Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Where I work

The road to work

My workshop is the loft space in an old barn. It is surrounded by farmland for miles, and every day I see hares, many wild birds, and sometimes deer and foxes - as well as domestic animals such as horses and cattle. I enjoy the isolation and peace of this place, and watching the cultivation of the land as each season passes.

View from the workshop barn

My neighbour in the barn is a a yurt maker, and he uses completely traditional methods of construction.

A yurt frame constructed indoors

Saturday, 24 October 2009

My first blog

This is my first blog. I have for many years worked as a craftsperson
in textiles, trading successfully on a small scale, and employing
two or three people. I paint with dye directly onto cloth such as silk,
velvet and wool. The fabric is made into ties, scarves and clothing.

The way I was
Dye on silk 1993

I was keen to develop my work to a higher level, as I saw it, and in 1997 I returned to full-time study, while retaining my business, to take an Honours degree in painting. I completed this in 2001 and my Masters in contemporary art theory in 2004.

I am now more knowledgeable about twentieth century art. I realise that the elusive quality I felt that I lacked was the ability to connect ideas and practice. It has taken me some time to understand this, because I have always worked in a very visceral and spontaneous way, in contradiction to conscious or rational thought.

Textiles also carry a strong message of sensuality, intimacy and use. In order to work more with ideas I prefer to use print, drawing or paint on paper or other support. These media for me have a stronger link to the mind, are more neutral and can be used with greater precision. I hope that writing this blog will help me to clarify what kind of artist I am, and to move forward.

Lithograph 2009

Today I was at the print workshop. I am working on a series of lithographs about imaginary deserted and derelict buildings.

I was excited to see the beautiful calendar the print workshop has produced for 2010. The quality of work is stunning.

I also visited the Scottish Gallery, and saw an impressive exhibition of watercolours and monoprints on paper.

22nd October, 2009
Work in progress - dye on wool

I spent time in my studio working on wallhangings for a forthcoming exhibition. I want to relate the pieces to what I am doing in the printmaking, but in brighter colours!

23rd October, 2009

I made a small watercolour with a broad brush in a new and freer style. I am interested in the colours rather than feeling the need to reproduce too closely what I see. It is only recently that I can find the same freedom with paint as I have always experienced with the medium of dye.

Watercolour - view from studio window