Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Great Western Embroiderers' exhibition 2018

GreatWestern Embroiderers, the group I stitch with regularly, will be having their latest exhibition in the John Bowen Gallery, Malmesbury, from Saturday 24 March to Thursday 12 April. Full details, including varied opening times are given on the poster below.

The exhibition will be stewarded regularly by members and we would be very pleased to see any stitching enthusiasts who are close enough to come to Malmesbury (incidentally one of England's oldest boroughs and well worth a visit in its own right).

Visitors wanting to come on a Saturday would be wise to phone the Town Hall to check before setting out as the gallery is not always open at all at weekends. It is closed on Sundays. Contact details as follows:

Tel 01666 822143, email

Monday, 19 February 2018

And back to 2D again?

When I posted last night, I had a feeling there was more to come. Today, I'm back with 2D and playing more visual games.

I began the fun with one of the extra photos I'd ignored yesterday. It had especially pronounced shadows so I traced over the outlines of selected solid shapes and those shadows and filled in with colour.

Feeling there might be more to find, I then moved the original tracing layer to reveal some of the original underlying shapes and traced and filled again. 

And then moved, traced and filled again to reveal another part layer ...

Finally, just out of interest, I masked off the first coloured tracing layers to reveal this accident ...

Looking at the results of these games, I could almost climb inside so I pose the question: is the end product 2D or 3D?

PS Looking at these afresh, I think they could benefit from some of those black and white dots ...

Sunday, 18 February 2018

2D back to 3D

I spent this afternoon printing out the experimental architectural images I had generated and posted here and here at the end of January (a while ago but I work slowly and get easily diverted). I used 150 gsm card to give some rigidity and cut them out with a craft knife. I had manipulated and printed them so that they would fit back to back and make a new 3D structure when glued to one another. I cut look-through shapes to give more interest and then photographed them after dark and with a spotlight to increase shadows.

First of all, and sitting in the orientation I had originally envisaged, is the mainly black and white face with colour only visible on the reverse of the far side ...

Then the coloured face with some interior shadows ...

Then upside down, in an unexpected orientation (rather uncannily reminiscent of a space invader mask?) and perhaps my favourite ...

Finally from above is a view which seems to generate fresh shapes and interesting internal and external shadows ...

So this shape experiment has given - 3D into 2D into 3D again, all with the help of a camera, and the circle is completed, ... or maybe not. I never did put in those lines of dots that I rather liked on the original photo manipulations. They may change things.

Then maybe I could even return to 2D again through those shapes and shadows. 

I have a feeling this experiment is circular. 

Time will tell!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Rain Book

I've recently been to a couple of meetings of  Stroud Artists' Books, based (as their name suggests) in Stroud in Gloucestershire.  Many in the group are professional print makers who produce beautifully crafted pieces to inspire - and are most encouraging and welcoming to less proficient new-comers.

I have so, so much to learn but being able to see and hold and examine their work and ask questions is helping me to develop my skills in an area that I've long felt could be useful in expressing some of my thoughts and ideas.

Ahead of each monthly meeting, participants are given a theme to work to if the spirit moves them. For February, that theme was, very appropriately as it turned out, Rain. I had little time but generated this small accordion fold piece in Photoshop ...

with the words and thoughts taken from here ...


rain in floods
rain torrential pouring from the road rain
wind lashed cloud-scuttling rain coming in breath-taken gasps
steady-booted splashing through puddles
rain all day streaming
drizzling mizzling rain  
green spring-growing
something to be thankful for warm after winter cold
gently seeping through coats
rain damping the skin  
rain with no end
swift showery people running umbrellas held high
will be gone in a minute rain
misty quietly damp
teasingly hardly there 
rain leaving stealthily quietly on a gentle wind at storm's end 

This is the first time I've included anything creative that I've written but it seemed appropriate here as the words on the photos are so hard to read.

The usual thoughts are very welcome!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Architectural follow-up

This experimental image has developed from the picture taken of a high rise building in downtown Vancouver, BC, last summer which featured in my last post. As I explained there, I cropped several small sections of the photograph, turned them to black and white, flipped them, enhanced them in various ways and printed them out 13 cm square.

For this exercise, I used the first cropping, chosen for its simplicity and the angles within it which I thought would give interesting interplay when repeated and offset. 

Next, I traced over the outlines in pencil (hence the rather murky appearance of this photo) several times, flipping and moving the images around. I then photographed it ...

... and imported it to Photoshop where I played with outlines and positioning of the shapes. I then filled the shapes selectively and added two lines in dark grey which  changed the perspective surprisingly and remade the link to a built structure. Extraordinary what a difference two lines can make ...

Finally, to cheer up a grey and depressing afternoon, I tweeked things a little further and added some colour with something of a nod to the original photo ...

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Architectural inspiration

I made a pact with myself when I wasn't blogging last autumn that, if I came back, I would only post when I felt I had something I really wanted to show - hence a fresh silence. However, after three weeks of little new thought while I stitched pieces for an upcoming exhibition and revisited the Photoshop class I took last summer (of which more in another post), I've turned my thoughts back to my archive of photos. I take an enormous number of them, especially when I'm travelling, and almost all my work is a response to this archive.

These small experiments for a series of pieces (each currently about 13 cm square) have developed from a photograph I took in Vancouver BC last summer and are a follow on to the rather more random set I showed in November.

I was fascinated by the angles I could see within the original image and by the contrasting textures generated by the glass and concrete surfaces when I enlarged it. Like many modern high rise buildings this one had energy-efficient glass in the large windows which also gave particularly good, and interestingly distorted, reflections of nearby buildings.

I made many small croppings, especially around the section marked on the photo above. This seemed to enhance the movement within the group of pieces, particularly when I rotated and flipped them. I followed my usual practice and turned the croppings to black and white and adjusted the levels of brightness and contrast.

I then added some additional lines to the surface to accentuate the design. These may become stitches when I work on them further - and the pieces may well become larger.