I'm doing a series of blogs with a little bit of background information about some of the Harris Tweed "paintings" in my exhibition. at the Bakehouse Gallery in Alnwick this summer.
We are lucky enough to live four miles away from the gorgeous beach at Embleton Bay in Northumberland and this is the view of Dunstanburgh Castle at the far south end of the bay.
When I was little my Dad used to take me and my brother to visit Dunstanburgh Castle via a rather torturous journey on public transport. Incredibly we used to walk 15 minutes to the station, catch a train to Newcastle and another to Alnwick, catch a bus to Craster and then walk to the castle. The castle wasn't enclosed then and we never saw another soul while we were there. I have always loved it here and that's why this is my fourth picture of the castle. The reason this is titled "Dunstanburgh Castle III" is because the second picture is called "Dunstanburgh Castle Gatehouse".
My line drawing for the picture coloured in with my ancient childhood Derwent pencils. This drawing was then cut up and used as pattern to cut out all of the pieces of Harris Tweed for the picture.
Needle felting the details in wool yarn. Two of the tweeds I used (sea - left & sky right)
The two tweeds pictured were bought specially for this piece and they were woven by Annie Mackay of Crotal Harris Tweed. Annie is one of a growing number of women weaving Harris Tweed, which was traditionally woven by men.
Crotal is the name for lichen when it is used to dye tweed. Once when I was demonstrating how I made my pictures at an art gallery a gentleman came up to me and asked me in all seriousness if they still used "scrotal" dyes in Harris Tweed. I somehow managed to keep a straight face and replied "I don't think they that do anymore".
"Dunstanburgh Castle III" has now sold but the image is still available as a greetings card or a giclee print in 2 sizes (£25 & £75) from the Bakehouse Gallery or our online shop.
The story behind "Chickens"
I'm doing a series of blogs with a little bit of background information about some of the Harris Tweed "paintings" currently in an exhibition. of my work at the Bakehouse Gallery in Alnwick.
I have to confess that although I live in the countryside, I don't keep chickens and I know very little about them. "Chickens" was one of the first pictures I did for the exhibition and it was inspired by a trip to York Art Gallery back in 2017.
One of the rooms in the gallery was completely transformed to reflect one artist’s vision of a Lumber Room – a room of miscellaneous stored objects and artefacts, inspired by a short story by Saki. York-based artist Mark Hearld spent 2 years researching the objects and artworks to include in the exhibition, which were taken from the store rooms of the Yorkshire Museum, York Castle Museum and York Art Gallery.
The slightly gloomily lit room was full of an amazing mix of textiles, ceramics, costumes, oil paintings, works on paper, furniture, and taxidermy, along with a selection of Mark's own work made specially for the exhibition. It was so good we went to see it twice and we were gutted when we returned a third time later in the year to find it had gone. We had mistakenly thought it was a permanent feature of the gallery!
Anyway .....chickens and birds feature quite a lot in Marks' work and I was inspired by him to create a picture of chickens. The picture itself is an imagined composition based on various photos and the white coloured chickens are Suffolk Lights.
"Chickens" has been professionally framed in a plain wooden frame with an opaque white finish. It measures 15 inches square (inc. frame) and costs £400. It is also available as a greetings card or a giclee print in 2 sizes (£25 & £75) from the Bakehouse Gallery or our online shop.
"St Mary's Lighthouse II"
I grew up in West Monkseaton and I spent a lot of time on the beach at Whitley Bay. St Mary's Lighthouse and the Spanish City are the town's most significant landmarks and both hold a special place in the heart of any "ex-pat" such as myself. As such I was delighted when I was commissioned by For the Love of the North to do a picture of St Mary's Lighthouse.
I am really pleased with the way this picture has come out. I am especially pleased with the sea, as it's quite hard to capture the movement of the waves and I think this is my best attempt yet. I am also quite chuffed at finding just the right two shades of Harris Tweed to represent both the wet and dry sand of the beach. Greetings cards of this image will be available in a few weeks, but prints of the image are available now from our online shop and from For the Love of the North.
For the Love of the North is a gift shop/gallery in Whitley Bay run by local residents Paul and Lucy Hull. The shop features artwork, cards, prints, crafts and gifts sourced directly from independent artists and suppliers who live and work in the North East. Paul and Lucy say that they carefully select the artists and artisans they work with in order to represent, in their opinion, the very best of what the North East has to offer. They are also passionate about promoting the North East as a great place to live and visit, and all items purchased from their online shop come with a tourism tip containing personally recommended things to do and places to visit in the area.
Based on the success of their Whitley Bay shop which opened in early 2017, the pair will be opening an additional outlet on August 6th 2018 in an exciting new development in the centre of Newcastle called Stack. For the Love of the North is located at 266 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay and is open from 10 am – 4pm Monday to Friday and from 9.30am – 5pm on Saturdays.
The pictures below show something of how the picture progressed with the usual help from Audrey.
The background pieces of Harris Tweed pinned and ready to be needle felted into place.
All Harris Tweed pieces now needle felted into place.
Audrey "helping" as usual.
Needle felting the details into place using wool yarns, in this case a beautifully soft hand dyed and hand spun alpaca yarn from Lucy Locket Land
I am a Northumberland based textile artist and I create needle felted paintings with Harris Tweed and wool yarns.
5, Rock Village
Phone: 01665 579422