Planet Textile Threads

December 16, 2017

Olga Norris

Rewarding reading

At present I am working my way through the Cezanne Portraits catalogue.  In many ways I don't see them as portraits, rather as still life pieces of people - especially the paintings of Cezanne's wife and the locals to his Aix studio home.  It's a fascinating read.  

by Olga Norris ( at December 16, 2017 09:48 PM

Margaret Cooter

Seen in galleries

At Pace till 22 Dec, Impulse - radical abstract painting from the United States in the 1960s and '70s - including sculptural painting (confusing!) by Sam Gilliam; also in the show, Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, Frank Bowling, Ed Clark -
 At Redfern Gallery, extended till 21 Dec, collages by Francis Davison -

New use for old envelopes!
Coming out of the gallery, we suddenly noticed the pavement, similar shapes as in the collages -
 Next door is Flowers Gallery, with its annual Small is Beautiful show (till 6 Jan) -
 Some groups of three -

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 16, 2017 11:21 AM

December 15, 2017

Terry Grant

Trial and error, moving forward

I am working on a new piece, using the same general scheme as my last—the pieced background with embroidered elements as foreground. In my last post I showed what I had started for this new one. I was embroidering branches that would be embroidered on a separate piece of fabric, then cut out and appliquéd to the background. I was doing it this way, rather than embroidering directly on the background to give it more dimension and in order to create the dark outline I so love. I spent hours and hours on those branches and then when I started appliquéing them on the pieced background they looked terrible.

They are thick, hairy and clunky. Not at all what I was envisioning. (You can also see, in this closeup that I am still having vision problems. Machine stitching is still so hard to see as I work...)

I remembered that on the previous piece I embroidered the roots directly on the background, so I tried a bit of that.

I think I like it much better! Will it work with the berries that I intend to add later?

Yes, I think so!

I am working in a new way that seems to accommodate my current visual limitations and I am enjoying the challenge! Maybe we all need to get thrown a little off balance occasionally in order to exercise our ability to adapt and find new ways of doing what we do and being who we are. That is really what life is, right? Two steps forward, one step back is still progress!

And sew it goes...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

by Terry Grant ( at December 15, 2017 12:22 PM

Neki Rivera

all the little stitches

have a great weekend.

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at December 15, 2017 09:00 AM

Margaret Cooter

Snow on woodblock prints

Hasui Kawase, Zojoji Temple in Snow, 1922 (via)
Hasui Kawasi (1883-1957), Snow at Tsukijima, 1930
(via, which has more of his snowy images)
Shiro Kasamatsu (1898-1991)
Shimano District (In the Snow), 1964 (via)
Raizan Negoro (artist's name of Kawatsura Yoshio) (1880-1963)
Asakusa Temple in Snow, 1922 (via)

Takahashi Biho (b.1873), Sparrow in Snow, 1930s (via)
Iwao Akiyama (1921 – 2014)
Monk in Snow, 1988 (via)
Image result for japanese woodblock prints snow scenes -pinterest
Kyoshi Saito (1907-1997), Shovels (via)

Kamisaka Sekka (1866 - 1942)
Tomoe no Yuki (Monk in Whirling Snow), 1901 (via)
That's enough for now - there are so many more, including by Hokusai and Hiroshige and other ukiyo-e artists.

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 15, 2017 08:13 AM

December 14, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Microbial Museum by Maya Chowdhry

Gas bubbles in Antarctic ice. Photo: NASA
"reservoirs of extinct creatures" (via)
Microbial Museum
April ship sets sail, sea freezes ripples, leaves Rothera
behind. One hundred and fifty thousand years of snowfall in
cylindrical samples, bubble-wrapped, boxed in styrofoam,
cores wrenched from ice caverns to Immingham.
Drill incises annulus ice cuttings spiral surface. Statistics
held in water vapour measure up to eons of weather.
Blueprints of other lives, the oldest ice sequesters
reservoirs of extinct creatures resurrected.
Suspending cable sonars frozen microbial cells
immortal bugs from bacteriasicles emerge, grow, divide.
Prehistoric pestilence thaws, allows ancient genes to mix with
modern ones. Skiing genotype slaloms through DNA markers,
mutating the ocean, creeping into the unsuspecting cells
of species climbing the ladder to life.
The future is thawed, dispatched into a white out.
- Maya Chowdhry (via)

