Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How Do You Handle Design Challenges?


Imagine being given a photo of Italian art to use as design inspiration.....how would you handle it?  Would you use the imagery as it is - a realistic portrayal? Would you take pieces or elements of the photo and go from there? How about colours....or size? So many choices, so many decisions!
 
A few months back I was invited to create a piece of textile art based on "The Annunciation" by Fra Angelico......as a group of artists we were each given a different art work to use as a "jumping off point" for our own work. I'm not sure what images the others were given but since the exhibition is at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver, I imagine the art was all Italian.....haha!


Have you ever taken part in something similar? How did you approach this? What ideas and decisions were you faced with? Sometimes it's easier to work within parameters than being given free rein. I began by turning the art into a rough portrait format and thinking how I could place the figures, I also loved the multicoloured wings of Gabriel.


After some reflection I realized that I really had never used figures or people in my work and I didn't want to start doing so......amidst all the design work I wanted to explore how this piece might be come a beginning for a new series. I had taken masses of photos during my recent walk on the Camino de Santiago and had some great interior shots of the cathedrals I had visited:







So then I started to focus on the building part of the artwork - the figures appear to be in a "cloister" which is generally "a covered walk in a convent, monastery, college, or cathedral, typically with a wall on one side and a colonnade open to a quadrangle on the other". It was beginning to make sense for me...look up to the soaring arches of the space above>




I wasn't sure about the columns, so those were eliminated. I was working at simplifying the design to some very basic shapes.

I'm  looking now with the idea of construction - how am I going to put it all together? As my career began as a traditional quilter, I'm familiar with a wide variety of piecing methods so I decided a "stack, slash, shuffle" method was the best choice. the widths of the sections would be the same but I could work with different lengths and thereby achieve a variety of rectangles and get some visual interest going....

The fabric had been chosen a while back, luscious hand dyed vintage linen with wonderful drape to it - a little on the heavy side but I knew the texture and thread count would be perfect.

Construction began and went smoothly - put together in less than a day.


 
I had pulled out a dozen or more threads for the quilting but in the end only used four - I thought some metallic would be good but changed my mind. 
And so "In the Cloister" heads off for the exhibition shortly and the shapes, imagery and design will be considered for the future, perhaps this winter would be a good time to begin!

In the Cloister

I hope you'll join me at the Exhibition Opening - September 12th at 7pm. at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.

 


Friday, March 30, 2018

So Much Changes....so much stays the same....

Since our move over to Pender Island we've been busy getting our home organized for full time living, trips back to the "city" plus planning for the next few months.

One of the tasks I've enjoyed, even if it sounds a little strange,  is to get up in the cold mornings and get a fire lit in the wood stove, make a pot of coffee and enjoy the warmth moving through the house. Our routine has changed so much with my DH being retired and there's not as much rush to be at certain places with certain deadlines....I've been enjoying that part so much!
My studio is mere footsteps away, so easy to pop in for a minute or two or work but also easy to be distracted! However, thankfully there are deadlines and I was able to complete this piece over the past couple weeks. Its one of my largest at 44" x 62", part of my "Industrial Shoreline" series and destined for a group show in June. 
 
Retired to Rust

Maybe you're thinking that I'm incredibly well organized to have all my work ready so far ahead of a deadline....well, there's a good reason!

Hang on...its a long story!

Tomorrow I leave my (new) home to celebrate Easter with family in Victoria. On Sunday I travel to Vancouver and stay with family until Tuesday when I fly to London UK to stay with family (very short visit)....until Wednesday. On Thursday I fly to Madrid and then to Pamplona (Spain), overnight in Pamplona then on Friday I take a bus to Roncesvalles so that on Saturday (one week after leaving home) I can begin my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela that will take me 6 weeks and 800 kilometers to walk.

....my bags are packed and I'm ready to go.....
The tube carries my trekking poles as I can't carry them on the flights, they'll be in the checked baggage

I should say that my "backpack" is packed, a mere 14 lbs. to last me through 3 months of travel (I'm planning on more travel once I'm finished in Spain) I guess I could say that I missed the "backpacking through Europe when I was a teenager, so now it's time"! But now we have lists...Google with far too much information and Youtube to explain endlessly all the items we need for our travels!
My route is the red line across northern Spain
 I'm excited, but also a little nervous. Happy and a little fearful...all natural feelings I know. My art practise will change, my supplies are very limited but that should never be an excuse! A small sketch book, a little watercolour set, a pencil and tiny eraser, a water brush and my iPhone with a good camera. What else do I need, right? and its all about keeping it lightweight, LOL!

In case you've not heard about the Camino, here are a couple links that you might find useful:

https://www.caminosantiagodecompostela.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camino_de_Santiago

So....I'm off then! See you soon! If you'd like to follow my journey, I'll be posting on Facebook here:
https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Purney-Mark-141959029220043/?ref=bookmarks







Monday, February 12, 2018

How Did That Happen?

It's  been a roller coaster past few weeks....with major changes in my life. All good things but it certainly made blogging and creating more than just a bit challenging.

Back in November I had a very success Studio Tour with great sales and lots of visitors stopping by! I sold Antique tiles, a shadow applique piece that I loved so much. I had a little bit of a tear in my eye as I wrapped it up for its new owner. but it went to a good home!


The following weekend I had a massive Studio Relocation Sale - downsizing as we prepared to pack up for our move in the New Year. I cleared out lots of books, fabrics and all manner of surface design supplies. I think I made some friends very happy as they carted off lots of great bargains!



Then the chaos began, as I sorted through the remaining supplies and had to decide what could be packed away and be put into the storage container and not access for 2-4 years! And then what items I could fit into my much, much, much smaller new studio.



Moving day came with a large truck to take our belongings over to Pender Island and our next home (its not a "new to us" home as we've used it as a vacation property for the past 10 years). We got everything into the truck - with virtually no room to spare.


A few days after that the BIG storage box came and two strong men to pack that up! Again, it was filled to the brim - and we said good bye to the overflow from our Victoria home......just to clarify, our move to Pender Island could be described as semi-permanent, we are renting out our home in Victoria and making the move to Pender for a few years so we can have an opportunity to travel and have a different lifestyle.


Once the kitchen was unpacked on Pender my first goal was to get my studio organized. I had mapped out a general idea of how I wanted to arrange things and it has worked out OK. Still some tweaking - getting the design wall set up, bulletin board in place, making it a little prettier (and removing the closet door) and trying to find where I put everything...it's all good and I am so happy to be here!