Monday, 24 September 2012

New blog and a great workshop

Well, it all seems to be working, so here I am in a new and hopefully easier place for blogging. I shall keep the blog on my website for a while, whilst I get used to this, and I do hope you will keep visiting the site anyway, to check on Work in Progress and new worksI also  hope to be putting some of my first pieces of work up for sale in the very near future, and they too will be on the website, in the online shop so please do visit. Most of you will know I have been flat out the last few months getting work ready for exhibitions. I shall be delivering 25 quilts to Vicky, at Grosvenor Shows in a couple of weeks, and then I shall finally have some time to update the website and get back to blogging more regularly too. So just a little bit more forbearance and we should be back to normal.

I did find time though, to teach a workshop at the Nottingham Area day this weekend. My students worked incredibly hard and produced some lovely pieces.  We were working on making a silhouette picture on top of an abstract background, and they started by choosing a combination of jug/pot and flowers from the three pieces I had prepared - : tulips, daisies or daffs:

We then looked  images from magazines, books, catalogues or my photos and the girls picked a few each that appealed to them. We kept to images that reflected our subject in some way, so interiors, furniture, gardens, flowers, home wares etc. Students then used their chosen pictures and looking for shapes and line, produced quick abstractions of them. We looked for large shapes and lines and drew those in and then added detail as required - but still greatly simplified. So a room shot might be reduced to rectangles for sofa, cupboards, and pictures, some diagonals in chairs or stairs, maybe some angles and lines from lamps, shelves book cases, and [perhaps some circular mirrors, furniture, bowls etc (although probably not all of those at once!!) After making several quick thumbnails, participants could begin to identify certain constants that attracted/repelled them in the images chosen, and had several possible designs to work with. Each chose one, and used the sketch as a guideline for laying out their collage. The image I worked from is below, together with my rough (you can see it is greatly simplified) sketch and the collage I then made as a sample

I was so impressed with how quickly the girls picked up this idea - and we quickly moved from trying to draw what they were actually looking at into drawing shapes and spaces. Several students commented that their fear of being asked to cover a blank canvas (or a bit of felt in this case) disappeared as they focused on shapes and what they found pleasing in their designs.This is a great way to start yourself off with a collage, and of course you can change and alter things as you please at any point in the process, as you are the artist ... what wonderful freedom . I do tend to find that because the original images relate in someway to the subject, that the whole pieces always seem to work well together. Certainly all of these did! ...  they all have a feel of domesticity to them I think, despite the very varied starting points and choice of materials. (I don't yet know how to put images into grids and boxes, so I'm afraid you have all 12 in a long line! - must ask that clever Annabel)

We did not get time to apply the black silhouettes in fabric, so most of the above images have the paper cut outs we used for design still on them. They are made from a mixture of fabrics and papers and will be sealed with medium when the silhouettes have been added and all stitching done. The samples were framed in black deep frames and are all ready to hang. I was massively impressed by the work done, as it is a big leap for a lot of quilters to be asked to work abstractly and very spontaneously. But they all made the leap and I do hope will all finish these pieces ... everyone of them deserves to be proudly displayed as a piece of original art. Well done girls! Hilary x
PS - I love it - I now have a spell checker, but it doesn't recognise the word 'blog'!!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

New place, new blog

Just set up this blog and as ever, I don't honestly know what I am doing ... just banging buttons and hoping for the best (good job I'm not President of America). So this is a little check to see all is working ... there are likely to be many changes on here in the next few weeks as I work it all out! - Hilary x