"Finding the poetry in scientific vocabulary, this work is alive to the marvels of its discoveries as well as the ecological peril it reports" is how the Guardian, where this poem appeared, sums it up. Here, Carol Rumens gives background and gently unpicks the poem, helping us make sense of the terse style (like a scientist's notebook). The comments from readers, at the ed of the article, often take a poetic route themselves.

Maya Chowdhry devotes her recent poetry collection, Fossil (2016), to investigating, "with wit and precision", unusual geological phenomena and the life cycles of various species, but her larger goal is public and eco-political. Her recent work explores the juxtaposition and conflicts of new technologies with the ‘natural world’ - she uses film, text, animation, photography, augmented reality and the web. Her work has been exhibited in and around canals, in public gardens, theatres, galleries, the web and on television. See some of it here.

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 14, 2017 10:46 AM

December 13, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Latest enthusiasm

Continuing with the "overlapping people" idea - playing around to see where it might go....

Possibly the first attempt is the best so far - and I've now abandoned my "no peeking" rule to try to place the components "interestingly", based on what's gone on in the "blind" versions - contrast of scale, for one thing ... and it helps to have arms and legs visible.

That latter has led to concentration on the sports pages, which often show the whole body, in action - so the shapes are interesting, arms and legs all over the place! Spot the footballers here, and spot the politician -
This morning I leapt out of bed, in a hurry to get on with it -

Layering up tissue paper and cutting out shapes from the newspaper. Tissue paper to see if there were interesting colour blends in the overlaps ... no, not transparent enough - it might work with colouring in the drawn shapes with watercolour, or (on fabric) thinned acrylic.

Pastel colours? for sports"men"? I kinda like that....

I also like the idea of fitting in a bit of "footballer's dream" glamour ... add some more contrast ...
These shapes would all be intersecting black outlines (the glamour girl in white?) or else pastel solids, overlapping. Maybe. If it ever gets further than this initial enthusiasm ... if I can continue to focus on it for a bit. 

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 13, 2017 04:47 PM

Neki Rivera

of rain

"It rained for four years,eleven months and two days.There were periods of drizzle during which everyone put on his full dress and a convalescent look to celebrate the clearing,but the people soon grew accustomed to interpret the pauses as a sign of redoubled rain."
 One hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

not quite but almost.two straight weeks.we needed it, but give me a break!I need to learn how to function in a wet environment.coming from the dry med where activity almost stops when it rains it is a learning experience.luckily husband-san insisted to the point of obnoxiousness that i buy a pair of gore-tex and all kinds of techs rain booties.with a blessed zipper on the side so they qualify as slip ons.
hunter boots are cool, but very impractical. unless you're kate moss and are making a statement.(eye roll)

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at December 13, 2017 09:00 AM

December 12, 2017

Olga Norris


I sometimes wonder whence visual ideas arrive - but it does not trouble me for long.  I just enjoy playing with the results.  The main thing is not to go poking away trying to replicate, because, as far as I am concerned anyway, it doesn't work.  Like overnight elves, these gems arrive when I'm not looking.
Playing with the idea of symmetry (or not quite) produced this:
Don't ask what it means - if anything - but I am enjoying the sense of drama and mystery, and that mental drift it induces.  After all the birds which have been my companions over the recent years, it is good to get back to fish.  So far it calls itself Worship.
It also has that stark wintery feel to it; pared back, ... which reminded me of another design I started many years ago and put on an almost forgotten back burner: Winter sunshine.  Perhaps I shall work on them both as small stitchings in January after my hibernation.
No snow here, just cold that is not much felt because of the sunshine and lack of wind.  Sunglasses and ice.

