“Home” in detail continued

Our final four artists reveal some fascinating insight into their contribution to our group project.

During lockdown, my home became a place of sanctuary and spirituality. I was and remain privileged to have the space for quiet contemplation and reflection.  In addition, the daily walks with my husband provided rich inspiration in the foliage from giant oaks to shrubbery, and offcuts from recent tree felling. Free machine embroidery allowed me to interpreted my response.

Also, the quietude and renewed freshness of the air supported my appliquéd interpretation of the spiritual feelings I took from this extraordinary experience.

Joan Glasgow

I found Lockdown 2020 a difficult time, my day job went online over night and I found I was working on the laptop for 8-9 hours and using my creative space as my office. I still haven’t been back into that space to work creatively!

When it became mandatory to wear face masks I made a variety for friends and family through the @bigcommunitysew challenge. I was left with a bag of scraps and mulled over what to do with them when as a group we decided to set ourselves the ‘Home’ challenge.

During the summer I was lucky enough to spend a week at fellow Phoenix member Jude’s house where we explored indigo dyeing. This was a fabulously rejuvenating time for me creatively so I have incorporated some of that fabric into my piece.  Collating the fabrics together was inspired by a trip to the Turner Contemporary in Margate and seeing the Gees Bend quilts.

It is my intention now to spend some time slow stitching my fabrics – no plan just stitch.

I’m back at work now and some slow stitch in an evening will help to unwind and hopefully encourage my creativity to return.

Samantha Jones

I settled in to my new home after a chaotic move at the start of lockdown.  The spring and summer flowering in the new garden was a continuing delight and hope during this extraordinary time.

Robertta McPherson

Home for me during lockdown was being cooped up in an urban flat, in solitary confinement. No access to human life apart from essential trips to buy food.  I read a lot, revisiting books, catching up on BBC iPlayer, and endless sudoku.

Relief came when we were allowed to venture further afield. I planned visits to NT venues, the London wetland centre and nearby Painshill park. These were my salvation as they allowed me to enjoy the open countryside, the peace and quiet of being in the open air and lots of walking.

I started to sketch and paint, something I had not done for a long time, time to lose myself and feel part of nature.

Carole Waddle

“Home” in detail continued

Our “Home” project continues with a further four of our artists giving us more information about the inspiration behind their submission.

This is a digital drawing using Apple Pencil and Procreate on iPad Pro.

Lynne Butt

Lockdown was a lonely time for many but for me, being cooped up day after day with my husband and son, with other family members and friends in anxious and distressed states and needing help and support, carving out a little peace and quiet and time to myself was important. Each evening, after the heat of the day, I would escape into the sanctuary of my garden and do a few quick doodles of the plants in a concertina book, calming and cooling down after a busy and often fraught day.

Rosaline Darby

This year’s lock down has brought lots of people closer than usual by means of telecommunication, especially friends and family who reside outside of the United Kingdom.

Marie-Ghislaine Beaucé

During this strange time of lockdown much time has been spent in the garden picking up leaves that have fallen from the HUGE holm oak tree that dominates our tiny courtyard.

I took the above photo looking up into the tree canopy, ….

changed it digitally, ……

……. printed it onto silk organza and layered the pieces and added stitch.

On the reverse some words about the tree and some, unreadable, about the sadness that has engulfed our family this year.

Linda Walsh

 

Featured Artist – Jo Coombes

We are delighted to continue with the second instalment of Jo Coombes’ fascinating series on her retrospective and current practice:

Part 2 – Façades and Follies

The world has many dark moments and turmoil, often as a result of human actions, neglect and beliefs.  I try to respond to some of these events.

The horrific demolition of Mosul, Iraq, and the desecration of Syrian monuments, by so-called Islamic State, brought a sharp focus of horror to our news’ screens. How could people survive this destruction and what could be achieved by reducing cities to rubble, and erasing history by destroying classical buildings and sculpture. Were we witnessing the end of a civilised world?

