Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Happy New Year!

(Oil rig, Qatar; Iraqi tank graveyard; trees amongst karst pillars in Madagascar.)
As another year ends, so does another sample diary. This is something I’ve done for four years now – I get a large diary with a picture per week and then each week I make a little textile sample inspired by the picture and stick it in. They don’t all work, but it makes a lovely bulgy book to look back through.

(Indian marble quarry; boats in Nile clogged with water hyacinths.)

I started with a cheap leftover Rothko diary – quite a challenge. The following year it was Van Gogh – more variety. Painters worked well, plus I must surely have learned a bit about their art along the way? Then I did an Earth From the Air diary of aerial photos, which was much more difficult at first, but in the end I loved it so much I went on to do another one this year.

I don’t do this for anyone else to see, but I’ve scanned a few examples here just to show what I’m on about. And maybe spread the idea?

(Shadows of camel caravan, Niger desert; the Eye of the Maldives.)

I don’t want to copy the pictures – all I aim for is a little sample inspired or suggested by the picture (or sometimes the accompanying words), using whatever I’ve got to hand. For me it’s a valuable exercise in quickly responding, completing and moving on – not endlessly reworking in search of perfection. But it could work with any rules or none, depending on what you need or want to achieve.

It’s also a great chance to have fun with techniques and materials I don’t use much in my everyday work. So as well as machine embroidery, there’s hand stitching, embellisher, appliqué, etc.

(Autumn trees, Quebec; Sao Paulo apartment windows; dugout canoes in Mali.)

The big problem now is, I can’t find any diary that appeals for 2011. But I can't stop, this is addictive. Going to have to do something radical. I’ve decided to take a picture from the newspaper each week instead… hmm, could be a challenge too far?!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Happy Holidays!

How's that for Christmassy - one of our photos from Antarctica in 2009.
Wishing everyone a lovely relaxing break, whatever you're doing.