Thursday, April 2, 2015

Whitehaven Workhouses

Last month I made a start on an exciting new commission for  Whitehaven Archives and local studies centre, Cumbria. They would like a 'portable museum'.  After a week of searching through original documents (some dating back as far as 1701), we decided the theme for their 'portable museum', would be the workhouses of Whitehaven.
Over the next few months, I'll be blogging about the commission as it develops.
 The photos are of original documents in Whitehaven Archives and local studies centre, Cumbria. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

port-able art exhibition - Klondykers

 The inspiration for two recent projects has been provided by my brothers clothing.  The first, 'Sea Area Fair Isle', a  print for Connections North exhibition which opens simultaneously in Finland, Sweden and the UK - hand-me-downs, I'm wearing my brothers jumper.
And now, 'Klondykers' for the 'Port-Able Art' exhibition which opens in London before touring to Spain and lastly to Ullapool.  My artwork, nearly completed, so while my brother, Cullen,  was home for a few weeks, Mira took a few photos of him wearing the jacket (his own from lobster fishing days in the 1980's), now printed with info about Klondykers.  



Friday, March 20, 2015

Mackerel or red herrings?

Work-in-progress -for the 'Port-able art' exhibition click here for more info about the inspiration for this work about Klondykers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In search of knitter - do you know who made these garments? 1970's Western Isles of Scotland

I'd really love to know who knitted this jumper.
It was made in the 1970's and from the Western Isles.
Do please get in touch if you know!!
I'm wearing it with my catch.

This jumper will feature in a print as part of Connections North. 
I've been at the Highland Print Studios in Inverness this week, learning loads and getting a little inky all with help from the fab John McNaught.
"Connections North is an international printmaking project involving touring exhibitions, linked printmaking events and online resources.
The Connections North: Mirror Images exhibition presents exciting new and original printmaking by forty artists from four countries: England (North Yorkshire), Finland, Scotland and Sweden.
More about Connections North here:
This cardigan was purchased at the same time - it's smaller than the jumper, unfortunately I don't have any photos of me wearing it.

Both garments were purchased by my aunt in the 1970's when she was working as a cook on a boat sailing in and around the Western Isles.

Here's a few photos taken by John McNaught of me working on the print at Highland Print Studios in Inverness.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Where's Frank !!?!

A wonderful day at  Nirvana Organic Farm, learning basket making. Unfortunately there was a bit of bad news - as Deb, who was to be teaching the workshop, and runs the organic farm, had broken her leg last week.  Two of her basket making friends, Bev and Chris, stepped in at the last moment so the workshop could go ahead.  We had a fantastic time, but all were thinking of Deb, and we wish her a speedy recovery.
Check out  Basketry South Australia 
 Below are a few photos taken today at the workshop.
A selection of baskets made by Deb, Chris and Bev.

our materials kept damp wrapped in wet cloth.

Just one of the many beautiful views on Nirvana Organic Farm.

Debs studio
Chris and Bev show us how it's done.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

basket makers in the Adelaide Hills - South Australia

Thanks to Deborah Cantrill and her friend Christine, for a lovely afternoon string making in Deborah's studio at Nirvana Organic Farm.
The Mulberry 'icecream' was delicious too!!
Looking forward to joining in the next gathering of the Adelaide Hills Basket Cases next week  , as well as the
    Basket South Australia makers events in Adelaide Botanical Gardens which start on the 15th January. More info here:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ngarrindjeri weaving

I met with Auntie Janice Rigney and her daughter Lorna Collinson in South Australia last week.  They are both members of the Southern Elders Weavers Group, working to keep their traditional Ngarrindjeri skills of  weaving alive.  These photos are my first attempt at using their traditional rushes - cyperus gymnocaulos. There are some wonderful examples of Aboriginal weavings in the South Australia Museum

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Please open, then unpack"

A few photos of work-in-progress - a project for Strathnaver Museum.

Vintage underwear - linen ribbon printed with text - a handling exhibit. Linen ribbon text will be stitched to the garments.
All will be revealed in a few weeks.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Unusual Features – She is really different from her sister

My artwork ‘Exhibit A’ arrived safely in the post this morning, back from the 20:20 exhibition at the Bonhoga Gallery , Shetland. I’ve been laughing at the fantastic comments and drawings folks made on the description cards!!!
A few of my favourites :
Nose - like her mothers
Nose - better not mentioned
Hair – blonde today
Mouth - fairly loud – I call it being sociable.
Unusual Features – missing some bits
Unusual Features – dolphin tattoo on upper right arm
Unusual Features - elbow bruise and cat scratches on hand
Unusual Features – She is really different from her sister
Unusual Features – stunningly beautiful
Click here to see more photos of 'Exhibit A' !!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Patagonia ~ Caithness

I designed a series of postcards, inspired by the mystery of the Magellan Daisy and Whalers.  They arrived in the post last week.  These are all destined for Patagonia as Ian Leith from Aberdeen has also been researching connections between Caithness and Patagonia.  
Ian is heading out to South America in November, but before he starts his adventure, he'll be in Caithness to share what info he has already gathered. With much thanks to Ian, he'll be taking a bundle of my postcards to hand out and perhaps reveal a bit more on the mystery of the Magellan Daisy and Whalers. Below is the text and image that's on the back of each postcard.
Click the link  to follow Ian's Patagonia adventure blog.                           

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dilly bags - Indigenous Australian crafts

I've been reading 'Baskets & Belonging' by Lissant Bolton, published by The British Museum to accompany an exhibition in 2011.
 Click here to see a collection of dilly bags.   Incorporating many different basketry techniques, looping or knotless netting is used widely - the shape of the bags often determined by their particular function such as the ones used for carrying pituir leaves and stems. The materials of these bags also tells the story of the trade in this nicotine-containing plant, as coloured  wool used in some of them  originated in European blankets. Click here to see a collection of original pituri bags.  Choice of materials determined by function, simple but beautiful designs used what was available in each area.  
My looped bag, made from combed soft-rush is purely decorative.

My future designs may be more interesting if I think about a particular function for each bag - the shapes would perhaps become more intriguing.

Coptic stitch - Nalbinding

Norse weren't the only culture to use the Coptic nalbinding stitch to make socks.  Click here to see a pair of red socks now in the V & A, made around 250-420 AD in Egypt.
This is one of my own socks, also made using the Coptic stitch but from combed soft-rush - in  2014. 



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hats work-in-progress nalbinding with soft-rush - home grown.

It's thought that hats as well as mittens and shoes/socks were made by Norse although there is no archaeological evidence.   I am searching for info of hats made using nalbinding/looping techniques in different cultures. Apparently  Mummies of Ürümchi, one of the  Cherchen Man's ten hats and a hat which once belonged to Saint Simeon of Trier, all used nalbinding /looping techniques, quite wide ranging in time and location.   If you know of any, do please get in touch.  My work is experimental, using plant materials rather than wool to make my garments - all home grown. They are not replicas.  The Saint Simeon hat is lined with woven fabric, with a decorative band around the rim on the outside as well - this gives me ideas for different linings - some fabric, others my own papers made from home grown plants, they could be printed with decorative patterns.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Combed soft-rush (Juncus effusus) socks - adult size, inspired by Angus 'Weaver of Grass' and techniques that pre-date knitting - nalbinding. All home grown.

This work was inspired by Angus MacPhee weaver of grass. my socks are more delicate than the work of Angus MacPhee.   The longest socks use a looping technique, which is the same technique Angus used.  The other socks are all made using a variety of nalbinding techniques.  Traditional nalbound socks would have been made from wool. Mine are all combed soft-rush (Juncus effuses).