Casting off!

Happy New Year! I just want to echo the hopes and good wishes of everyone for 2021. As I write, the snow has melted here in West Yorkshire – it’s been icy for a few days, but the birds are really chirpy and the day feels a wee bit lighter than it has been.

Castle Hill, Huddersfield

I have enjoyed a few days off over Christmas.  I managed to see family for our one-day Christmas and have equally appreciated days to do with as I please, but I’m back to work on Monday with chocolate and mince pies running through my veins!  I hear the exercise bike calling…

I also decided to have a social media break for a couple of weeks and wondered how I’d fare but actually, it was very restful and I didn’t have such withdrawal symptoms as I had anticipated.  It was good for a bit of re-balancing but it’s nice to be back in touch with everyone again, and especially so given I have news!

I applied late Autumn to the Arts Council for a Developing Creative Practice grant, and although I truly thought it was an almost impossible shout, I have been accepted much to my huge delight and excitement. I often get a bit stuck with 3D work and default to more simple construction so the grant will allow me to explore construction skills further, and as a focus for this, I will be exploring the translation of the stitched surface into bronze. This is a unique opportunity to experience casting in bronze and I’m so excited at the prospect of learning more about the ‘lost wax’ method of casting and being given the opportunity to have something cast myself.

I will be making use of virtual mentoring sessions from Kim Thittichai and Krystyna Pomeroy over in Ireland for the research and development phase. Many of you will know Kim who is an international artist with a background in various materials including textiles and plastics, and Krystyna is a nationally- known artist, experienced in construction and bronze work. Kilbaha Foundry is nearby and run by Seamus Connolly, one of Ireland’s leading bronze sculptors. A week’s residency later in the year will allow me to explore general construction skills for a few days and to take the final pieces to the foundry.

There is so much to think about, sample and develop and I shall be documenting the process along the way and through a final photo book.

In other news, More Busy Bodies continue to be made across several parts of the world which is a lovely thought. You can read about them here. The latest one is a most beautiful mermaid adaptation – I so enjoy seeing the creativity of others… and I think that a postponed show may take place later in the year which will see some of mine hiding around my stand! I think a new one will need to contain some memories of my new project for 2021!

Mermaid from @skipperdogcreations
Small collages

And finally, as a foil to the highly-coloured lichen house that is now complete, I have started on a small monochrome barnacle house which was somewhat experimental.

I’m fairly happy with the way is coming along, and I have a new fabric length to start hand-stitching into over the coming evenings. With the absence of colour, contrasts, scale and texture will be more important. I can’t remember where I collected these barnacles from but they are the biggest ones I’ve ever seen.

Using the macro lens to observe the tiny patterns and marks is a revelation – an otherwise overlooked world.

I’d like to end up with at least seven of these houses in which to celebrate these small delights – I may be slightly obsessed with making houses for everything but its deeply satisfying so I shall plod on happily!

Well, that’s me caught up for now. Creativity has helped many of us keep going this last year and I truly hope it is a wellspring that the world hangs onto and doesn’t cast aside when things pick up again (Sorry, just had to do it…🙄).

I do mean it though.

14 thoughts on “Casting off!

  1. Thank you so much for another inspiring blog, Rachael, and a very happy new year!

    Have you considered putting all these into a book? I’d certainly buy one! I enjoy your blogs very much.

    All the very best.

    Madeleine

  2. Congratulations! Look forward to reading about your progress on your blog which is always so interesting. I love the little houses and small collages

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