Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Art Nouveau, the Glasgow Girls and the TIF Challenge

Well, I expressed my intention to base my work for the TIF Challenge for January on the much-admired stucco artists whose creations I saw in Marrakech, but it was a premature and over-ambitious plan for a month when I've been seriously under par. So I've exercised my prerogative to change my mind: needing to create some items on the theme of Art Nouveau, I revisited the Glasgow Girls, Jessie Newbery and Ann MacBeth. I have long admired their design work and stitchery, which follows on and almost bridges the gap between my beloved Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau. I think their prominence in the art world of the time was also important, mirroring the political emergence and emancipation of women which has allowed my own generation so much more freedom of life choices, education, careers, finances and opportunities. I admire the Morris women very much, but I also admire the Glasgow Girls because they owned the design process for their artistic creativity and passed it on to others. I first discovered them during my history research for City and Guilds Embroidered Textiles Part 2, and was thrilled to see some of their work for real when we visited Glasgow a couple of years ago.

I developed the following design by distilling elements of a number of designs and textiles by Newbery and MacBeth,and working it out to fill a 5" square quiltlet.

Then I worked the design up into a cartoon for the quilt, and also two ATCs which I need to make for a swap.

The process of draughting out these designs gave me some insight into how I might work them into textile pieces. My first idea was to use applique techniques, but instead I decided on interpreting them both using silk painting methods. I found some silk charmeuse which I stretched using masking tape onto an old place mat - remarkably effective. The design was placed underneath the cloth, which, in good daylight, allowed me to trace the design directly using gold gutta. Once that was dry, I filled in the spaces with silk paints.

I've painted some more silk in the pink for the back and sashing of the quiltlet, which is drying and so these projects should be completed tomorrow, very much at the eleventh hour. I guess I've not taken the design much further but I hope the GGs would have approved of my interpretation. They were not averse to a bit of gold, after all. And at least, very much at the eleventh hour, I'll hopefully have managed to complete a few challenges for January while revisiting a technique I've not used in ages.

1 comment:

Frances said...

Sue these are beautiful, I love them, I also love the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau, Jessie NewBerry and May Morris were women who stitched their OWN designs which was at the time something very new as previously women almost always did the stitching but men did the designs, some men believed women were not capable of design!!!!! it was a very big break through for women wanting to do design and we do owe them but the struggle for textiles to be equally recognised as Art still goes on, lucky people recieving these gems,