Thursday, 14 August 2014

All that glitters is not Gold

All that Glitters is not Gold,
Screen print and embroidery

I have recently finished another magpie piece, this time using screen printing and hand embroidery. After I had made my last magpie embroidery (Hail to the Thief) I carried on drawing magpies and playing around with ideas connected to them and found that I had lots of other pieces of work I wanted to make and develop. I think that there may before too long be a whole series of magpie based art works! 

Magpie screen print on fabric

Magpie screen print on black paper

Screen print detail (fabric)

Usually when I work on a piece I begin with drawings and an idea which I then sketch and write about until I have a rough outline (at least in my head) of how I am going to make the piece. This piece was slightly different, although it did begin with drawings. I was doing some 1:1 work with an emerging artist and we were exploring screen printing; partly to demonstrate with and partly because I just really like screen printing I made a three layer stencil of a magpie. I wasn't originally going to add much stitch but once I started I felt that I really wanted to make a heavily embellished piece with lots of texture and colour. 

Getting started

Leg detail

Building up the colours

I choose the colours and stitches as I went along, referring to my drawings and photos for guidance and frequently unpicking areas if they were not as I wanted them. I wanted to use rich, precious threads for the magpie so a lot of the threads are silk and are hand dyed. 

Foot detail

Head detail

Wing detail

As the last magpie piece had come from the starting point of silver and my ideas have been revolving around the odd relationship we have with magpies (they are surrounded 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) I decided to perch the magpie upon a pile of pretty, but essentially worthless, pearls and crystals. None of the pearls or crystals are 'real' and most have been reclaimed from old necklaces. This use of 'fake' materials brings up questions of authenticity and how we place value on things. As I work in an often maligned medium these questions are central to my work. 

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