Saturday, 18 July 2020

SAME SEA, DIFFERENT BOAT: PROGRESS

The deadline has been and gone for getting collagraph printed/stitched squares back to me. But for those of you who have one ready, but due to one thing or another have not posted it yet, we are leaving room in the quilt for squares coming in their own time.
I thought I would let you see how Louise, Liske and I will be putting the quilt together.
We have had over 300 gorgeous art works sent, so a great big thank you for joining in.
I start work with a coffee, crucial in my opinion.
The squares then need to be trimmed and
finger pressed into a square.
I use this right angle drawn onto stiffening to help with folding, then tack the fabric in place.
We are using this inky dark blue as the quilt backing. Each panel will have 80 pieces and the grid is made up of 11.5cm squares
The fun bit is definitely laying out the little works of art.
I am thrilled with how this diverse collection of images and techniques are working so well together.
I then tack each square on firmly ready to machine hem onto the backing.
With everything tacked on, this is what a 80 square panel will look like and we have another 3 of these.
This quilt really tells the story of individual experiences in this shared situation, all so different, many very emotional. I have been moved by the accompanying messages. Thank you also for the encouragement and good wishes.
I will be documenting my progress on this project on my Instagram feed, you can also follow the #sameseadifferentboat where other posts about the quilt will pop up.

A big thank you to Catherine Kingzett for her technical know how and moral support while constructing this massive and exciting project.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

TAKING STOCK

We all know how weird its been. Time has passed at a very strange pace and we all think that we haven't done that much in the last 3 months. 
So now is a good time to take stock and look at exactly what we have all been up to. 
I don't mean a tidy up or a sort out. I am also not counting cake making, new recipes and the shampooing of my lounge rug and the cleaning behind my fridge in this audit.
I have laid out the last month and a halves worth of stuff made, experiments tried and half completed ideas.
Lets kick off with the brilliant project started off by Catherine Kingzett at the beginning of lock down. The Alphabet I-Spy. The task of recording things seen on that regular walk or in the garden in alphabetical order. I loved doing that, I do have X, Y and Z to do, but it was a motivational little project that kept me going. I dipped into an emotional response here and there, particularly my V for virus, but otherwise I have seen everything I have put in my samples. I will be making a small book which will become a Lock Down Artifact.
I have added to my Eco printed crow book and used the drawings for collagraph plates. 
I have also experimented with printing these collagraphs onto fabric...there has been a great deal of that lately!!
You may remember one of my first prompts was to have a go at Eco Printing, this left me with lots of lovely papers and fabrics. I have been using the paper to print collagraphs and
etchings. Keep an eye out for this in workshop form next year. I think you could try this at the yard:ARTspace
I dipped into other peoples workshops and tutorials, finding a free workshop call Sketch Book Revival. This was very early on in lock down.
I was thrilled with the junk journal I made and have been
drawing my garden in it...I have more plans for it later on.
At a very loose end one Sunday I gathered my fabric samples together, eco prints, gum arabic transfers on fabric, collaged panels, collagraphs and cyanotypes on fabric and...well...just made a skirt. I love wearing it, it makes me feel very arty!
In between all this experimenting I have still been moved to make collagraphs and have been expanding on my birds with haberdashery series. This has not been a time for me to go off on a completely new way of working. I have had to stay with the familiar and comforting.
And now there is the Same Sea, Different Boat project where I have printed over 200 collagraphs and together with Louise Asher and Liske Johnson and a few other willing bodies will be creating a Lock Down Quilt describing the experience we have all been through.
That's what this experience has made me do!!

When I woke up this morning I was feeling lack luster, that feeling that over the past 3 months I had not achieved very much. This time of lock down was not meant to be about achieving, it was not the time to take on new skills, spring clean or read War and Peace. We do those things when we feel happy and secure.
So I have looked at the things I have done here, not what I could have, should have done.
Looking back at what I have explored and what I am about to take on, also looking forward to starting classes again in August (I hope)
I think perhaps I am being hard on myself?

