Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Hail to the Thief

Hail to the Thief (detail)

I finished this piece of work almost a month ago and so decided it was high time I shared it with you! The piece was made in response to the theme 'silver' and it was an interesting piece to work on as I combined several techniques I have previously used on separate pieces together. The piece is made of painted, appliqu├ęd and embroidered silk organza. I worked in layers to try and build up the form and iridescent wing colours so characteristic of magpies.

Hail to the Thief

As with a lot of pieces I wasn't very happy when I first finished the piece, I find that finishing a piece of work is often quite an anti-climax as it is never quite as good as it was in your head. However, after a bit of time I start to become more satisfied and see the good things about it as well as the negatives. This then feeds in to the next piece of work.

Wing detail

Lace print detail

Despite saying that I wasn't going to go into the concepts behind my work in a previous blog post but that I was going to leave it all to the viewer I did write a little about the background to this piece and have decided to include it for you here. However, you will hopefully have some other ideas and thoughts and be able to enjoy the work with or without my interpretation.

"Throughout history silver has been exchanged for goods, sometimes fairly and sometimes not. I became interested in the darker side of silver and it's history and this led me to think about fair and unfair trade both historically and in contemporary society. Silver and thievery have a long association and this theme kept running through my thoughts.

I have long been fascinated by members of the Corvidae family and I kept returning to the children's rhyme about magpies; one for sorrow, two for joy...five for silver. The magpie, perhaps more than any other bird, is loaded with superstitions and suspicions. We call them thieves yet we also salute them, berate their penchant for shiny trinkets but admire their glossy and iridescent plumage. So, in responding to the theme of silver I found myself drawn more and more towards the Magpie. It also gave me a good reason to do lots of drawings of them!

A recurring theme in my work is a questioning of the lesser value often placed on artworks made using traditional textile skills and techniques. The subtle lace print suggests how painting, or fine art, has been considered superior to craft or applied arts (such as lace making) and the use of embroidery over the top of a painting is an attempt to redress the balance. Textiles offer an intimate and immediate connection to a piece of work through their familiarity and I hope that I can use this to draw people in and perhaps cause them to re-evaluate and look for deeper meanings."

Head detail



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