Monday, September 26, 2011

14 September 2011, Cynth Weyman, "Retire to Wear Purple – No Chance!"

Cynth Weyman’s background came from fine art, and the images she showed us of her drawings and prints certainly demonstrated her artistic skills. She finds inspiration in natural forms such as plants, rocks, seascapes and human figures and will often use the rocky coastal paths of Pembrokeshire as a starting point for a piece of work.

Cynth started by describing her most recent (and exciting although stressful) piece of work. This was to design a logo for a banner to be used as part of the Welsh Tourist Board’s current campaign aimed at encouraging more tourists to Wales. A large, colourful piece, it will be widely seen on social network sites such as Facebook and as part of the TV advert campaign.

I think some of the audience were a little confused by how this fitted into textiles but Cynth got round this by using it as a way of describing the technique she has developed and called "Intaglio Stratti". This is based on the technique of stitching layers of fabrics together and then cutting back top layers to reveal others underneath. Cynth has made this technique her own by using up to 14 layers of fabrics, many of them vibrantly coloured and textured Indian silks, and cutting back in very small areas to create very detailed pictures. These are further enhanced by simple hand stitching.

The first pieces she showed us (on slides) did look a little dated, but that was understandable when you realised they were originally done in the 1970s. Cynth believes in allowing the viewer to read their own story in her work, although many of the pieces are built up from themes in her own personal life. Her work has obviously developed in complexity, from early pieces of mushrooms and plant life, she has moved onto female forms seen within cliffs and Salvador Dali-type mirror images combined with human hands. Cynth told us that she restricts her colour palette and only has 3 boxes of fabrics under the bed – when you see the range of tones of colour in her work this is hard to comprehend!

Cynth Weyman
Reality & Desire

It was difficult to appreciate from the pictures that many of the pieces are designed as panels or art quilts to be hung on walls (think large pieces over 3ft tall) and often there are a number of them forming a series. However, as she had also bought some pieces for us to actually see, you could start to appreciate the amount of work needed to create each picture. She also bought a large collection of cards and prints for sale and emphasised the importance of taking a good picture to start with and knowing how to enhance this on the computer.

Cynth Weyman
Coming Down Going Up

It was perhaps a shame there were not more quilters in the audience as this technique may have appealed more to them as there was not a lot of stitching to appeal to embroiderers.

13 July 2011 - Summer Social

In July, we had our second social evening of the year. The social evenings are a chance for members to get to know each other a little better or, for those who are better acquainted, a chance to catch up on news.

We usually have a bring-and-share supper and in the summer we have non-alcoholic punch.

On the social evenings we sometimes have a light hearted competition. This year, remembering the ‘interesting’ hat that Princess Beatrice wore to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the challenge was to design a hat for Beatrice to wear to the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall.

The teams completely went to town with the weird and wonderful assortment of materials available to them and, judging by the laughter, a lot of fun was had.

13 April 2011 - Jane O’Brien, "Damask, Colour and Collage"

In April we were treated to another talk by one of our own members. Jane O’Brien shared with us some of her knowledge and passion for damask. Rather than bore us, as Jane put it, with endless photographs of faded fragments of fabric, Jane had prepared a slide show that told the story of damask through a series of paintings but she did begin with a few photographs that show the full beauty of this wonderful fabric. Jane explained that it is the pattern in a twill (matt) weave on a satin (shiny) weave background that gives the fabric its distinctive look.

The talk could almost have been a history of art lesson since Jane is as knowledgeable about the paintings and the artists who produced them as about the fabrics themselves. We saw that for centuries, those wealthy enough to do so have chosen to adorn themselves and their homes in damask. We saw how the earliest patterns - simple roundels surrounding flora and fauna – evolved as they journeyed through time and across continents.

The Ambassadors
1533, Hans Holbein the Younger

Jane then told us about her background in interior design and how she entered the world of textile art. After gaining a Diploma in History of Art, Jane went on to study textile art, gaining a distinction for her Diploma in Stitched Textiles at East Berkshire College. And finally, Jane showed us how her interest in textiles, and the messages they convey, has been the inspiration behind her own art.

Jane O’Brien

Jane O’Brien

Jane O’Brien

Jane O’Brien

9 March 2011 - Jackie Langfeld, "Maximising the Miniumum"

"I am inspired by the challenge of interpreting the human form and am intrigued by how the subtle nuances of facial expression and body language can transform a message".

A member of Odyssey textile artists , Jackie originally did her textile degree course at Opus – so the audience knew to expect something out of the ordinary. For her, the creative process, whether drawing, painting or stitching has been a life-long interest and passion. After a brief intro to her early textile life, she began to offer more information about the work she has recently completed entitled "Straw Dogs, Paper Warriors".

Jackie Langfeld - Paper Warrior I (Study)
Life size figurative sculpture
Willow, cardboard, garden twine, paper cording, steel

She had begun just playing around with bits of cardboard, manipulating them and painting them before stitching. Liking the way they turned out and feeling they had a "life" of their own she found they grew in size and eventually she decided she wanted to work on something life size. Created from metal, recycled cardboard, willow, paper cording, and garden twine she found it quite a challenge to answer the question of how they would stay firmly upright (a steel framework hidden inside the figures was the eventual answer). There is little colour to them as they are mainly constructed in neutral shades, but there is a lot of texture to the way their “armour” is tied and twisted together.

Jackie Langfeld - Paper Warrior II (Study)
Life size figurative sculpture
Willow, cardboard, garden twine, paper cording, steel

At first viewing these life-size warriors seemed strange and haunting – somehow a group of bodies without faces. I liked them, but could understand how some people found them to be eerie – especially when displayed at the top of a high staircase looking down into the foyer.

Jackie had bought sketchbooks and that's something that a lot of us just love looking through. You could see the early seeds of the warriors in some of her earlier pieces of tied and manipulated work.

Totally different was Jackie’s work of delicate broken china tea cups and saucers which were "crocheted" back together again, and a series of ladies dressed in crinoline's and made of calico, feminine floral print, tissue and running stitch.

Jackie Langfeld - Holding On - Loving No Less
Ceramic, handmade paper, paper cord
Life size

A very interesting talk, well delivered and illustrated. I will definitely look out for her work at exhibitions.