The driftwood for these two pieces was found on the peaceful “working” beach near West Sands, beside the small boatyard. Here the driftwood is of a more industrial nature. I love the contrast of the burnt wood and the vibrant colours of the beach string on the piece on the left hand side. On the right, the plastic edging adds interest to the design. Presented in oiled pine box frames, these pieces (4 in total) will be for sale at the next TRAC Show, entitled Ryde, at the People’s Gallery from September 4th – 16th. It will be my final show with the group.
The following pieces were constructed from beach string and driftwood found on Ryde Sands before the dog ban marked the beginning of summer. Now each day a tractor combs the beach from one end to the other, burying the traces of flotsam and jetsam, pizza boxes and lollipop wrappers to make a perfect surface for new footprints to mark.
The driftwood in the piece on the left is perhaps from a packing crate washed by the sea and rusted in places from the nail that remains embedded. The beach string is unraveled plastic cord (pale blue), orange fishing twine and the white is elasticated, curling nylon, I think from an old shoelace. Crochet thread was used for the warp on both pieces.
On the right, the wood is possibly marine ply leaving interesting patterns as layers have separated. Unraveled plastic cord in several shades of blue and a piece of orange are layered with orange fishing twine and the nylon shoelace again.
Both pieces are mounted on card and framed in 8″x 8″ oiled pine box-frames.
I have been working on my Ryde themed pieces for the September TRAC exhibtition and as you will see, I’ve decided to work in the abstract rather than to try and reinterpret popular landmarks. There has been a lot in the news about the impact of ‘Ghost gear’ from the fishing industry and a stroll along Ryde Sands revealed that even the beautiful beaches here are not free from such detritus. The pieces of ‘beach string’ seem to be shorter here than what is often found on Cornish beaches, for example, but still just as harmful to marine life. How could I incorporate them into my work?
I collected some multicoloured string and a couple of pieces of driftwood for good measure. After some trial and error, I decided that I would deconstruct the string and work on some small woven pieces. I found my trusty Spear’s weaving loom, a childhood toy that was rarely used, was perfect for working in this way. Tune in next time to see how I turned this into a piece of work:
This piece was the first started but last finished, partly because it spent the best part of a 3 weeks wrapped together with shards of rust from the groins along Ryde beach. As with Water 2 I had dyed the fabric with Dylon. This time I used the patching and piecing technique to assemble the fabric and then machined stitched it to bring it together. On reflection, this is preferable to the patched approach of the previous piece. I hoped that the rust dying would add another dimension to the surface. However, the rust didn’t take to the Dylon. I had incorporated small pieces of previously rust-dyed fabric into the patching and those were intensified by the process. The cotton sheet on the back is a nice rusty colour too! The soaking had slightly muted the Dylon colours, so I was happy with that. Again, I used my funky foam print block to add green and copper acrylic (stamped on to scrunched paper and them applied to the fabric). This time in circles surrounding the marked out holes. The holes were cut away and, using broderie Anglais technique, were secured with some naturally dyed wool.
Peering through the holes you can see another layer. I intended to conjure up the idea of a vortex behind, but I was impatient and didn’t sample and have ended up with something resembling a cut tree stump or thumb print. Its okay though and, after all, it is just the backing and you’re only getting glimpses by peering through the holes. The prints were created by cutting a lino block and printing with white acrylic. I machine stitched swirls of tricky to use embroidery thread into them. I liked the mixture of fabrics including velvet, linen and denim. I think it would have been great to have patched and pieced this side too, but time is money!
I was pleased with my bias-binding edges, not used since my City & Guilds. Machined on the front and hand-stitched on the back. The hanger is great too – a really useful find at the Knitting & Stitching show last year.
So that’s all my pieces for the TRAC Spring Exhibition at Quarr Abbey (2nd-14th March), but I think I will utilise my other sketchbook drawings and photos for a few more pieces related to this theme. So watch this space.