Living by and working with ideas around water

During my life I have lived by water. I am fascinated by how the light plays on the surface, the movement and the patterns that are created.

I grew up near the Thames at Wallingford and as a child we used to visit Abingdon where I ended up living for 25 yrs. During uni a I was in London and up in the North East at Newcastle upon Tyne. I suppose living on a small island you are never very far away from water…

Now in Edinburgh there is the water of Leith that winds its way through the city. I travel over the the Forth of Firth regularly for work and visit the North Sea at North Berwick.

Recently in Bristol I was interested to see that architects had incorporated elements of water into a foot bridge in the quay area and some railings on Temple St.

My latest ripping/ hand sewing into a mandala/ blue abstract on paper is reminding me of water this morning

I wrote into it today about mandalas, their cultural significance, how to draw them and their meditative values with Hindu and Buddhism.

I started weaving in some text from yesterday’s writing about art making

And watery concepts popped into my head. I have been making lots of layers using digital imagery this month so I needed to attack this in the Image Blender app

I attached the piece to another mandala which peeps through the gaps – I’m not sure about the text and patterned strips they might come out.

more Image Blender stripes

Sewing paper mandalas

I have always sewn things. I can remember living with my biological Dad before my parents divorced. I used to go and knock on my parents bedroom door and ask for a needle to be threaded before they were up. My parents divorced when I was 5yrs old. About that time my mum made me my own sewing basket. It’s only recently I can’t find my felt pin cushion that she made.

So I have always liked sewing. Sometimes I forget. Making tea bag quilts reminded me. I am saving tea bags to make a bigger quilt and my hands get bored of drawing mandalas so I decided to sew through one on paper.

I worked on the back- the stitches didn’t photograph well – so I dipped the paper in a tea vat that was lying around

Sitting in front of the TV I sewed some more – this time I crumpled up the paper until it felt more like fabric – it was easier to sew circles at the at the beginning in the middle of the paper.

After sewing on the teabags these seemed a bit dull – I enjoyed the sewing but the end product wasn’t doing anything for me.

I decided to see what would happen if I tore it.

The thread did fab things and the paper was so soft …..

I decided to play with the other piece too – I had sewn the second mandala with black thread.

I like the way the ripping and the thread disrupt the drawn lines of the mandala and the way you can see through it.

I attached the blue piece to another mandala. I went to bed thinking about the words I could weave through it.

This is what I wrote this morning. I was thinking it would be more poetic about being stuck drawing mandalas ( lol)

‘Sitting still art making my back seizes up drawing mandalas my safety net protecting my stomach from stress watching the tv Round and round in ever increasing circles trapped in the patterns sewing and drawing until my hands ache trapped in my endeavour my art evolves through making experimenting – what happens if I do this how does that material react if I do this which ink is water soluble try fountain pens they are better for the environment what happens if I crush that paper, sew with black rather white stamp that paint through a new stencil

sew that tea bag on to this fabric carve that stamp change that pattern dip that paper use that floor wipe that colour run panel use that as a substrate collect that bumpf stitch that teabag read that book go to that conference hear that seminar write some words drink that cider think about that concept’

Has

I’ve got a thing about derricks

Wandering around Bristol wharf today I realised I have a thing about derricks.

I like the size, the fact that they move, the solid tapered shape

The mechanical nature- that we made them? It’s making me smile – how can I have a thing about a wharf side crane?

I like their reflections, that you can walk around them – underneath them – though the view isn’t much when you look up at the wooden cab. I was hoping to get a look up through the arm…….

I like them from all angles.

May be it’s because I like the knowledge that they refer to a time past for Bristol? They remind me of the Firth of Forth Bridge which I love travelling through on the train – that’s Victorian engineering (1882)

Derelict derricks – these were built in 1951 and still work. There is an older one somewhere that has been restored. It was built in 1878. I will have to back and have a look.

There’s something that reminds me of the Star Wars ‘All Terrain Armored Transport’ as if they are left behind by some science fiction film ………. still smiling

I also like the size of the various metal knobs that are on the quayside near their bases and the metal tracks

The tips of my toes left in for scale ….. yup still amused at my self that I am writing a blog post about derricks 😊

I’ve also got a thing about manhole covers, bridges, stairwells and scaffolding ……….

Bristol by Billboard – Zoe Gibbons

I like :

old bill board posters peeling, printed digitised images

Layers and stitching

So going to see Zoe Gibbons work (at the Bristol Framing Factory and Art Warehouse on Wapping Wharf in Bristol) was interesting today. I saw the flyer at the tourist information office and thought ooooo.

The images are made up of lots of different old bill board posters so you see the digitised image patterns within the designs

The work is freehand machine stitched sometimes with plain fabric and she uses black cotton for small details. Zoe has an has a eye for perspective and picked images and landmarks from around Bristol.

‘but not used the most obvious view points’ – (according to the lady at the wharf side gallery) . It made me think about doing something similar using hand stitching, and my tea bags for buildings around Edinburgh.

My favourite piece was

I love the circle ( no? You don’t believe me?)

