Friday, 29 March 2013

Two new bags

These are the latest in the series of landscape bags for the Suited exhibition in Stroud that opens at the end of April. They are made from woollen suiting fabrics with soft leather handles and are lined in fabric also from the tailors shop.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

More bags

I started 18 months ago with the idea of making landscape bags for the Brunel Broderers' next exhibition 'Suited' to be shown in Stroud as part of the SIT festival. A phone call out of the blue from a man living in the next village set me off on this project. He had worked in a tailors shop that was abandoned years ago and as the building had been sold he wanted to get rid of the contents. When I went to visit it was like an Aladdin's cave full of stacks of bolts of cloth, boxes and boxes of buttons, cracking paper bags of haberdashery items, rolls of interesting lining fabrics and thick cards tumbling with buttons. There were suit pattern blocks hanging from a rack, unfinished garments on a rail and an old wire dummy in a corner. Moths and dust had got in and enjoyed the wool fabrics but mostly they washed well and came back to life.

But what to do with all this wealth of materials. I talked to the BBs about it and we decided to base an exhibition around the tailor's shop. Early on, I felt that because of the utility nature of the business - making garments - that I wanted to make something that could be useful. Bags seemed the obvious answer. One of the stories that the tailor told us was about the old days when fabrics were delivered by cart to the pub in the village where I live before being transported up the hill to his shop. This journey resonated in me as it is part of the walk I do whenever I can and when I do I always draw. So the idea came to use my sketches to create landscape bags. Due to the limitation in colours of cloth available they cannot be realistic at all and are very much abstracts.

The landscapes are hand stitched and in some cases hand needle felted too. They show the layering of hedges and trees and fields through the seasons and different times of day and night.