Tuesday, 9 June 2020
It might be hard to believe, but I'm feeling some emotion!! The whole process of focusing on a theme like travel has enabled me to relive the experience, which was one of my life's highlights. With that in mind this week's project had to be super special. What was I going to do???
Last week I used the Artisans of Egypt as my inspiration, this week, my starting point is this incredible mixed media painting by Egyptian artist Ayman El Sameray.
Imagine my delight when we returned to Cairo after travelling around Egypt, entered our hotel lobby to discover that their lounge had been transformed into a gallery space showcasing this artist's work. Oh my goodness. Sigh! The piece above, the name of which I cannot find, was my favourite & I WANTED it sooooooo much it hurt! Aside from the fact that transporting it back to Australia would be difficult, it was seriously way outside our budget. Having grown up with the mantra "you can't always get what you want" did not help!!!
My attraction to this piece was due to a number of aspects, the colour palette & impacting composition of the huge white orb with the golden halo & sky blue background hit me first. But what won me over were the simple line pictographs of what I interpretted to be symbols of everyday rural life.
During our travels I had become particuarly fond of one particular beast of burden, the donkey. We saw so many. The majority were weighed down with overflowing loads and most were very poorly treated. The photo above is one showing the healthier well looked after version of donkeydom!
I wanted to honor the donkey in this last project.
At the conclusion of my 2018 weekly art project which was inspired by Istanbul I compiled each project piece into a page that became a fabric book. It is wonderfully tactile, beautiful, rich in memory & is also an excellent display of samples showcasing how effective contemporary reverse applique can be. Consequently, I plan to turn this project into a book too. Therefore that's what I'll be working on next week during my usual weekly art project time slot. I'll also be thinking about which travel adventure to be inspired by next. Will it be Norway, France, Morocco, Spain, Iceland or Jordan? Hmmmmm! You'll just have to wait and see!!
Wednesday, 3 June 2020
One of the purposes of having a few extra days in Cairo was so that we could go & see the extraordinary craftmanship of equally extraordinary artisans that this city is blessed with. As we visited metalworkers, glass blowers, jewellery makers, plasterers, ceramicists, marquetry experts, weavers & painters we had to constantly be mindful that we had a budget!
It was extremely hard!
There were two sites that were topmost on my to-see list; the quilters of the Tentmakers Street & the Souk El Fustat Gallery representing the Akmeem embroiderers.
The small stall like shops where the tentmaker men sit & applique their exquisite cushion covers & wall hangings was a kaleidoscope of colour in a dusty unassuming alley. The men were welcoming & keen to know where we were from & excited to share their beautiful work.
How was I going to honour these artisans in my project this week?
It is one I bought from the Tentmakers & gave to my parents-in-law who are now deceased. I actually rescued it from the rubbish pile when we were sorting through their household. I wondered whether I could use it as a base, a starting point for my project. Perhaps I could alter it in some way without losing it's charming qualities.
I don't think I've ever attempted this type of repurposing or upcycling or revamping...(whatever one wants to label it), but I am very pleased with the outcome. If I wasn't restricted by time I would have liked to have added more running stitch. It is an appropriate reminder of my visits to see artisans at work, as well as remembering my in-laws who never had the opportunity to visit Egypt but were fascinated by our adventures there. It never ceases to amaze me how art making can link so many seemingly random connections! I hope your art making is making you feel as satisfied this week. :-)
Monday, 25 May 2020
Sadly, as with many museums, cameras were most definitely forbidden. Therefore I have no photographic images to remind me of the extraordinary artifacts I was privileged to see in just a few short hours. Let's just say...I had to remind myself to breathe. The sculptures, the carved wood & stone, the exquisite plaster work, the gold from Tutankhamen's tomb, the sarcophagi....sigh...EVERYTHING! When walking through a place like that, knowing that this is likely to be the only time in my life to see these remarkable & beautiful objects, it feels that if I don't breathe time will slow down so that I can absorb it all the more permanently!
One of the sections I most wanted to see was focused on Akhenaten . I have long been fascinated by him, partly because of his bravery to change the whole way in which his people worshiped, but mainly because I've found the elongated body features with their exaggerations visually beautiful.
The above photo was taken in a museum where I was obviously allowed to take a photo, but sadly I don't recall where that was. It may have been Alexandria. I can see why I took it though, & why, even though it's slightly out of focus, I kept it in my photo collection. Not only is the face elongated (albeit slightly), but I LOVE the hair treatment. Therefore, I'm choosing her as my muse to represent 'the Museum experience'!
After drawing a resemblance of her within an A4 space, I gathered my fabrics, stitched in the design & got ready to cut back. Here's how it went...
I did consider doing this piece in a landscape orientation, but to do so would have meant losing that wonderful long sinuous neck, & I felt the neck was important to keep!
One of the successful aspects of this piece is that I achieved it in a relatively short period of time! Yesterday was rather time-restricted in terms of studio work, & when that happens I need to be able to adjust my expectations in terms of design complexity. This is quite a simple design, but it captures the components I wanted it to; exaggerated eye, long features, skin tone & a nod to that fabulous hair. I'm also pleased with the choice of background fabric too. It may not be perfect & is certainly not a resolved enough design to reproduce for sale purposes, but it is a sufficient aide-de-memoir for me. Sometimes sufficient is enough!!
Monday, 18 May 2020
Well that ancient wonder may no longer exist, but it's modern version does & we were very VERY excited to visit it during our exploration of Egypt.
The current Library was inaugurated in 2002 and as well as having space for 8 million books, the interior also has it's own planetarium, a state-of-the-art conference centre, museums, art galleries and a restoration laboratory for manuscripts (I would have loved to have been allowed in there!!!!) It was such a special privelege to be able to wander around inside & have a look .
An obvious choice to use as my muse for this week's art project.
This week I wanted to use the library itself as the source of my series of glyphs. therefore I sat at the computer with my few photos on the big screen & drew quick line drawings of different sections of the building, both interior & exterior.
Using calligraphy pens in 2 thicknesses I started trying out line combinations, repeating them over & over until I was happy with how they 'read'.
Here's how it went...
Well I think I should've just stuck with the 'even less is more' approach & kept the single layer cut back! I don't think I put enough thought into tonal variation for the lower one in particular. Never mind...we live & learn!
As it happens I was having camera issues again. The outcome of one of my photography attempts has proved to be a very exciting alternative to the textile outcome! Take a look at these;
Monday, 11 May 2020
With a smile, the answer soon came to me...MUMMIES...of course!!
From the White Desert we began our journey back to Cairo, stopping in the Bahariya Oasis where we wanted to see the Golden Mummies.
Flicking through that sketchbook there were a few variations of 'Mummy Wrapping's', so it is these visual notes that have informed my weekly art project this week.
Here's how the cutting back went when I finally got back to it!!
All in all I'm quite pleased with this outcome.
What I'm not happy with...and I apologise profusely for...is the photography.
I continue to have an issue with my 'new' camera, which is so clever & fancy schmancy that it doesn't actually have a mode for full frame focus! This means every attempt to photograph my art results in out of focus edges. I can't tell you how frustrated this has made me & how long I've spent wading through YouTube video tutorials to try & 'sort' it out. I eventually resorted to my old camera, but for some reason my computer no longer wishes to upload photos from it! Therefore I'm left with my phone camera & what you see above is courtesy of that! Arghhhhhhhh!
Still, working on this week's WAP was a good way to calm down from my unresolved photography issue. I hope your art making is considerably more stress free! Cheers!