Author Archives: donnacheshiretextiles

About donnacheshiretextiles

I am a professional textile artist specializing in Applique and machine stitching. In order to create a unique colour palette, I print and dye my own fabrics and then use these to create the landscapes and coastal scenes recorded in my sketchbook. I often incorporate found objects and recycled or vintage fabrics in my work - they add meaning to the story the work is telling. I love being so close to the Northumbrian coast and countryside and I especially like taking time out for tea and cake!

Urban Efflorescence

I make most of my local journeys by bike. It’s quick, cheap, healthy and, this summer, inspirational!

My journey into Newcastle takes me along a cycle path with a wild flower border. This summer the border has been absolutely gorgeous; a mass of blossoms awash with colour and buzzing with insect life.

It has been a joy to watch the border grow and develop. Each time I cycled past I thought I must do something to record and celebrate this lovely feature.

I want to capture the way these supposed weeds are reviving our urban landscape. I’ve spotted more, deliberately planted, wild flower borders along main roads and on roundabouts. The variety of flowers is gorgeous to see and I love the lack of order – not ‘unkempt’ at all – just natural!

Another aspect I want to capture is the depth and layers, as the plants grow up, over and through each other. Looking through the bright, verdant leaves to the dark spaces beneath.

I think there also needs to be an element of recycling (no pun intended 😊) in these cycle path scenes. As I cycle or walk around my local area I often find these rings.

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etal rings appear on roadsides, pavements and hedgerows; rusty, grimy and misshapen. They are used to hold car hubcaps in place but obviously get dislodged when hubcaps are damaged and fall off cars. I've got quite a collection now and have been thinking about how I might use them.

I have also sourced a very old book on wildflowers that will feature in new pieces of work and, as I'm inspired by cycle paths, I think I will have to include some of my lovely old puncture repair tins too

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at is all this leading to? A new body of work, quite different in style to my landscape pieces but still using my favourite processes of appliqué and free machine embroidery. I am busy developing ideas in my sketchbook(s) but here are some of the first pieces in this new series.

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f these pieces are currently in Ripon Cathedral at the Great North Art Show, others will be listed on Etsy.

I'll blog soon about how the series is developing but I'd love to know what you think of them too.

French Street Art

Travelling around a small part of France, examples of street art started to catch my eye. There were sculptures, paintings, installations, graffiti and yarn bombing Some were bizarre, some beautiful but all were engaging, reminding me that art is everywhere.

In Rennes, an artist has dotted the city with fake radishes- just for fun!

Cancale, Brittany- a tiny house becomes an art gallery

A pilgrim ponders his journey at Mont St Michel, sculpture on the street

Setting up for a circus performance in the street, Pontorson

Coco the clown with his ‘elephant’, free circus show outside the town hall.

Son et Lumiere projection on the town hall, the story of Pontorson, is it Norman, or Breton?

Yarn bombing, Avranches town hall.

A little creativity turns a street lamp into a lighthouse.

Capo Di Monte style floral wreath adorns a tomb in the local graveyard.

‘Look after your town – eat a seagull!’

Stencil graffiti of civic pride

Political commentary on a derelict building

Pacman added to a drain cover outside someone’s house.


Everywhere around us, wherever we go, artists embellish and enrich our environment, making us pause to admire, consider and question. Encouraging all of us to engage with and participate in artistic activity. These creative gestures, hasty or considered, commissioned or unauthorised make me pause and savour the place, connecting further with my surroundings.

Deadlines!


Right/Write ! 

I have a flagon of coffee, an apple, reference books,  notes and an empty house – I’m not coming out until this thing is written….or until 11.30 when I have to go and hear youngest sing at the Sage Gateshead 

NB. That’s the vital notebook that the kids used to play hangman in, at the cafe at the weekend AND LEFT IT THERE 😳 Thankyou beloved OH for tracking it down on your way to work 

#family #worklifebalance #workingparents #creativelife

Alnmouth Arts Festival 2017

So this was my journey to work this morning 


A bit of a change – it’s the annual Alnmouth Arts Festival and I’m exhibiting in venue 16 along with lots of other talented artists.


This was the walk from the train- its only 3/4 mile but if you think it might be too hot for that today then you could…


Park & Ride😄. 

It’s a beautiful Summer’s day here in Alnmouth and the flowers are looking gorgeous 


Come and spend the day – the village is full of art, artists and sunshine! 

Notes from an exhibition 

Joan Eardley -A Sense of Place

Joan Eardley has become a favourite artist of mine. An exhibition of the Glasgow Girls at the Kirkcudbright Art Gallery introduced me to her paintings of Glasgow children. I was drawn to the use of collage and lettering in the background, and the bold colours. Curious to find out more, I began online research and was struck by the energy Eardley captures in her land and seascapes. I tracked down an exhibition in the Clydebank Gallery  a year later  – and worked a visit into that summer’s holiday itinerary (!)

