Saturday, March 31, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007


We gave ourselves a day off from the house and I started weaving this today. The collage had to be pretty much destroyed first - spray painted to give me some guide lines for the semi circles, but that doesn't matter, it's a means to an end not the end itself. I'm breathing a big sigh of relief as I was starting to get just a touch wound up at not being able to make any progress..!

I have made pieces with several components before but never so many (64). It may not work but it feels exciting to be moving things along a bit. One of the things I enjoyed when I had a gallery was getting to know people's work very well and recognising the subtle shifts and developments in each new group of work they sent me. One of the things that annoyed me was that there was (is) so much emphasis on work which is considered to be cutting edge/challenging/pushing boundaries and not enough on the many highly skilled makers who are quietly refining their craft. An artist who's work I admire greatly is Breon O'Casey. In a recent article he says"Sir William Nicholson and Mondrian were born in the same year. Mondrian's work was avant garde but Nicholson was an equally good painter. Good work goes on behind the cutting edge"

I keep adding new links to the Artists list - recently added are Kate Blee, Dawn Dupree, Yuko Takada Heller and Mitsuo Toyazaki - all well worth a look.

Friday, March 23, 2007

brighton craft fair

The Brighton Craft Fair people are getting their website together. See some of this years exhibitors here .

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Louis le Brocquy

I was delighted to find a picture of le Brocquy's "Triumph of Cuchulainn" tapestry here. It is a stunning work, 14 (yes 14!) metres high which hangs in the entrance of the National Gallery of Ireland's new wing. I go and visit it whenever I'm in Dublin. For a weaver it is technically awe inspiring - perfect tension in such a large tapestry is no mean feat. The colour glows and there is that combination of order and irregularity which I love so much. It was woven by the Atelier René Duché in Aubusson not that far from where I now live.
If you ever make it to the gallery, don't leave without seeing this painting - the jewel in the national collection.

Monday, March 19, 2007

disappointing day

I was so pleased with this photo taken the other morning in bright, bright sunshine. It is my son's collection of pencil leads. He collects them from the waste paper basket in his classroom and brings them home to add to the bowl. Makes me wonder whether an obsession with colour (and treasure) is genetic! As I write it is no longer bright, in fact it is snowing hard.... last week we ate lunch outside in 20°. That's March for you I guess.

We ran out of paint today (being Monday the shops are closed) so I started a little 4 inch square tapestry. Spending so much time at the top of ladders recently I've had time to think about the things I want to make and the kind of surface I want to achieve. So I set off eagerly this morning and ...failed utterly. I haven't decided yet whether to bin it or plug on. Often, I lose confidence in what I'm making until I see it in a frame. They seem like such insignificant little scraps of cloth and then you frame them and they suddenly come to life. I have serious doubts about this one though.

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself by the end of the afternoon when I read this article about Andy Goldsworthy. Talking about working nearly everyday in the woods and fields around his home he says "I make an awful lot of crap but I have to be out there trying things". Not such bad company to be in I guess.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I have a bit of a thing for doors and door furniture so I'm certainly living in the right place. Not all but most of these photos were taken in my nearest middle sized town, Villefranche de Rouergue on a sunny day in February. I'm also rather keen on house numbers but I'll save those for another day! Actually I'm trying out pictobrowser which if it works will be fun indeed!

Textiles wise why don't you look at Nicola Henley and Alice Kettle's lovely sites.

Monday, March 12, 2007

jo barker

I can't get blogger to upload any photos today.....hmmmm?

Sue Lawty has posted about Jo Barker over at her fascinating blog concealed, discovered, revealed. The V&A has just bought Jo's recent tapestry, Dappled Circle - scarlet, for their collection. Sue has posted some lovely photos of Jo, her studio, sketchbooks and the work in progress.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


The sun is shining and Selvedge came in the post this morning! Selvedge covers the subject of textiles in it's widest possible interpretation. It is interesting, informative and beautifully produced. And... it's square! I have two copies of issue 9 (feb O6) for some reason and would be happy to send one to whoever would like it. Just email me your address - first come, first served. (edit - Ana is the lucky winner!)

Thursday, March 8, 2007


This is why I have been making samples. I'm not quite there yet, those white semicircles are just for shape, I don't know what colour they'll end up being - possibly prussian blue...The squares are sitting at different heights, can you see that in the photo? (I have a tiny digitial camera and it's very hard to avoid shaky hands). I want to make a piece where the weave is flat but the piece isn't.

I rarely use texture in my work - here's the only non-flat piece I made last year. It's called Off Kilter. Colour is what really excites me. I am going to make this new piece at a wider set than usual - 10 ends per inch (epi) rather than my usual 16. Apart from wanting a slightly looser texture, more light will hit the threads. I want it to be as rich, colourwise as possible.

Repetition has been an ongoing part of my work recently, repeated shapes: circles, stripes, blocks of colour. Each the same but slightly different. Reading about Marijke Arp in Art Textiles of the World - The Netherlands I was struck by her statement "One poppy is beautiful, but a field of scarlet poppies is fascinating. One person shouting with joy attracts attention, but an exultant crowd makes a deep impression"

Saturday, March 3, 2007

rds craft competition 2007

I am still collage making but now have an acute shortage of magazines/paper. I'm going to stay with friends tonight so hope they haven't been to the recycling bins recently!
I'm working on my entry for the rds 2007 crafts competition. This competion is open to any craftsperson living in Ireland or any Irish craftsperson no matter where they live. The application deadline is May 21st. See more about it here.
This is part of 'Fade', the tapestry I exhibited last year.