Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New beginnings

I thought for a long time, before I finished the Diploma, what I would do with this blog when I finished and now I have decided.

I shall keep it going as a record of my post Diploma work as I think it will be very useful to see how I develop my work on my own without the structure of a course. Hopefully this might be of use to other people, as I think it's a fairly common feeling when you finish something as long as a 3 year course to feel a little bit adrift.

I've decided to continue to develop the work I did on my last assessment piece as this gave me great pleasure and feels like a direction that I would like to follow in my own way, with the experience that Sian has so admirably helped me develop.

My theme will still be the seaside as this is something very close to my heart and the accent will be on Elizabethan embroidery, as this is also something I've found very satisfying and enjoyable.

My long term aim is to build a body of work that has a cohesive feel and is solidly grounded in the above themes so that it has the integrity that my last piece feels as if it has. Ultimately I would like to use this collection to stage a solo exhibition, something that's been a long standing ambition.

So here are the first images of sketchbook and embroidery work so far.

My first stop was to go back to my Elizabethan embroidery research on Punto in Aria lace and sketch out some more designs, as I felt that I was lacking in stitch vocabulary on the last piece and I want to improve on that. The beautiful Elizabethan style cuffs that I sketched in the top corner can be seen here

My next page was a look at the wave patterns I'd photographed on a very windy day in Southwold  Suffolk.

I put the sketch through an App grunge filter, to see if I could get more definition from the waves, which you can see in the LH corner, but here's a better view.

These type of Apps are readily available form the Apple store but I haven't tried them on my PC yet, just on the iPad.

The next sketchbook page shows more manipulation of seaside images as I looked for rhythm lines and shapes, you can also see the original photo of Southwold pier in the bottom centre.

I moved on then to a place called Etratat in Northern France where you can see the most amazing waves making lace froth.

I'm beginning to look at a possible colour pallet in these wonderful shapes I saw from the cliff top.

Next I moved on to the amazing fountains at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, which we visited several years ago, not strictly the beach, but a wonderful source of moving water.

Having got some visual research started I was keen to make a base that I could try some hand embroidery work on. In the process of making my assessment piece I had wanted to use a paper that had a swirl pattern on it but didn't want to deviate from my chosen papers as I thought it might not work, so now was my chance.

This piece also has a piece of very fine paper that has gold and silver pieces embedded into it, so the look is quite different to the previous panels.

I worked this panel in a much looser fashion than before, with just a few guide lines in pencil and the rest was freehand, just concentrating on the rhythm studies that I'd done in my sketchbook. The backing  of water soluble medium is still in place, as I will work the hand embroidery next, but so far I'm quite pleased with the sense of rhythm and movement there is in it. I think it might end up being too busy with the swirls in the paper and the silver and gold accent, but time will tell.  


  1. It has been fascinating to see and read about your research and exploration of linking lace to the movement of water. Your sketches are wonderful and the results are stunning. I hope you enjoy your journey of discovery and fulfil your ambition of a solo exhibition.
    I couldn't work at all for a whole year after 4 years of C&G study and found that very alarming at the time.

  2. Good to hear that you are continuing your research. You have lovely shapes forming from this. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to see how you develop it.

  3. oh that first image made me go all funny!!! it is amazing. I am so happy you are keeping this going....As for feeling lost after finishing a course. That happened to me after my Degree and I went straight to teacher training....big mistake...too much too soon

  4. It looks as if you have a good basis for a new body of work.I shall be interested to see where lit takes you.Good luck!

  5. Good to see you continuing with the work and finding it fulfilling, loving the themes and accents.

  6. I'm so happy that you're going to keep your blog alive, in these years your works and artistic energy have been a joy and an inspiration to me. Good luck with your new projects and wanderings, I'm sure you're going to enjoy this new adventure terribly.

  7. I love your new ideas and am quite excited to see what you'll come up with. What an exciting idea to work towards an exhibition. I'll look at your more recent posts a bit later, but for now I just wanted to tell you I've been to Etretat too, and I took this photo, which I manipulated in Photoshop just by increasing the saturation, and this is what I got - in other words the orange and the blue were there, inside those beautiful white rocks. Isn't that amazing?!