Another wire frame and tissue owl. Waterproofed with outdoor varnish.
A simple frame of florist’s wire – galvanised is best – covered with wet strength tissue, using pva, could use starch paste but then not at all waterproof. This owl is hanging in my cherry tree and hopefully deterring cats from my little garden.
Animal Masquerade quilt
Still sorting out work from a year or two ago, this quilt was made in 2018, there was also an artist’s book using similar mask images. The animals are all British Isles native apart from the grey squirrel, although that has been here for quite some time now. I haven’t done much work for the last two months and sorting out old pieces, repairing or completing them feels like a way back in to making some art. These are sketches of some of the mask images, drawn on a tablet, or drawn on paper and scanned and manipulated in Affinity Photo. The bamboo silk fabric was digitally printed and I also screen printed some tiles but the results were messy.
Many people have reported how the early part of the Covid crisis was a period of stimulus and creativity, I felt that but in the second UK lockdown I felt quite depressed, especially with our government incompetence and found work difficult. I did start work on a fairly large piece – another art quilt – but progress was slow and I have put it aside for a while.
The next and final step is to make a border, this will need to be a dark material and quite wide I think. The quilt was to be a practical piece for a child’s bed but didn’t get finished and so wasn’t used that way. I try to use organic fabrics, usually from the Organic Fabric Co. in Wales but this isn’t always possible; I like bamboo because it is grown without herbicides or pesticides and is really versatile, takes dye and print beautifully and is widely available. The quilting (wadding) is also bamboo.
Here are some details.
I am having a clear up and out, and I came across these small pieces from a few years back when I was pursuing an MA in Multidisciplinary Printmaking at Bower Ashton in Bristol. I made them with the Fukushima fiasco in mind, knowing that would be a topical issue all my remaining life and beyond. Fukushima is in the news again as the authorities want to release a million tons of radioactive water into the sea, Uproar Over Japan’s Decision to Disperse Radioactive Fukushima Waste Water and the situation at the site remains dire. I made about ten, gave some away.
I’m thinking of re-framing them perhaps as a single piece, but undecided about the type of frame, a black painted board? These scanned images are fuzzy, the originals have a lot more detail.
Afghan Boy print
This little fabric print was made with a simple stencil, I made lots but didn’t use them. Came across it this morning and thought I would add a border. The impression of a face was entirely accidental.
I don’t make many art pieces but I was sorting through my fabric and came across this forgotten piece of work that I had put aside for some reason, possibly a left-over from a double-sided cape of some years back. It was patchwork blues, slightly embellished and overstitched, looked quite attractive so I thought why not quilt it.
I found a length of black cotton just the right size, then a layer of wadding and finally some thin cotton from a sheet. There is a lot of silver thread used in the embroidery and the quilting but it doesn’t show in this pic.
I’m using a free motion embroidery foot to quilt circles and flower patterns, takes practice but gives me a distinctive style.
Textile Maps of Pakistan and India
Anyone interested in textile arts and crafts is going to enjoy these from My Modern Net
Some time ago I designed a shadow theatre and then laser cut a couple of them. But the design meant that there was a lot of waste plywood after the cut, and more problematically the dismantled theatre was bulky and not postal friendly. So I didn’t try selling it, other projects took precedence.
Recently someone contacted CATO Press, where I’m a member to say she was interested in shadow theatre, so I thought I would dust off the old design and try again.
To have some impact and to accommodate puppets a shadow theatre needs to be quite large, my first attempt was rather small. This time I started with the central idea that the structure would be fully demountable and would flat-pack to 700mm x 200mm or less with a pack thickness of less than 50mm. I would include a cloth screen and if possible a lamp of some sort, LED lamps make this a practical proposition, even a torch with a wide angle beam should work.
With the Corvid 19 lockdown on-going it is not possible to make laser cut prototypes, so I’ve made one in 5mm construction board, ½ size. The final version would be 3mm plywood. The slot-together pieces are not all shown, no screen and no decoration. Screen would attach by velcro, scenery to hang from cross-bars which slot into the tops of the wings, for quick change.
In the distant past I made quite large shadow theatres decorated with dragons etc. from construction board, but of course they don’t have a long life, unless treated very carefully. I used these working with adults with learning difficulties (a privilage) and had plenty of fun. It was often surprising to see who could project themselves into the puppets, and who struggled.
Puppets can be bought and one or two sites provided designs for free, Adventures In A Box is one, and these may be cut by hand, or with a vinyl cutter or stencil cutter. Making the sort of fabulous designs seen in traditional Indonesian shadow theatre is certain to demand time and skill, but far simpler things can be quite effective.
Sketching in Bristol
I recently joined the Urban Sketchers Bristol Facebook group and made a start with some images from the area I live in, Redfield. There are still a few chunky remnants of the railway age in this inner city area and the places near by although these are vanishing fast, converted into facades for new housing and other developments. Bristol University is planning a new campus alongside the side of the canal, not far from Temple Meads station.
But during the Corvid 19 lockdown (and the excellent weather) it is easy to go out early and do some sketching, take some snaps. No one around at 6 am and not much moving except the gulls pillaging the dumpers and fly tipped rubbish.
David Gentleman at 90