“Hollow Victory”

“Erasing History”

Closer to home, I chose lifts (elevators) as a motif to highlight the small proportion of women appearing to ‘rise to the top’ and break the ‘glass ceiling’. They start at the bottom with equal opportunities as the men, so I posed the question as to whether they self-select to leave the cut- throat race in their careers, and thus achieve a more balanced lifestyle for their families.

“The Cost of Options” (detail)

Travelling to London via Vauxhall on the train, I have been struck by the proliferation of new building construction. “Progress?” shows tower blocks rise ever higher for offices and flats, with little green space. Can such a density of urban living be healthy for the mind and soul?

The above two images, and below, of the same piece, was worked with a faux deconstruction process to print using a silk screen and watersoluble crayon rubbings. Christine Chester’s inspiring “Poetry of Decay” course produced many different techniques of adding texture to paper and fabric, and was instrumental in finding the desired effects.

Many people have struggled recently in ‘lockdown’ to work from cramped small flats in London. I remember a piece I made some years ago, influenced by the brutalist architecture of Corbusier. In an abstract piece, “A Shaven Patch of Green”, I reflected on the plight of families living in high-rise blocks with minimal outdoor garden space.

My current work for Prism focusses on man’s search for a better life, promised irresistibly by a prosperous big city.  With the covid pandemic, this desire may now fade, as people value a lifestyle working ‘from home’.

“Nightlife”

Current work for the Phoenix exhibition, ‘SeenUnseen’ references the abandoned towers of Hitler’s failed, grandiose WW2 Atlantic Wall project. Though a mark of man’s dominance, in time, nature will regenerate and soften these military wastelands and disguise these forbidding, iconic structures.

“Home” in detail continued

A further four of our artists give some background and inspiration behind their work on our “Home” project:

A view through window bars and reminders of lockdown activities collaged to echo an internet-based meeting screen.

Joan Bingley

Thinking about being restricted/caged due to lockdown and yet birds flying free – goldfinch escapes while I did puzzles.

Joan Bingley

Mary Crabb

For me, home is multi-faceted. This icosahedron is made from twenty circles; folded stitched and joined as equilateral triangles. Most faces are covered with text relevant to me or the time we are living through. Rather like a Venn diagram the circles overlap.

Mary Crabb

Jude Kingshott

Jude Kingshott

The above three images are details of my home piece, which represents the dark side of lockdown; the fear, the isolation and the forced changes in the way my life is lived.

It reflects the order and routines that developed and the importance of my Buddhist practice, bringing positivity and hope. The processes used are eco printing, calligraphy, hand painting and collage.

Jude Kingshott

My home has always been important to me and more so during Lockdown.

In the past I have lived in quite ugly, modern houses so I was delighted to buy an attractive 1930s house when we moved to London. I had sketched it a couple of years ago ……….

Maria Walker

………. so I decided to use this sketch to create an embroidered line drawing onto a fabric collaged background which references its past history.

Maria Walker

I am not the neatest of embroiderers so the back of the work is wonderfully messy which could be the antithesis of the seemingly tidy exterior.

Maria Walker

Featured Artist – Jo Coombes

We are fortunate to have Jo Coombes, one of our talented practitioners, as featured artist this week, who has generously given us a unique insight into the influences of her retrospective and ongoing work.

Part 1 – Façades and Follies

I have always used my professional interest in human behaviour as a rich source of inspiration for my textile art. For many years, I have drawn on the concepts of architecture as a metaphor for the human condition: buildings, prestigious or humble, pristine or crumbling, can evince rich parallels with people’s lives.

Current issues, both political and social, inform my work. The structure and elements of a building, from the foundations up, or the historical era of its design, and the purposes it was built for, provide fascinating insights into people’s lives.

Maybe my love affair with architecture started with this little hand stitched picture of my home, made many, many years ago at an Adult Education Class!

