I have been working on a series of Variations in February for an open studio event in Newcastle. Although I live in Manchester I exhibit with a gallery in Newcastle and this year they asked me to make three small works to be included in their open studios event in March, I will post more details nearer the time. I have worked in multiples before but for these works I wanted to connect them to each other some how. I also wanted to do some pieces on black and with black thread plus maybe one colour. I ended up using black and grey plus yellow, pink or blue. The work starts with a drawing on graph paper and is gradually built up and colours are sampled. Each variation is based on the 32 triangles that make up the main structure. These 3 will be Variation 1 with the prefix 1, 2 or 3 (Variation 1.1). Leaving the possibility of more variations in the future. I have made 4 of each because that is how many I can fit on an A1 sheet of 270gsm black paper. In the photo showing all 4 at different stages of stitching I can see the relationship with printing, each colour is a different layer and they must be stitched in the same order each time. The reason why I don’t print but stitch is visible in the close-up angle images, the colour is distorted by light which I wouldn’t get from printing, the colour would be much flatter.
The last image shows that I do make mistakes sometimes and the stitching is a bit more complicated than it seems at first glance. I want the viewer to take time to really look at the work and maybe see something different each time. Mistakes can often lead on to new work or make new connections. I took this photo because there was something about the cut threads hanging loose that interested me, later I realised the similarity between this and the textile works I made last year and left the threads hanging loose. When working on the textile pieces I was trying to move away from the very polished and finished looking stitched drawings, to add a rawness to the work, an almost unfinished look. So maybe this idea will creep into the stitched drawings in the future and a more finished look to the textiles will bring the work closer together.
I spent most of January working on a commission for a stitched drawing. It is strange how things work out sometimes, in October and November I was planning what I wanted to do in 2016 but December came along and everything started to change. I have never wanted to be defined by one medium although most of the work involves or makes reference to textiles, it was always my aim to take textiles in a different direction and to use whatever means necessary to do that. The stitched drawings are an important part of this development but not the only means of expressing myself. I planned to develop the cloth, photography and return to using the typewriter in my work. But in December I was asked to do a commission and also to be part of an exhibition in the summer, exhibiting new stitched drawings. While working on the commission I knew my work was not done with paper and thread, I had more ideas I wanted to explore. So now the first half of 2016 will focus on new stitched drawings and exploring the connection to the other work that is still in progress and yet to be made.
This is a porthole into my studio and ideas I am working on. I plan to update it periodically to give you an idea of how the work progresses from start to end.