Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Six 2016




You see what looks like smoke rising from the roof of the Applewood workshop? Well it's not smoke, it's steam! It's the steam which is coming from the busy hands of Murgatroyd & Bean as they finish off pieces of work for their next exhibition in a few short weeks. We can't linger here for long we're afraid, so here's what you need to know...
'Six' is a group exhibition which will include glass work by Elaine Mason, paintings by Fee Pringle, pottery by Fleen Doran, jewellery by Megan Arnold, hand carved burr wood pieces by Ben Homer and a selection of handstitched curiosities by us.

Celebration evening on Friday 3rd June 6-9pm
 

Monday, 9 May 2016

A Workshop for Wyedean

Henry V looks over aviation pioneer Charles Rolls outside Monmouth's Shire Hall
Last Saturday we were invited to run a handstitch workshop for the Wyedean Embroiderers on the topic of textile portraits. 
This talented bunch of stitchers meet once a month in the rather grand setting of the Shire Hall in the Welsh market town of Monmouth. If you have ever visited the Shire Hall you will be aware of the 9ft embroidery locally known as 'Henry' - depicting Henry V addressing his troops at Agincourt. Several members of the Wydedean Embroiderers were instrumental in creating this textile piece which took thousands of hours to complete!

Unsurprisingly, the group took to Saturday's workshop task with ease. We began by using a technique to create an appliqued base of jigsaw-d fabric pieces, whereby choice of patterned material and colour was key. Once secured in place, embroidered detail is added to 'flavour' and bring the portrait to life. The choice of images which the Embroiderer's chose to use was as individual as each of them. Here's a look at how they got on.
A lovely use of pattern and yarn choice to give an impression of texture
Portrait inspiration came from artists as diverse as Andy Warhol to a painting by Edouard Manet
Some approaches were figurative, others modern - both making good use of pattern
Sumptuous fabrics, carefully positioned used to good effect on this famous pair: Frida Kahlo & Elizabeth I
A colourful, patterned response to this black & white photograph
When finished, the Wyedean Embroiderers have plans to exhibit these pieces in the display case at the Shire Hall later this year. We'll bring you further details when they go on display - can't wait to see the final results! In the meantime, you can see examples of other work by the group currently on display in the entrance to the Hall. 
If you'd like to know more about the Wyedean Embroiderers or how to become a member of this friendly group please contact marguerite.gordon@btinternet.com for further details.  

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Details

 A glimpse at a work in progress. 
We have two exhibitions coming up in quick succession this Summer, the first of which opens at the end of next month, so we're beavering away on a new tribe of Silva Populi. This particular Populi, a Cerfia who has horns on her headdress, has caught some fallen words on her clothing. Her clothing, mask and headdress are almost complete. The next stage in the making process is to sculpt her habitat which includes the need to quilt some leaves...
 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Miss Chave's Glove

Last Friday's Sewcial at Herefordshire's Archive & Records Centre (HARC) was a rather special one. It took place as part of the Daphne's Glove exhibition currently on show at HARC and was the first of our longer length Sewcial workshops. 
When participants arrived they were given a parcel wrapped in cream tissue paper and string. Inside contained a white, hollow tube, two pieces of vintage linen and a single pale glove - the base materials of their challenge and a nod towards both the venue and the Daphne's Glove project. 


With more time to play with, we enlisted the help of Head of Archives & Collections at HARC, Elizabeth Semper, to assist in setting the scene by telling the Sewcial about the history of two local Hereford sisters, Mabel and Florence Chave. The story of their place in Hereford society in the late 1800's provided the inspiration for the day's task - to create a keepsake inspired by the Chave artefacts held in HARC's archives.  


