The River and Rowing Museum in Henley-On-Thames was a great venue, I shared it with six other artist /makers. Favourite work was by was Sadie Brockbank, painter and sculptor, in this instance exhibiting sculpture. An amazing assortment of animals some recognisable some fantastical, many carrying strange little creatures on their backs. Cast in bronze or made of ceramic, paper pulp, resin or textile. Wonderful. See her work here. www.sadiebrockbank.com/
A steady stream of visitors came over the three days and a small select group were attracted to my work and talked to me with great enthusiasm and interest. A woman who really liked it said of course she wouldn't buy anything because she could go home and do one herself... Indeed, it's true that anyone with a knowledge of basic embroidery stitches could do something similar. I should have thrown open the challenge! Although people say they have never seen anything quite like what I do, it is simply applique and embroidery, someone somewhere will have done something like it. I wonder if anything in the world of art is original.
I started making pictures because I was given some old jumpers, they were fabulous colours but rather moth eaten, I wanted to save something of them and thought to find a way to incorporate them into something with woollen stitching... but lacked inspiration.
I decided to copy Matisse's Reclining Nude. Although I say copy, it was rather loosely copied. The central figure looked familiar enough but she was surrounded by a riot of densely stitched coloured embroidery.
For about a year I used other artists work as subject matter and inspiration, however one has to be mindful of copyright law and even when loosely translated from an oil painting into a woolly picture one cannot legitimately exhibit or sell a picture. Fortunately something freed up in me and suddenly I had masses of ideas and inspiration for my own pieces.
People sometimes ask if what I do is stump work. It isn't.
Stump work is three dimensional and has its origins in fifteenth century ecclesiastical work. It became popular in the seventeenth century, it is worked in various threads including silk, linen and metal. The stitching is worked over pads or on wire support frames, sometimes semi precious stones, sea shells, or pieces of fabric are used. The pieces are attached to a base cloth and the finished embroidery would be given to a cabinet maker to decorate a mirror frame, tray or casket.
I make woolly pictures.
17C Flemish Stump Work dragon