Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Water Competition

The Hodgson Loom Gallery have just had their annual competition with a huge entry of 181 pieces of work in many media including; watercolour, acrylic, textiles, woodcarving, ceramics and classes for young people.This year I won 2 runner up prizes one in the textile category and another in the wallhanging category. A third piece of work was based on snowflakes. I painted a sheet of filter paper which would normally be used for filtering cooking oil in restaurants. I painted it with dye-na-flow ink in a lilac/purple colour.
I had purchased a large number of handspun fibres from the family of one of the founder members of the Isle of Man Spinners and  Weavers as the lady had recently died. The fibre I used for this project was exquisitely spun white silk. I made a template for each snowflake in another piece of filter paper and couched the spun fibre onto the template with fine hand stitches. Beads were sewn into the centre of each snowflake.The title of the finished work is Blizzard.
 The runner up of the textile category is shown below, 3rd one down on the left. This was called Rivers and Lakes of Slovenia and was inspired by a wonderful trip I had to that beautiful country last autumn, The base of the work was procion dyed viscose onto which I transferred photos using the bondaweb method. As quite a bit of the detail was lost during transfer I machine stitched into the pictures and produced a new abstract version of the scenes. They were then mounted in a frame with 7 spaces. The rivers and lakes in that country are an amazing green or mint blue due to the limestone dissolved in the water. The air there was incredibly pure and improved my asthma symptoms.
Also the local people who I met there were very passionate about their country which was spotless and they are investing hugely in ecotourism and extreme sports such as coasteering.
The wallhanging runner up is called the Sulby river and is shown below on the right. It is made from bonded lurex and organza with painted  and stitched tyvek patches then heavily machine stitched.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

forest gardening course

In September last year I went on a 3 day Forest Gardening course held by Martin Crawford at Dartington in Devon.
Martin is an extremely passionate and inspirational teacher so that the group of 25 who attended the course from various parts of the world came away ready to put many of the ideas into practice. The main demonstration garden is in the Dartington Estate, near Schumacher College and is a two and a half acre site. We also visited another of his projects which is a newly developing Forest Garden next to the polytunnels where he raises his plants for sale.
Martin trials out a huge number of plants that can be used for food, timber, dyes, nitrogen fixing and windbreaks to name but a few. This is an essential project for the world in these uncertain times of climate change. Martin provided extensive notes regarding planting, usage, preparation of your own site and many other things, too many to mention here. As we went around the garden we tasted leaves and seeds often from plants we had never heard of before including leaves from trees that can be used as salad ingredients.
We were also given 2 meals prepared by Martin's wife consisting of food from the Forest garden some of which were delicious jams and fruit leathers. It was wonderful meeting the other people on the course and finding out in which way they intended to use their new knowledge.

 Above, Martin in the Forest Garden.
for further details look up the Agroforestry research trust website below.