We opened our Z Twist exhibition at the Pink Cabbage Gallery in Stroud on Saturday 31st May. It was a great relief to finally see the work in situ’ and the long wall I used, created exactly the right effect. It was amazing to see how each of us had used a dominant grey and even though our work was very different, the greys created a strong connection between us, which really seemed to pull the whole exhibition together.
The following is from my information panel at the exhibition:
” Z Twist has meant a Stroud residency for Lucy, an area and town previously unknown to her and therefore an exciting opportunity for a new voyage of discovery. She quickly ascertained Stroud’s rich woollen heritage and began experimenting with methods of felting starting with locally sourced fleeces. Her industry partner WSP, who manufacture high quality billiard table and tennis ball cloth, have been a key influence in her work for Z Twist. Through guided visits to their mills at Cam and Stroud and supplying the materials for the project, Lucy says “their support has been brilliant”. As a way of expressing her merging ideas she has created an experimental group of objects related to a theme based around the idea of cogs, wheels, war and industry. The theme has been developed through making observations, collecting information about the woollen industry in Stroud and Somerset, and investigation into the processes and methods of felting. The forms she has created are characteristically organic and careful use has been of the strong colours from her industry partner.”
Our exhibition at the Pink Cabbage Gallery, Stroud is now open.
Here’s a glimpse of the final work I have on show and snippets from my statement to give you all the full round up……
After viewing many historic textile collections early in the Z Twist residency, Debbie’s attention was drawn to traditional samplers and their verses. By removing these verses from their traditional framework and presenting them in a contemporary way, these historic words can be perceived in a new light. A select few feature in her horse hair embroideries for their witty nuances regarding time……..
Staple mended ceramics is an art of inventive repair at its best. This porcelain collection is inspired by the aesthetics of this traditional repair technique, combining horsehair, metal and ceramic to achieve unusual marks and beautiful imperfections. Still work in progress yet they can also be referred to as samplers. Traditionally, young girls completed embroidery and darning samplers to learn the basics of forming letters, needlework and mending textiles. Debbie may not have created samplers in the traditional sense yet she have created them for the same reason; to teach herself new skills
If you can’t make the exhibition in Stroud, the full show will be travelling to Taunton in July.
You can find us in the Genesis Centre at Somerset College from the 11th-18th July
If this all tickles your fancy, why not attend The Make, Create, Cultivate Symposium on the 12th & 13th July…
(photos by Zac Mead)
The first exhibition of Z twist will open this Saturday at the Pink Cabbage Gallery in Stroud. Come and join us for the launch of the exhibition and the wonderful opportunity to meet all three resident artist and hear the story of their development of work and processes over the last three months.
Open 11am till 5pm with Artists talks from 11am. Free admission with drinks and nibbles
I have been considering how to display my clay pieces which have held together remarkably well. It would be great to use the red cloth because of its significance to Stroud’s cloth industry and its strong military connection, so I have been experimenting with a few ideas.
Stitching through the holes put me in mind of stitching on buttons although it was also necessary to secure the edges due to the weight of the clay. I thought about the insignia stitched in place on military uniforms and the fact that the clay, a grey monotone, is a visual opposite to the decorative appearance of these motifs. Perhaps an insignia of clay could be seen as more appropriate as we commemorate the centenary of World War 1 and remember the mud and horror of the trenches.
To begin with I cut out accurate squares of fabric 15cm x 15cm and played around with various formations. The edges were too neat but not neat enough. I thought the straight edges of the cloth square, juxtaposed with the random clay shapes would work best but felt I should test this thought by experimenting with torn fabric pieces. I wondered if a torn edge would suggest a remnant from a garment but I didn’t like the visual effect the ragged edges of the cloth had on the clay. It seemed to lessen and diminish the visual impact of both materials.
Recalling historical fields of drying, red cloth stretched onto tenterhooks, I thought about using a similar method to display the clay and cloth sample pieces. This worked on individual boards but exhibiting these next to my other work, which is also made up of individual pieces, I had a feeling it would all look too bitty.
The notion of stretched red cloth seemed like a good avenue to follow and using a large frame I cut out and stretched a piece of fabric to fit.
This was more successful. Nothing detracted from the clay carvings and the colours worked beautifully together. However I still have decisions to make and continue to try out ideas. I have been keen to use the luggage labels that we saw used for archiving at the industry partners and heritage centre, but I am not happy yet with the example below and will try to find a better solution.
