Friday, 31 December 2010

January meeting - Gabrielle Forshaw

Make sure you come along to the meeting on Saturday 22 January. We are very lucky to have artist Gabrielle Forshaw coming along to talk to us. Her work is inspired by museum collections, particularly the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Wellcome Collection in London.

I met her on the Embroiders' Guild stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace show this year, and was fascinated by her work. Do explore her website.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Ellimans Universal Embrocation

It seems I've moved away from the 'Gay slant' bra packaging to Elliman's Embrocation. I still love the bra packaging but it wasn't leading me anywhere. So I visited the Museum again, and I was drawn to this display. I was attracted by the name 'embrocation' because it sounds so deliciously old-fashioned. (It is defined as the act or process of moistening and rubbing a part of the body with a liniment or lotion).

I was then amused by the fact that the same formulation was marketed for both humans and horses, only the packaging was changed. And finally amazed that despite the recipe remaining essentially the same (a mixture of eggs, turpentine and vinegar) Ellimans Universal Embrocation is still available today for £3.49 for symptomatic relief from rheumatic and muscular pain; stiffness including backache.

Does it really have any effect? Isn't turpentine hazardous? Who buys it? Isn't it just a crack-pot patent medicine? Yet it can't be or it wouldn't still be on sale today, and in fact on the Chemist Direct website someone reviewed it on 19 November 2010 and said "A friend recommended Elliman's Embrocation to me almost 30 years ago and I have found it to be the best rub I have tried... others can be sticky or make skin itchy but this product is easy to use and very effective..." I have yet to buy it and try it myself. I think I should - especially after the aches and pains of taking my children ice skating for the first time today.

Where am I going with this? I think I want to question the trust that we place in medical or cosmetic preparations. How much do we really know or understand about what we put on or in ourselves. How often are we seduced by packaging and advertising alone?

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Inspiring each other ...

Don't forget to post pictures and comments of your progress on the project. This is our chance to see work as it develops - don't worry about picture quality or how much you have or haven't achieved yet. Don't feel shy... its simply interesting and informative to see how each other approaches their work.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Teeny-tiny books and creativity at the November meeting

Margaret Cooter began the day with demonstrations of lots of ideas for hand-made books.
We all had scissors, paper and practiced our folding and cutting skills.
We rummaged through Margaret's fantastic stash of hand printed papers to choose our perfect cover.
And all ended up with a fantastic array of teeny-tiny books. Some were purely folded, and some were folded and stitched. All could be enlarged or adapted in numerous ways. And we went away enthusiastic to try our ideas out at home.

In between the sessions with the handmade books, we had a session on creativity led by Jane. With reference to photographs from Slough Museum we thought about the ways in which we approach our own creativity. What ideas attract you? Where do your inspirations come from and where do they lead you? What floats your boat?

External, abstract, visual based -
Are you inspired by your environment - nature, landscape, city scape - what you SEE around you? Pure textures, colours or patterns.

Knowledge or research based -
Are you inspired by what you THINK or what you know or research - history, science, facts? Culture, geography, poetry?

Evocative, emotional -
Does your work result from your emotional responses - what you FEEL about things - emotional reactions, memories or nostalgia.

I find I like to look at what I see around me, and I often think I should be inspired to make something from these inspirations, I photograph leaves or flowers or landscapes. I try sketching. But these never seem to translate into anything I can actually work from. I tend to work with ideas that stem from evocative things, or emotional reactions, things I find difficult to express with words can be translated into something I can make.

What we like isn’t necessarily the same as what we can create. What we like in other people’s work isn’t necessarily what we are good at creating ourselves.

How do you find inspiration? Is there a pattern? Are you always drawn to similar types of inspiration? Is there something entirely different which gives you your ideas? Please comment ...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Playing in the snow...

...for a few minutes only, back inside before my toes turned blue. The first snow-pic is the dress lying in the snow, the one below is its imprint.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Making a start (2)

Sorry I couldn't come to the last meeting. Hope someone will blog about it here…
I've been crocheting this little dress, from a single nylon-thread. It is denser than I expected. Had to work on it against a dark surface, so I could see what I was doing, and by excellent light only, presently next to my lumie-lamp, which also helps expel the winter-blues. I am not particularly thrilled by this object, wished I hadn't spent so much time on it but felled compelled towards completion, even if just to dismiss. Will try again with a much thicker crochet hook, make it lighter, loopy. In the meantime I might also play around a bit with the image.
Ultimately I would like to make something that is on the verge of disappearing, or appearing, and quite like this embossed version.

Or crumple up the dress and let it find different shapes.

