Beach Inspired – New Work

My regular readers may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while -but I will just comment that about 6 months ago Life, in the form of a fairly sudden onset drastic hip problem, simply got in the way of my creative energies.  These are now coming back as I adjust to my new artificial hip joint.

This time last year I was daily walking and photographing on the nearby beach, sometimes posting the offerings I found there, and other times posting some of the beautiful patterns left by wind and wave action.  There are lots of examples in posts from feb-may, but take for example the post from april 18th, with a beautiful mosaic of photos – Sand Tracks Low Tide   For decades my textile designs have been inspired by landscape textures and patterns.  I notice them, I draw them or I photograph them, and they have several levels of significance for me.

A time of change being a time of opportunity, I am now starting some new work based on my continuing fascination with sand patterns. I have more fabric and more patterns, so there will be more in this series.  Since this particular work is site specific and I plan to keep it in my own collection,  so I am  going to post its progress over the next week or so, so that you can see how my ideas come together within an actual work.  I don’t normally chart progress of my work publicly, but this one is not intended for any jury process that requires any kind of pre-exhibiton secrecy.   (An odd comment possibly, unless you are familiar with this issue that swirls round the Art Quilt world regularly, usually before a new Quilt National event,  but apparently is not common in other sectors of the art world …)

Background:  last year  in the fabric quarter in BA, I found some interesting old cream coloured fabric of unusual width,  a little stained and of strong character.  It was cheap, so I bought it, and has been sitting about in my workroom since.  It’s rather tightly woven, (so that some of the threads I wanted to use embroidering it just shredded, which put me off for a while)  and the selvedges are wobbly.  But recently, perhaps as a flash of reburgeoning creativity since my rehab,  I realised I wanted to use those characteristics, not hide or eliminate them, as I envisaged  a textile work being non-flat, non-straight – ‘rustico’ as they might say here.  After all, a beach undulates and there’s nothing really tidy about the edges.   If beaches have edges.

With a working title 'Beachwork' this view shows how the work will hang, on the wall which is a warm grey-neutral of medium-light colour - too hard to change its colour without making the rest look terrible.

Painting the bathroom totally changed it’s character – from white, the walls are now a warm hard-to-describe-greyish neutral colour that complements some of the little mosaic tiles.   So, a quilt of mine that hung there several years now looked terrible, and the picture that was on another wall looked out of place now, too.  But, I had a print of coastal far N. Qld, given us by one of my sisters, which since framing had been sitting around for a couple of years waiting to be assigned the ‘right’ wall spot- perfect.

Next follow a couple of detail shots, showing the rough finish of the textile, some of the initial stitching by hand and machine, and one of the machined button holes which will simply go over the screws already in the wall.   If I begin to feel that is too ‘tidy’ I may go even further and just cut the buttonholes out.  I  make hanging and display decisions right at the start, as some construction mid course may be required. (irregular shaped works)   This one certainly didn’t need a fabric-bound, tailored button hole or a metal grommet:  it’s really tough fabric and I won’t be moving it about.  So, I’m using the screws left in the wall, since who knows, one day there may be another quilt on a rod there, maybe not. 

Machine and hand stitchery. It will not be ironed on completion.

Torn top and bottom edges, wobbly selvedge sides. The button holes will be the only support for this work - and I may even cut those out and leave just ragged holes - but I will try that look on a sample scrap first !!! It seemed to be too, too 'neat'n'tidy to sew some kind of hanging loop on the back where it couldn't be seen.

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