This weekend I discovered the Textile Study Group website and Facebook page. I love textile art and have several books on the subject; the TSG summer school photos were particularly inspiring as they demonstrated a clear link between the textile pieces and the drawing process, in particular (for me) drawing as a way of making. I am wondering how my White Noise line drawings would work with stitch added; so I’m drawing on fabric scraps, ready to stitch into later. Watch this space.


White Noise

The last week of term is finally upon us; I am so tired that I can’t read, I can’t write, and the only drawings I have been able to make are the repetitively soothing line drawings that Yvonne J Foster, artist and writer on Disability Arts Online calls brain landscapes. I like this term. It aptly describes the mental white noise that the drawings both convey and help to alleviate; like the static when the TV aerial is disconnected. 

I have hit the wall. Actually, I hit the wall a couple of weeks ago, and I have been dragging myself around in a complete daze; it’s a small miracle that I and my daughter are still in one piece.

On a more upbeat note, we will be installing the final exhibition of work for this year’s Artist Teacher Scheme at Birmingham City University. The exhibition will be in the first floor corridor of New Art Gallery Walsall from Friday 28th July until the end of September (Private View – Friday 28th July 6-8pm) and will feature work by myself, and fellow students Loiuse Blakeway and Sarah Williams. 

After that I will be relaxing for the long summer holiday with my pile of books, and grant application forms for new projects…

Marking Time

Recording time in little zigzag books… I love the traces of past drawings, and the shadows of previous marks shining through the paper against the light.

A fellow artist suggested a new approach earlier this week; today I have experimented with making marks for a designated period of time. I video recorded it too (if you can bear it) as the repetetive noise of the pencil on the page has become inextricably bound up with the whole thing…

Another Circle Closes

It’s that time of year again… I’m working for the last time in the book I have shared over the year with Ben, before I post it back after Christmas. I’m feeling a sense of achievement as I look back over the pages we have shared, and the visual conversation we have had. I have been lucky enough again to share with two talented practitioners who have made me think, and have challenged my own practice.

My experiences on the Artist Teacher scheme have inevitably found their way into my sketchbooks this year, and vice versa, reminding me how different aspects of my practice all inform each other and are influenced by each other. Having the sketchbooks on the go alongside the ATS enables me to put ideas on the backburner and work on something else, or try things out in a different way, allowing me to explore and experiment in different contexts.

I have sent my sketchbook back to Louise for the final time, and I’m excited to see how she responds to my final additions. I have signed up for another year of the Circle, hopefully one sketchbook partnership and one digital partnership; I am already excited about where the experience will take me next.

This Week’s Project

So here’s what I’m currently working on… I have been sent an emergency blanket from Sketchbook Circle and asked to make a piece of art with it. 

The smooth, shiny, reflective surface initially reminded me of the Dragon Warrior’s scroll in Kung Fu Panda (stay with me here); when Po unrolled it he saw his own face reflected back at him. Eventually he realises that there is no secret ingredient – only yourself and what lies within. 

I have been considering this idea of self-reflection, and the self-reliance suggested by the emergency blanket as an object. I am thinking about distorted and fragmented memories as I alter, cut and crumple it. These are themes, I am realising, that I am exploring on through the Artist Teacher Scheme; themes which I return to again and again.

I am working with textile elements on a long, thin piece of neutral coloured fabric, doing my usual trick of placing things, taking them out, moving things, stitching and then unpicking… ebb and flow, addition and subtraction, assertion and obliteration.

I have no idea where I’m going with this one; it’s very much a work in progress.