Artist & Facilitator

I am a freelance artist based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria in the North West of England. I have worked within the performing and fine arts for 20 years. Initally I worked within the theatre as a performer and on production. Then moving on to a street circus group that performed around the UK. I did my degree BA(hons) Fine Art at Uclan. For fifteen years I have collaborated with local arts organisations, worked on youth community projects and in schools running a variety of creative projects. I am currently a member of North Lonsdale Embroiderers Guild, Blue Tarn, a rural womens artists collective and Trident Textiles, based in Furness. I am always working on a variety of small scale projects including photography, textile and mixed media. Although my favourite thing is meeting and talking to interesting people!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Projects to be Finished and New Ones to Begin!

The Firebird quilts have been returned and they do look better than I remembered!  I had to get my entry and statement in for the next project I am working on.  This quilt is for The Great Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate, this September.  I am entering the themed cateorgry 'Beside The Sea'.  I prefer to do this at the moment so I can really get to grips with the medium and taking part without worrying too much about what to actually do! 

Initially for this I thought I could do a nice art deco poster style scene or a saucy blackpool postcard type but changed my mind for something more current and potent.  The recent Japanese tsunami in March which devasted so many people lives.  Those images of the towns and cities, peoples homes and of course the nuclear power station disaster which flooded our news channels for weeks were very eye opening.

There are a series of famous Japanese 18th century wood block prints of  different views of Mount Fuji.  The sea features in many of them, the most famous being 'The Great Wave'.  I had decided to update this image into a quilt.

The simplicity of the design yet dramatic effect lends itself to fabric and stitch.  I made out the pattern, chose the fabrics and thread that would allow me to make a modern version.  Once I had made the pattern I decided not to follow the original faithfully, in fact I did not look at it.  I wanted the sea to be muddy and allow the viewer glimpses of drowning houses, cars and boats.  Complete devastation and debris.  Make it difficult to tell where sky, land and sea meet.  Instead of Mount Fuji it is now Fukashima the nuclear power station.  I printed onto fabric various old texts and photos showing that some part of history and heritage has been lost.  However, the use of the Japanese flag rising sun symbol shows revitalized life and hope.  I have much more work to do on it.  It is just in its 'about to be embellished' state, before sandwiching it.

I have used applique and reverse applique with heavy machine embroidery.  There is a lot more to do with the crest of the waves, they are heavily wadded and will have a dramatic 3D effect when complete with droplets and debris coming out of the scene. 

At first I was concerned the subject matter may be too recent and morbid but soon dismissed that as I felt it was more worth my while to highlight the disaster then to work on something that did not mean anything to me.

I had applied to be part of Blue Tarn, a rural womens' artist network in Cumbria and after a couple of months I had found I had been accepted and attended my first meeting just recently.  It was great meeting the ladies and getting to find out about what they do, their work and more importantly their wonderful workshops!  So inspiring for me!  There are lots of things in the pipeline most notably a two month exhibition next year at The Beacon in Whitehaven.  So lots of new things to gear up for and even more interesting is the actual networking opportunities now available to me through this group.  So excited!!

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