Out of the blue is about a piece of work I produced earlier this year – I have called it “Out of the Blue” as this is not a colour I usually work in – I am usually very attracted to subtle shades of grey, brown and white with a little yellow thrown in but I decided it was time I ventured into the colour blue – a colour I have avoided for a long time as a result of being constantly dressed in blue as a child and a twin – my sister was dress in red and I was dress in blue to tell us apart, which was weird as we are not identical!! Of course, I realise now that blue is the colour that suits me most.
This piece of work was exhibited back in April and May this year at Wimbrel Art Gallery in Tollesbury. The exhibition was based on a 3 day Matthew Harris workshop held in Tollesbury in August 2021 titled “You are here – mapping a sense of place”.
My favourite fabric to use is silk organza which I colour by using cold water fibre reactive dyes and Manutex – this is a thickener – I apply this to a sheet of plastic so that it makes puddles and abstract marks and then lay the organza on top letting the fabric absorb as little or as much as it wants (I don’t press the fabric down).
For this piece of work I also took the opportunity to try some artist’s pastes – heavy gel matt and light molding paste – through a stencil onto silk organza to create a feeling of water. Once the pastes dried I flooded blue dye onto the fabric. After a few hours (minimum 2 hours) I rinsed and let the fabric dry naturally.
At the bottom left of the piece is a tree stump – here I have used torn masking tape to mask off the tree shape and then pulled the thickened dye over the fabric with a piece of plastic card. I used several layers of the dyed organza down the centres to create the right shade of yellow and, once I was happy with the composition, added lots of hand stitching.