Sunday, 16 August 2015

A Beautiful Backdrop

A post that I wrote some time ago but didn't get around to publishing. We made this backdrop for a performance in late 2014. Better late than never...

A Beautiful Backdrop

A Beautiful Backdrop

Up at The Heathlands Project we run a wide range of activities, including art, music, I.T, catering and sports. We also like to encourage different groups to work together both within the project and outside of the project. Recently Cumbria Community Gamelan has been based up at The Heathlands Project and a group of our members have been involved in creating a performance involving a story they'd written inspired by local places and legends and music they'd created using the Gamelan (a beautiful Indonesian percussion orchestra.) This group asked my textiles group if they'd like to get involved making something visual to go with the performance.

Sun detail

Standing stone detail

After discussing various options such as making puppets, costumes and scenery the textiles group decided they would like to make a large backdrop for the performance. They listened to the story and then worked together to draw out a design that incorporated all the important places in the story. These included a lake, an island with a fortress, a ring of standing stones, a waterfall and a magic hill. We decided that as it was a myth the Gamelan group had created we would use a range of different textured and coloured fabrics to create a magical landscape for the backdrop.

The main pieces laid out

Sky detail

Felt for the standing stones

Once the guys had completed the design we chose the different fabrics we wanted to use and I cut out the pieces and stitched them down, with a lot of help from one of our lovely volunteers. We used a range of sparkly Indian fabrics to add to the magical feel. We also layered up fabrics and used patches for the lake and the sky to add a sense of movement. I also got the guys to make two large sheets of felt for us to make the standing stones out of.

Lake and flower detail

Fortress detail

Felt sun and sparkly clouds

Once the main pieces of fabric were stitched down the guys added some embroidered flowers and felt balls to add more surface interest. We also added some clouds and a felt sun and some funky felt sheep and fish. The finished backdrop was then used when the Gamelan group performed at The Salvation Army in Carlisle just before Christmas.

Sheep detail

Standing stone circle

Single standing stone

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