Monday, 23 May 2011

Visitors and plastic bags.

Wow, we have had a lot of visitors in the past three days - friends and family, students and people from arts organisations, and lots of lovely interesting and interested holiday makers from as far afield as Inverness the Channel Islands and even Novia Scotia.

Even with all of the chatting about the residency and the weather, we have both moved forward with our drawing and sampling for the work with the businesses in Sedbergh.

I am very interested in the way in which textiles have become an incidental part of our life because they are now cheap and readily available.  Until recently cloth was a valuable commodity due to the labour intensive nature of the manufacture - time taken to process the initial fibre then to spin it, weave or knit it, colour it and finish it.  It is no wonder that cloth was expensive and every piece considered precious. With the introduction of intensive farming methods and synthetic fibres, machinery to spin, weave and knit cloth and chemical dyes to colour it we now take cloth for granted and replace it quickly when it shows signs of wear. However, I feel that the evidence of  stains and wear on cloth tell the story of the use of the textile, and my work for the cafe and the greengrocer in Sedbergh will incorporate elements of the staining and distressing of age.  I also want my work for the businesses to highlight the valuable commodity that cloth once was.  I intend to make everyday textile items used by the businesses, such as oven gloves and onion nets, from materials such as silk and cashmere, that today are still considered valuable and generally used for luxury items.

Stella's journal pages
Today I have been focusing on the plastic bags containing animal feed and peanuts that are sold in the greengocers.  I particularly like the way in which the light catches on the folds and creases that form where the plastic is stretched or pulled together.  I have drawn some of the shapes formed by the folds and I have begun to develop some shaddow applique using silk and silk/metal organza stitched with silver metal thread.  The 'expensive' materials representing the human manipulation of the plastic textile that results in the wear of creases and folds.


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