by Olga Norris ( at December 12, 2017 02:36 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - Tate Modern

The day started, for me, with a quick look into the Soviet exhibition ... it needed more time than was available, so needs going back to; it's on till 25 Feb.
Postcards in the "Red Star over Russia" shop
 I settled down in front of this "pavilion" by Cristina Iglesias -

My drawing was about figuring out the structure and guessing the words...
 Jo found a tee-shirt in the Soviet shop intriguing -
 Carol gathered glimpses of the area around the Tate -
 Joyce found a work by Louise Nevelson -
 ... as did Judith -
 Janet B was intrigued by a floating sculpture and its shadow ...
 ... which was tonally reversed in her photograph -
 Mags had been to a nearby textile exhibition, A Sense of Place, and brought along the booklet
 ... and showed the work she's doing in her current painting course -
 Carol's extracurricular activity was a tiny felted pot -
 Janet B brought along the drawing she did in Dundee last week -
 Several of us had used the same leaf-rubbing technique at various points ...
 Several of us went along to the textile exhibition, by ViewSeven - here are some general shots.

 And the gallery floor was fascinatingly patched!

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 12, 2017 08:46 AM

December 11, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Upcoming textile exhibitions

The latest issue of Art Quarterly (winter 2017) has an article about upcoming textile exhibitions round the UK.

Norwegian weaver Hannah Ryggen is at Modern Art Oxford till Feb 18. Living in a village, she was self taught: "Weaving belonged to a tradition which came from the culture of farms" (via). Her 1930s works are very political; she's speaking out about her experience: "the works have a very immediate message, but they're done with this incredibly slow, careful medium [tapestry]."
Hannah Ryggen: jul Kvale, 1956 (via)
If you went to Entangled Threads and Making exhibition in Margate, you would have seen her anti-fascist tapestry 6 October 1942 there, and Ann Cathrin November Hoibo's response, two woven panels. 

(This art-magazine review of the Entangled exhibition, also by Hettie Judah, puts the show into more than one context:
"[Christine] Löhr’s [fragile structures] occupy a sphere of making that ‘Entangled’ embraces quite unequivocally: craft is presented here – as per Bauhaus philosophy – on equal footing with art: specifically those practices that are awake to the possibilities of hand production (and which, of late, have drawn heartily on craft traditions including tapestry, embroidery and ceramics). This, today, is a more politically audacious move than the decision to dedicate the show entirely to female artists. But, given that it opened a week after women all over the world took up their needles and knitted pink pussy hats as an act of protest, you can’t fault the timing.")
Anni Albers ("long overshadowed by her husband Josef") gets a mention in the article, partly as a segue, via the Bauhaus, to the work of Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell - they collaborate as Wallace Sewell, "painting with yarns" and designing fabrics, and have a show at the Fashion & Textile Museum, London, to 21 January. If you've travelled on the Bakerloo Line recently, you'll have sat on their moquette, showing the London Eye and Big Ben.
Wallace Sewell cushions and blankets
Wallace Sewell's designs are woven in Lancashire (via)
Dovecot Gallery, Edinburgh, is showing "Daughters of Penelope" till 20 January, celebrates the work of artists and makers working with the gallery. Dovecot Studios wove Paolozzi's The Whitworth Tapestry (1967; part of the Paolozzi exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery earlier this year) and Chris Ofili's The Caged Bird's Song (2017), recently shown at the National Gallery.
Paolozzi tapestry at the Whitechapel Gallery
The Whitworth Tapestry, by Eduardo Paolozzi (via)
"The quality of human time is embedded in tapestry" (via)
The Edinburgh show includes Finnish weaver Aino Kajaniemi "whose tapestries appear loose and even fragile through the use of yarns as fine as fishing line alongside bulkier linen textures. Many of these portray women and children in rural and domestic settings" - and also American artist Erin M Riley, who uses tapestry "to explore charged issues in the fast-moving online world." Both artists also featured in Tapestry: Here & Now at the Holborne Museum, Bath, which unfortunately has been and gone.

