an artists' view

an artists' view

Friday, 30 November 2012

Avocado Compost Dye-ing!

Compost Dye-ing!
SLOW DYE-ING! This avocado has been 'wrapped' around a piece of fabric, and put into my compost bin for the last 3 months. Today, I hoiked it out, to have a looksee. I think I would have left it for longer. But for a first tryout, I'm happy with it. There are lots of brown/black marks; it's more a mark-making result than a dyed fabric.
This is a wet close-up of the fabric as it was drying on the line. The vivid blue colour has faded; there are some holes, which gives it a nice texture; the brown marks are quite subtle.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


The exhibition is up!
Jill and I went up to Westgate Studios yesterday, and put all our felt and textile pieces up in the Project Space.
Above you can see 3 of my felt pieces (right), and 3 of Jill's felt and wood pieces (left).

Jill has also made leaves from felt, which hang in the window space. Above is a photo of them displayed, and below is a close-up of one. You can just make out the way that the leaves cast shadows onto the window blind! Lovely.

Below is my fabric piece 'Palimsest', which I've shown earlier in this blog. 
But with a bit of photo-shopping, I've managed to get the whole piece into one photograph.

We worked really hard to put it together yesterday; and I came home ready for a relaxing evening. It's that moment of calm when there's nothing else to do, but just wait for Wednesday, and welcome in the visitors.

Friday, 16 November 2012

felt from the past

My mum was clearing out some junk (treasure?) recently, and found these. After checking that it wasn't Helen's, my grown-up niece, she asked me if the felt collages were mine.
Well....I have to say I don't remember them at all. But....I like the conceit that they're mine!
An example of my early years creativity, and enjoyment of making collages. And also, revealing my early affinity with felt and textiles....which lay dormant until the 21st century.
Of course, it's also, sociologically, a material example of the education of primary school children in the mid-twentieth century. Learning through play, and manipulation of materials. Development of hand-eye co-ordination, and motor skills. Funny how these things have to be described and de-constructed. Rather than enjoyed, and encouraged.  

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Jarvis @ wakefield

Today the new library and museum opened in Wakefield. To celebrate that, Jarvis Cocker, the musician and songwriter from Pulp, and Sheffield, was invited to do the honours. Here Jarvis is, after drawing the strings of the velvet curtain, announcing the 'official opening'!

He talked about how he had been banned by his local library for not returning books within the due date. And how he thought there had been a mistake, and he thought he was being invited to knock a library down, as libraries are threatened with closure all around the country.
Jarvis kindly stayed to chat and sign autographs for us fans who'd turned up to see him. He was very accessible, and chatted with everyone. I managed to get my CD of Pulp's 'we love life' signed, and I said how much I enjoyed his R6 programme, 'Sunday Service'. He told me he was thinking about how he had to get it organised for tomorrow.
What a charming man he is!

We in Wakefield have lost 2 libraries in the city centre, which have been replaced by this one smaller one...and a number of branch libraries have gone, so it's not quite all good news to say this new library has opened. However; it does look splendid; though I shall miss the intimacy of the Drury Lane library (a Carnegie Library, gifted to the city), and the 1960's architectural brutalism of Balne Lane central library. I've spent many a happy hour there, perusing the shelves, and harassing staff with requests for books on obscure artists. My education has come through using libraries; as a child I used my tiny local library from early on, and when I got into art college, I made use of the request service for writing essays and my dissertation. Afterwards, studying for my teaching certificate, and years later, my M.A. I regularly called into the libraries in Wakefield to look at, and order books. And of course I've borrowed books, novels, CD's, maps, read newspapers there, and used the local studies section. I still use the libraries extensively.
I'm pleased to see the opening of a spanking new library. Though I'm sorry to see the old ones go.
My childhood library, another Carnegie Library, has long gone, to be replaced by an anonymous glass and metal shed, kindly paid for by Tesco's, who bought the land around it, and built a massive supermarket behind it. I've also noticed how new libraries always seem to be smaller than the older ones....hmmmmm.

Friday, 9 November 2012


The Exhibition 

                        1) to engage in fanciful daydreaming; the idle or absent-minded indulgence in fantasy.
                        2) gathering tufts of wool shed by sheep & caught on bushes.

After spending some time dreaming of, and counting sheep, Jan & Jill have gathered wool from various sources and created a series of art works using wool, and incorporating fabric.

They have made 2D & 3D works, reflecting their different interests and influences. 
Jill has been making felt for a number of years, recently completing a City & Guilds course. Jan became interested in wool and felt-making, and began to explore textiles as a medium. Through experiments with dye-ing using plants, stitching and mark-making, Jan is extending her artistic practise into the material world.

The artists; Jan Millington & Jill Halsall

The media; Felt and Textiles

The venue; Project Space, Westgate Studios, Wakefield

The date; Wednesday 28th November 2012 as part of Wakefield Artwalk
               (to view by arrangement with Westgate Studios after 28th)

Monday, 5 November 2012

studio #3....Bonfire Night

When I was inhabiting A13 studio in Westgate Studios, I had fantastic views over the city, and to Emley Moor mast...which until the digital age, delivered our television signal, locally.
This was a particularly grey, yet glowing sky, from winter 2008.

Today I've been working in my home studio; with the heater on I was nice and cosy.
I was putting together my City and Guilds portfolio, for my course tomorrow. It was great to sit and spend some time on it. The day's been bright and sunny, though as the light has faded, the temperature's dropped, and it's got very cold.
The cats are all sitting in front of the fire; and I've made sure they're all in for the evening, as tonight is Bonfire Night, and there are fireworks going off all around us. We're keeping warm and safe, away from all harm.

Last Friday I went to Leeds, and called into the Art Gallery, and the Henry Moore Institute next door. 
There was a small exhibition of Helen Chadwick's photographs. Large, cibachrome, richly coloured photos. She used flowers, fruits, and household cleaning fluids, such as Windowlene, and Swarfega. She also used Lime & Lemon marmalade, and Germolene, to give vibrant colours and textures to her sculptures, which she then photographed! They are beautiful. I love the way she incorporates ordinary 'domestic' materials into her artwork. 
Well worth a look, on the Henry Moore Institute website, here

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