Monday, 9 April 2018

North Ronaldsay hand-dyes

Last week I dyed my first batch of locally sourced yarn from North Ronaldsay, Orkney's most northerly island and famous for its seaweed-eating sheep.


It's a 2ply 100% wool in 100g hanks and similar to the 2ply Shetland wool I've dyed in that it's more like a fingering weight/4ply. It has a charming, hairy appearance and an almost lustrous sheen. So far I'm really enjoying working on this base and keen to keep a hank for myself!

Inganess

 Birsay

 January sky

Mirry dancers

Scapa Flow sunset

West Mainland

 Puffin riot

 Sand and pebbles

Friday, 30 March 2018

spring day, Inganess



spring day, Inganess
size: 32.5 x 62.5 cm (53 x 83 cm inc. frame)
oil monotype and chalk on paper

I've been meaning to create work from Inganess beach (just outside Kirkwall) for a few years, yet every time I visited I left uninspired. Sometimes when I visit a place I instantly find something which excites me and other times, such as with Inganess, it takes more patience. I'll visit repeatedly through different seasons, building up a feeling for the place and its character, until I have that lightning bolt moment.

In this instance, the light grabbed me as it felt like a turning over of seasons. It was a bright, clear day and still very cool (reminding me that we're not finished with Winter) but the colours felt warmer, vibrant and more Spring-like.

I hope my two recent Inganess pieces were worth the wait!

Inganess



Inganess
size: 37.5 x 13.5 cm (58 x 34 cm inc. frame)
oil on card

Monday, 26 March 2018

new: Orkney landscape inspired wool

I'm delighted (and slightly nervous!) to announce my latest creative venture: hand-dyed yarn inspired by the Orkney landscape.

Each skein is individually hand-dyed with acid dyes, resulting in one of a kind colour blends which reflect the Orkney landscape. So far I have dyed on 100% Shetland 2ply wool, although I plan to start dyeing on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) wool soon.


It's fair to say I grew up surrounded by wool. Between my Mum being a tapestry weaver and my maternal Granny knitting colourful socks and stunning Fair Isle patterned gloves, it was hard to avoid! I've always had an appreciation for wool, however since becoming a keen knitter in the last few years my interest has definitely heightened. Towards the end of last year it led me down the exciting rabbit hole of hand-dyeing.



My hand-dyes very much feel like a natural extension to my artwork as I treat the wool like a blank canvas: blending tones and colours in exactly the same way as I would when drawing or painting. Each hank becomes a little landscape reflecting the light, colours and character of Orkney. Every label is then personalised with an inspiration reference.




I have chosen to work with acid dyes for their vibrancy, colour range and mixing ability. Contrary to what the name implies, the dyes themselves are concentrated pigment/powder and the only acid involved is citric acid for the setting the dyes. Nothing harmful or dangerous :)

At present I have skeined the wool into 25g and 100g hanks. Although I am aware people are keen to have yardage amounts stated on labels I'm afraid I cannot give an accurate amount as I do not own the necessary equipment to calculate it. What I can say however is that 100g of 2ply Shetland wool is approximately 400m in length before dyeing and that you'll need to allow for a small amount of shrinkage during the dye process.


In terms of care instructions I recommend a cool, gentle hand-wash only, as with any pure wool. Due to the nature of hand-dyed wool please be aware that colours may bleed slightly after the first wash.

I really hope you like this creative development as much as I do. My wool will be available to purchase at the gallery this year. We open for the season on April 1st (this Sunday) so I'm currently busy getting all my wool and artwork organised for display. Not long now!




Thursday, 22 February 2018

January storm, Newark, Deerness


January storm, Newark, Deerness
size: 48cm square (68.5 cm square inc. frame)
oil monotype and chalk on paper

Monday, 12 February 2018

thinking...


Sand O' Wright beach in Hoxa, 07/02/18, on a biting cold afternoon.

Last week I was invited to be a guest judge for the Orkney Camera Club. I've judged for them before a few years ago and yet again I found it really interesting to see how differently everybody interpreted the brief. Judging forced me to activate the analytical, art critic part of my brain, an area which feels out of practice since leaving art school (a somewhat shocking) 8 years ago this year. 

Whilst looking at all their images I realised that I hardly take photographs anymore, certainly not with a creative slant. Mostly I use photography to assist my memory and sketches in order to create art work. I rarely take photographs just for the sake of taking them. Consequently this means I've largely forgotten how to use my camera beyond the basic Auto settings and my manual cameras haven't been touched for a couple of years. 

I'd like to change this. A little shake up is good for creativity and if nothing else it will be fun.


It's also good to take some time out to doodle with no purpose or expectations. I always find pebbles lend themselves beautifully to fun, little studies or experimentations in mark making. Something may develop from it, but it's ok if it doesn't. It's just good to draw.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

mirror in the sand


"mirror in the sand" 
 Sand O' Wright beach, Hoxa
size: 30.5cm square (34 cm square inc. box frame)
oil on canvas

(detail)