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On Saturday 7th May I’m running a lovely workshop at Winterbourne House & Gardens, Birmingham, where we will create little garden landscapes using heat reactive dyes, fabric markers and hand stitches. I’ve also booked wall to wall sunshine so we can fully enjoy the gardens 😉

If it sounds like something you’d like to do then please book here and I look forward to seeing you there.

Happy New Year. It’s been a busy start but I find being out teaching has a positive effect on the time I have at home to create my own work – better time management when there’s less of it to ‘waste’!

Early in 2019 we took a trip to SE Asia – Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. 3 years later and I am still sketch-booking away through all the visual reference I collected.

I have printed, sewn, drawn and painted a lot of work and now I’m pinning it all up to live with and waiting for another wave of inspiration to guide me as to what to make of it all next.

Finding time to create is a juggle when teaching creativity is my mainstay.

Being around students in itself is exciting and inspiring; watching them run with new concepts and dedicate their time to learning and evolving always rubs back off onto me.

So with term winding down I’ve found some spaces to attend to my own work.

And as the garden itself is less demanding in time during the Winter there was a synchronicity to using it as a muse.

The bare structure of the leaf-less plants inspired a pared down colour palette of black and white materials both to draw with and sew.

I walked from top to bottom of the garden, drawing for 2 mins here and there and created a long roll drawing which I then translated into applique, foiling and stitches (also in a long format)

With Midwinter passing yesterday and the Christmas holidays beginning tomorrow, now is a good time to take stock and plan what projects will be next.

I feel like I took a deep breath back in March to brace for what the pandemic might mean for me as a self-employed artist who gets her kicks (and most of my income) from face-to-face collaboration and teaching.

And I think I’ve been holding it ever since, which can’t go on, so as part of my exhalation I’m releasing all the products I had made and squirrelled away for The Big Event Which Didn’t Happen (my Residency show @artist_winterbournehg)

There are 3 scarves all designed and printed by me – Swifts, Hoya and Alyssum scarves, £18 each inc p&p in the UK ( postage quotes for other places) They are up in the Textile Art tab if you’re at all interested.

It’s been hard to ease back into a working pace this week because:

1) I have a post holiday, slow vibe,

2) My daughter Lucy has taken over my studio to do a print project of her own – which I love! – the project and accommodating her 😉

3) I’ve been shoved up in the corner under the roof while this happens :)))

Back in May I finished my Artist in Residency at Winterbourne House & Gardens but was unable to hold an exhibition of all the work I’d completed due to the pandemic. Life is moving on and although Winterbourne is now open again, it has been reorganised and any possible exhibition still looks a long way off.
So I have set up the work at home and filmed it. It’s part exhibition of works (paintings, print, textiles and embroidery) and part artists talk where I tell you some stories behind the paintings or processes I have used.
I hope you might have a watch – it’s on YouTube here and it’s completely free to view.
I have updated my website to show all the work and a lot of the products I had made which were destined for sale in the shop during the run of my exhibition, if you fancy taking a look www.claireleggett.co.uk

When we visited Asia last year I was so inspired and awed by the new-to-me culture and decoration of Buddhist and Taoist religious spaces; in particular the use and construction of a variety of temple hangings.

I have had these hangings in mind as I am working my way through all kinds of delicious inspiration from those travels. This first completed hanging is a bringing together of all kinds of interpretation and methods of print and stitch.

I began painting this beautiful illuminated manuscript from the Islamic Arts Museum in Malaysia in a simplified way by isolating the little scalloped shape and flower.

I then developed that into a printable silk screen using flour and water paste – a very simple and easy homespun method.

As you can generally only use the screen once (the paste deteriorates as its washed clean) I printed up a stash of luscious fabrics to use, overprinting one particularly yummy fabric that I had previously batiked and tie-dyed.

I chose to stitch the flowers into each shape rather than hand-print them as I was looking to add texture and colour to the surface. The rectangular bottom section features a simple floral lino-block I developed from drawing embroidery motifs on items in the Textile Museum in Kuala Lumpur.

The elephant print began life as a teaching demonstration for how to using screen filler to screen-print hand-drawn images. I re-drew a section of this beautiful wall decoration from the Wat Chaiya Mangalaram, a Thai Buddhist Temple in George Town using drawing fluid. It is later coated in another filler and later the drawing lines are washed out leaving the space as printable mesh (I don’t have of photo of that – sorry)

Here it is printed onto a randomly dyed base fabric and I added some fabric foiling too (another demo).

I lived with the pieces up on my design wall for a while, visually editing it and adding in sequin trim and a fantastic gold dangly bit I’d squirralled away sometime. I decide to learn a stitch called Cretan Insertion to attach the gold ribbon to the bottom seam and I think it finished it off perfectly.

Now to re-group and begin the cycle again.

I’ve been playfully stamping my Malay Flower lino block onto fabric grounds; some tie-dyed fabric, screen-printed ombre cotton and hand-painted silk using a gold ink pad I bought in the Xmas sales.

I’m just allowing some creative play at this stage; some prototyping maybe – I’m trying to not think ahead too far but see what comes. I’ve also added a few hours of stitches to one to bring some of the weaker printing results into focus better.

“Creativity is about play and a kind of willingness to go with your intuition. It’s crucial to an artist. If you know where you are going and what you are going to do, why do it?” Frank Gehry

This sums up nicely what I’ve been doing over the last few weeks. There’s nothing like a wide open calendar free of outside obligations to prompt some creative play. (I’m calling this my silver-lining having had all my work furloughed or postponed)

Early in 2019 I went to Malaysia with my daughter for a wonderful week full of culture like nothing I’d experienced before so this recent creative playing has been a wonderful chance to pick over the zillions of photos I took, pulling out images, colours and sights that tickle my arty-farty bones! I’m just responding to whatever makes my heart sing and going from there – I’m jumping from sketchbook to computer to lino-cutting to embroidery as I like and it’s wonderful fun to just play freely.

This is a little lino block I made after drawing some details from a beautiful silk textile at the National Textile Museum in Kuala Lumpur. 

This will be my final post showing all the work I completed as Artist in Residence at Winterbourne House & Gardens. This post features the Textile work that I’ve done – not the printed pieces or pattern designs which I’ve already showed you but the embroidery pieces.

These may have started life as printed textiles which were then embellished with stitch but they have come to life as either hand or machine embroidered works of art.

I had grand plans to do much more; Margaret Nettlefold (one of the original home owners) was very fond of needlework herself and so it was very in keeping to follow this line of response.

However if you’ve ever done any embroidery yourself, you’ll know how time consuming it is. The chair featured here is an old oak chair from WH&G and emulates the chair seat cover that Margaret herself made which is on show in the house.

And so that ends this chapter of work for me. It has challenged and inspired me as an artist.

I can’t remember having such a long-standing project before which is a lesson in pace and stamina in itself.

It’s been a real treat to have had this opportunity and whilst I could still do it all again and find I haven’t enough time, I am also complete and ready to focus on new inspiration to work from.

Copyright notice 2020

All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Claire Leggett and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Claire Leggett.

If you wish to link to this site or to a post from this site, please ask first before doing so and then give appropriate credit for content.

Any other inquiries please email me at hello@claireleggett.co.uk

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