The research underpinning these various themes has prompted me to try different textile techniques. Breakdown printing, paper lamination and mixed media (stitched paper and heat reactive fabric) lend themselves to the more decrepit edifices with their crumbling brickwork. Thickened acrylic paints and 3-dimensional fabric paint, add more texture. Mono-printing and thermofax screens can give crisp detail to modern tower blocks built of steel and glass. Hand embroidery enhances the work: it adds coded messages and text, and highlights the human element within. Ribbon and cord can be used effectively for scaffolding and girders. Colour palettes are carefully chosen: cool monochromes and silvers for modern buildings of steel and glass, and ochres, rusts and browns for ruined, abandoned and decayed structures.

In all my work, I hope to prompt questions by my explanations, rather than impose my own views.

The Financial Crash of 2008 led to an abstract piece ‘Lime Street Blues’, depicting the external lifts of the Lloyds building in Lime Street, EC3.

“Dictum Meum Pactum” referenced the exposé of corruption in the City at that time. Money was lent, and businesses were built on shaky foundations, lies and dubious marketing.

Man’s proclivity for corruption featured too, in my Cuban series. This showed the rapidly crumbling, but aesthetically stunning colonial edifices, which the communist government has neglected. Those living in them face structural danger, as time and sea salt erodes the brickwork and wooden floors.

“Tipping Point” 1

“Tipping Point” 2

Brazil’s favelas are overcrowded, violent and impoverished. In “Room with a View” (PIC4) I asked the question whether the 2016 Olympic Games would leave a legacy of regeneration, entrepreneurialism to build a safer community.

……………. to be continued …………..

“Home” in detail

Four of our artists give some background and inspiration to their work on our latest “Home” project:

 

My love of calligraphy inspired this imagery. The text (unreadable I hope) expresses my life at home and how it has evolved over the thirty five years we have lived here. I spent a lot of time during lockdown reflecting on my colourful, happy home.

Maggie Barber

Jo Coombes

For me, a home is more of a feeling than a location: a place of comfort, relaxation, happiness and hospitality. A sanctuary. Somewhere to enjoy the company of family and good friends. The Italian courtyard I am creating in my new garden, will be a tranquil spot to inspire and to reflect.

Jo Coombes

During the exceptionally sunny spring weather at the time of lockdown we used our garden as an outdoor room. We appreciated the fresh air and the growing plants gave us hope for the future at a time of stress and confusion.

Kate Davis

Alison Hird-Beecroft

I collected images of my home during lockdown and collaged them and put in doors like an advent calendar, each with a hidden  “Home is where…” message about the various things there that I treasure.

Alison Hird-Beecroft

Phoenix Contemporary Textiles – Welcome

We are delighted to welcome you to our new blog, which has been set up to share our passion for textiles and art with you virtually, and hopefully inspire you with blogs and images, videos, techniques and what we are up to.

As a sixteen- strong, diverse group of contemporary textile artists, we are always busy making, stitching, drawing and painting.  Just like many other artist groups, we have had to postpone our planned 2020 exhibition until 2021.  Nevertheless, for the time being, we continue to meet up on video-conferencing and are still designing, making and setting ourselves challenges.  Speaking of challenges, our posts below exhibit our latest challenge, entitled “Home”.

There’s more to come though, so do pay us a visit whenever you can, as we plan to post some work-in-progress for our SeenUnseen exhibition, now scheduled for 2021.  This will demonstrate the diversity of our approaches and practices.

 

Maggie Barber

Marie-Ghislaine Beauce

Joan Bingley

Joan Bingley

Lynne Butt

Jo Coombes

Jo Coombes

Mary Crabb

Mary Crabb

Mary Crabb

Mary Crabb

Ros Darby

Kate Davis

Joan Glasgow

Joan Glasgow

Alison Hird-Beecroft

Alison Hird-Beecroft

Samantha Jones

Jude Kingshott

Jude Kingshott

Robertta McPherson

Carole Waddle

Maria Walker

Linda Walsh

Linda Walsh