Materials: nylon thread, twig, wire
Dimensions: 24 cm x 19 cm

Saturday, 23 October 2010

London 2012 Inspire Programme

I am very pleased to announce that our project has been granted the Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire Programme.

The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt Group (TVCQ) was founded to encourage like-minded individuals to meet, support and share experience of contemporary textiles. The spirit of London 2012 is an inspiration to us to think about how to engage with the wider local community, giving the impetus to share skills and experience with others in an inclusive and stimulating way, and in turn be inspired by their creativity and ideas.

Getting busy with the Slough Museum collection in September

London 2012 has given rise to new ideas on how to showcase work, and is challenging standards of excellence and personal goals in the process. London 2012 gives us the inspiration to share contemporary textile art with new audiences, and to inspire more people, especially young people, to express themselves, their surroundings and their ideas through the medium of contemporary textiles. In particular, the London Cultural Olympiad ‘Stories of the World’ project is an influence on this project. The group has also been inspired to engage with Slough’s culture and heritage, by exploring their surroundings and the collections at Slough Museum, and thinking about how these could be represented and expressed through contemporary textiles.

Seb Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said: "Whatever floats your boat ....’ is encouraging Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt and Slough Museum to fulfil their potential. I am proud that with the help of partners such as Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt and Slough Museum are delivering on our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in contemporary textiles."
Read more about the Inspire Programme here and about our projects part in it here

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

A slanted direction?

Sadly I missed all the fun with the loan boxes and haven't been back to the Museum since the early visits Sandy and I made when we met the Curator. So I am wondering what direction to go in? There is one image that is still sticking in my mind since all those months ago is the packaging for this bra ... I think I may start researching more in the underwear line. I seem to be on a theme since my last quilt included a pair of boxer shorts!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Making a start

I'm sorry I couldn't come and meet you all. Thought I'd make a start by myself and explored the collection of Slough Museum on their website. The object that lingered was this almost ghostlike image of a doll's underskirt from the late 19th century.

Object Number: 1985.027.001D
Description: Bowyer Collection of Needlework and Textiles -
19th c dolls under skirt
While I would love to see it for real, inspect it (the seams, the waistband, those stains), I am also attracted by the quality of the image, its melancholy feel. The object might not be real after all! This could be the lightest of pencil drawings, or a picture of a skirt come loose from its wearer like a kite from its string, floating across a twilight sky in search of her… I also like that the image doesn't give a clear indication of size, it might be a doll's, a girl's, a woman's underskirt, delicate, hand-sewn, ever so light.

I dug out some tiny old sketches and a paper figure I made a few years ago where the skirt does not conceal the upper body, but actually replaces it. I'm mulling over ideas now, want to crochet, focusing on lightness, the threshold between thereness and not-thereness. A lot of my work is to do with memories, their fragility and elusiveness, the point where a memory becomes a story becomes a memory.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Cubist Taplow Vase?

Having long been fascinated by shards of pottery and archeological finds, it was the Taplow Vase that grabbed my attention on visiting Slough Museum
Influenced by the potential in cubist paintings ( Braque, Piccaso and Villon below) of multiple viewpoints combined I've been playing around with opacity layers in Photoshop. I like the new shapes that are revealed.

Now how to intrepret it? Transparent layers in organza? A 3-D Structure ? Both? I've suddenly become interested in lampshades and their possibilities!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

tools of the trade

I have been posting a few of these photos from the handling collection on my blog, trying to get people to work out what they are.




Leave a comment if you know...but not if you saw them on the day!

This has really got me thinking...

I have struggled to get started. I know I was held back by trying to do something about Slough, and not getting my head around the real title of the project 'Whatever floats your boat' inspired by something in the museum or the town. So go on, let the imagination go with the many images I have from my visit and also looking at the collection.

Well, one of the posters in the collection was an early advertisement for a Mars Bar. Now, I have actually never managed to eat a whole Mars Bar, but I have eaten my fair share of Twix and Snickers! This got me thinking about chocolate! And did you know that you can order personalised M&Ms? Now there is a something to follow up.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Well, I have a great deal of enthusiasm after Saturdays meeting and a new found freedom that comes with my youngest beginning full days at pre-school, so I have been able to start experimenting.

This is my 'studio' (aka the dining room table)....

After Saturday, I felt strongly that I wanted to create a 3D piece using a theme of layers reflecting the culture and image of Slough as a whole, and incorporating key influences in the area. No mean feat! I like a good challenge...

I began by thinking about the pre(mis?)conceptions of Slough and managed to felt a fairly bland 'map' of the town onto scrim - the green splashes being the key parkland, as seen on a printed map of the area. I also tried felting wire (which I have never attempted before) to create a network effect as an upper layer. I plan to texturize this layer with other embellishments and incorporate textured silk fibres into the layers to add depth and create more 3D feel to each layer itself. Further layers will hopefully incorporate more of the textures seen in the dolls corsetry, for instance.