The Sewcial participants were allowed to see inside the archive strong rooms for themselves. Spacious, temperature controlled rooms filled with ordered shelves, manila boxes, acid free paper and protective calico coverings like shrouds - inspiring in their own right. It is here that we collected a carefully wrapped bundle of dance cards, valentines, lace envelopes and book marks once belonging to the Chaves which we were allowed to pour over. 
Here's how the group got on with the information and materials presented to them. 
Turkey Red was a colour included in many of the Daphne's Glove pieces so boxes of red threads were available for the participants to make use of. 
Participants had access to other materials including burnt parchment and archival tape from HARC

Inspired by a tiny motif on a greetings card, this glove was cut open, appliqued and stitched into
A sewing notions case was created using bits of glove to stuff a pincushion, a glove finger scissors sheath and a needlecase using an embroidered piece of thumb!
Clever use of glove finger tips to make a hat
Layers of history are trapped within sheer fabrics and reverse applique techniques
A book of fabric memories from imagined party dresses and special events. With hand made tassels and a protective glove cover 
This piece was inspired by an acerbic comment made on a judges tag regarding Florence Chave's 1950's guild competition entry. For some reason Florence decided to keep it. 
 
"This has spoilt the character of the design"
By the end of the day we had a diverse and great set of results from the same starting point. 
If this has whet your appetite to try your hand at a Sewcial the next will take place on Friday 8th July 2016 at Blue Ginger Gallery near Malvern. Further details can be found by following the link HERE.


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Daphne & Tanbury


Daphne's Glove pieces by Kathleen Murphy (left) Claire A Baker (right)
The second showing of A Group Gathering's exhibition, Daphne's Glove, opened this week in Hereford at the Archive & Records Centre. Here you see our piece in situ, Tanbury Phenda Dreams of Flight, next to Claire A Baker's beautifully hand embroidered response to the challenge. We shared a pair of gloves with Claire (we worked on the left glove, Claire on the right), although this was not known at the beginning of the project. Also unbeknown to each other was the decision we both took to discharge the presence of the original glove!  A 2D and a 3D response was thus created. 

If you are planning to pay a visit to the exhibition you might be interested to know that there will be the opportunity to have a short guided tour by the curator of A Group Gathering on the following dates:
Wednesday 13th April 11am - 1pm
Thursday 21st April  2-4pm
Friday 29th April  10am - 12pm
Attendance is free but places must be booked in advance by contacting kathleen@murgatroydandbean.co.uk



Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Peace of Wild Things


Blue Ginger Gallery near Malvern has reopened for 2016 with a vibrant exhibition, The Peace of Wild Things. There are thirteen artists from across the UK taking part and we are happy to be one of them. The exhibition, which opened yesterday with a very lively, colourful celebration afternoon, will continue until early May 2016. 
 
The title of the exhibition comes from a poem by Wendell Berry which we were unfamiliar with. For the last few months we've had a copy of the poem pinned up in the workshop and over time it has become a familiar friend and rather lovely thing for our eyes to drift to when taking a momentary break from making. 
Given the subject of the poem it seemed natural to make a family of Silva Populi creatures for the exhibition - peaceful souls who like nothing more than being in a woodland environment (even if that is encapsulated in a jar!). The long eared character you see here is one of the larger members of that family, a Silva Populi Lepus. She has a dress of pale pink, very fine linen which has a bustle of frayed edges and scraps. Her ears are lined with vintage faux-silk and her body has been dyed with avocado skins. She lives in a large Cadburys Roses jar.

If you follow the link HERE you'll find Wendell Berry reading his poem. 
Enjoy.

 
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.



Monday, 7 March 2016

Daphne's Sewcial

April's Sewcial is going to be a rather special, longer length affair at a new and unusual venue, Herefordshire's Archive and Records Centre, which is home to all sorts of historic treasures. 

As usual with a Sewcial you won't know what we're going to ask you to do until you arrive but you can rest assured that it will have something to do with handstitch! 
If you're game for a challenge and would like to take part please contact kathleen@murgatroydandbean.co.uk or call 07971 684573.
A non-refundable deposit of £10 or payment in full is required on booking.
Tea, coffee & sweet treats are included in the cost but you will need to bring a packed lunch.

On the day you will have the added bonus of also being able to see the exhibition of Daphne's Glove which will be on show at H.A.R.C. between 5th April - 5th May 2016 www.agroupgathering.blogspot.co.uk


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