The studio is quite tidy!

Having ended the last post saying that I was going to tidy the studio it is quite tidy at the moment, although a bit tricky to get into as you have negotiate the obstacle course that is the utility room to get there. I have just turned the whole studio around in order to get a small table in to use as a desk. Part of me would rather not have a laptop in the studio because it is very distracting but otherwise it lives on the dining room table which isn’t good either.

So what has happened since the last post? I will remind you of the image of the last tapestry – The Mazzalini Girls. I was quite pleased with it until my brother made the comment that one face was white and the other black.

Well, this is art and the original image of my great grandma was very dark, and in some ways she is a shadowy figure from our past so I am not going to rush around and reweave the work but it has somewhat taken the gloss off for me. Sorry Bro, your fault but then I do not always say the right things about the short stories you write so maybe we are quits. Let’s call it artistic licence.

I have not rushed off to do lots more of these portraits, although a series of family portraits is a possibility but I have done a self portrait which I am in two minds about.

I started this blog in May and got somewhat sidetracked due to the deadline for Heallreaf 3 looming. The aforementioned self portrait was for a self portrait competition which I never got around to entering. However, all was not lost as it was the right size for the bi annual Kate Derum Awards in Australia, so I entered it for that and heard a day or so ago that it has been accepted. This is what it looks like:

I think it looks vaguely like me. There is a reason behind this particular composition. I have for some time been interested in the idea of weaving what I believe they call optic black, that is, black made up of all the colours, so each strand of weft yarn has three colours in it, one red, one green and one blue. Like the computer uses and calls it RGB. I did try using the main primary colours, red, blue and yellow but there is no way you can get a yellow dark enough to blend with the red and blue. You can see as the blends got lighter the red, or pink shows through much more than the blue and green. Interesting. The lighting effect, or Rembrandt lighting is one of my favourite lighting effects, I think it came from a photo PJ took ages ago.

So on top of all this I am trying to finish my diptych for Heallreaf 3. All the entries are in now and I had to photoshop the images of my two pieces together although the latest one isn’t quite finished, so here goes with that:

You can see the one on the left isn’t quite finished yet but it gives a good idea. It will be around a metre and a half square when they are both hung side by side. I hope it is enough for the jurors to select it for the show.

The Heallreaf 3 entries went well, I had 73 artists submit 141 pieces of work so now it is over to the jurors to decide what gets selected for the exhibition.

On top of all this I have been asked to work at West Dean in the Professional Tapestry Studio which is an excellent opportunity. I am there three days a week until the end of August which means I will stop just in time to dash off to Nottingham and set up Heallreaf. So far I have done two days at West Dean, today in the dye room dyeing yarns ready to start weaving next week and last Tuesday I spent doing samples which is a huge joke as I rarely do samples, I make decisions as I go which sometimes means undoing a few hours work but if I sample I am going to get so bored. Anyway this piece at West Dean is another commission for Eva Rothschild it is big blocks of colour on quite a chunky warp so it should grow quickly, it has to be finished by the end of August, so the timing was pretty good for me. It is odd having a proper job and having to get in at 9am and leave at 5pm, it’s years since I’ve had to do anything like that. Well, apart from college but that was a bit different and they were very laid back about timekeeping.

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