I have also been experimenting with perspex and rusted objects to create the impression of a rather tough and almost industrial outer layer. For example, I loved the patina on this slightly rusting Horlicks tin, photographed at the meeting on Sat. . . .I haven't formulated the ideas for the layers below or how I will put it together yet - acrylic rods, akin to those used with tiered cakes, are likely to form the four points at which each corner will be supported but how I toughen it up so that it doesn't become floppy in the middle of each layer, well, suggestions welcome!!!

If it all sounds very organised, then I apologise for misleading you! As I am sure the infinitely more experienced of you already know too well, things can change and usually a relative newcomer, this is my biggest learning curve!

One thing I found very interesting is this web page, which details all the poetry found in various languages across the town, along with their translations (apologies if I am repeating a previous post) :
Looking forward to hearing about all the other projects. . . . .

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Initial entry forms

Submission entry information is posted on its own page here. I could not easily post the forms however. If you need a form - please email and you will be sent one.

Just to remind you, initial entry and £10 is required by 20 November 2010 meeting please!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

What is it?

A photo taken yesterday, it is from one of the handling collections. Any guesses?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

What can I create for the project? A reminder ...

This project is about Whatever floats your boat ... In other words, whatever takes your own individual fancy and takes you off on a journey of thought and creation. Which hopefully will be wildly different from the next person, and the next person, and the next ...

The work must be inspired by Slough, its environment, history, surroundings, people, and/or the artefacts in the collection of Slough Museum.

• You may use any contemporary textile technique, you do not need to use quilting or produce work that fits any definition of a quilt. For example you may use felt, embroidery, quilting or any other textile technique or combination of techniques you choose. You may include non-textile or mixed media elements.

• Artwork may be 3-d.

• Artwork may be any shape or orientation you choose.

• You may work large or small, or create a series of small pieces which form one artwork.

• You may like to create a piece which is to be displayed next to the object which inspired it in some way. However, before you do this, you must discuss your idea and your materials with the Curator of the Museum.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Contacting Curator?

Sue and I are visiting the museum on Saturday - do we need to contact the curator beforehand? Looking forward to making re-acquaintance with some 'natillas' (Portuguese custard tarts )

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Maps, nostalgia, etc

Recently I found myself on the A4 going through Slough and started noticing the "new industry" in its plateglass buildings on both sides of the road. Back at the computer, I started looking for images of "Old Slough" and found this site which has old maps and nostalgic photos - from the 1950s and 60s. There are also a few personal memories.

And now for the photo - taken at Slough, apparently (found it on this site, "funny signs from around the world")!

What I am excited about...

Thanks Jane!
It is good to hear that others are getting excited about the project with the Museum.
Here are a couple things I am thinking about...

The 2 doll corsets are in one of the handling cases we hope to borrow. The bit from a whale (can't remember what!) oh...mammoth tooth...kind of links, since whalebone was used for adult corsets and visually this artefact has that same line patterning happening to it.
Anyway, I have these photos on a cupboard door in my studio while I am thinking about them.

Blog NOW OPEN for contributors

Sandy has been educating me in the way of blogs ... and so I have now invited the participants of the project (or potential participants at least!) to be contributors. Please post pictures of your visits to Slough, your sketches, your experiments or ideas ... and we can all start collaborating and sparking inspiration off one another. If I've missed you off the invite list, do please let me know!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Slough History Online

Great to hear participants are getting over to Slough to visit the Museum and beginning to get inspired. Heather went recently and it sounds like she is getting the creative juices flowing ...
And also gave us an excellent link to online information about history in Slough Thank you Heather!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Next meeting - 11 September

Join us for the next meeting of Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt on 11 September in Bracknell. We will be launching our exhibition project with the exciting activity of working with Slough Museum's handling collection. You will be able to sketch, photograph and get really close to some interesting, intriguing and inspiring objects.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Visit the museum

Get your thinking cap on, get the ideas flowing and visit Slough over the summer.

Here is the link to Slough Museum itself where you will find information about visiting the Museum.

You can also search the photographic archive of the Museum for ideas, although the searching system is not the most easy to use.

If you can't visit right now, don't worry. We will have lots of examples from the Museum's handling collection to sketch and photograph at the next meeting - 11 September, Bracknell.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Slough Museum pictures

Hello and welcome. This blog will build up as we make progress working towards our group exhibition next summer in Slough.
For now, for inspiration - please view the slideshow of pictures of Slough and its Museum. Its rough and ready for the moment, I haven't had time to add captions or anything....
Do please start following the blog, and get in touch if you have pictures or information to add.