picturesque.

So there you have it. This is why I made this ATC for Doreen, I am really getting into this landscape work in needlefelt. It's like painting with wool.

More swaps

Hello again,
I've, just received this beautiful ATC from Ati in Norway, I am so proud to be in possession of such wonderful stitchery. Ati also posted some lovely fibres to me with this card, it is so generous of her, Thank you Ati. I thought it such a clever idea to post something extra, I had to do the same. I hope it arrives safely for her, as it does make it a little bulky especially with my needlefelted piece. I won't put Ati's on here yet as I don't want to spoil the surprise. Hope you like it Ati.

Cyberfyber swaps

Hi all, I am a little behind taking photos at the moment, so I thought I had better catch up. First there is the Cyberfyber swap. Here are the two cards I decided to request:
This is the postcard and is made with Bridal Lace, isn't it beautiful, I particularly like the way it has been coloured.

This one is the ATC and has lots of interest, stitching, layering, there is metal foil under one of the layers and then there is the architectural feature with cherubs. It's really delightful. Thank you Susan, I love them.

Well, I hope that Susan likes hers, I have concentrated on a really Kentish/English theme. The first one below is a Postcard and is needlefelted with embroidery. It is called Old Kent Orchard.

Here is a close up of the Postcard.
This next one is an ATC and is the same theme but obviously on a smaller scale.
It is entitled: Old Apple Trees

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

To Sell or not to sell

That is the question?
Well, I've been reading a few things online from Artists who are also deliberating about selling their work.
I have exhibited my work in one or two places since I graduated as a textile artist, but this was many years ago. Life got in the way for a while but I am now much more sure to the kind of work I want to produce, the problem is, who am I producing it for?
Recently I have been quite active with the online community, I started up a textile site so that I could be in touch with other textile artists, I have also just begun to get involved with swapping Art Cards. Now when I make one of these little treasures I feel as though I can put my heart and soul into it, why because I hope it pleases the recipient. I really believe that most other textile artists would appreciate the work of others so you don't mind putting so much work into it. Then I ask myself, if I were to try to sell a piece of work like this I couldn't command anything like a price that would account for all the time and effort that goes into it. So what does an artist do? If you read this and you have any suggestions please let me know, I would be very pleased to read other peoples experiences about the art market.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Two for the price of one.

Doreen Grey has so kindly trebled my collection of ATC's by sending me two examples of her needlefelting, I am just so grateful to her, they are beautiful, it really does show what is possible with one of those lovely embellishers. I so o o want one now.

Here is the first one she sent to me:
I love the fine muslin that is added in two different colours in this. I would love to know how this fabric is felted to the background so firmly, but I suppose that's the difference between the embellisher and needlefelting by hand.

As well as the Atc Doreen has very kindly sent me another example that I can use as a book mark, it's beautiful.

Thank you so much Doreen, I won't post my swap here until I know that you have received it, I don't want to spoil the surprise, it's on it's way, let me know when you get it. I think I am now going to get rather addicted to all this swapping, I'm sure I am going to get to know my postman rather well, lol.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

New Textile Challenge Site

Hi there all, well, you might already be aware that I have started a new challenge site, it is called Tricia's Textile Challenge. We have 15 members to date and we're doing fine, there are some very talented people already on this site so it's quite exciting, go take a look and if you'd like to join let us know.

Well, I said I would blog about the piece I made for the first challenge.

The first challenge will last till the end of June and then we plan to do a swap with the results. It is entitled Ancient Symbols. I asked everyone to make a postcard sized piece based upon an ancient symbol, could be a hieroglyph or a rock carving, infact anything from any culture, religious or otherwise. We've had some very interesting results already.

Well, here's how I did mine,
I have a little book all about ancient rock carvings mainly from the North of England. I am fascinated by what they might mean. Having done a little study about symbolism including universal symbolism I think that the one I chose has probably got something to do with the sun and seasons.
Some of the symbol has obviously worn away but you can gather what it did look like originally.
Well, I cheated, not having seen the rock and only having a picture of the symbol I decided to find a nice stone amongst my collection of stones and so I drew a picture of it and then drew the symbol on top, superimposing it as it were. Here is the drawing below:

The finished piece here below is 6 inches x 4 inches (postcard size) and is needlefelted. The symbol was embroidered on to the felt exactly as it looks in the book. The edging is also sewn as are the little line stitches on the background. The edging I hand dyed myself using a rust technique which worked remarkably well, this picture doesn't do it justice, the thread of the edging is two toned as it almost carries the imprint of the rusted metal it was wrapped around when it was dyed.

Last but not least here is a close up of the piece.
I Hope the person I swap with likes it.
Speak soon Tricia

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

New Textile Challenge Site

Hi all, well, I just couldn't wait for another challenge so I decided that I would very much like to try a group of my very own.
I opened it today and I am hoping very much you will all join me in a very laid back challenge.

The site is: If you have any problems reaching it just let me know.

I am hoping it will be a really fun place to hang out with like minded passionate Textile/mixed media folk.

I am going to run the first challenge until the end of June just to make sure that any late comers have the chance to catch up.

