Friday, 17 February 2012

Luminous threads and mark making

There is something that excites me about fluorescent colours, none more so when its an accent in something fragile like textiles, as oppose to the luminous nature of a retro plastic visor or this new trend for eye popping neon satchels. Which, don't get me wrong now I L.O.V.E!

When it comes to 2D work, I prefer restraint in the use colour. Take Claire Heathcote's large scale embroidered portraits. Worked by hand with a combination of applique, screen printing and machine embroidery technics, alongside a selective colour palette, Heatcote's use of pattern and dynamic composition culminate in a bold, confident style. The stylised details of the sitters' clothing and hair is something I'm specifically drawn to. As individual components they can be seen as quite abstract, but viewed as a whole, the texture gives depth and a tactile quality, which provides something more tangible for the viewer to relate to.

Hannah, 2005-06, hand stitched and machine embroidered, applqiue and screen print (130 x 110 cm)

'I think it has a calm, thoughtful quality with a feeling that my subjects are caught mid-motion and I think the use of thread tends to lend the work this transitory effect that perhaps a line drawing or painting might not possess to the same extent.'
Portrait of the Artist by Sue Pricahrd - Embroidery May/June 2007 (pg. 23)

David, 2005, hand stitched on felt (90 x 76 cm)

I find the contrast between blocks of colour, repeatative kinetic pattern and bare fabric so satisfying.

Another contemporary practitioner whose work shows great exploration whilst staying true to their own visual discernment is that of Helen Carnac a maker, curator and academic who works in metal, with a preoccupation for pattern, and mark making, together with process lead experimentation.

Carnac has a strong appreciation for material qualities, this is clear by her working process. Carnac also draws influence from her imediate urban and natural environment.

Some of my favourite pieces show thread being Incorporated into enameled metal together with these examples of her paper Marquette's with stitched details, and cut outs.

Cluster 3 brooch

Trade Secrets Episode 2: Helen Carnac on approaches to practice from Artquest London on Vimeo.