Tag Archives | reeds

A walk in the park

I’m trying to get into blogging again and am experimenting with using Evernote – I take photos on my phone, send them to Evernote which synchs them with my laptop, already resized.  I then write the blog post copying and pasting my photos from Evernote, rather than having to download all the photos from my phone to my computer.  We shall see if it works!

high water in river usk

I went for a walk this morning.  The sun has finally come out and maybe this means summer has eventually arrived.  The tide was very high – walking along by the River Usk here you can usually see mostly mudflats with a little bit of muddy water in the bottom but today it looks like a ‘proper’ river.

shaftesbury park long shadows

This is Shaftesbury Park – with all the rain we had in June and July the grass is very green!

reeds along river

This is the park where I did my year’s observation of the reedbeds to see how they changed month after month.  At the moment they are very green, with the new leaves coming up and before they flower or end up looking golden and dry.

pathway

The pathway ….

cloud looking like a duck!

I thought this solitary cloud looks a bit like a flying duck!

row of poplars

The rows of poplar trees from another angle.  The houses in the background are on the other side of the river.

newport street art

On my way home I came across this colourful street art in Wheeler Street.  It has some of Newport’s bridges on there.

notice outside derelict Sainsburys

Past the old derelict Sainsburys supermarket building.  It’s all boarded up now and they have put this sign up.  It’s such a pity they can’t open up the site as a public open space until it is developed into something else.  I get the feeling that that notice is just an inventive way to deter intruders….

wild flowers on central reservation of dual carriageway

This summer the council have planted wild flowers on all the central reservations and roundabouts – they look lovely – the photo doesn’t show it very well, but there are blue and orange ones in there as well.  What a great way to attract bees and birds!  I think they are a lot nicer than the regimented rows of bedding plants that are usually there.  Maybe more subtle and less showy…

Birth of a City

… and other stuff.  Birth of a City is the title of my latest artwork.  I first started printing this cloth over a year ago and it has grown and developed until, finally, I am satisfied with it!  As you may know, one of my other interests is genealogy – tracing my family history down the generations – and many of my ancestors lived and worked in the city where I grew up, Stoke on Trent.    A lot of them were engaged in the trade that it is best known for – pottery.

I had already printed the background in various shades and values of blue (with two different thermofax screens), overprinted it in orange/gold using soy wax as a resist and then discharged some of it.  I then decided to take a (VERY) rough sketch of the streets around where my Nan grew up in Longton, altering the two main ones to vaguely echo the shape of the old bottle kilns that pervaded the city and gave it its unique character.  I used masking tape as a resist and overprinted the ‘buildings’ using the larger scale thermofax screen in black ink to make it look like the old street maps from the 19th century.

'birth of a city', my latest quilt

When I looked at it, I then saw that the two main ‘streets’ didn’t look so much like a bottle kiln as a pregnant woman, so I decided to call it ‘Birth of a City’, thinking of the haphhazard, unplanned way the city grew up as hordes of people flocked into it from the countryside to work in the potbanks, leading to overcrowding, poverty and rampant disease.  People lived crammed into houses too small for them; houses sprang up next to factories.

Here is a detail of the hanging:

detail of 'birth of a city'

I wanted to emphasize the rough and ready, homespun nature of the theme, so I decided just to hand quilt it with horizontal running stitches to an old blanket, patched and worn and ragged in places. I left the raw edges of the fabric and just had the original blanket stitches as binding.

detail of 'birth of a city'

Due to the Easter holidays and the fact that my two teenage sons are in the throes of revising for GCSEs and A levels, I am late completing the latest challenge for the International Quilt Challenge, which is Time.   Rather ironic really, due to lack of time…  But I thought I’d put down my thoughts for it so far.

The way I wanted to approach this theme was something around the idea of ‘the past is another country’.  I tried to brainstorm this and wrote down what came into my head….

… time past … we think it will be familiar going back, but actually we have changed and moved on, so what we were, who we were, the old familiar landmarks, look strange to us… strange and foreign…

We have forgotten …

We have a kind of nostalgia but we can never go back, we can only revisit old haunts, some of which will have remained the same, some will have changed forever;

we look at them differently, through different eyes; we are probably taller: things there look smaller, older; strangely familiar yet also foreign to the self that is our present.

And if we could go back to our grandparents’ childhood, into an old photograph, we would experience total culture shock

– the sights

– the sounds

– the smells

– the familiar-yet-unfamiliar ; kin yet unknown people

Anyway, that is as far as I got, and it was taking too long and I got stuck with how to move from there to fabric.  I thought I’d put my thoughts down here in case I use them for another project; but then I got another idea for the theme.

Last night I decided to update my Dreaming Spirals Facebook Page – I had not changed it since the new timeline was adopted and it needed a new photograph as the header.  I decided to make a collage in Picasa of my five Reeds wallhangings.  This is the result:

Facebook Page new banner

Today I was thinking about the theme of the challenge again and I decided to change tack completely.  I thought of the various seasons the reeds go through in the course of a year (recorded in this blog in 2010) when I visited them each month for a year to see how they change, and I thought of those timelapse videos where a camera is set to take photos at regular intervals of, say, a plant growing, and then they are put together into a video as if the plant was moving.  All my reeds pieces record a different season of the year so I thought I would try and blend them together using scraps from these pieces as a starting point to show the movement of time.  (If you would like to see the reeds photos again, here is a collage of them that I made at the end of that year).

So that is my plan at the moment!  Watch this space…. Meanwhile, do go and explore my Facebook Page – it looks quite different now.

Diverse Manners exhibition, Riverfront, Newport

Sorry for the lack of blog posts recently – I don’t know what happened to the UK summer but it seemed to shoot by and turn into autumn in the blink of an eye.  I haven’t been doing much art either.  Too much juggling of family needs… and a few weeks ago, our 21 year old cat had to be put to sleep which proved pretty traumatic for the whole family as he had been around for as long as the boys could remember.

But next week, my five Reeds wallhangings are going to be hanging in the Riverfront arts centre here in Newport as part of an exhibition by the Diverse Manners arts group of which I’m a member.   If you happen to be in the area next Friday, you are warmly invited to the Preview Evening which starts at 7pm.

diverse manners exhibition at Riverfront Newport

Reeds 1 is on the background of the flyer!  The exhibition is on until the end of September.

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