Saturday, 20 June 2020

SAME SEA, DIFFERENT BOAT: KEEPS GROWING

Another busy week and I am thrilled to report I have inked and returned for stitching a total of 180 collagraph prints and still they keep coming, Louise, Liske and I are absolutely amazed by your response to this project. 
The imagery has covered every personal aspect of your lock down experience.
The exciting thing is that for some of you this has been a first encounter with collagraph printing and you have taken it on with enthusiasm. There literally has not been one plate I have not been able to ink up and print and that's out of  180 so far!!
With great relief you are sending back the stitched prints and these have worked better than I imagined.
The addition of a touch of stitched colour on the Prussian blue prints has worked really well,
taking the images to the next level. I get the feeling from some of the comments that this may be a thing you could explore in further work?
Everyone has made beautiful work, but there are a few names I recognise joining in with this massive community project. The printmaker Tor Hildyard sent me Hugs ready printed and stitched.
Mrs Bertimus had a go at a collagraph and has returned it beautifully stitched,
and right at the beginning of the project Cas Holmes led the stitched pieces with this contribution.
The deadline for the printed/stitched squares was extended and has now been and gone.
But you can still be part of this social document about our lock down experience.
You have until July 10 to send a stitched square.
It must be an image size of 10 x 10cms on a 15 x 15cm square of natural fabric so that it will fit in with the printed stitched pieces.
Send you contribution to me:
Upper Bath Street,
Cheltenham, GL50 2BA
All textiles including the printed/stitched squares must be with me by the 10 July!

Although this project is not in any way about profit, to help towards material costs we have set up a Just Giving page to enable (if you wish) to make a small donation i.e £3, this is by no means compulsory to take part in the project:
Thank you for your generous donations so far, this will enable us to exhibit the finished quilt in various venues.
Louise, Liske and I will be constructing the quilt and we are beginning to look at exhibition venues to show what will be an amazing snapshot of the last few months. 
The work is really only just beginning!



Saturday, 13 June 2020

CREATIVE PROMPT: SAME SEA, DIFFERENT BOAT: ITS OFFICIAL WE HAVE A PROJECT!

Two weeks ago I suggested a project to Louise Asher and Liske Johnson...lets get everyone to make a collagraph print to stitch into or an embroidered square and make a quilt to describe what its been like in lock down? Perhaps a few of the people that come to our workshops might join in and send us something? Maybe I will get 30 collagraphs to print, perhaps 50 embroidered squares might roll in? Louise and Liske said, well I don't think our stitchers will tackle a print, I thought my print makers wouldn't tackle a stitched piece. 
How wrong could we have been?
In the last 2 weeks I have printed  over 130, 10x10cm collagraphs onto fabric and they are still coming in the post. 
I have had beautiful notes with the plates. You have worried about will your plate print, it's the first time I have made one of these? Stories explaining the imagery and a big thank you to the nice things you have said about the project.
I have noticed that this technique has suited every ones style, I literally have not had a plate that would not print. From complex imagery,
to humorous and bold visual statements, everything has printed successfully.
It has been a joy to see your stories emerge from the ink as I wipe each plate clean.
But the printing is only half the story. I am relieved that the prints I am returning are arriving to their originators and I am getting them back stitched into. I am thrilled with how beautiful these look with a touch of stitched colour!
There is one week left to get your collagraph plates to me. The deadline has been extended to 19 June because the project has had such a terrific response and we do not want to exclude anyone. 
If I get your plate by then or soon after I will print it and return it to you to stitch onto.
Details for the project are here
This however is not the end of the story. 
My postman is a little perplexed by my sudden increase in post over the last fortnight. For those of you who wanted to express yourselves in just stitch I am thrilled to be receiving
these gorgeous embroideries. 
As varied in techniques and materials as the collagraphs, all these personal stories will create the most beautiful quilt and a social document about the extraordinary time  we are living in.
Its not too late to join in!
Get your collagraph plate to me by 19 June, with a SAE so that I can return the print to you to stitch.
Please get your finished embroidered collagraph print and any just stitched square to me by 10 July.
This deadline is open ended for overseas contributions.
Details about how to get involved are HERE

A massive thank you to all who have taken part so far, its been a privilege to print your work and it will be amazing to see everything joined together. Thank you also for donating to the project, this will enable us to put the piece together beautifully and be able to afford any exhibition costs that may arise. 
Thank you to Louise and Liske for running with this idea, I think its popularity has taken us all by surprise.