Progress with my digital take on traditional samplers is going well. I am planning to display sampler verses and quotes by digitally embroidering them combined with the cut-out typography technique seen in previous posts. I have chosen my final colour palette for the works and have colour matched the various threads with the horsehair fabric I intend to use. Firstly I wanted to see how all the colours look on all the fabrics so I have created my own embroidered samplers to test colours and fonts
I am experimenting with creating a distressed look to the typography by playing with and drawing into the designs on the computer prior to stitching. My next challenge is the choose what fonts and colours to use on which fabric.
I surprised myself with how quickly I got my head around the software for the embroidery machine.I struggled with illustrator when attempting to laser cut but this proved much easier to navigate. These being my first attempts, I think I’m doing okay.
It meditative and captivating watching the machine at work….until it starts beeping and grinds to halt usually because of a thread breakage or blockage. I am learning a lot in a short space of time with this machine but I’m loving the using this process and very happy with the results. The below sampler quote is quite apt for the process. Not much time left now to produce final pieces for the exhibition which opens on the 31st May at the Pink Cabbage Gallery, Stroud. More info here>
I have loved seeking out appropriate sampler quotes/verse for use in my work. Some are really quite funny….like this sampler letter from 1785. It makes me smile every time I read it.
“….I shall be very happy when I learn to write, as I think I can form my letters sooner with a pen than with a needle”
Brilliant, I love it. Another which is again very appropriate for the work I am producing during my time on ZTwist,
“all you my friends who now expect to see a piece of work performed by me cast but a smile on this my mean endeavour I’ll strive to mend and be obedient ever”
I think that could even be the title of the entire body of work I have produced for ZTwist.
I decided that I wanted to try some new experiments and have had a couple of ideas on my mind. The first involved using some of the finished coloured cloths from WSP. The use of these fabrics has been tricky due to the nature of their strong colours. How to manage the contrast next to the muted natural tones of the other work, has been the question? However for this experiment I decided to ignore the colours and consider instead the qualities of the cloth and how I could manipulate it. Also I thought I would like to experiment a bit more with the fullers earth clay and maybe this would be an opportunity to combine the materials in a different way.
I began by creating a hand stitched sample using billiard table and tennis ball cloth, then pressed it into wet clay. I felt the result was interesting enough to pursue and continued to make a larger scale version.
It was a lengthy process that included machine stitching strips of green onto yellow cloth length ways and then cutting short horizontal strips. These were hand stitched together to form a long length that was finally wound into a spiral and hand stitched together, top and bottom to secure and prevent it from unraveling.
I then pressed the whole spiral into a bed of muddy clay. To get an interesting effect was a difficult task. The spiral became clogged as I had made the clay too thick and much of the detail was lost. However with the help of a brush and knife I managed regain some detail and the results were decidedly fossil-like. The pattern left in the tray was interesting too.
I tried printing the spiral onto yellow cloth but this was unsuccessful. In the end I decided to wash off the clay completely and am now waiting for it to dry before deciding what to do next.
I have found some hard clay pieces within the wet clay and have wanted to use them in some way. It seems they are compact layers and I wondered how they would respond to carving.
I really like these little carvings, they reminiscent of unearthed primitive artefacts. Unfortunately as they dry out they are showing signs of cracking, so I don’t yet know if they will survive for long.
It’s been a productive week this week, hence why my blog post is a bit late; I’ve just been so busy making. Trying to cram in as much as possible before the Easter break.
Working with the knowledge from previous experiments porcelain, I have refined my making method and have been busy churning out pots….pots….pots
I’ve also been doing some more slip& dip samples, and I have been experimenting with metal stictches
I packed the kiln on Friday last week and I have to say I could not stop thinking about it until I opened it again on Tuesday. I was so worried I would open it to fins a load of burn fragments. To my amazement, I found these little wonders when I opened it.
I have tried to refine my experimentation with the wire stitches and it worked…hurray!
They may not be functioning pots as most have cracks but they look interesting. Also it’s quite ironic; I have been trying to echo porcelain staple/rivet mending techniques but mended post end up cracked.
Now I just need to make more as I would like to have a big impactive cluster or rows of them for the exhibition.
I also have been playing around with trying to capture typography in porcelain and again I was very pleased with the results
Above you can see the pre-fired tags and then also the fired porcelain. I’m so glad I found a way to have a more refined burn mark that is actually readable. My idea would be to take text excerpts from old embroidery samplers and remake them in porcelain