"Alice Kettle: Threads" is at the Winchester Discovery Centre till 14 January, and she is collaborating with groups of refugees, till autumn 2018, on the "Thread Bearing Witness" project, which will be exhibited at the Whitworth, Manchester, from Sept 2018 till February 2019.
"Sea" is 8 metres wide and was designed in response to harrowing
stories of migration across the Mediterranean (via)
So far the focus of the Art Quarterly article has been on weaving (is that the form of textile that most nearly approaches art?) ... but now we come to embroidery, in the form of May Morris, daughter of William, who put her in charge of Morris & Co embroidery department in 1885 when she was just 23. "She was recognised as a leader in the field of embroidery during her lifetime" - but her reputation has been neglected because "the fragility of the embroidery itself has played a role in keeping May's work out of permanent museum displays." See her work at the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, till 28 January. (Interestingly, this exhibition needed crowdfunding to make it happen.)
Worked by May Morris around 1900, displayed in Edinburgh (via)
Watch out, also, for Tate Modern's exhibition of Anni Albers' work, 11 October 2018 to 27 January 2019. Her choice of textile as a medium "was forced somewhat by the Bauhaus school's bar on women studying in departments such as painting and glass." As she later observed, "when a work was on paper it was considered art, but when it was made with threads, it was considered craft." (Plus ca change?)
Anni Albers, Design for Rug, 1927, Harvard
Design for a rug, 1927, by Anni Albers (via)
Finally, are textiles coming closer to finding a place in the art world? As Hettie Judah says in the Art Quarterly article, "Within the art world there has been a marked resurgence of interest in the idea of an artist as a direct maker of objects. A central theme of this year's Venice Biennale [was] the relevance of textiles and hand-making in a digital age." 

But it seems to me that handmade=craft, in the eyes of the status-conscious art world, and that the "making" parts of art are less prestigious, eg carried out by artists' assistants and technicians. I think we shouldn't let ourselves be sucked into this bit of territorial defensiveness (or in-fighting), but just get on with doing what we need to do in terms of our "art making" - and being thoughtful and/or clear-sighted and/or open-minded about it all.

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 11, 2017 08:26 PM

Neki Rivera


my admiration for all of you who work with linen.i have worked with very fine threads all my weaving life, but they were mostly silk or wool and a bit of cotton as well.
but linen is a different animal; it has a different life and behavior.
so here i am learning about how to handle linen, even in a much thicker grist than what i am used to work with it presents of them the airborne lint that causes me to cough and gives me  a runny nose, japanese cold masks are de rigeur .
 the autodenter works like a good baby! it doesn't cut the threads like it sometimes does to very fine gain!
after a very long bank holiday-almost a week-with no walks, aqua gym,japanese class and ladies who coffee i was able to really troop it. dying to start weaving!and i already have the cakes baked, the xmas dinner made and frozen and the decos up.just need to sit down and make the xmas animated card.woohoo!

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at December 11, 2017 09:00 AM

December 10, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Staying focussed

I've been dipping into a book called Organizing for Creative People (by Sheila Chandra) - yes, yet another of "those" helpful books; if only we could actually follow their good advice, instead of flitting about with our ideas and getting more disorganised and feeling bad about ourselves and our work habits, or lack of them. 

On p118 the section heading is "The importance of focus". She says:

Perhaps the biggest difference between what you do as an artist and other kinds of work is your level of focus. Long-term consistent focus for big projects. A complexity of thought that maintains the quality and depth in your work. A career-long perspective on how you want to grow as an artist, and maybe what you'd like to be able to tackle in ten years' time.
Focus is the key to what you do because you need your subconscious mind to feed you ideas. This means that, day to day, you have to practise not getting distracted. You need to train your mind. Everything in our world ... seems to be encouraging us to turn away from anything that isn't "exciting" and to slice our attention span into smaller and smaller pieces. If you're a creative person this just won't do because you need to be able to concentrate on creative problems for long periods in order to get results. It can be boring, but it has to be done.

