As you may know, from the deluge of emails you may have received recently, data protection laws (GDPR) are changing on the 25th of May. Well here is my contribution to that.
Over the years you have subscribed to my blog post via WordPress, this site automatically sends you new blogs as they are posted, the site also contains details of exhibitions I’m involved in and work available for sale (originals & prints).
I have never and will not ever use those email addresses for any other purpose than to let you know about my artwork activities. I have never shared you details with a third party and will not do so in the future unless you request me to.
I need to know if you are happy for me to keep sending you my posts.
If you no longer wish to receive my blogs then please press the ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of the page.
I promise I won’t be offended!
If ever there is a bird with a tale to tell its the Cuckoo!
Inspired by Nick Davies book ‘Cuckoo – Cheating by Nature’, the book explores and unravels the complexity of this notorious bird.
Its trickery is truly astounding!
The Cuckoo migrates to our island from Western Africa and is an iconic sound of spring. Unfortunately recent population declines have now seen them placed on the red list and you now consider yourself lucky to hear one anymore.
The RSPB describe the “cuckoo is a dove-sized bird with blue grey upper parts, head and chest with dark barred white under parts. With their sleek body, long tail and pointed wings they are not unlike kestrels or sparrowhawks. Sexes are similar and the young are brown. They are summer visitors and well-known brood parasites, the females laying their eggs in the nests of other birds, especially meadow pipits, dunnocks and reed warblers. Their recent population decline makes this a Red List species”.
Having never seen (only heard) a cuckoo I am very thankful to Jack Barnes for giving me permission to base this piece on his stunning photograph. Jack is a very talented Bird photographer and I really recommend taking a look at his work here.
Above, the bird pieced and paint details added as a stitch guide.
Early selection of possible threads, including King Tut and Oliver Twist.
Having read Nick ‘s book and made notes on the key points I eventually reduced the story down to 31 words – no mean feet as the book was crammed with the most fascinating facts!
I stitched the grid with a walking foot following the iron removable pen outline. The letters were stitched free hand on the machine.
Above, Starting to build up the colours and textures of the feathers with stitch.
Finally it was time to stitch the Cuckoo onto the completed background, adding the final third of the stitch details to the piece.
The Cuckoo’s Tale completed!
Without doubt the most fascinating bird I have researched to date……
This is the second piece based around the plight of the Slender billed Curlew. I rarely do two pieces on one bird in such quick succession, but this story fascinated me and I wanted to experiment with a few techniques and improve the story-telling in my backgrounds.
I initially made the first curlew as a ‘show’ piece to take to galleries and talks but very quickly someone approached me about buying it, I was over the moon and decided to start a second study. You can see the earlier piece here.
Above and below, you can see the bird pieced with early stitching. I increased the use of painting with fabric paints, adding the more intricate details with a very fine brush.
Below, replacing/adding additional layers of fabric to abdomen area before painting details as guide for stitching.
The previous piece successfully incorporated maps of the areas that had lead to this birds demise within a stone it was standing on. The maps had told a powerful story and had, as I hoped caused people to ask questions about what the piece meant and the relevance of the countries illustrated. For this second study I had an idea of the maps building up the birds reflection and so I sketched out the reflection and fitted the areas into each individual piece. This bird is almost certainly extinct so the temporary nature of a reflection seemed a suitable way of telling the story.
Below, stitching the backing fabric, reflection and edging ready to be stitched to mountboard.
The finished piece off to the framers. I am hoping to show this at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in August on the Contemporary Quilters West stand and also at The West Country Quilt & Textile show at UWE in September.
These pieces were inspired by Horatio Clare’s book ‘Orison for a Curlew’, a book I highly recommend reading if you are interested in nature and our human impact on the planet.