It was fantastic to be able to observe first hand the work that I had seen on line. The landscape paintings are around a metre square,the seascapes even bigger, as if she was trying to make life-size representations of the scene in front of her, so powerful. Imagine trying to manipulate a canvas or board that size outdoors in Scottish weather – Summer and Winter! The texture and colour were inspiring. As I stood in front of the work I tried to follow through the process; looking at underlying colours, often very strong and dark, the way thicker paint was applied in parts of the composition and, how in places real plant matter was embedded in thick layers of paint. There was a book supporting the exhibition. I bought it and took it home to study.

I started trying to build the ideas I gained from studying Joan Eardley’s work into my own textile art; stronger colours, more consideration of composition, thinking about how and where to build up texture. Learning from another artist is empowering, encouraging creativity. The biggest lesson is that reminder that in working in situ ideas and feelings flow into the work.

Then, in December 2016, I found out that there was to be another, more comprehensive exhibition of Joan Eardley’s work at the Scottish Museum of Modern Art in Edinburgh – it took me til’ the February Half Term break to persuade my family that they really wanted a weekend in Edinburgh! We compromised – I took them to the Camera Obscura, they accompanied me to the gallery. We met up with friends there, it was good to be able to discuss the work with a great pal – and ex art teaching colleague (Hello Linda!)

This exhibition includes work from throughout Eardley’s all too short career. Completed paintings are supported with sketches and studies, photographs and artefacts and a wonderful film of the artist at work. The work is divided into five rooms, themed through chronology and subject matter. Again, I was entranced by process, the use of media, expensive paints used sparingly then splurged or padded out with filler to create texture. Sketchbook pages stuck together to make a big enough surface to draw on. Collage worked into paintings and sketches. Again, I was struck by the sense of life and energy in the work. And there was another book…

I got the chance to return to this exhibition on Saturday. It was a very short follow up visit- only an hour to go through the five rooms. I was on a weekend trip with the 12 year old, ostensibly to visit the Knitting and Stitching Show and hit the shops with her left over Christmas money. So, we negotiated and an hour was what I got! Focus and determination was the plan. In each room, I studied the pieces that most grabbed my interest, standing in front and typing notes directly on my phone (must get faster at touch typing!) So what follows is the transcript of those notes, with images from the books I bought to remind me. Even reading through them now I get that rush of adrenaline and excitement – it is so important to continue to study other artists’ work. It gives me enthusiasm and ideas, a sense of determination to continue with my work so I get to what I want to achieve. The exhibition is on until the 21st May 2017. I don’t think I’ll get another chance to see it but I have my memories – and I hope there’ll be another one soon….

Fields Catterline 

Be bold bright blue and orange ochre in with greens and charcoal

Obvious layers thick rough texture

Brush marks long embroidery stitch

 

Field with wild flowers 1960-2



Dashes and squiggles with patches on top

What happens if I add larger pieces (organza) over small?

Marks go in & out of focus

Turquoise lime green salmon pink

July Fields 1959


Flat patches either side of texture flower wedge

Patchwork raw edges

Thick thread stitching in texture

That blue again

Summer Fields 1961 


Speedy marks texture change direction

Colours layer and smudge together

Small clear details catch the eye

Real plant matter smothered in dripping paint

Harvest 1960-1


T shape composition

One side blurred – yellow ochre

Just fabric- minimal stitch

Centre -green/ochre heavy texture

Right- greens clearer bold marks over thinner paint

Fields under Snow 1958


Many grey and ochres large smooth patches overlap

Charcoal & burnt umber on top

Brush marks unravel like frayed yarn

Beehives Storm Approaching 1961


Sky smooth blended

Green jade under grey umber

Black black house

Rough tweed tea texture field

Aggressive wind whipped marks

Sketches




Pastel on paper in sketch book

Rust marks

Stitch collage on top

So much energy
Winter Day Catterline 1957-60


Turquoise under umber white peach

Smooth sky

Textures land

Mud fest
Gable end of tenement 1955


Charcoal umber terracotta flashes

Big flat fabric patches

Stitched over

Organza
Two Glasgow Lassies


That pinny

Flame over blue grey

Is it torn, faded, dirty?

Lettering emerging

Stained glass colours

Child before a tenement window 1958-60

Illuminated window- lace curtain?

Positive/negative lace/graffiti
Glasgow Corner shop 


Sketchbook collages of local shops

New series collage raw edges mounted on stained white
Children playing in a street 1960


Pen n ink drawings – become machine stitch sketches?
Girl and Chalked Wall 1955-60


Lettering (for Julia)

Texture on dress French knots

Such a Chagall blue
Summer Sea 1962


So big bold and wild

Paint drips and slashes across the wide sea

Shore is dark as peat

Surf crashes desperately on to it

Short thick vertical marks become wide dripping horizontals

Taste the salt spray
Winter Sea III 1958


What was it like to paint in that storm?

Everything crashing rapid direction changes

Difficult to see through pouring rain?
Fishing Nets Catterline 1962


Ochre n khaki beach thin brush texture visible

Cross hatch netting
Seascape 1956


Sunset fire colours in the waves

Sun thick like butter on burnt toast cliffs

What colour!