Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wishing you a Very Happy and Creative New Year!

A note to all students at this point, that I will be away on family business from this weekend 9/10th  to the 20th of January. Apologies for this, but you can mail any assignments as usual to my home address (there will be someone there) and I will deal with them on my return.

Whatever you plans are for 2011, I hope they include lots of creative work that you really enjoy. Maybe this is the year to try a new practical skill or keeping a new sketchbook? I would suggest being as concrete as possible, i.e.experimenting with fabric through the printer, rather than "trying new techniques". Then think about what supplies you might need and research the subject as fully as possible before beginning - via the Internet and any helpful books. I have signed a pledge not to buy any clothes this year, instead at the end of 2011 I will make a large donation to a breast cancer charity.

This is a book that I found in the second hand shop at Fellbrig Hall for £2.00, it's called Modern Needlework in 600 pictures, but as you see it was probably modern in the 1930s judging by the illustrations inside. Some of the dressmaking techniques described inside are wonderfully complex by todays standards and I would like to have a go at adapting some of them into creative/conceptual work in the future, as they are beautiful in their own right.

This page comes from the section on choosing what sort of dressmaking pattern to buy for your figure. There  is a figure type described as "stout", not a word we would use much today, unless describing Guinness perhaps? Owing to my pledge, I may be using the following section before long - how to mend. This covers everything including knickers, which I may need before the end of the year!

Soon the light will be changing and the tips of bulbs with their promise of new beginnings will begin to peek through the earth. In the meantime its pretty grey outside still, but can be equally beautiful if you look for it in the right places. Here are some photos taken recently in Norfolk, I was amazed by the beautiful patterns in the ice, the reflections of bare branches on the frozen water surface and he swirling effects of mist on trees in the distance.

 What struck me when I took this photo was how the debris- logs and twigs - sit on the ice like stitches might sit on the surface of a piece of white fabric. You can imagine how the other side of the "stitches" might sit under the frozen ice.

This is a cropped picture of a tree reflected in the surface of the frozen lake at Fellbrig Hall, Norfolk. Apart from the actual tree branches which are shown reflected on the ice, look at that wonderful crackled effect in the ice, all twisted white lines, which remind me of shibori dying patterns. To all OCA students, we come to some shibori dyeing in Textiles 2, so any images you collect now of things like this, will be useful when the time comes.

What I particularly like about this image is the way you see the branches as dark lines of "thread" twisting and unfurling against the ice. In effect, they must look like this all winter long, but the ice beneath has thrown more emphasis onto those lines as they stand out, dark against light so clearly.

This is one of my favourite images because of all the "cross lines" and interweaving layers of line and texture. Wonderful reflections in the ice of the branches hanging above, then debris on the ice surface add another element, the knots of "thread" in the branches and that solid, heavier mass of dark (a little island of a tree root) on the left hand side. Why not have a look around and see what effects are out there at the moment around where you live?

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