The exhibition is on from 20th July to 31August 2018. You can see more of Zoe’s work on her Instagram page zoegibbonsstudio and she has an Etsy shop and website

https://zoegibbons.com/ the pictures are from Zoe’s Instagram account

The exhibition is well worth a visit

‘Home sweet home’ teabag quilt

I have been enjoying hand sewing very much recently, so I decided to make another tea bag quilt. A few people have asked how I made my first one so I thought I would do a step by step. My friend Fran Halperin and I have been experimenting with joining techniques. Fran has been using her sewing machine.

On the left zigzag stitch, on the right she has straight line stitched along the edge of the teabag and then jumped over the gaps.

On the left I used blanket stitch on the right for my new quilt – I back stitched the tea bag onto material. NB try and use something with very little ‘give’ – I used an old linen nappy and it’s very difficult to sew neatly on top of.

I decided to make my ‘ Home sweet home’ quilt have a more quilt like feel- the last one was a bit abstract. I printed some tea bags blue/ purple and others pale blue/ white. With my doors and window hand carved stamps .

The tea bags were a bit higgledy piggildy on the linen so I decided to add some strips of kitchen towel ( dyed with tea during the drying of teabags process) with writing on between the rows and buttons at corners. This stitching held on the back piece which is a white tea towel

I am edging the quilt with a sheet of used colour run paper/ fabric that goes in the washing machine. It needed 3 rows of running stitch to keep it flat. I used white sewing cotton throughout. I think I will print over this again when it’s stitched all around

Nearly finished. It needs a few more buttons and I haven’t stitched the edging all the way round but you get the idea.

I wanted this quilt to be a bit more obvious that it was teabags. I haven’t used any glue on the joints so that it feels much more like fabric

I think I need to do a bigger one ……

ICAD 2018

I am really enjoying making digital images for this years icad challenge. I don’t get the same art buzz working digitally in comparison to working in a messy paint way but it’s still fun.

I tend to start off with an image that’s on my camera roll or a found image. Then I just play with it in Freemix / imageblender/ my iPhone editing app until I am happy with the result

Today was Portrait

So I used a selfie from a few weeks ago. I can’t remember what I was pulling that face for.

I knew there had to be a mandala as a layer

Then I went straight into Image Blender

I particularly liked this image –

but the pattern felt too strong on my face so I edited it in my iPhone editor

I decided to crop the image for the final choice

Amsterdam mini break

Saturday

My daughter has moved to Amsterdam to work. She and her boyfriend have rented a flat on Haarlemmerdijk which is near the centre of the city. The road is in a busy neighbourhood with lots of independent shops and interesting architecture.

With a bit of anxiety I agreed to have a go at riding a bike around the city. It’s great fun but a bit scary. I wasn’t brave enough to try pedal brakes. The Dutch have different rules than the ones that I am used to and drive on the right. This morning from the flat window I saw someone riding a bike – holding a bunch of flowers, a coffee in one hand and a couple of bags in the other.

For my birthday I was treated to a posh boat trip around the canals (cushions and cocktails) we arrived at the dock a bit early so we went for coffee at #IvyBros- I can really recommend the hot chocolate and Jon reckoned that the coffee was a 9/10.

The coffee shop looked a bit like a game lodge with lots of skulls and interesting decor. ( loo was spotless)

The boat trip was fab- it was hot and sunny and we lolled around on cushions drinking gin and tonic as we ducked under bridges and listened to interesting commentary. The trip was run by #friendshipamsterdam

I learnt about ‘dancing houses’ that were built along the banks of the canals. They have wooden stakes as foundations. The stakes mean that the houses move. Some present at quite alarming angles.

The boat trip and the coffee shop are in the redlight district. I found the girls in the windows and doorways disturbing. There is the oldest church in Amsterdam, a kindergarten and ladies standing in windows right next to each other.

Sunday

We went for a cycle around Westerpark. There is lots of different playparks, ponds and paddling pools. We stopped at De Baakers Winkle for coffee.

The menu illustrations were fab

The buildings in the park are all very similar designed in redbrick with lots of patterns

Winkles is light and airy over three floors. We sat outside in a lovely covered garden area.

Before lunch we rode back to Haarlemmerdijk and wandered around the street window shopping. ‘Lost in Amsterdam’ recommends the area for shopping ( http://www.lostin.com)

I particularly like all the roof details and a tiny old cinema called ‘the movies’

We also wandered around Haarlemmerplein where someone had parked wooden bikes

Inside a bedding shop I found some interesting paper mache shapes illustrated with Indian line drawings

Door detail from the square

Monday

Last day today and I got to wander up and down Haarlemmerdijk. So here are some more detailed pics. There is a noticeable amount of wisteria growing up and around buildings. I would like to come back when it’s in flower

I have noticed lots of stained glass and art nouveau tiles when I was cycling around over the weekend. I managed to find a few tiles and a mosaic.

The old wooden doors are fab too

I also noticed quite a lot of different metal work on doors ( I have exceeded the data allowance for this post ….)

In-between the blocks of houses on Haarlemmerdijk there are lots of plants and bikes – it makes the city feel very green.

I really enjoyed my trip. Though I have to say the Dutch cycling rules are quite tricky- one is supposed to give way to the right …… Cyclists seem to rule the roads , particularly when there isn’t a pavement – so it’s a bit alarming being a pedestrian as well. I think it’s fab and wish there were more bikes instead of cars everywhere.