an artists' view

an artists' view

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


This is the back of one of my stitched sample pieces for my City & Guilds course. What struck me was the lines; how they look like paths, or rivers, or lines in the landscape that can be seen from aerial photography. It's like a map. Funny how things emerge from something else. The front bears no relation to landscape, or maps, or any of my usual concerns. And yet, and yet, almost as if the underside bears witness to my psychological pre-occupations. It's glued down now, in my portfolio, and no longer visible. A hidden landscape. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013


For xmas, my friend Berenice made me 2 shuttles. One I'm using on my tapestry weaving that I've begun. This one, the larger one, is sitting looking beautiful!
I looked up the design on t'internet, and it's a 'netting shuttle'; mainly used for mending fishermen's nets.
It's beautifully made, sanded down nice and smooth, so the thread/wool doesn't snag.
I photographed it on a slab of slate in my garden; the circles look like the remains of fossils in the slate. In fact, they're the marks from cups, glasses, and plant pots! 

Monday, 21 January 2013

snowy studio #4

The view to the studio, from the house. 
I've been popping in and out, looking for fabric to use on my boro shirt; and also investigating materials I could use on a collagraphy plate. I've cut up an aluminium beer can, to create the basic 'plate'. Now, to create the marks, using the materials I've collected, that will constitute the printing plate.
The snow brings me the perfect opportunity to stay indoors, keeping warm & stitching! I'm drawn to adding patches to the shirt I've been working on; my 'boro' project. Perhaps it's the colours in my hand I crave, when outside all is monochrome? 
I'm using running stitch; all done by hand. Gives a lovely rippled effect to the fabric; 3-dimensional textures. 
Went out for a walk in the snow yesterday, and took some photos of Alverthorpe Beck, including the lagoons. Work is still being done on the flood defences up there. I don't envy the security man having to sit in his portacabin in this weather. He must get cold.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

winter wonderland

The fence below the railway embankment close to where I live; circa 2009. The flakes then were the big fluffy ones, so we got deep, deep drifts of snow. Deeper than my walking boots, so I often got wet ankles when I was out in it. It's not  so deep this time, for which I am thankful.
Wales and the south-west of England have been having a tough time; power cuts etc. Wakefield is on a river plain; a flood plain, so we don't have the hills to catch the snow, as the Pennines do. It tends to melt away fairly fast.
Geography and geology are fascinating subjects. And help us understand what's going on in our locality.

Though the national weather forecast is for snow over most of Britain, local conditions vary according to the geology. Wakefield the town, is fairly flat, although the District of Wakefield has hills around it. We are like the bottom of a bowl, where the river runs through; and small hills rising up from the base. And small outcrops at various spots creating a lumpy landscape.

The embankment creates its own micro-climate, of slope, and flat fields. And the ever-present beck, draining the water away to the River Calder, and ultimately, to the sea.

Friday, 18 January 2013

snow.....the white stuff

It's snowing again. A fine, sparkly snow, unlike the wet flakes we had earlier in the week. This is settling, and covering everything with a glittering white blanket. 
I'm hoping to get out in it tomorrow, and take some photos.
Today I've been seated indoors; reading; stitching; drinking tea; keeping warm. Entertained by the cats' puzzlement when they come in wailing, wondering why I can't make it warmer for them outside!
The winter of 2019/2010 was a snowy one; I took the photo above of a frozen berry in my garden. And the one below is the view from my studio at Westgate Studios, the same year. 
Over in the distance is Emley Moor mast. Whenever I travel I always know I'm close to home when I see the mast! It's quite a landmark.

Monday, 14 January 2013

January snow

Today we've had snow in Wakefield; it began last night, and settled, covering the landscape with white.
But it's that wet snow, that slowly drips away, soaking everything through. So tonight, the snow only sits on lawns, and undisturbed ground.

I've completed my portfolio for the City & Guilds textiles course. I hand that in tomorrow. We're doing felting now, so I'm having the opportunity to think about how to develop my skills. I'm working on some ideas from last summer, when I visited Star Carr in East Yorkshire. Those deer head-dresses continue to intrigue me! 
As they intrigue the archaeologists to this day!

Above is Jill Halsall's felt piece from our Woolgathering exhibition last November. Silver birch trees.

Friday, 11 January 2013

work & weaving

The world has moved back to 'normal'; work has begun again, both paid work, and course work. And my own creative work has resumed; although it didn't quite cease over xmas and new year!
During the break, I went over to visit my friend Tracey; who's been doing some weaving, both tapestry weaving, and 3D weaving. As a total novice, I felt 3D weaving might be great fun, but perhaps I should start with something a bit more straightforward!
So Tracey has kindly lent me her frame, and I've been doing some slow, steady weaving. I'm working in a very muted colour palette; whites, creams, greys, beiges. This is as a result of seeing the work of Polly Binns at Barnsley at the end of last year. Normally my colours are brighter than this; so my decision to change my colour range is significant of new ideas percolating though. And that is no bad thing.
I'm a bit further on that this photograph now shows. But it does give me occasional headaches, as I try to work out exactly where threads should go!!!! I don't think it's something I'll take up in a serious way. But already I can see the potential of it for the ideas I'm working on.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

scarborough - and dolphins

Yesterday we visited Scarborough, and spent a wonderful afternoon, walking along the beach, enjoying a coffee and sarnie....and most magically, watching a dolphin swimming at South Bay!
I've visited Scarborough many times, but never seen a dolphin there. Whenever I've been lucky enough to see these creatures, it's been on my holidays in Scotland. And even there, it's not guaranteed to see them.
My camera's not good enough to capture the dolphin, but this was the sea as we stood watching.
It was still; like pewter, a few ripples on the surface. The sky was coloured the pale blue of winter, with pink splashes, as if from a watercolour brush.
This made dolphin-spotting really easy. The dorsal fin stood out, black triangle, against the silver stillness of the sea.
I was, of course, extremely excited at spotting the dolphin. I've looked it up on the t'internet, and discovered there's been a pod of them seen in Scarborough, with people out on boat trips, telling how the dolphins came around the boats, and got very close to them. A few people were quoted as saying they've not seen dolphins off Scarborough for 'donkey's years', or even in their lifetimes.
I feel so very lucky to have been there at the right time to have seen one. A right good start to the year!
Scarborough's working port, and marina. A tangle of floats and nets. Fantastic textures and textiles!
And at the end of the day, the boats light up in the bay. Including xmas lights! Gave a seasonal touch to our day out. And on 12th night, all these xmas lights will soon be taken down, and put away for next year. Farewell 2012, and welcome 2013.

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