On the loose…

‘Hi’, on a clear but nippy May morning in West Yorkshire.

So this is a bit of a round-up of this and that… I have a busy month in June and am preparing for some change this summer, but first I just want to let you know that I have a spread The Digital Cloth magazine this month, issue 12. It’s a great e-mag and full of diverse articles. Good for taking away on holiday, too!

I’ve also been working with Martine Becquet on an on-going collaboration, responding to her smoke-fired pots with textile and mixed-media inserts. They are currently at an international ceramics fair in Holland and I’m pleased to say two have been purchased already.

I’m also preparing for three workshops in June! So if the lovely students allow, I shall post some work from them in due course.

I’m also thinking about doing a course myself. It’s been a very long time since I’ve taken part in one and I feel ready for something to help me move along. I’m debating what to do but have a short-list of a few virtual courses lined up for this summer. I am retiring, which I’m really excited about and I’m so looking forward to more time for art and family after August.

I’ve been feeling creatively restless these last weeks as I notice the push and pull towards a bit of a change. It’s taking a while to sort out my thoughts about wanting to make more gestural and abstract marks and how to make that change, especially in textiles. I’ve even been quite worried that this side will drop away as I explore paint a bit more, but deep down I know it won’t. I’m not an ‘either, or’ sort of a girl and I love the rhythm of hand-stitch in an evening.

What I’ve realised is that stitching feels like that slow, peaceful, steady side of art-making whilst painting (whether on cloth or paper or board) feels like the wilder, riskier, more challenging side. It’s a generalisation, I know, but stitch and paint do seem to provide the Yin and Yang I crave.

I’m still exploring stone and marks that arise from just having stone and stone walls in my head. I’m loving painting and learning, and know I need to work on composition more. The elements of design in abstract are foremost when there isn’t something representational for the eye. So that’s something I want to learn and practice more. But I’m LOVEing it!

A sense of freedom in mark-making is what I’m after and what I’m reflecting on. It’s really interesting to sit next to myself and see the slow unfolding. I think it’s a very well-trodden part of many people’s art journey but always thrilling and perplexing and difficult and delightful to the one doing the travelling.

Concertina sketchbook playing
Unusual bit of purple saying ‘hello’

Here’s a little bowl I made, these are different sides of the same one. I want to make many more if I can.

The inspiration comes from chawan, tea bowls. The marks are coming from the same inspiration as above as I slowly expand and loosen my mark making. I found a really horrid house painting brush whose bristles give a lovely ‘swoosh’ mark.

I also tried a bit of sketching in the fields. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but just scribbled. I sat down and ripped the bits up and it’s amazing that you can turn parts upside down, rearrange and still it feels like the place you were looking at. I may have a go at painting from these, I didn’t think I liked to do landscape, I’ve always found myself looking in at things rather than out, but you never know…

I’m finally finding my way with painting cloth, too. This is a snippet of something I’m playing with, it won’t be used flat if the intention works out so it doesn’t matter about composition. I love the paint marks on cloth and I’m starting to work into it in stitch. It’s much freer than the last piece in the previous blog. Him Indoors was polite enough not to say what he thought about it 🤣 but I think this is scratching an itch….

Paint marks

4 thoughts on “On the loose…

  1. Inspirational Rachael-as usual!! Love the tea bowls-paper mache base or just made from Paper? You are so busy with so many things going on-I too am at a junction well more of a standstill just now-am inspired by that fresh green paint though-maybe thats my way forward…..

  2. So many things going on in your life and in your head! Change is not always easy, even when we want it, so I hope it all works out for you. Look forward to reading about your continuing exploration

    1. Thank you. Yes, it’s been a long time coming. It’s a mystery why when we know what we want to do, we just don’t seem to do it! It’s taken a while but I’m sure it’s the way of things from what I understand.

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