Last week I did a second course with Debbie Lyddon. I have long admired Debbie’s work and when I spotted a course with her, I jumped at the chance – twice! I blogged earlier about the Winchester course so here is a little more about the course at Studio 11 (an excellent place run by Christine Chester right near the railway station in the town. I would heartily recommend all concerned – Debbie was very generous in sharing her knowledge and Christine provided excellent lunches and all day drinks and biscuits and the studio has just about everything there for you to make use of if you have not managed to bring the kitchen sink with you to the course!
The first thing we did was to take a trip to Birling Gap.
We took 10 minutes just to sit and take in the view, the atmosphere, and to look around at the cliffs, the shore and the sea. We then spent an hour walking and collecting things that caught our interest. I am always one for found man-made objects so was delighted to find a “rock-hopper” on the shore, and a special one at that! I also collected an Evian rubber stopper and a couple of stones of particular merit, together with some dried seaweed, a piece of twine, a piece of fossilised wood and a lump of chalk. These items were to form the basis of the course.
Back at the studio, we made sketchbooks and drew our chosen items first thinking about texture and then form. From our drawings, we then made a paper model of our favourite drawing.
Rock Hopper exterior
Layers of rubber
The next step was to render the model in fabric. I have yet to complete my Rock Hopper work but watch this space.
Debbie also taught us how to make vessels from fabric, rendering them firm enough to stand alone using home made gesso (from the chalk we had collected) and wax. On the last afternoon, we returned to Birling Gap to photograph our makes in the place of their birth!
As you know, my husband is the photographer in the house (Alan Frost ARPS – www.alanfrostphotography.com) but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy taking snaps and I do! My love is the great outdoors and nature and, of course, these subjects lend themselves to colour. However, it is interesting to note that, for me, black and white works better sometimes – colour can be a distraction making an image too busy. See what you think:
Again, I am no expect in what I call “fiddling” and have only basic Photoshop skills but can create some interesting effects even so:
I enjoyed doing this for a change from my work on paper and in fabric and we are surrounded by wonderful scenery here in Piddlehinton, Dorset where we are staying for a few days. A week or so from now I will be at Studio Eastbourne where I will be doing a course “Surface Treatments for Sculptural Forms” and really looking forward to that. I will be at Studio 11 run by Christine Chester and look forward to spending time with Debbie Lyddon once again. Let’s hope I do better with the sewing machine this time Debbie!
I recently attended a course with Debbie Lyddon, an artist I greatly admire. She shares a love of the coast, earthy colours and textures and I just love her work. During the course, I made a couple of pockets in which I housed items that I had made and found during the course of the workshop. Some time was spent each day walking around the local area looking at, listening to and touching the environment and we recorded our findings in our sketchbooks. Those objects that were appropriate were brought back to the studio for further consideration.
The first pocket was formed in response to some burnt bonfire paper that I found on the walk. I always love charred objects and Debbie encouraged me to try burning some silk that I had. I then housed some found rusty wire inside and loved the result.
The second pocket was made from paper and I added a roll of painted paper and a piece of found metal.
I have long been fascinated by decay, distress and general wear and tear in surfaces. My eyes are drawn over and over again to rock, stone, wood, paper or any material where the worn and battered winks at me and asks for further inspection. I love torn edges and scruffiness.
Taking up more and more room in the house, I have an embarrassingly large collection of found objects that reflect my preferences and I am still struggling to find a clear way forward to use these within my art. I am unable to pigeon hole myself as a “painter”, “printmaker”, “textile artist” or some other moniker – I like all manner of techniques and media. The saving grace is that there is a common need – to make use of the found and to conform to my idea of what is aesthetically pleasing as outlined above. I realise that to some/many my taste is bizarre and that anything I produce will have a limited market with the majority doubtless seeing only “rubbish.” I also need to distinguish myself from what I see as twee – sculptures and assemblages made from pieces of driftwood for example. They are just not me – not dirty enough, not raw enough, not scuffed and damaged.
Some of what I produce will be fragile (I have some beautiful charred paper from an incinerator); some will have a shorter life than “traditional” art because it will continue to erode and spoil over time. But I will persevere with my ideas that involve the found, the rusty and the burnt. I have workshops coming up in 2018 with the inspiring Debbie Lyddon whose textile work I simply love and also with Elaine Bolt who I hope will take me down a new route considering ceramics and they can help me display my found objects. I was delighted to discover her although a little sad to see that my ideas are not entirely new – ideas rarely are! – and that she is producing far lovelier work than I am sure I will manage.
I am currently thinking about my collection of found brushes (some are shown above) – I have already started to experiment with embossing and “printing” with the handles and would like to try making ceramic handles in the form of these found brushes. I have a collection of “bristles” that can be fastened to the handles and yesterday rescued a whole pile of lovely rusty, “been through the bonfire” bendy metal from which I can form ferrules to adjoin the handles to the bristles.
Here are a collection of my other “from the fire” objects which I hope to use in future work. I’d love to know if anyone else “get’s it”!!