If your problem is that you just can't focus on the number of ideas you have, then you must focus in the long-term sense. ... Pick the most important idea. I mean it. Pick one. ...choose the project most likely to get you need in your career right now. The more this project scares you, the more you'll resist this. ...some of you will rebel right here. It feels too scary to you to let go of other ideas, because you want to achieve "everything". In fact that is simply a way of not committing. Those artists you admire ... undertook each project as it came and evolved accordingly. 


If  concentration or procrastination is a problem for you, experiment with various working methods and times. 

Aha, working times, that most certainly rings a bell! The most useful nugget of advice that ever came my way was from Barbara Lee Smith: "Do the most important thing at your best time." I was musing on this ... wondering what that important thing might be ... while walking in the snow and slush today, and not long afterwards, happened to open that book to the "focus" section. Coincidence? ... or, the finger of fate?

To stretch the point (and segue to the photos): walking in slippery conditions requires a modicum of focus in itself ... and with a camera along you get focus automatically! I did find a few things to photograph during the day and especially the walk, starting with the surprise discovery -
Waking up to snow


Very slushy on Parkland Walk
(Note the importance of a bit of red, as a focal point) -
Willow, Finsbury Park 

Oak tree, Finsbury Park

The inevitable ... and nicely positioned

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 10, 2017 10:18 PM

December 09, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Shapes and outlines and juxtapositions

The latest crazy idea - meant to be a way of generating "monstrous" shapes - was to overlap shapes, and see if any of the shapes created had a monstrous look. This possibility was inspired by seeing multiple, overlapping shadows cast by closely-spaced street lamps, and seeing both how a walking person's own shadows overtook themselves, and how the shadows in standing groups of people (or objects) overlap. My subconscious worked away on the idea for a while, and I found myself buying a pack of "hand copy" carbon paper (there is also a "typewriter copy" version) and tracing some of the figures from the daily freebie "news"paper.

I made a rule only to use full bodies, and put the carbon paper in the same position under each page; another rule was "no peeking till it's finished" (ie, when I couldn't wait any longer and was prepared to stop, whatever the results). This is what appeared, from the theatrical and sports pages -
Quite apart from the happy accidents of placement - especially that football in the centre - it has contrast of scale and interesting positions of arms. It's giving me pointers on what to do consciously, if I decide to change the "rules" or start using tracing paper. Another possibility is to cut out the figures and use the pages or the figures as stencils, possibly with tissue paper (several layers?) underneath to use for "colour studies" and seeing what happens when the colours overlap.

The back of the carbon paper has the image in reverse, and looks palpably different -
First time lucky; I'll try it again throughout the week, a different newspaper each time.

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 09, 2017 08:42 PM

December 08, 2017

Margaret Cooter

woodblock printing - artists and techniques

One of my personal aims in doing the woodblock course was to find about more about contemporary woodblock artists, and to this end I've been chain-watching youtube videos and also ricocheting from site to site, following a trail of interest.

It all started with David Bull's series on carving Hokusai's Great Wave (part 1 is here), bringing his carving knowledge to bear first of all on deciding which museum version of the print to use, and then taking us through the carving and printing in quite a few episodes -

He has made extensive videos on woodblock production (and employs a new generation of craftspeople in his atelier in Tokyo), all accessible via his website,

Of course if you're watching a youtube video, others "chosen for you" are helpfully displayed in the sidebar. First I watched some traditional ones, and then found Daryl Howard, an American woman who started by collecting prints while living in Japan and now has been making prints for some 40 years, adapting the process to her own production needs, as she explains in this video.
She now uses a computer to cut the blocks, but still uses her carving tools to clean up those blocks. For ink, she uses Winsor & Newton watercolour, rice paste, and glycerine - as did her teacher in Japan - and soaks her brushes for an hour before using them, which swells the wood and keeps the bristles from falling out.

