In the last few months I have been doing a lot of eco leaf printing and a book binding course, on line. Now they have both come together and I have a journal for the New Year.
The cover is watercolour paper with eco leaf prints and I have some pages with leaf prints.
I started writing in my journal in December in preparation for the New Year.
Chinese Thread Books or Zhen Xian Bao is a traditional folk art practised by women in remote areas of south west China. They are books made of folded paper used to store embroidery threads and other small items. Ruth Smith travelled to China to research this tradition and has written books on the subject she calls them ‘Folded Secrets’
Fifteen years ago I was able to travel to The Gambia and visit St James Island as it was then called. In the current political circumstances it seems the right time to show the quilts I made after the trip, As I would like to show support for the memory of all those who were enslaved and those who still are.
Visiting the Island, now called Kunta Kinte Island, was very moving, as it was the place where the Gambian people were kept before they were taken in Slave ships to the UK and then America. As I stood on the beach I found a very small bead, perhaps fallen from the necklace of one of the people, their necklaces were torn off them when they left.
A little history: The Island was captured by the English is 1664 and used then until the abolition of the Slave Trade in 1807. It is now called Kunta Kinte, after a character described in Alex Haley‘s book and TV series Roots, The book states that Kunta Kinte was among 98 slaves that the slave ship Lord Ligonier brought to Annapolis, Maryland in 1767.
I printed the fabric using ‘Break down screen printing’ with brick like shapes applied to the background to represent the ruins of the buildings where the people were kept. There are scraps of fabric sewn on to the Quilts to represent clothing left behind as the ships left.
I have been fascinated by lap wings for about 2 years, in March they have a wonderful flight display called ‘tumbling’ I have been trying to capture this.
Students on my workshop [Jenny Leslie] worked very hard yesterday. We used 3 natural dyes, brasil wood, buckthorn bark and woad.
The ERTF conference last Saturday was right up my street. Alice Fox talked about her work. I really like the way she concentrates on her theme, often the coastline and really develops it, and of course her work is very environmentally friendly. I hope to use ideas from the talk and workshop in my future work for East.
This is my work from the mini workshop, we were all given four pieces of paper and we stitched them together, it was surprising how many different small works we made.
For my work for The Power of Stitch I am trying to depict the power of nature through volcanic activity, so I wanted a bright red. A bright red is not easy to get with natural dyeing, but fermentation dyeing works well with madder.
I put 100 grams of ground madder in a 4 pint plastic bottle and filled nearly to the top with water.
Every day I removed the lid to let any gases out and gave it a good shake. Madder works better in a high PH and fermentation tends to make the dye acidic so after a week I added a teaspoon of slaked lime.
I had a lovely walk first thing this morning, before the heat of the day, I was looking for Queens Anne’s Lace [or wild carrot] and Golden Rod they both grow in the hedge rows. The Queens Anne’s Lace was ready but the Golden Rod was not.
My inspiration for our next East exhibition The Power of Stitch comes from a trip in 2016 to Yellowstone Park USA, from that trip I have got very interested in the Power of Nature and how to interpret it through Stitch. I am sure you will have seen Volcanoes erupting recently, my ideas have morphed into lava flows very hot and cold.
In May I posted pictures on our trip to Morocco and samples and ideas for a textile piece based on the wonderful Islamic tiles there. I was experimenting with natural pigments that can be found in the souks in Marrakesh.
So after 6 months I have finally finished two pieces of work block printed with natural pigments and then stitched in places… I wanted to suggest a gradual disintegrating of these ancient patterns. The top piece is almost twice the size of the second.