Wednesday, 27 December 2017

New Textile Artwork Inspired by Lanzarote

The piece I have been working on for a while now is another biggish one, similar in size to the church, which I did near the beginning of this textile adventure (and which I sold at my Orchard Square exhibition - hurrah!). 

I think this new one is finished. I have been very keen to get it to this point before going away to Australia, as I didn't want to lose momentum by having to leave it for ages. I keep going back and tinkering though. It has moved on quite a bit since I last showed it to you, although the changes get more subtle, the nearer I get to the end.

The piece was inspired by my trip to Lanzarote in February. I did a great deal of drawing and painting while I was there, but one thing which I didn't capture at the time, but which really impacted on me, was the vine farming. Anyone who has been to the island will know what I mean, and hopefully recognise it in this new piece of mine.

I believe the technique is unique to Lanzarote and is a response to the combination of heat and wind. Low, semi-circular walls are tiled like fish scales over the land. A conical depression is usually dug inside each, to create greater wind protection, and the ground is layered with black volcanic ash, which of course they have plenty of, to help keep in what moisture there is.

When the vine planted at the centre of each circle appears, the effect is a series of bright green dots. From a distance, they stand out in a surreal fashion against the matt black, and I think it is this which stuck a note with me.

I have been wanting to do something with the idea since I got back and finally I have got around to it. The piece is saying two different, but connected, things about the landscape at once, using background and foreground layers. 

With the warmer areas, I am attempting to reflect the volcanic evolution of the landscape and the source of the ash. The bottom of the piece, with multiple layers of stitching and organza shapes, represents the magma chamber which periodically comes to life in the heart of the mountain, leaking into the rocks and eventually throwing up new landscapes.

The cooler areas are my response to the unique appearance of the vine farms. I cut up a pair of old work trousers for the ash layer, which I tore into strips and reconstructed, as I often do with my base layers. I wanted the dramatic contrast of the dark fabric to suggest the almost solemn solidity of the landscape, and to give the green 'growth' the necessary visual punch. I have used my wools again to represent the walls and provide contrasting rhythms with the bolder marks.

I have also 'drawn' with couched crewel wool, for a smaller echo of the lovely wall shapes. I was inspired to get some couching in, after my trip to the Royal College of Arms.

I can't wait to see what inspiration I get in Australia! I don't expect to take much sewing kit with me but, once I am done with my residency work, I will have a month in WA's national parks and will certainly be doing lots of painting again, to gather ideas and capture the shapes and colours.


Kate Wells said...

Your stitch work is great - flowing just like your drawings!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thank you Kate! Praise indeed, coming from you. Much appreciated :-)