Via the Rabley Drawing Centre I found Nana Shiomi, whose book I immediately ordered; it arrived this morning -
but I'm saving it for xmas.... Her demo is here.

At a local show, I was told that among the Crouch End Open Studios artists is Martin Davidson - his work is amazing -
Among the videos, several non-traditionally trained woodblock printers show how to do it. Emily Hoiginson, for example, shows how to get different intensities of colour without paste and with it. She uses the nori right out of the tub, and applies it after the colour is on the block.

In this demo Nana Shiomi uses white, and puts colour onto the brush to blend the white with the blue. She also has a nifty shelf that keeps the paper safely out of the way during registration -
She uses her hand to smooth the water onto the block - her work has large areas of colour, and as the block goes right to the edge, she uses an L-shape for registration. "Some artists print right onto the dry paper," she says at one point.

Another way of dealing with the tricky business of handling large sheets of paper is shown here by
Søren Bjælde, The block fits into an L-shaped piece of wood which is screwed onto the table, and the inked block placed into it (sometimes small nails are used to hold the free side in place). He puts batons either side and lays a sheet of wood onto them, which holds the paper while he carefully registers it. The registration marks are on the L-shaped wood.

Also, after carving and inking the key block, he prints it onto brown paper and offsets that print on the other blocks, so they will be reversed for cutting.

In this video he shows how to transfer a laser print onto a smallish piece of plywood - by rubbing through it with acetone to transfer the tone to the wood, and rubbing hard with a spoon. (Useful things, spoons.)
It also shows him using a magnifying light while cutting, and using the computer to help choose the background. The paper, once registered, is held in place with clips at the edge of the table - it can safely be lifted to check whether more rubbing is needed.

My investigations continue ....

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 08, 2017 03:09 PM

Neki Rivera

new generation

all's well.
have a great weekend!

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at December 08, 2017 09:00 AM

December 07, 2017

Olga Norris

As ever ...

... when I should be settling down to something serious
a silly idea pops into my head: a hare-raising story!  A doodle to add to my lino cutting pile perhaps.

by Olga Norris ( at December 07, 2017 03:48 PM

Margaret Cooter

East London Printmakers

East London Printmakers' Festival of Print is at the Art Pavilion, Mile End, for just a few more days - till 10 December. The Art Pavilion is a huge space, and a lovely space with lake outside, and the prints on show are varied and interesting.

Maggie Henton

Venessa Pugh, Refractions (woodcut)
(reflections are unintentional and unavoidable)

Detail of Victoria Edwards, Flame Tree (etching with silk)

Detail of Fiona Fouhy, From the Forest Floor (monotype)

Katie Oplaender, Cooling Tower (drypoint)

Clare Mont Smith, Unsquare Dance (drypoint and silver/gold leaf)
- can be purchased individually, £20, very enticing!

Sumi Perera

Detail of one of Pamela Hare's prizewinner screenprint and mixed media pieces 

Two pieces from this year's box set, £50 each
Work from previous years' boxes were temptingly priced - 3 for £50 -

On 9 Dec (Saturday) there's an open studio at ELP's premises, and they offer courses and open access sessions year round.

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 07, 2017 09:24 AM

Neki Rivera

another episode of the frugal weaver

threading two meter remnants of the ai silk warp. i have realised that i have traded meters for natural light and this has enabled a revision of my processeses.
one who never makes excuses for not going into the studio and working,i had adequated every part of the process as well as the weaving itself to lack of natural light. working with lights, no matter how well designed the illumination is, had some effect on me.
not only is it more comfortable, it also is more pleasant. there has been a considerable streamlining.
on a very happy note one of my japanese classmates has located a cousin who has a fireplace. happy dance as he is saving the ashes for me. aizome ahead! now i only have to source the milk heating thermos.but that's another post.

