Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Don't give a fig...

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I have been working on my City and Guilds Creative Quiltmaking course with Linda and Laura Kemshall.  I have now reached my last module and have to make another quilt, this time featuring appliqué work.  I'm not worried about that, but the overall design is my biggest challenge.
I am a figurative artist, I enjoy drawing details and know with perseverance I am a competent draughtswoman. However I want to use a more expressive language in my work, and I am often drawn to semi abstract pieces, so this is my challenge to myself. Part of my studies is to look at contemporary practitioners and here I have chosen two to look at. The first is Stephanie Redfern. She works in paper and fabric, and her pieces are more collage than appliqué. I find the way she treats her subject matter most appealing, especially her pieces based on the natural world. The elements, shapes of leaves, flowers, birds, insects are always recognisable, but she will break down their forms to the edge of abstraction, and her work reflects her energy and passion for her subject matter.

Sketchbook fig studies

The second artist I've looked at is Carol Taylor. She is an American quilt maker with a excellent reputation. You can read about her here on The Textile Blog. Her work is quilt different from Stephanie's as she works in a much more traditional way, but her work is also often abstract. Her Foliage Series uses beautiful leaf shapes and bright colours, always informed by nature, but abstracted.

So without going on any more,  this is what I have been doing. I am using photographs I took at Luton Hoo's Walled garden and glasshouses as my source material, and have been concentration on the fig tree. I have made a couple of collages, making use of the papers I printed with the Gelli plate and others from my stash.
"Three figs"

One of my many photographs.

My second collage, this time incorporating some tulle and organza.

I don't think either of these collages look like Stephanie's or Carol's work, but it has been a really excellent exercise for me, and hopefully a step on my creative path. It is a big step for me not to be too literal, and allow myself artistic license. It is always strange how you can turn a creative corner without even knowing you have got to a junction!