Friday, 15 September 2017

EXQUISITE HERITAGE - Cathedral Exhibition: 'Just Passing Through...' Bird side

Sculpture: 'Just Passing Through..."
Construction and drawing details of the 'Bird' side
Details of the 'Bird' side of the Wing

It all started with a broken towel holder...

The paper pattern

The internal structure taking shape, I ended up not using the wire

Add some structural 'bones' from a broken willow laundry basket...

It actually hangs! Double sided wing

Glueing on the hand made paper

A drawing stage of the 'bird' side

Exquisite Heritage - Cathedral Exhibition: 'Just Passing Through...' Angel side

Sculpture: 'Just Passing Through...' Angel Wing
Is it life size? Not sure, but it's large enough to fit me! The decision to exhibit in the Peterborough Cathedral  Visitor Centre Gallery was a bit 'spur of the moment' but gave me the chance to look at the tapestries behind the High Altar. I was really pleased to see that one tapestry depicted the Angel rescuing St Peter from prison, from the Book of Acts in the Bible. This was the excuse I needed to finally create my own pair of wings! The Angel depicted has only one wing, the second presumably hidden behind its shining halo, so I have created one wing for this exhibition, plus a heel...The image of an Angel of God passing through a wall to reach St Peter was too great to resist and I'm hoping the illusion works once exhibited! A second wing (and perhaps an elbow) will follow in my next Exquisite Heritage Exhibition in the future, so this is a 'work in progress' although also stands (or hangs) alone.
1st stage drawing with gold enamel paint

2nd stage underpainting in oils

Final stage of the 'Angel' side
of the Wing

EXQUISITE HERITAGE - Cathedral Exhibition: 'On the Wing'

'Fragment' painting: 'On the Wing'
Final painting completed

2nd Stage of painting
This is a smaller 'fragment' painting, with motifs drawn from sketches from the V&A's 'The Fabric of India' exhibition in 2015. A lovely embroidered bed hanging from 1700, embroidered in Gujarat for the European market, caught my eye, and not only inspired me to create a painted response to the vibrant colours and shapes, but also started the train of thought which resulted in another 'work in progress', a set of wings. For this painting I defined my own bird motif but included some of the blue and red motifs found on the hanging.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Small peony

This small peony painting was painted for a friend, but I have decided to post it as I'm quite pleased with the red background I've chosen as I managed to achieve a 'lacquered' look. I will be featuring this style of background for future Oriental inspired works.

Lengha Bodice : painting stage

After a few months to complete the drying stage, when the sections were rock hard, I painted the inner surfaces in acrylic paint to further seal them. Using a rich pallet of my favourite Alarazine Crimson and scarlet, with touches of French Ultramarine, the inside was soon glowing like fire…The eyelet holes had survived the process of plastering and painting and so far seem a good solution to joining the whole thing together. Velvet ribbon will add a contrasting textural element to the final work.
The inner surface painted in acrylic paint and varnished

Initial painting in oil paint with beginnings of
the decorative theme.
 My inspiration for the decorative element of the piece was 17th Century silk velvet Mughal hanging which I saw in the V&A's 'The Fabric of India' exhibition. The colour combination is a vibrant lime green contrasted with crimson and with my addition of lighter pink add gold accents.
The back section
 The textile inspiration for the back section came from a piece of contemporary brocaded Indian textile, bought from the V&A. The 'paisley' shape is a well recognised motif that recurs throughout the centuries, but is more correctly termed a 'buta'  or botcha droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian (i.e. Iranian) origin, or a stylised floral spray and cypress tree, bent over at the top to create the motif we recognise now.
To create further rigidity and a luscious gleam to the outer surface, I resined both sections in two stages. The resin assisted by gravity will rapidly flow down and over the edge of any surface, so it had to be poured, coaxed and manipulated to just cover the surface and not dry in great blobs at the edges. I had several failed attempts at resining curved surfaces before I embarked on this project, so glad to say it worked!
For the final view you will need to come to the exhibition!

side detail of the back section with its resin coat
The original working sketches for the piece, showing details from the
17th century hanging

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Construction of the Lengha Bodice

The original sketch below indicates some of the inspiration for the decorative work and an idea for the structure of the skirt
Inner front section with plaster covering
This project started about 6 months ago, although the idea has been in my head for at least 3 years! Initially I couldn't think of a means to construct the base for the 3-d Indian Lengha style  'dress', but once I hit on the idea of constructing a paper pattern and adhering the hand made paper to it, I could begin. I had tried my hand at pattern cutting and construction when I finished my art degree, and made wedding dresses and garments designed for odd shapes, so this was just another pattern cutting challenge! I decided to create the piece in 4 sections, front and back bodice and front and back skirt. The sections would be laced together by means of ribbon through eyelet holes running along the side and upper and lower edges of the pieces. 
The back section showing the inner surface with the
start of the Modroc strips for strengthening.
The plastic straws were to keep the holes I created for eyelet threading
The basic pattern was constructed in sturdy brown paper, darted and folded to create a 'bodice 'form. The inside was strengthened with Modroc, a plaster infused cotton 'scrim' which is lightweight and a lot less expensive than using resin on both inner and outer surfaces to create the rigidity I was after.

Keeping the front and back together as they dried to ensure they would still fit
once the paper covering and the plaster dried.

The front bodice section with its covering of hand made paper
mainly made from domestic shredded waste paper. It has been moulded
whilst wet.

This took a few weeks of construction. The inner plaster surface was sealed with PVA glue and painted with several coats of white water based paint.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Exquisite Heritage Exhibition 28 January to 12 February 2017

I'm really looking forward to my next exhibition in Stamford Arts Centre, along with friends Liz Hunt and Lynne Collins. This is a culmination of at least 5 years worth of research and work, and is an ongoing area of delight for me!
I will be showing works inspired by heritage textiles from Ham HAll and Oxborough Hall, both National Trust properties plus works inspired by the Va& A collections. I have added Chinese influences lately and works for the future will include Japanese textile inspired works.
A new area of work which really excites me, mainly because I have successfully managed to resin a 3-D object at last, is sculptural dress forms. I will be showing the bodice section in January, of a larger life size piece which I hope to have finished in the next 6 months. Always a long process!
I will be posting photos of the early stages of construction on my blog.