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at December 07, 2017 09:00 AM

December 06, 2017

Margaret Cooter

2017 Turner Prize winner - Lubaina Himid

What with the Turner Prize exhibition taking place in Hull (city of culture!) this year, I haven't seen the exhibition or paid the entire thing much attention. The only familiar name on the shortlist was Andrea Buttner, whose exhibition in Milton Keynes I saw some years ago.

This year the age restriction was abandonned, that's a step forward!

The winner was announced yesterday: she is 63 and has been making and exhibiting all her life (work from the 1980s onward is on her website); she's just never been in the limelight in quite this way.

She said she was never overlooked by curators or other artists but she was never in the press, perhaps because her work “was too complicated to talk about”. ... “I guess the issues I was dealing with were complex, many-layered, and you’ve got to sell newspapers.”

Having read this interview, and checked out a few other sources, I think Lubaina Himid is a good choice. Her work has messages, but it's visually appealing and positive. The juxtapositions can be surprising. You need to know only a little about it in order to start thinking about "the issues".  

I especially enjoyed the vivacity of the Lancaster Dinner Service -
Swallow Hard - Judges' Lodgings
At the end of that article there's a slideshow of some of her drawings, which "simply" combine patterned background and one object.

This installation of jelly moulds continues the painted ceramics theme; it's a spinoff of, or contribution to, an architectural competition for a pavilion. "Can we devise strategies for an architecture of pleasure?" she asks at the end of the video.

Kangas fit my dining table perfectly, size-wise, and I have a couple of favourites from Tanzania, whose messages I cannot read, so Lubaina Himid's painted "lost kangas" are of immediate interest. She talks about how they came to be part of the 2012 "Cotton - Global Threads" exhibition at the Whitworth, Manchester, here.
Kangas from the Lost Sample Book - Lubaina Himid. Photo: ©Denise Swanson
One of the Kangas from the Lost Sample Book (via)

She loves to juxtapose text, spoken or written, with pattern (the pattern is speaking too).

Her work has many more aspects, and as with so many artists now there's a lot about identity and colonial history, as well as "institutional invisibility" in it. 

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 06, 2017 11:38 AM

December 05, 2017

Neki Rivera

and now some gardening

my plants from france arrived, just took a a week! .i am into bamboos and japanese grasess ;-)

 equisetums and some blue hostas.

planning ahead for spring-summer.

talk about an early start, banksia  budding at the
end of fall. People, should i pinch them away?

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at December 05, 2017 01:53 PM

Olga Norris

I do like to be beside the seaside

On Sunday we set off for the East Sussex coast: to two exhibitions.  First we visited the Towner Gallery to see a most interesting collection of landscape photographs.  I was also intrigued there by the diversity of architecture around the gallery - and the fact that it abuts the tennis courts which I have seen on television when the international competition just before Wimbledon is taking place. Please forgive the lack of quality in my snaps - some were taken from inside the gallery, and it was a rather misty day (well, those are my excuses!).  This was a day of extraordinary visual feasts - art and life.
There I also encountered a collection of holm oaks, a tree not often seen in England.  It is a tree I know from Greece, and a favourite of mine.  The tree is also known as the holly oak, and lo - there was a holly growing out of one next to our car (note the silhouette above the cut branch in the second snap)!
We did not wander far in Eastbourne for we were set for points East: Hastings to see the Rego exhibition mentioned in my previous postThe Jerwood gallery, like the Towner is relatively new, and is positioned near the shore next to the wondrous working chaos of fishing folk.

There were a couple of amusing sights:
And then of course there was the calming sight of the sea.
A great day trip to the seaside!

by Olga Norris ( at December 05, 2017 11:35 AM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - King's Place

The public spaces were chokablock with overspill from a big conference. I'd found a comfy seat and stuck it out for a while, drawing groups of people (not my favourite activity, but something I "should" be practising more -

Also I returned to the chains started last week -

After a while the volume of deal-making in the group sat nearby sent me to the Pangolin Gallery, and what a haven it was ... full of people drawing, already! And the work, by Geoffrey Clarke (till 22 Dec), was SO appealling - the pencil could hardly wait to get to the page!

