Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Back on track - again

I feel I may have lost the plot over the past week.

It may be because I'm getting slightly twitchy about this - my name is up, but so far no pictures.  But it's there.  Which means I really have to start getting some work together.  And therein lies the problem.

When I finished my machine embroidery diploma in 2009, my tutor and I both agreed that a personal style was beginning to emerge. 

I've spent the last 18 months trying to find it again. 
Trying to grasp it and get a hold of what it could be feels like trying to grab hold of sand slipping through my fingers.

I know some may feel that having a defined "style" may be rather limiting, but right now I think I need limits: I've been faffing around and playing for too long.  The problem with doing City & Guilds is that over the years you try EVERYTHING and so when starting a new project I could use ANY material in ANY method and the result is that I feel permanently STUCK!! 

Following yet another Google search for "finding personal style" I found some advice to:

Take one subject
Take one (limited) colour palette
Take one medium/method

And you basically do this for as long as it takes.  Obviously the more you do, the quicker something starts to emerge.

I woke up on Monday and knew it had to be "plants", specifically "leaf".  And after several weeks too many faffing about with glue and paint, I'm back to stitching strips of fabric together.  Something that has always worked.  I liked the leaf sample I did a few weeks back on collage fabric/paper, so I incorporated the sheer applique with the strips - new twist.  And I found a new and better way of adding papers without using paste and emulsion and varnish...

Here are a couple of first attempts:

They are only tiny, but I feel that I'm home again.

I'm not a "slap any old thing down and keep the loose ends showing and call it art" sort of person, so why was I trying to be? 
I'm a bit of a neat freak.  I like lines.

Well, I say neat, just don't look at my desk at the moment.  Or my ironing* pile.

* We never iron clothes.  Something has gone badly wrong if someone has to get the ironing board out.  We use the "sedimentary" method of getting our clothes flat - ie. we stack them neatly folded in the airing cupboard and let gravity and time do their magic.  Sometimes, and today is such a time, the pile threatens to topple over, and clean socks and pants have to be "mined".  We feel so deeply attached to this method of dealing with our laundry that one of us even wrote a poem about it.


  1. These are lovely; gentle & neat. You described me so well when you were talking about the slap it down & leave all the ends hanging out! It's all very well when people say the world (technique)is your oyster (50 types of backgrounds)& you are limited only by your imagination - enough to send you running for the hills - it's some FOCUS we need!!! Carry on, it will come - wish I could come to Uckfield for the studio trails!

  2. I meant to add, if you look at sample 2 I did crumble a bit of petal. I stuck down & painted over the others with gel medium. Softens it a bit as does Acrylic wax I think.

  3. I like those pieces. I like the line and the leaf and the way it sort of emerges out of the lines. the seocnd one is a bit like the leaf is causing ripples on a pond. Love the colour scheme.

  4. Both pieces are lovely, they look very resolved and I especially like the use of text in the second piece :) I too have had trouble finding my own personal style of working.

  5. We have so much in common... I can't tell you how much of this post sounded like me. I love that leaf piece by the way... ask Jude about me and leaves!!!


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