I hope to do some swaps from the first challenge if enough people sign up. Do drop by and let me know what you all think.

Look forward to seeing you all there, oh and you are more than welcome to make any suggestions. See you soon Tricia

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Tif Challenge for May: What do I call myself?

Well, I have finished the challenge, as I said before in the previous post on the challenge below, I have based my idea around the idea that artists often have other angles to the things that they do. I chose Seurat as he was often described as a scientist of colour. There are other artist's like this, look at Leonardo for instance. How could he be described? Artist/? Engineer? Biologist perhaps?

Well, anyway, back to my challenge.

I have used monotone to show that there are other ways to analyse. I think that this is one thing that makes me an artist, I analyse what I do and see. Seurat analysed the picture in terms of colour using pointellist techniques. I have analysed his picture in tone using the play of light and shade to indicate forms. There are no unnecessary details in his work or my piece that was inspired by it. I admit I used the computer to turn the picture to grayscale before I made the work. This is a first time use of the computer to inspire my textile work so that's a new techinique in itself. Here are a couple of close ups of the finished work.
I hope that I have also managed to show that paint is not the only medium that can be used in an impressionistic manner.
Well, I hope you like the work and understand the theory behind it's making. Bye for now Tricia

I took a few days off to catch up wth the Garden

Hi again, I have been taking a few days off from stitching to catch up with the garden.
Between us, yes all three, that includes our 14 year old, we have weeded, cut the ever growing grass (I won't say lawn), planted four fruit trees and re sited the pond. That's without the greenhouse which needed to be re built after last years winds. The weather has been wonderful, this picture was taken at dusk, it doesn't really show how much sun we've had in the last week. I am burnt, yes sunburnt, much worse than that though is the fact that I have been eaten alive with midgies/gnats; Why do they always attack me?
We are so lucky to be living here. We've had the Cuckoo out there cuckooing for all his worth. The birds we have in this area are so varied and beautiful. This really is "Darling buds of May" country. I was told by someone when we moved back to Kent 18 months ago, that the field behind our house was actually used in one of the episodes of that very wonderful programme with David Jason. It is as he would say "just Perfick".

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Tif Challenge - What do I call myself

Ok, so I've been thinking about this for quite a few years so I am probably ahead of this Challenge. The way to portray it may sound a little cryptic but it isn't really.
I call myself a textile artist, not only because that is what I earned as a title when I studied for my honours degree but also because that is very much how I feel. I studied art before I chose my specialist area. I did a two year pre foundation and a years foundation course. It is from this art background that I look mostly for my inspiration. Yes I dabble in all sorts of crafts but I do believe that this dabbling informs my more serious work, not to denegrate the craft aspect in any way but I often see it as a way to experiment, this is only my point of view.
The visual means of this challenge has inspired me to think and look at a great artist that I am sure many people know, his name is Seurat. I am going to analyse ( an important word here, which I will come back to.) one of his best known paintings: Please look at the following link:
Seurat used scientific principles to paint this picture, does this make him a scientist or an artist? I use this question to help in understanding what it is I actually do. Now, back to that word analyse. I think that on the whole this is what generally helps me to see myself as an artist. Like Seurat I tend to analyse what it is I do. I also use research in much of my work, for instance I have read a considerable amount about symbolism and also about Celtic Art amongst others subjects. It is this research and interest in my subject that I believe tells me I am an artist.
Well, on to the image, I am almost finished but I will not post it until it is properly presented. The image I have chosen is of course the one that can be found at the link above: Sunday Afternoon at the Grande Jatte.
I am taking a small section of this and I have turned it to Grayscale. My intention was to analyse Seurat's picture not in colour as he has but to analyse it in tone, form, shape. I was quite surprised how many of the shapes of the figures seem to be repeated throughout this work. I have been fascinated by the outline of the figures and by the costumes of the time. These seem more obvious when the colour has gone.
Well, I will post my finished work soon. I have only just discovered this new way of working with needlefelt, that is to work in monochrome, I found this when working the last challenge and felt it was quite an appropriate transition for this next challenge. Same materials different subject. Well, I hope all will become clear when you see the finished work. Till then, feel free to ask questions if you are unsure what I actually mean in this post. Good luck to everyone else in your challenge.

Friday, 2 May 2008

TIF Challenge for May - What do you call yourself and why

Oh the perennial question I have pondered with ever since I started my fine art textiles course. This was always a hot topic but then the fine art course seemed to know where it wanted it’s student’s to go. It’s a fine balance between art and craft and the cross over is always ultimately there. The boundaries have been blurring for many years but we are all still not sure when we are making; or at least I am not sure. It’s a compromise isn’t it? Do we make and hope to sell as an artist or do we make and hope to sell as a craftsperson? Is the difference in utility? Will your quilt be too good to put on a bed? Do you hope it will be admired as wall art? But then what do we make of Tracey Ewin’s unmade bed? I don’t know where this is going to take me Sharon this month but it certainly will be an interesting journey. There are just too many questions and not enough answers in all of this. I don’t know whether there is a straight answer and then trying to interpret it in a piece of work well, is this going to be asking too much, I just don’t know. I suppose we will see. You certainly have set us a hard one here.