Saturday, 26 November 2011

Thoughts and processes - piece 1 (Annabel)

Sometimes I mutter.  I mutter a lot about many things, but one of them is the distorted body images we see in advertising. We're bombarded with images that are unrealistic and demoralizing. Many celebs find it necessary to play around with their image distorting their features with surgery until they become hardly recognizable. I understand why. It's up to everyone to do as they wish of course but it gives a false impression of life and the ageing processes. Advertising companies play around with photos enlarging, smoothing, enhancing and altering, and I wish they wouldn't but all I can do in response is mutter.

This is a long way round to tell you about the first piece which I've nearly finished for the Orientation exhibition. Yes, I know it's early and I wasn't trying to be the school "swot", but I've a lot on this coming year, and have to cram it all in where I can!!


So, I've been playing around with distortion in my sketchbooks, making people all sorts of funny shapes.

The photo above shows a drawing made by making the head and shoulders normal sized and then increasing the body length by double from there onwards.  I haven't altered the width, so I've ended up with long thin people.

I guess this must be how they do fashion drawing? No wonder they need 6 foot tall, very thin people, to do the catwalk thing.

The inspiration for the people themselves and the kimonos (which seem very complex!) came from a theatre programme for the Doyle Carte. I think it must be 1930's, so my ladies have come out looking slightly art deco. 

I also decided to stretch some trees.

Apologies for the sideways photo!  I've painted the background fabric using a mixture of fabric paints including some interference powder to give a slight shimmer.  I wanted to keep the image fairly simple and uncluttered; my main focus being the ladies.

I then had enormous fun raiding the stash boxes for fabric scraps, and bonding them into place.  The whole piece was then very closely free machined. I love the feel of heavily machined quilted cloth. I also put lots of pattern onto the kimonos and into the background.

By extensively free machining the background with pattern, and then painting it afterwards, I could be as decorative as I liked, yet still keep the overall effect as simple. Does that make sense??!

I've decided to try and imbue the pieces with some kind of meaning, by working either from a haiku or making one up to go with the pieces. I can't say I quite understand the haiku thing, but it's an interesting exercise!

It's not quite finished as I have all the framing etc to do, which will be in dark brown cloth. I find that if I put things aside and come back to them at a much later date, it's easier for me to see if there's anything else that needs doing.

A Small Dragonfly
This Way, That Way, This Way, That,
And It Passes By

And that's the first piece done then!! I shall be doing some more of course, but will take it a bit easier from now on.   I'm going to be making another very large life piece next for another exhibition in the summer so may be quiet for a while, but I will try and blog as I go through the thought processes and making of the oriental pieces in future, rather than land you with a lump of stuff!!


  1. Annabel you've set the bar very high! It's a stunning piece, beautifully painted, beautifully quilted. I'm not going to let it make me feel under pressure though. I'm quite determined to get into my workroom tomorrow and will try harder!

  2. Hi Annabel,
    We haven't met yet, looking forward to idoing so after Christmas.

    Like Linda, I think your work is superb, I'm researching kimono too, they are very complex!


  3. Marie..they are aren't they? I don't quite know how it all hangs together properly or quite what all the bits are for. Looking forward to meeting you top x
    Linda - ahem, dear lady. The awe is definitely on the other foot!! But, thank you x
    Thank you as well Amanda!

  4. What are the dimensions of this piece Annabel. As always your work fascinates me. I am extremely interested in the thought processes accompanying your work. They add a fourth dimension.

  5. Loved the journey of this piece and the 'extended' ladies are beautiful.

    If this is the beginning what a treat those of us following the blog are in for. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Thank you Phil and Chris. Sorry to take so long getting back to you Chris. The quilt isn't finished yet but will be about 35 x 50 inches when I've done the border. I thought this was small (for me it is!) but a few comments has made me think this its large (not too large I hope)!! Ooops.