Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Oooh! The anticipation!.........

I don't normally wish my life away, but I really cannot wait for Saturday this week!

The Quilt Festival committee have been invited to the Synagogue for the Sabbath service and Lunch, which is being hosted by the Jewish community as they wished to show their appreciation for the Quilts of Israel show we held in May.

One of our contacts in the community, Fred, has been instrumental in putting this together, and I for one, am extremely touched and honoured.

It turns out that Fred is a bit of an artist himself. He had read that my previous career had been as a Ceramic/china Restorer/conservator, ( I have to put both ceramic and china in, as if I don't, people think you do one thing and not the other. The times I've been asked when I say I repair china, "oh, don't you do pottery?' or vice versa), and told me that he had had a go at doing stained glass. He has ben going to Port Stanley on a regular basis to take classes with a stained glass artist there, and sent me photos yesterday, one of which I will share with you as it is breathtakingly beautiful work, and deserves to be seen.

I love the colour and the movement in the design, and hope that I will see it in the flesh very soon. The Shofar I think is particularly interesting. When Fred told me he was doing this, I started thinking about Art in general. There are so many different types, and along the way, we might get to experience working in some different mediums, painting, fabric, metal and other types, what draws us to do something different? I once did jewellery making. The husband was doing an evening class in it and thoroughly enjoying it, he thought I would like it and be good at it, after all I fiddled with minuscule pieces of ceramic from time to time. Well off I went full of hope........and hated every minute!!!! It was the longest ten weeks of my life, and the only thing I have to show for it is a copper ring that I made and never wear.

I recently took two classes at the Quilt Festival in Cincinnati, loved one but didn't care for the other, I wonder if it's the subject, teaching, or, how I approach it. I taught china restoration, (see, there I go), for almost 10 years and didn't lose too many students along the way, and although I left the UK 10 years ago now, I know that some of them still meet on a regular basis, which makes me feel that I at least gave them enthusiasm for the subject. I would often be asked to demonstrate it at various places, but believe me, it's like watching paint dry. One of my classes always said my epitaph would be, "yes, it's coming on, but it needs a bit more filling".  I was extremely lucky to have been taught by a wonderful restorer who did a lot of private work, but also a lot of Museum work too, and I was lucky enough to go to the Museum in Birkenhead and watch her repair some of the Della Robbia collection that is housed there.  She is also an extremely talented Botanical artist, and I did take a couple of classes with her which I really enjoyed. Helen used to tell me that I was a better restorer than she was(!), which astonished me as I thought I wasn't very good, although I did get a Distinction after doing a two year part time Diploma. I think my problem was that in my mind I could see how I it should look, but to me it never looked as good as it should have done.

Having said that, I am a dab hand at painting freehand straight lines, copying flower designs and colour matching. It's a long process which I won't bore you with, but when the filling is so smooth that it blend in with the original, then it is ready to be painted. My dears, there are two schools of thought on that one!! I used an airbrush, some people would faint dead away as they painted everything by hand. Imaging doing a crack and hand painting it. I can, but it's so much easier and smoother to use the airbrush. So, you would have to match the background colour of the piece. Not a lot of people realise that the background colour is actually just the pottery/clay colour covered in glaze, and, please, don't get me started on thick glazes which would leave a shadow line which would cause angst and trauma because it looked awful, and no, it is not an option to paint the ENTIRE piece just because that would get rid of that problem, (although I have seen that done, but that's another story). Anyway, in a perfect world, you would have airbrushed the repair, seamlessly sprayed thinners into the edge to lose it, and then and only then could you get down to the best bit which was the hand painting usually a sprigs floral design or a gilded line, -there's another story too.

I find that working with textiles and fibre is much easier. I can put things on, take things off, and if it's a bit out of alignment, then the whole thing can, if I wish, be straightened with the stroke of my rotary cutter. Ceramic (sorry), works differently, for one thing it's not pliable, so if it is out of alignment then it causes all sorts of problems. Depending on the piece I'm working on, it doesn't matter if I rip it, cut it or shred it.

I did try artistic metal work once as well, but the husband does that better, which reminds me, I need to get him to fire the forge up when the weather cools down a bit to see if it still works. We have a relationship of me, artistic director and him, artisan. I need to get him back into that as he's really quite good. 

A plant stand in the Art Nouveau style

Pottery was another class that we took together and both enjoyed. The husband would do lots of different things and I did sheep. They would be singing, one even had a pair of knotting needles at the base with a strand of "wool" coming from its body, there was a builder, a Barrister and I even did an accountant. They were quite fun to do.

So now, I am looking forward to working on the next piece of fibre art. I had a brainwave in the middle of the night, I have beautiful piece of ice dyed silk which is lovely and I had started working on it and was thinking the piece would be about 18x22 inches, a little boring and predictable. So what would happen if I cut it into three pieces? Well the result is a lot better than just the one piece.

I started putting the backing on one piece and hope to be working on it again very soon and will have better photos of it, but I am pleased with the way it is looking, quite inspiring. But, for the moment that will have to wait. I have a two hour dental appointment tomorrow, so will be playing the poorly invalid, and that way I will get to play in the studio all day Thursday and Friday!

So, then I will be ready for a really lovely day on Saturday.

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