I had been warned that I might feel a little ‘flat’ after the roller coaster / adrenalin rush that was Festival of Quilts. If I was still living my old life and had had to return to the day job I think that would definitely have been the case. But luckily I’m not living that life. I’m living one in which I get to work in my studio every day - my idea of heaven! I’ve had lots of bits and bobs to do to prepare for upcoming workshops and events but have also spent lots of time thinking about ‘what next?’ for me as an artist.
Although I have been super busy making art in recent months the development work for those pieces was done some time ago. I developed my Ruins series in 2015. It was a breakthrough moment for me that came after months of work playing with colour and learning about breakdown printing. I started work on the paler pieces inspired by the destruction of the coal mining industry in 2017. Again the first quilt came after months of work learning how I could combine breakdown and discharge to create a very striped back palette. I’m pretty sure that I will make more pieces in both series that will be meaningful and, hopefully, worth exhibiting. But they won’t necessarily challenge me or help me develop as an artist.
The print series was developed last summer. But, if I am being honest with myself, it was rushed. The decision to start teaching and to write a book interrupted that process and I am not as happy with it as I could be. There are some pieces that I really like - Franklin Gothic Heavy (above) is the one I like most and I’m delighted to announce that it has been accepted into this years Quilt-Art-Quilt exhibition. But I think I need to take a step back and rethink. No idea what that will mean yet but I’m just going to play around with some of the fabrics and see what happens.
I also want to start work on a set of ideas, thoughts and emotions about politics, the media and censorship that have been rolling about in the dark recesses of my mind for some time. I have no idea how these ideas will be expressed on cloth but I do know how my ‘creative process’ tends to work so I’m going to set myself some ‘technical’ challenges to get started. Now that I have more time I want to learn more about dyeing and printing on fabrics other than cotton. I want to look at different dye systems. And I want to learn a lot more about the discharge process. The scientist in me will be very happy carrying out lots of experimentation over the coming months. And while my hands are busy my mind will, hopefully, make connections, ideas will find form and I will discover if they are interesting enough to sustain a series of new pieces.