I'm spending this week at Farfield Mill in Cumbria. I am artist in residence here during that time. Yes I know, surely I can't be 'in residence' in two places at once... But I've brought a bit of Spurn here with me (images, sketches, notes, memories) and I am very much there in spirit. I am using this week to work in a concentrated way on my two big textile pieces, currently called Spurn cloth #1 and Spurn cloth #2... these unromantic titles may change with time but for now they will do.
I have a clean, light space here where I can spread out and work away from the distractions of my home studio. It would be tricky to do this in the lighthouse and while I work here I have people popping in to see what I'm doing so I can tell a different bunch of people about the project.
My first job yesterday, after unpacking my things, was to lay out the roll of felt In using as the base for cloth #1. This is industrial wool felt and will give a strong but flexible base to the piece that is beautiful to stitch into. My roomy studio floor was perfect for laying it out, measuring and cutting it to the size I need. I could then start to arrange my dyed silk on top of it. There then followed a great deal of fiddling, moving, rearranging, considering etc. until I was happy with the arrangement.
I could then begin to pin the pieces in place. This cloth is to hang in the lamp room in the lighthouse, where there is good light and visitors will be able to see the detail of the surface very close. There is a suggestion of a horizon and this work will almost be reflecting back the 360 degree view you get from the top of the lighthouse. But I'm not trying to represent it directly, rather I aim to capture something of the changing tones and marks in sky, sea and sand.
I will be giving an illustrated talk here at Farfield Mill on Friday at 2pm, all about the project.