The gallery was where most people ended up -
Apologies to Janet K for the fuzzy photo

Sue, enjoying shapes

Carol, intrigued by a ladder that actually went somewhere

Joyce found the Christmas tree in Granary Square

Judith braved the cold to capture the barge

Mags had been at the Scythians exhibition, observing and drawing
 The staff in the busy restaurant at the British Library were very helpful with finding us a large enough table, and might have been bemused to see all 5 metres of Mags' train stitching getting a trial run of how it might be looped to be displayed -

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 05, 2017 09:56 AM

December 04, 2017

Olga Norris

Self examination

Paula Rego: Self Portrait III (image from here)
Far from a bland smiley selfie, examples of profound self examination are to be seen at the exhibition at the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings: Paula Rego - The Boy Who Loved The Sea and other stories.  It is always a joy, an excitement, and an inspiration to see Paula Rego's work, and three groups of work in particular struck me when we went to Hastings yesterday.
The more powerful two were the 'damage' self portraits and the Depression pastels.  Rego fell onto her face early this year, causing much damage to herself and needing hospital treatment.  She became fascinated, however, in drawing herself in this state, and it was a wondrous experience to witness her curiosity through her drawings.  They have been compared with Bacon's work, but the latter were metaphor while Rego's are so immediately, straightforwardly truthful - and also a look at oneself as if an object.
Paula Rego: Depression V detail (image from here)
The Depression pastels are equally powerful, but in a slightly different way.  First they were a means of working through a period of depression.  And then they are at a remove in that the figure is not drawn from Rego herself.  Her usual model posed for them. (Eirene wrote a post about the Marlborough exhibition earlier this year here.)  This time the drawings were of someone else, but about oneself - one's own feelings.
The third group that impressed me yesterday were a delight: three aged mermaids.  (Image above from here)

by Olga Norris ( at December 04, 2017 04:46 PM

Margaret Cooter

Thrifty happy

Last week was a good one, in terms of delightful things found in charity shops. For a while I hadn't been allowing myself to visit charity shops - too much came home with me each time - and that fairly lengthy period of denial seems to have ramped up my discernment, or else I've just become more stingey. I can walk out of several in a row, empty-handed. (Or, the money available has already been spent - this morning I took a deep breath and booked a "drawing with mixed media" course at the West Dean summer school, and residential courses cost £££.)

How we each choose to spend our money, and what we consider luxuries and/or "unaffordable", interests me greatly. What makes people reckless with money? what makes them generous - and is this generosity, financial or social, a luxury of some sort, or a reckless personality trait? It could be that sometimes we don't allow ourselves to be generous with our thoughts and opinions, or our time, never mind just money.

But I digress. Here are my life-enhancing, new-to-me acquisitions.
An assortment of dogs ...

... that stack up, like the Musicians of Bremen

Hand-made shoes, cared for and recently re-heeled ... no matter
 that they're men's, they fit so comfortably ...

... getting some TLC until I find the right sox etc
(nothing in my wardrobe is brown)

Irresistible - 100% wool, made in Scotland, sold at the RA ....
... and perfect with a purple hiking-jacket

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 04, 2017 12:57 PM

Neki Rivera

all of the 35

sections for a grand total of 700 threads.not the same warping and threading 700 threads than 2100.
threading will also be a breeze as the linen is behaving very well-famous last words- 
the warping process has been refined and the  rigging  adequated.
i also have my concentration back as the home issues were cleared in a most satisfactory way.actually we've been celebrating for the past 3 days.
and then we also have this to feast's been cold, rainy, snowy, but the surrounding hills look spectacular. bear with this ex city girl 

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at December 04, 2017 09:00 AM