Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Inspirations - from the beginning.

I like looking at things from above – I love getting up onto the roof of buildings and looking down at the view. It’s always good from up there!! Many of my quilts have been based (some closely, some very loosely) on photos I’ve taken from above.

This is Oxford in England. To get this view you have to climb up St Mary's church tower and look away from the dreaming spires!! Those spires are so fairytale - that while they're beautiful to look at, they didn't inspire me as much as the mix of profound and profane that you see looking south across the river to the countryside.

Here's a quilt I made that is very loosely based on the view I saw from the church tower:

The picture below is of St Ives in Cornwall. This is the view from the Tate St Ives (art gallery)... A marvelous collection of roofs and the decent sea...the roofs are covered in a yellow-green lichen that harmonizes them and contrasts with the grey stone of which many are built. Great colour combination!

I've done a number of sketches based on this photograph ..intrigued by the different angles of roofs, and the sides of the buildings, planes punctuated by the syncopation of the chimneys are quite fascinating!! However, so far I've only done one quilt based on it and it has a very calm feeling. I think it was because I was focussed on the distant edge of the houses against the water...and thinking what a calm beautiful place that would be to live..it was also a very warm day when we visited there!!! See how all that comes out in the piece!!!

Below is a view of York, taken from the top story of Marks and Sparks (a well known UK department store - proper name Marks and Spencer). It's not a great photo, though you can clearly see the tremendous height of the minster over the old medieval town - it's the largest cathedral in Europe. So large that I used to take a short cut through it on my way home from school! (I had some pretty weird short cuts!).

I've made a lot of quilts about York over the years - there are so many options: the negative spaces of the old winding streets, the height of the minster behind the buildings, the rooftops...

John Carlson wrote:

"From the beginning: all creative work is founded upon our earliest impression, when everything was new and fresh and we had no preconceived notions". Carlson thinks these visual memories "ripen and mellow to form a “treasure trove” (a deep well )of inspiration ". He feels we may well be excited by something we see now because it triggers these old early memories.

I think that's why although I see interesting ideas in the modern city where I now live, it's the old medieval memories that come to the front when I face the design wall.

and, if you have been, thanks for reading!



Wietske said...

I wonder, are your quilts sewn or fused?

Elizabeth Barton said...

All sewn, I hate fusing!! See an earlier blog where I describe my horror of fusing! Elizabeth

frazzledsugarplummum said...

Thank you for your description of how some of your pieces eventuate and for sharing those works on York. I realise that I have seen your work before and loved it. I have a history background and am very fond of anything medieval. Anything to do with ART is new to me and I have learnt so much from reading the generously written and shared blogs like yours. At 50 plus a whole new world has opened. Thanks for your share in it.
Shirley in Australia

Jackie said...

I love seeing inspiration photographs and realizing they themselves need not be works of art. The light doesn't need to be just so or even the color. It's lines and connections, relationships, angles, textures--any number of things that can be translated into Art. Beauty we see in life, that others may not have noticed or thought of in our special way. Thanks for sharing those photos and quilts!

Del said...

The 'View From the Tate" is wonderful, but I will always think of St. Ives as rather grey and dreary. I still loved it and the Tate Gallery. I would like to add this quilt to the Collection, but I am tapped out right now. Which is killing me because there are very nice little quiltlets on the SAQA auction.